Commentary

April 4, 2014

Online School—A Choice for Military Families

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Cyber school, virtual school, digital learning, whatever you call it, this growing educational choice simply works for thousands of California families. According to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), approximately 310,000 students nationwide attended school online, full-time in 2012-2013 and the number continues to increase. Military families are among those who are taking advantage of the unique benefits online schooling has to offer.

Personalized Learning

Education is evolving from the traditional one-size-fits-all classroom to a model that addresses a student’s individual needs with more customized, effective learning. Online public schools like the California Virtual Academies (CAVA) serve students in grades K-12 with a combination of innovative technology, a rigorous curriculum and state-certified teachers and counselors to provide flexibility and support in learning.

This helps gifted writers beat classroom boredom, math whizzes surge ahead, and professional athletes and performers travel to compete. Online school offers students a chance to discover their own learning style. As a public school option there is no tuition, which is important to families on tight budgets.

Removing Barriers

Sometimes all a child needs to reach her full potential is an environment free of distractions. In an online school, gone are some of the negative influences and bullying that parents and students dread. Online school students frequently describe both relief at escaping from social drama, and excitement at being able to learn without having to hide the fact that they enjoy school.

Portability is another benefit for military families. Because schools like CAVA have “sister” schools in other states that use the same curriculum and model, students from military families often can simply transfer to the online school in another state and pick up lessons exactly where they left off. That consistency and the support of a national online community provide children familiarity amidst a move that can sometimes be disruptive to the learning process.

You’re Never Alone

Online school is more like public school at home rather than traditional homeschooling. Parents have a real partner to work with them to help their student find success, and support with a built-in network of resources and connections. This can be a valuable resource for military families when they are new to an area.

At CAVA, for example, families receive access to captivating online tools, as well as hands-on materials–workbooks, textbooks, even supplies for art and science experiments. The curriculum and schedule are laid out in an easy to follow format—all tuition-free. Families also enjoy a vibrant school community with online and offline clubs, and school sponsored activities such as bowling, trips to museums and community service projects. California-credentialed teachers help guide students and parents through the curriculum, monitor progress, offer teaching tips, and help address each student’s individual academic needs and challenges.

As a public charter school, CAVA meets or exceeds state curriculum requirements and students are subject to state testing. The school is fully accredited and diplomas are accepted by college and universities and all branches of the military.

Going Beyond Homework

For many parents, working with their kids in a full-time, online school is the perfect way to be more engaged in their children’s education. Instead of seeing only glimpses through homework and reports, parents are intimately involved with the curriculum day to day.

Armed with that knowledge, families find that integrating lessons throughout the rest of their activities enhances their child’s understanding of a subject and encourages an even stronger connection to learning. Something as simple as a melting popsicle on a warm day gives a parent the opportunity to reinforce themes from a science unit. A trip to the grocery store turns into a real life math or nutrition lesson.

Parents who have been seeking educational choices different than the school down the street are discovering the benefits of online school. With the right education, students can reach their full potential and actually enjoy learning. And that is something every parent loves to hear.

To learn more about online charter school options in California, visit www.k12.com/CAoptions or call 866.339.6787.




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