Is Virtual School a Good Alternative to Homeschooling?

Posted on Feb 8, 2013 by 1 Comment
Is Virtual School a Good Alternative to Homeschooling?

In theory, I love the idea of homeschooling. In practice, however, I don’t think I’m up to the challenge of developing a decent curriculum.

Math and science aren’t really my thing, so I’d have my son reading, drawing, and writing poetry all day. It would be fun, but not exactly the balanced education he needs.

Virtual schools, like the Connections Academy, are essentially a cross between homeschooling and sending your child to a public school. A teacher handles the curriculum, but you are expected to be actively involved in helping your child with his or her lessons. The younger your child is, the more hands-on time you need to devote to the process.

Just from briefly flipping though the Connections Academy guide, I think the curriculum is superior to what my son’s current school offers in many ways. They partner with the famous Julliard School in New York city to provide music presentations and demonstrations.

Kids who don’t like traditional sporting activities can do yoga for physical education. Even the younger elementary kids can join clubs like the science in the kitchen club, chess club, and pen pal club.  There are extensive options for gifted and talented students starting in the third grade.

Connections Academy students have to open enroll from their public school, so taxpayer dollars pay their fees. If you don’t think your finances could afford the cost of homeschooling, this is another huge advantage.

The only expense you incur when your child is enrolled in Connections Academy classes is the cost of the computer and Internet connection, and many school districts offer loaner computers and an Internet allowance.

This is the first year the Connections Academy option has been available in my state. I feel like the concept might require too much discipline for my son right now, but I think the idea has the potential to be a great experience for him when he’s older.

If you have any experience with the virtual school environment, I’d love to hear what you think. Is it appropriate for elementary school children or an option best suited for older students?

Photo credit: dhester via morgueFile

Posted in: Parenting
Dana Hinders

Dana Hinders lives in Iowa with her husband and son. She has been a freelance writer since shortly after earning her degree in journalism from The University of Iowa in 2003. She writes extensively about parenting, crafts, and creative ways to save money. Visit her at

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    We tried for a while and were VERY disappointed. There were problems with the curriculum as well as the school district’s implementation of it. I am sure there might be good virtual school programs available somewhere, but we are happier, learning more, and making better use of our time by carefully choosing our own curriculum. I would also love to hear about anyone’s positive experiences in virtual school. Most of the parents and one of the K12 teachers we stayed in touch with left the K12 program out of frustration.