A wonderful experience. Texas Virtual Academy sent me free computers, speakers, printers, and microphones, so I could effectively use the distance learning platform. The curriculum is high-quality, with courses designed by the leader in online education, K12. The teachers are great and communication is instantaneous with the use of IMs. And, with the distance platform, it is possible to minimize interaction with the very rare bad teacher. Coursework can be completed at any time, including weekends and over holidays. This allows "blocking," or completing many lessons in a single course instead of doing many at the same time. The deadlines are not as binding as normal schools, and assignments can be completed up to four weeks after the stated deadline with no loss of credit.
It's a different kind of learning, however, and it isn't for everyone. Students that aren't used to being self-learners will suffer a major culture shock, as there is no physical building that prevents a student from shirking class. It takes a great deal of dedication to succeed in the very free and limitless environment of online education. Want to take a few hours and watch Netflix? Without a parent at home, it's frighteningly easy to get behind on coursework. Parents should be certain that their children can handle the sudden increase in freedom, or a stay-at-home parent needs to be on hand during school days. There is also minimal social interaction with other students, so social-minded students will inevitably be unhappy without an extracurricular source of interaction.
TXVA is a revolutionary school that can be an absolute blessing for those who are prepared to handle the radically different environment. It's a great option for any self-motivated student with a love of learning.
Students are given the opportunity to try again when they do not meet a learning standard. They are highly praised by learning coaches and teachers and are rewarded with moving their achievement along at their own pace.
Students are expected to follow the school's guidelines and are expected to take responsibility for their part in their own education. The teachers and staff are very respectful of the learning coaches (who are often the student's parent(s)) and of the students themselves, fostering respect.
MOST IMPORTANT: YOU MUST BE INVOLVED WITH YOUR CHILD'S EDUCATION!!! Our son is truly allowed to go at his own pace and now is placed in two, separate grades. The teachers and administrators go out of their way to ensure that he is supported in all areas. We have been users of the K12 schools since our son was in Kindergarten. He is an extremely well-educated young man at age 13, still loves school and learning, and impresses us all the time with his wide vocabulary, love and appreciation of the fine arts, and exemplary knowledge of math and science (both of which he is in a higher grade level). He does not discriminate against others including AGE discrimination. He'll play with anyone and have fun. The experience of being totally involved with our son's learning path has been a joy and we continue to enjoy it AND continue to keep learning ourselves because of the K12 curriculum. Take the leap!
My child suffered from severe migraines and the schools could not find a proper placement for him. TXVA was a God send for us. He Loves his teachers, the curriculum, while intense, is simple to follow, and I am able to have some flexibility to deal with his medical condition. I cannot say enough good about this school. I love being his learning coach, and am better able to understand what his strengths and weaknesses are educationally than I could in the brick and mortar school. I think it is not for everyone, but for the motivated parent and child, it is ideal.
Our son and daughter logged on and completed/passed all the work/assessments on their daily assignment list each day. Many times, the next day, the same assignments would appear... the ones they had just completed and passed the previous day, so they had to redo them. There were so many computer glitches and issues that I pulled both of them after about a month. The school gave each child failing grades, regardless of the fact that they passed each days assessments. Apparently, the grades are based on percentages completed, and the computer wasn't assigning the correct amount of assignments each day (or making them repeat assignments). This was all acknowledged by the teachers. I spoke with higher ups and they are, so far, unwilling to change the horrific grades even though it was their system that messed up. Very unacceptable!! Sounds like a lawsuit to me.
Very difficult to navigate their online system and impossible to contact technical support. Teachers just reference any problems back to technical support, with no ownership or interest in helping to solve problems.
The curriculum itself is fine, but when it is piled on by class connects, work samples, extra testing, and study island my daughter was spending upwards of 12 hours a day on school. She became incredibly depressed, agitated, and eventually she shut down completely. The home room teacher told her to concentrate on ols lessons first and worry about the rest afterwards, then the next week she would send my daughter an email demanding to know why she'd not completed the extra work and tell her to concentrate on that. It flip-flopped for over a month before I finally had enough and told my daughter to work ahead in some subjects to complete them early and free up some time to concentrate on the subjects she had a harder time with. I got the idea because that is how my college courses are set up. Needless to say, she excelled and finished 3 subjects almost completely. Then her teacher called and accused her of cheating saying that she had done too much work. She told my daughter she had until the end of that day to provide written proof of all of the work she had completed. That is the point where I decided to pull her out because I'm tired of the teacher bullying my daughter.