First, I’m happy to join with all the great folks here at Lansing Online News, and I look forward to conversations with readers!
MyÂ focus will beÂ on community, family, and youth development.Â One of the issues I want to have in the forefront is K-12 education policies and issues.
ExpandingÂ models of education was a vocational interest in my research and advocacy during grad school and beyond.Â Â I observed that our “one size fits all” education model clearly left some students behind.
When I became the mother of two bright kids (as they all are!) and found that the current educational alternatives did not fit them or our family, this issue became part of my daily life.
So I was pleased to receive an invitation to helpÂ explore the founding a virtual charterÂ school in Michigan this past week.
Virtual schools exist in many forms already in the U.S.:
- Some deliver content entirely online (or hands-on materials sent to home)
- OthersÂ integrate some time in an actual school classroom
- Some include options for grading and monitoring by a teacher
- OthersÂ are monitored by parents who can view their children’s progress in online reports
- Some mirror grade levels and time lines of public school
- Others allow forÂ students to progress at their own rate and go beyond theirÂ designated grade level and to be at different grade levels in different subjects
- Some even specialize in meeting the needs of students with different learning styles.
Parents can pay tuition or fees to access these services.Â They can be usedÂ to supplement their child’s education or as a substitute for public education through homeschooling.
However,Â some states or districtsÂ have chosen to “subscribe” to the virtual school services and their resident students can belong to the virtual school at no cost to their family, just like any other public school. In some cases, students are even given laptops to use while enrolled.
The styles and philosophies of virtual curricula do differ. So I don’t expect to see any remarkable differences between these cyber schools and traditional schools, at least at the beginning.Â But it is a start.
As part of the progressive homeschooling community I am priviledged to see the numerous creative and stimulating ways that parents educate their children.Â
I look forward to watching Michigan expand its options for more learners.