Florida Virtual School (FLVS) students Christianne and Carylanne Joubert are pretty advanced for their age. Christianne, at 13, is already a published novelist; Carylanne, 14, is about to start 11th grade. The Jouberts would probably succeed at any school they attended, but they attribute a large part of their progress to online learning. (And for Carlyanne, who has diabetes, the convenience of doing school work at home is a big advantage.)
The Jouberts, whose father is in the military, requiring the family to travel a great deal, were homeschooled by their mother until recently.
“Online classes are easy to understand. You can move onto the next thing much faster,” Christianne says. “I have a friend in regular public school who says that they like FLVS courses better because they don’t have to wait around for the other students to get it — or get frustrated when they don’t get it themselves. But it’s not easier because it’s of a lower quality. The better quality makes it easier.”
I chatted with both girls and got a good glimpse into their academic life is like — flexible, varied, and personalized. It’s not the best fit for every kid, of course, but for these students, it works.
Q: Is going to school at FLVS different from being homeschooled?
A: Carylanne: The assignments are different. The courses I took when my mom was teaching me were mostly reading the lessons, getting the information, doing worksheets and exams and that kind of stuff. At FLVS, I write essays, I do PowerPoint presentations and brochures. In my Latin course, I had to pretend I lived in 100 B.C. and write up an invitation and a menu. There are different assignments for those who are more creative. The lessons also show the information in different ways; sometimes there’s a visual representation, like a diagram or a video, to help remember it. Continue reading