I get it and I understand completely. At some point early this morning, I turned over and almost jumped out of bed thinking that today was the day. Thankfully, we still have one week until school officially starts in the Collins household.
Once again, Summer has magically flown by and will soon become a distant memory as school starts all over the country in the next few weeks. Some schools have already begun classes and while I have so many feelings about school and the American education system, I won't drag you down with all my thoughts about that right now. Yes, I whole-heartedly understand that there are families that don't have the necessary resources for virtual school and frontline workers who clearly need child care, but no child's life is worth the risk of sending them to an unsafe school environment right now.
Now if you know me, then you probably know that my son is homeschooled and has been for a few years now. Next week he will start fourth grade and we are ready. We have all of his books and materials, his homeroom teacher called today to check in and we have received emails from his advisor, counselor and the principal welcoming us back.
Over the years, I have shared our experience with family and friends who have wondered how my husband and I balance our careers and family life and honestly, virtual (home) school has a lot to do with it. Today I'm going to share my/our virtual school experience as well as some local education and child care resources for your convenience.
The K-12 Program
The K12 program offers tuition-free public school (and tuition based private school) options that meet your student where they are and gives your family the room and flexibility for online, at home educational instruction. With state-certified teachers, the support and structure of a school community, and online curriculum, students learn in the way that's right for them and at their own pace. For twenty years, K12 has served over one million students and has expanded to over 29 states and D.C. Additionally, K12 offers special education services, online live tutoring, summer school courses & programs, career readiness assistance and adult education programs. Individuals also have the option to supplement their own homeschool curriculum with specific K12 courses.
Why virtual school?
Virtual school provides the flexibility and convenience of working with your student and their teacher directly for a more personal learning experience and comfortable environment. Parents are able to get up close and personal with the curriculum and adapt the school day based on how their child learns. It also allows families with non traditional schedules and routines to frame their day as they see fit.
North Carolina Virtual Academy (NCVA)
North Carolina Virtual Academy is an online public charter school in North Carolina and one of many K12 schools throughout the states. My son has been attending NCVA for four years now and it has been a great experience for our entire family. Not only has it allowed my husband and I to work both in and out of the home when needed, it has given us the opportunity to see our son's learning strengths and weaknesses and integrate specific resources into his daily learning. We are able to challenge him in certain areas and give him extra attention in others.
My son really enjoys being able to participate in his weekly class meetings and complete is coursework throughout the day at his leisure. Most days we start with class meetings and then we move into coursework. In between subjects we do yoga, listen to music, watch YouTube videos, water the plants, play outside and more. Mixing the day up keeps learning fun and interesting. We've had a few hiccups over the years, but it has allowed us to create the lifestyle we want for our family. Overall, we have been pleased with the curriculum and pleasantly surprised with the balance of both modern and traditional leaning methods.
What to expect
Contact K12 for more information about schools in your area. Please be advised that although the particular school you choose may have a waiting list, you will be contacted when space opens up. You can enroll and accept a space even if it is in the middle of the school year.
Once enrolled, you can expect consistent communication from your K12 school staff to ensure your child's success. All materials including a laptop, printer, books, teacher guides and curriculum materials are mailed to your home, free of charge.
While there is a standard curriculum, parents or learning coaches have the flexibility to tailor instruction based on how their child learns. Students will have a full team that includes a homeroom teacher, advisor, counselor and learning coach (the parent) for guidance, resources and solutions.
The majority of daily lessons are online and school can be done anywhere that WiFi is available for your convenience. Parents of younger students will need to be available to help them navigate lessons and live class meetings with teachers. Older students should be able to do a lot of coursework on their own, with occasional help.
The K12 app is a great way to keep up with your students daily and weekly lessons and attendance on the go. Tech support is available for any issues that may arise with the OLS (online learning system). Parents and students will also have access to more learning tools and resources throughout the year to supplement the curriculum as well as online clubs and extracurricular activities.
If you are thinking about virtual school, K12 is a great place to start! Contact them for a full overview of all that they have to offer.
Below is a list of local resources including nannies & sitters, preschools, tutors & test prep and more.
An academic childcare collaborative
The Nurtured Nest
Kathryn Dunn, owner
Virtual Preschool & Family Support Services
Kreative Kidz NC
Brenda Atiya Kithcart, owner
Greater Promise Elite Learning
Steven Harrison, owner
Tutoring, Learning Center
One of One Educational Services
Tenica Williams, owner
APlus Test Prep
Kara Varnell, owner
Benita the Babysitter
Benita Edgerton, owner
Teacher/Tutor/Sitter (Virtual & In-Person)
Carrie Cook, MA CCC-SLP
Virtual Speech Pathology Services
Childcare (In home in Durham. NC)
Available now until April 2020
K-12 Tutor, Virtual Services
Availability M-F, 8-11 am
Triangle Nannies & Babysitters (Facebook Group)
Wake County Babysitters/Nannies (Facebook Group)
Wake/Raleigh Area Babysitters & Nannies (Facebook Group)
NCDPI Resources for Parents & Teachers
NC School Aid (search for resources OR upload your own resource or business)