This is my sons’ first school year at Connections Academy. With our schedules, this choice was perfect for our lifestyle and allows my kids to get a higher education, and the flexibility needed around our lives. Here’s a little bit about my sons:
- Both are gifted and talented students
- Easily distracted (like most boys)
- Enjoy being creative (videos, graphic design, Lego building, stop motion videos, etc)
- Love reading books, playing sports, skateboarding and scooter riding
With this decision, we’ve been able to break away from the inflexible lifestyle most schools offer and live the lives we desire.
If you’re unfamiliar with Connections Academy, it’s an online public charter school that allows children the opportunity to go to school from home. Most people think a child that attends school from home will disable their social skills. I’m here to tell you that going to school from home doesn’t effect your children social life. Honestly, it depends on your child.
Now My Review: Being a Gifted and Talented Students Pays Off
Connections Academy has changed our lives. It’s not your typical school and I must admit that we have to work hard. When I enrolled my sons, they were able to be placed in Gifted and Talented classes. In a regular public school, most students attend TAG or GT once, maybe twice a week. With connections, my sons have the opportunity to have all of their classes on a higher level.
Being in Gifted and talented classes allows students to enjoy awesome opportunities like taking classes in higher grades and a more advanced cirriculum. At this rate, they have the opportunity to earn college credits and possibly graduate early. JT (my youngest) is currently in 4th grade, but takes 5th grade math.
The Cirriculum Is One Of a Kind
We really enjoy the lessons! It’s by far what I’ve seen in a traditional public school. The cirriculum is full of great stories, learning strategies and scenarios that actually prepares students for the real world. Health and PE is one of my favorite subjects outside of their core classes, because it’s basically a Psychology class. Jordan (my oldest, in middle school) has learned about drugs, alcohol, mental illnesses, nutrition and so much more. Students typically learn of these behaviors from experience. My son has been able to get ahead by learning these key challenges ahead of time.
Field Trips and Events Exist
Some people believe a child going to school from home is isolated from the world. I’m here to tell you that’s a bunch of nonsense! At Connections, there are scheduled field trips and events where students have the opportunity to interact and make friends. In addition to school events, my sons spend their afternoons, after school work is complete at the skate park, boys and girls club and recreation center. They have friends and have a great time just being kids. For those who feel an education should only be in a school building, how many times have you received a call home from school, because your child was talking during school hours?
Each Student Gets Vacation Days
Say you’re planning a family trip outside of school vacation time or have an emergency and need to leave town. Instead of your child missing school or adding unnecessary absences to their attendance, you can use vacation days. Every student is giving a specific amount per year that may be used at anytime.
Teachers Are Present and There To Help
My sons are in Elementary and Middle school (4th and 6th grade). They both have a homeroom teacher who’s always available to answer questions, offer their assistance and they communicate with my sons on a monthly basis just to check in. Math isn’t one of Jordan’s favorite subjects so he’s able to work closely with his Math teacher who’s there to help whenever he’s needed.
Parents are Learning Coaches
As a parent, I get to work closely with my sons. I’m able to see their strong points and help them strengthen their weaknesses. If there are ever any questions or if help is needed as a Learning Coach, the teachers are there ready and willing to assist. The curriculum is there and there’s no need to have any extra work for your child. With everything Connections has to offer, your child will be occupied.
All of your Materials Are Provided For Your Family
Everything is provided like school books, PE materials, Music class, you name it! If your family needs a computer It’s provided for you. If you need help paying for the internet, there’s a grant available. They make it so simple and there’s no excuse for a child to be denied for not being prepared.
Lots and Lots of Clubs!
My sons are apart of the Robotics, Video and Gaming Technology, Sports and Pen Pal club. Once a student has been enrolled for 30 days and maintains a 70% they are eligible to sign up for clubs. The clubs are awesome extra cirricular activities that allows students to learn new things and connect with students who share the same interest. There are so many options to choose from!
Now the Cons…
Attendance must be Recorded Weekly
Students must attend school a certain amount of hours based on their State. In our state Nevada, the boys are required to complete 25 hours a week in work lessons. Like I mentioned, you can create a schedule that is best for your family. If you wanted to work on school in the evenings with the mornings free, it’s totally up to you. The only part that matters is making sure students are completing the required assignments and you are recording their attendance.
Try Not To Fall Behind On Assignments
Making sure you are ahead is one of the best ways to succeed. Falling behind can be one of the worst decisions to make. Unlike other schools I’ve heard of that allows you to skip lessons and only do what one feel is necessary, Connections Academy assignments can’t be skipped. Students must complete assignments and must be responsible with the help of their Learning Coach. If a student falls behind, the lesson would not disappear until it’s completed and the student isn’t allowed to complete other assignments until they are caught up. It’s a great thing that students can’t just skip assignments. It’s about learning and doing what is best for the students. Complete those assignments on time!
I hope this was helpful to any parent out there looking for a plan B for their family. I can honestly say this was a great choice for us! We enjoy this option and are so grateful that we found this amazing school! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Wishing you the best!