Virtual schools have become increasingly popular as school and family budgets continue to be squeezed. Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is an internet based public school that offers a full range of classes for students, starting in middle school. FLVS is free for Florida students, including those who are home schooled. Students outside Florida can also take classes, through FLVS Global, for a fee.
My daughter has wanted to learn photography for a couple of years now, but I’m not a photographer. I knew I could find someone who would teach her, but that would cost a lot, and I don’t like spending a lot of money when my children first show interest in an elective. For example, I’d rather rent versus own until I know this is something we’re going to stick with.
This summer, I decided to enroll her in FLVS Photography Segment 1, leveraging the freedom we have in school choice as homeschoolers.
Abigail has not only learned new photography skills, but also the history of photography, composition and how to choose her subjects.
What has my daughter enjoyed about learning photography throught a virtual school?
- Her teacher, Ms. Perez
She is always available for questions and further direction. She regularly provides feedback, support and encouragement to Abigail via email and telephone. Abigail always comes running, bursting with excitement, to tell me all the wonderful things her teacher told her about her current project. Her words have made my daughter feel like an artist.
- The photography projects
The projects have been varied and plentiful. Through them, Abigail has learned to look at everyday objects in new ways, viewing the world as a photographer. Each project has a specific focus, teaching her a new element of design. She has learned about composition by using the rule of thirds and how to focus on foreground, background or middle ground.
She made a pinhole camera to learn how the camera works. Other projects have included “a day in the life” and also focusing on textures and finding design elements. One of her favorite assignments was finding the letters of her name in regular things.
What have I enjoyed about using a virtual school?
It took us a couple of weeks to learn what pace the teacher was expecting, however, once we understood this, Abigail took complete control of her course. While setting up her weekly schedule, she decides what assignments she will complete on which days. She schedules phone assessments with her teacher and studies on her own. She has learned how to transfer her photos to the computer and upload them to her teacher. Her word processing skills are improving through written assignments and is also learning netiquette as she converses with other students online.
- Project schedule
Although there are a fair amount of projects to be completed each week, it has not been overwhelming. There is no busy work as each assignment serves a specific purpose.
- Her teacher
I love that someone other than me is teaching and supporting my daughter. It has been wonderful for her to receive praise and critiques from another adult. It is also another avenue for Abigail to converse with adults and continues to teach her how to politely state her case if she disagrees with something.
Overall, taking an elective via FLVS has been a very positive experience. I will definitely be enrolling her in Photography Segment 2 and most likely other electives in the future.
Do you utilize a virtual school for your child’s learning?
***Just prior to posting this, I received a note letting me know that Abigail’s beloved photography teacher has been laid off because of budget and enrollment issues (along with a ton of other teachers). This saddens me. We have a lot of educational choices in Florida and I hope that families continue to support these choices, so they remain available to us.