Mom by morning. Learning Coach by day. Exhausted by night.
Lather. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
What's a learning coach you ask? It's any adult (usually mom) who facilitates learning via virtual lessons and school, while still doing more or less what a homeschool teacher/mom does.
Let's start at the beginning......
First, a recap of my anal retentive tendencies...I'm a researcher. Not only do I love to do it, it soothes my angst and worry, especially during a pending PCS (Permanent Change of Station- military speak for "fuck me! we are moving again!"). I researched my ass off about schools, the local housing and job markets, and as much as I could about the area.
What I found was disturbing. Schools were not the best in the immediate county of the new Army post, with state tests being the barometer for success. Hey I don't decide this,
So, blah blah... scores were shitty in the area that we really wanted to live in. Odd occurrence given the fact that 3 major companies are located within spitting distance of the area: Gulfstream, Mitsubishi and JCB. Oh wait, and the housing market has houses in this area that command upwards of $350, 000 homes. Ludicrous! The neighboring counties had better schools, but in one of them the housing market was even higher, if you can believe that. In some instances rent increased by $400-600. Yeah. In the other county, it seemed rural and from what I could see the drive hubby would have to endure would be difficult.
Lotsa research. No assuaging of fears. Minimal options. And the PCS is right in the middle of the school year which doesn't allow for a huge margin of error. So I keep looking.
In this research I find Georgia Cyber Academy. Hear the choir of angels? Well it was a life saver. It was a virtual public school system open for any student living in Georgia. Hmmm.... keep talking.
The sample lessons online and the information they provided was a huge plus for me, because it allowed me to see exactly what we were getting into. I thought it was a great idea! Online schools, interactive lessons, point and click assessments, and even Blackboard collaborative classrooms where the kids received direct instruction from an actual certified teacher! Winning!!!!!!
What more could you want? School in your underwear or jammies. Wait isn't that always the bad dream? Either way, it was a win win. So I thought. Now if you know my child, you know he is a computer/gaming geek. He is a techie. I'm thinking attending a public school that's virtual, with no building that he had to wake up and to go, and no real set schedule- well I thought that was right up his alley.
Week one could have been Navy Seals Buds Training for all the torture it was. He whined and moped and literally cried about the amount of work he was doing. Mind you, it was from 8:45am until about 3:00 or so and no homework! The lessons were no longer than a 55-65 minute class session, and the activities were incorporated right into the assignment/learning.
By Friday I was ready to kill him. On Saturday we went out and got him all he needed so that he could attend the regular local middle school. Let's see how that works for ya big guy!
It didn't. He went there for 1 day. I left the school crying when I left him (fodder for another post- How Shitty My Experience Was at West Chatham Middle), and he walked out at 2:45pm damn near in tears. Between unruly students in Math and the teacher continuing to teach through the disruptions, to a fight in science class, and eventually kids upending chairs in a classroom. I think he got his first real taste of how the other half lives- you know the half that attend crappy public schools. This speaks nothing of the crappy attitudes I had dealt with that morning in Guidance department. We withdrew him and took back his school uniforms. Thankfully Wal-Mart was friendlier in their return policy than the school staff had been to us on our first day.
Score one in the winner's column for GCA. He promised he would make it work until the next school year.
And that is how I became the Learning Coach.
We are about a month into this adventure, and some days I want to bash my head, or his, against the table. Some akin to the scene in True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger, where he is riding in the car with the used car sales man, and he head slams the salesman's head into the steering wheel. Go watch it and you'll understand. *wink* I haven't caused him harm, yet, and by the looks of it we should make it until May 23rd, which is the official last day of school.
I do have to say, it's a nice change of learning/teaching modality. It really syncs up nicely with our current generation's need for tech-y things all the time and the "right now" mode at which they process everything. They still have books and many of the supplemental activities take place offline, which allows me to interact with Bear while he is doing some active learning. I hate to admit this, but I think I like it more than the traditional brick and mortar- it's what we call the old fashioned building. *snort* On top of all of that GCA, does a great job at trying to incorporate "field trips" or outside learning opportunities. We will be attending a Science event in our area next month and it takes us out to the coastal areas to learn about the local environment. Oh did I mention that it counts as "classroom" time? Too cool!
All in all, I'm happy we had an alternative for schooling- many people don't and are stuck sending their kids to sub standard schools, wondering what's next for their child. I'm truly blessed that right now our lives permit me the time and space to make this work. I can't imagine trying to do this 10 year ago.
Georgia Cyber Academy and k12.com- I'm giving you a 2 thumbs up!
Oh and GCA, I'm also giving you my résumé and filling out an application for the 2014-2015 school year. How about a job next year?
|Click on the banner above to VOTE!!|