Highlight of a Virtual School Family: Christine Beard

Today’s highlight is from an OHVA family.

Please help me welcome a good friend, Christine Beard, who shares her story of how Ohio Virtual Academy helped her daughter succeed when the traditional public school could not meet her needs and living in a rural area was an obstacle to overcome.

When my youngest daughter started her public school experience for kindergarten, she was already reading on a much higher level than her classmates. She was totally unchallenged in other areas as well and spending her school days reading to others and being a desk mate to one of her learning disabled classmates. This made her school days not very productive for HER educational growth.

We did hang in until the end of first grade with our local school district. It is a GREAT school, with very high state test scores and graduation rate, but there is not money in their budget for gifted education or accelerated elementary classes.  Sadly in the high school, no AP classes are offered and Post-Secondary Education Option classes were not encouraged. The school policy did not follow the Ohio laws in regard to PSEO classes as well, so rather than trying to fight our local school board on that issue, I hoped that we could take another route for high school.

Regardless, I was not seeing much future for her educational needs to be met if she did continue to attend our traditional public brick and mortar school.

There was not much to ‘explore’ as far as attending other schools. The other local public school districts were very similar as our district or worse. Our other big hurtle is where we live, which is in a VERY rural area and commuting to a private school was not a reasonable drive for our family and not affordable.

So our school choice option rather than returning to our local district for her second grade school year began with me bringing my daughter home and doing two years of traditional home education. I found this very rewarding and my daughter was able to move at her own pace.

After two years, even though we were happy with doing our ‘own’ program, I found out that public on-line school had been approved in our state. I went to an informational meeting just days before the public school year was ready to begin and after looking at the curriculum, online lesson planning, teacher support and record keeping software that was going to be available to us, I gave it a whirl and never looked back.

For the next 8 years, my daughter moved at her own pace using an accelerated high quality curriculum that we were seeking. As she started high school, she was able to mix PSEO classes of her choice, and she ended up with the very best of both worlds.

In June, 2010, my youngest daughter graduated from an on-line public high school with honors and about 40 college credit hours. It was a great experience for her and for our family. Having school choice is very important for the success of every child in the USA. We all learn differently and not being bound by our zip code can help all children find a school that is just right for them.  I know….it worked for our family!

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  1. Christine, thanks for sharing your story today. You’ve been a long time champion for school choice and you are so apprciated for all your work!

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