An article in The Kansas City Star by Tim Engle is worthy of note and a thank you too. Engle starts his story, Virtual kids: Actually they’re real, but they go to school online describing the school day of eleventh-grader Philip Marten.
Marten’s second-hour class is orchestra. But first hour, third hour, fourth hour and the rest of his school day are spent not at school but at home in Shawnee.
Philip takes orchestra at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School because otherwise he wouldn’t be able to audition for all-state orchestra. But in his 16 years he has rarely darkened the door of a school building. Before high school, his parents homeschooled him.
Having been told that Marten’s day has a flexibility familiar to homeschoolers and now knowing he had homeschooled, I was not sure where we were going. The next subhead brought a bit of a surprise – a reporter getting the distinction between homeschooling and enrolling in a-school-at-home program right!
It’s not home school
The state of Missouri runs a virtual school, the Missouri Virtual
Instruction Program (www.movip.org), now in its third year. MoVIP, as
it’s known, started with 2,000 students and grew 30 percent its second
year. But this school year, enrollment is off about 20 percent thanks
to a $1 million state budget cut, says Curt Fuchs, Missouri’s
coordinator of educational support services. “We are now stalled
because of money,” he says.
But what exactly is a virtual school?
It’s not a home school — parents are the teachers and control the
curriculum in home schools — although like Philip, some home schoolers
have transitioned to virtual school. Virtual schools employ
state-certified teachers, who typically meet in “live” online sessions
once a week with classes. Teachers might use webcams or just microphones.
Thank you Tim Engle and The Kansas City Star.
In too many conversations I have found myself weighing the risk of sounding shrill against letting a misconception about homeschooling and public school program stand. We need more of these. Read the entire piece here.