In many ways, virtual schooling is the best of both public school and homeschooling. In many other ways, it’s the worst of both worlds. Virtual schooling is a wonderful way to keep your children home, to be actively involved in their educations, and yet to still have the accountability of a teacher and a process by which you are held accountable and your children are still engaged in active learning—and the kind of learning that doesn’t require you to be the “teacher” every day.
Unfortunately, new students at the Tennessee Virtual Academy this year have discovered challenge after challenge standing in their way—and change after change. There has been no set list of expectations for more than a few weeks at a time, particularly concerning the all-important class connect sessions that have been the subject of so much debate.
What’s a virtual schooling parent to do?
First, roll with the punches. Realize that this is a vital time in the life of the school—a necessary step toward making it a valid educational opportunity in the minds of the general public and lawmakers alike.
Second, acknowledge the challenge and adjust accordingly. Realize that this is a new system, and that it’s going to have some kinks to work out—and that every change made will eventually settle into place as part of the larger picture.
Finally, don’t give in to the urge to throw your hands up and quit. As test scores come up and some of the urgency wears off, many of the regulations that are the most off-putting will ease up—and you may quickly discover that many of them are not intended to be impossible to overcome anyway. Educators and administrators know full well that parents and students are real people, with real commitments that they must answer. They will work out provisions that will be at least moderately acceptable to all of their students—or they will create provisions that prove that this is not an acceptable option for those children at this time.