“Virtual schools” — online curricula supplied to teach-at-home parents — are doubling enrollment in Wisconsin, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Virtual schools are anathema to teachers unions, many members of home schooling associations, and people who oppose the privatization of education (most are run by out-of-state companies).
But the support fits the needs of some parents, who don’t trust traditional schools or their own ability to teach at home without help.
“The way Heather is right now, I just don’t feel as though she is going to fit in a traditional setting,” (grandmother Carole) Swiertz said. “But I was floundering at home-schooling her even in the first grade. Heather’s psychologist said virtual schooling would probably be as good an idea for me as for her.”
Connections, which is technically a public school, sends materials and curriculum to the Drakes, who live in Milwaukee. Swiertz works with Heather on a daily basis, using the books and technology as a guide, and the two consult with a Connections teacher once every couple of weeks on the phone and over e-mail.
“We always worried about finding a curriculum to do the home schooling ourselves,” said Holly Drake, Heather’s mother. “We were shocked and pleased when a box showed up and all the books were there. Everything.”
Home-schoolers seem to think virtual schoolers are wimps.