Highlight of a Virtual School Family: Sandy Neafsey

Today I’m happy to introduce to you a Colorado Virtual Academy (COVA) mom, Sandy Neafsey.  Sandy has 2 children enrolled in COVA, a 7th grader in her first year with COVA and a 10th grader in her 3rd year with COVA.  Sandy and I met earlier this year at a face-to-face session hosted by our students’ English teacher.  The virtual school option has worked well for Sandy and her family.  Please read her responses below to some questions I asked.

How did you learn about your virtual school?

A parent from our former school.

There’s a variety of reasons why parents chose a virtual school for their child, what’s your reason for enrolling your child in a virtual school?

1. Convenience with an online school

2. The reason for choosing COVA: Curriculum Since we were previously at Lincoln Academy Charter School who used Core Knowledge for their curriculum, K12 was a perfect fit. It is my understanding that K12 curriculum was modeled after Core Knowledge (K-8), but taken through 12th grade. We did not want any gaps or discontinuity in Rachel’s education.

What has your experience been with your virtual school and how satisfied are you with your virtual school?

Great! Rachel began in 8th grade and is a self-starter and very disciplined. She has done a great job with COVA, and I believe is really thriving now in 10th grade. I am finding that Anna needs a little more guidance; however, she is starting a grade earlier than Rachel did, in 6th grade. Much of that has to do with her personality.

There are so many benefits to virtual schooling, what is the greatest benefit for your family?

For this year, the greatest benefit for virtual schooling would have to be flexibility. We took a 10-day trip to Israel with our church. The trip was somewhat last-minute planned because it focused around dedicating a memorial to our Pastor’s Wife on Tel Nof Airbase. She had passed away 3 years ago and deeply loved the land of Israel and the people.

How do you as a parent help your child socialize?  What activities is your child involved in?

Church youth activities, 4-H, other friends and cousins who home school, visits to former school, face to face COVA events, play basketball at old school.

How does your child interact with and communicate with the teachers in the virtual school?

Class connects, K-mail and face-to-face events

How would your child describe his/her experience with the virtual school?

Good. Anna misses her friends at school, COVA was not her decision.

Do you feel that your child is receiving individualized learning?  If so, please provide examples.

Yes. Anna is in Algebra, a little ahead of her grade level. There is good communication with K-mail and phone calls. Rachel loves and is really thriving with her computer science elective.

Describe the schoolroom or the effective study environment where school typically takes place.

For Anna it has lately been on the couch with a laptop in the family room in front of the fire place. She also has a desk and computer in her room. Rachel consistently works in her room at her desk.

How important do you feel it is for your student to be self-motivated and a self-starter in this online model?

It really helps having a student who is a self-starter for online school. With my younger, 6th grade student, there has been more guidance needed.

Do you feel that your virtual school is preparing your child for college or the workforce after high school?

Virtual school is very much so preparing my children for college, it requires the student to take more responsibility of getting their work done.

As learning coach/mentor, how much time do you devote every day to your child’s education?

5 minutes to 5 hours. Probably on the average, about 30 minutes. Sometimes I help with math, or we go to a COVA event and that requires more time.

How do you as a parent/learning coach/mentor partner with your student’s teachers?

We partner with our student’s teachers sometimes by discussing how to accomplish various assignments and asking questions.

Years ago we didn’t have the educational options that are available today.  How important is choice in education to you as a parent?

It is very important to have choice in education. We do not feel comfortable with our children in a regular public school environment due to curriculum, lack of discipline, lack of homework and lack of good old-fashion education.

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  1. Thanks for sharing your story, Sandy. We look forward to seeing you at COVA’s Winterland of Gingerbread event.

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