Have you started the new school year yet? Whether you home-school, use a virtual charter school, or your kids attend a brick & mortar school, there are certain traditions that we all follow.
Going “Back-to-School” in a virtual world is a mixture of home-school and brick-&-mortar traditions.
On the home-school side, you need to plan your learning space and schedule your days. On the brick-&-mortar side, you receive your curriculum and meet your teachers. You also need to make sure you have all the supplies necessary for a successful year.
No matter how your children go to school, you need to have an organized learning space for them. In our virtual homeschooling world, most of our day is spent at our dining room table. We like working together and it makes it easier on mom. I don’t need to run from place to place all over the house to give assistance. :)
That said, I do have individual learning spaces set up for each child. This is a space for them to go to work on assigned tasks quietly by themselves with no distractions.
I have three students using Connections Academy, so it gets a little crazy around here some days, but it is a good kind of crazy
We have the computer that the school provides and I have my personal laptop. We have a pretty unorthodox schedule, but that is one of the great aspects of a virtual charter school. Here is what a typical day will look like in our home:
My 17 year old gets up at 6am and starts school by 7am. This way he can get his hours in before he leaves for work in the afternoons. He will use the school computer most of the morning. High school has A LOT more computer required activities than the lower grades.
My 6 year old is generally an early riser, so he gets started on the laptop when he gets up in the mornings and my 10 year old is a night owl. I will usually wake her up at about 9am. The younger children take turns using the laptop until their brother leaves for work.
In the lower grades, there is actually not an abundance of time needed on the computer. The school provides textbooks in the elementary grades so the kids can do their “computer stuff” and finish up with textbooks, workbooks, hands-on activities, etc. The school also provides course guides for the parents. These guides list every part of the lesson for easy referral. What this means is that if you have one child on the computer, you can look in the course guide for another child and see exactly what their lesson is.
One of the best parts of Back-to-School: Virtual Style is receiving our curriculum each year. Our school will send the curriculum and supplies through UPS. We get an email and a tracking number when it is shipped. The day it is scheduled to arrive is like Christmas. As soon as we get the boxes, the kids start digging in—getting excited for the upcoming year. In our house, we usually get everything out and organized the day it arrives.
MEET THE TEACHER:
Another exciting part of of our world is “meeting” our new teachers. Of course, we don’t meet them in the traditional sense. About a week before the first day of school, each of the kids will be assigned a homeroom teacher. Through the school website, we came locate the teacher and find out more about him or her. Then, during the first week of school, the teacher will make a welcome phone call. This is something kids wait for from the day they learn their teachers name. Finally, during the second week of school, they will attend their first “LiveLesson”. This will the first of many live computer sessions with their teacher and classmates.
When purchasing supplies for our virtual world, I need to think more like a home-school parent than a charter school parent. We pick up the usual pencils, paper, and erasers, but we also look for supplemental workbooks, posters, and arts/crafts products. I have a designated area set up and organized with all of our school supplies. There is a shelf for notebook paper (primary, wide ruled, college ruled, & graph). There is a shelf for art paper (construction, manila, sketch, & tracing). There is an art cabinet with everything from paint & brushes to glitter & glue. About once a week I go to the Dollar Tree for some great deals on everything I need for our virtual home-school world.
Although we may have different ways of educating our children, there is always one constant — love!
(All photos courtesy of Pixabay.com )