When it comes to this parenting thing, school wasn’t something I thought I had much choice in. Sure, I could choose to put my daughter in private school, but it wasn’t something we could afford. And yes, I knew homeschool was an option. But a teacher isn’t anything I ever wanted to be. Public school has been working alright for 4 years so I hadn’t really put too much thought into it. Until public school just wasn’t working anymore. We learned about public online school and it saved us!
Let me preface this by saying, we loved my daughters school. It was engaging and fun most of the time. Until it wasn’t. I started getting phone calls to come pick up my daughter due to her being sick or in pain. What was going on? Well, it turns out my daughter has a spinal condition and needed surgery to help alleviate some of those symptoms. So we had to take 6 weeks off to get the surgery and then heal from it.
Going back to school after that was HARD. My daughter was still weak, she was behind (in spite of doing work at home while she was away. It’s just not the same as being in the classroom!), and she was having a hard time keeping up with her peers physically. Having surgery had also brought out some pretty major anxiety issues. School was no longer fun, no longer engaging, and no longer working. It was time to find something new.
We began researching. I knew I didn’t want to homeschool her myself. I’m simply not qualified to make sure she is learning everything she needs to learn. And I knew I didn’t want her just reading out of a book all day either. (Side note, shout out to the traditional homeschooling mamas, y’all are rockstars. The dedication to that is amazing to me!). So I was starting to become discouraged. And then a friend suggested public online school. Online school? What was that!?
Turns out public online school was exactly what I was looking for! It was school that could be done at home, but I wasn’t the teacher!! It was the structure and schedule I wanted, just without having to leave the house. And the best part? It was FREE. Right down to the books, the art supplies, and even the items needed for science experiments. Depending on your income, they even send you a computer and printer. I was amazed.
What makes up a typical day of online schooling? My daughter is in 5th grade, so a typical day for us is 4 live classes and some independent work offline. In live classes, you have a teacher who is holding class the same way as you would have in a brick and mortar school, only it’s a virtual setting. Your student will have discussions with their classmates, tests, and even projects! How cool right!?
They also offer student outings once a month where you have an opportunity to go meet some of your local classmates. Socialization for the win!
So now we have been in online school for almost a year. My daughter is on the honor roll and truly enjoys school. Even on bad pain days, she can still go to class, she can still “see” her friends, and she can thrive. This isn’t the best option for everyone, but it’s the best option for us. And I think maybe if more people knew it was an option, it might be a perfect option for someone else too!
For more information, check out https://tnva.k12.com/. This is the main landing page for the online school we use and is available to all Tennessee students.