If you have spent any time in homeschool circles then you most likely have heard about Florida Virtual School. You may have wondered what this is and is it something that may work for my teens? FLVS is an online school taught by real teachers. It is free for Florida residents, however it isn’t just for those who are fortunate enough to live in the Sunshine State. FLVS offers a variety of courses at the high school level including many extra curricular courses.
I spoke with Cindy Lukehart about her daughter’s experience with FLVS. Ms. Lukehart’s daughter is currently taking 2 courses, Forensics (she couldn’t remember the grade level of this course) and Critical Thinking (middle school). Referring to FLVS she told me, “Their philosophy is that we are the guidance counselor so we decide what grade level they are.”
One of my favorite things about online classes is the student’s ability to work independently. Since this is an online school, students have more freedom to do the coursework on their own schedule. That has made it a nice option for homeschool families.
Do keep in mind that even though pupils are allowed to do the work at their leisure, they still have to keep up with a specified timeline. Lukehart told me that her special challenge as a single parent is keeping her daughter on task. “It would be tougher for a family where both parents work.”
Each student chooses a pace for the course and then works with their teachers and parents to stay on top of assignments. Teachers will request online meetings with the student at various milestones within the course. When asked how difficult her daughter finds it to stay on pace, Lukehart told me, “It depends on how good the teacher is at staying in touch. Some teachers are better at staying in touch with their students than others.”
Another thing that ingratiates homeschoolers to FLVS is that you can sign up for courses at various times during the year. Lukehart says that her daughter usually signs up for her classes at the beginning of summer when the sports seasons and various other activities have slowed down. Having the freedom to take courses at nonconventional times could be nice if you have a student who has some credits that they need to catch up on in order to graduate on time, or even if they just simply want to get ahead on gaining credits.
I have a friend whose children use FLVS. They however are not homeschoolers. How is this possible you ask? Very simply, they are registered to use FLVS as public school students learning at home. FLVS, like other virtual schools, is considered a charter school of the public school system. If you want to begin or continue your status as a homeschooler, but still want to use the Florida Virtual Curriculum, make sure that when you register with the program, you are registering as a homeschooler. This may seem like an insignificant detail, however it really is a very important distinction. It’s important to also note that you do not have to live in Florida to register with the program as a homeschooler. FLVS Global School can be used by homeschoolers anywhere in the world.
If your homeschool includes teens who need to be able to work independently, gain greater responsibility, and enjoy working at the computer, then Florida Virtual School is definitely worth a closer look.