Our Families

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The Benefits of a Flexible, Virtual Learning Environment
(Kansas City Moms Blog – August 2016)

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How to Keep your Child Learning this Summer While Still Having Fun!
(Kansas City Moms Blog – May 2016)


10 Reasons Why We Love Leavenworth Virtual School

By Kerrie McLoughlin

Kerrie is the chaos-loving, homeschooling mama of 5 living in Overland Park. You can find her (and all her offshoot projects) at TheKerrieShow.com.

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We’ve been homeschooling since 2006 and I had never really given virtual school any thought. I figured it would be too intrusive on our free-spirited lifestyle and didn’t want my kids to be interacting with a computer all day instead of with me and with the world.

In the past, I had always used a variety of DIY curricula and also store-bought curricula and things purchased online. Last summer, though, I was faced with homeschooling four kids while keeping a fifth occupied and it was a little overwhelming. I also needed something to keep me on track.

I started doing some research and talking to other moms who did virtual school and made the leap. We’ve been thrilled with it and plan to have all 5 kids in Leavenworth Virtual School using the Calvert Education curriculum next year. These are just my top 10 reasons why we love it:

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1. We love when the boxes of curriculum arrive on our doorstep.The kids go through them like it’s Christmas, and they are excited to see what they will be learning about. The little ones love their clay and crayons and small books while the bigger kids love their science kit.

2. I love that I am not spending hours researching and tracking down curriculum for the individual needs of each of my children. I am also not spending hours each week lesson planning. Instead, I have more time to spend with my family and on doing other things I might need or like to be doing.

3. We love all the online extras. Resources like Streaming Discovery Channel, BrainPop, online textbooks, online libraries and tech lessons like how to send email, how to create Excel spreadsheets, how to type, use Paint, etc.

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4. I love that they accommodate all types of learning styles. If your child is “behind” for their grade, you aren’t ridiculed or made to feel different or less than. They have a program called Verticy for struggling readers and a software program called Kurzweil, which reads to a child. As for math, if you don’t like the math program, Leavenworth Virtual School will find you an alternative. They want your child to succeed.

5. We love that we can go at our own pace. We can take a vacation and do work before we leave or catch up later. We can travel with my husband for work and take school on the road. We can do one lesson in each subject every day or my good-at-English boys can knock out all their Spelling for the whole year in a week. You can send your kid off with their lesson manual and have them do their work independently or work alongside them. You can do the work at night or on weekends even.

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6. We love that it’s cost-effective. I would spend thousands of dollars on all the times Calvert Education sends to our door through LVS for just $45 per child. That’s it. You can rent a laptop from them if you need to and return it at the end of the year for a reasonable fee.

7. I love that there are no requirements for the kids to be online for a certain number of hours per day. You need 160 days of attendance online but they are not counting your every move. If your child already knows something, he can simply answer the checkpoint questions (like a little quiz) and move on.

8. We love that our facilitator comes to our home. He visits three times per year for check-in and testing, but that he is not calling or emailing me all the time. LVS knows and respects how busy homeschooling parents can get and also knows that we are in charge of our kids’ education! Go figure!

9. I love that they have Fun Fridays. Every month other LVS kids get together in Leavenworth to play and take cool enrichment classes. They also have amazing monthly field trips! Last December we went to see a play at The Coterie at Crown Center followed by ice skating at the Ice Terrace and my virtual schooled kids were all free.

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10. We love that it leaves plenty of time for other activities, time with friends and learning about other things they might want to be learning about. We have time for board games, going to the park and the pool, Scouts, field trips, grandparents, volunteering and more.

Homeschooling can get a bad rap sometimes as either parents letting kids run wild all day or else parents making their children sit at the dining room table doing school 10 hours a day. Our days are somewhere in between: filled with memory-making goodness and we are glad that we can fit school into our fun life!

Article re-posted with permission from Kansas City Moms Blog.


Back-to-Virtual-School Tips and Traditions

Back to Virtual School Tips and Traditions

By Kerrie McLoughlin

Kerrie is the chaos-loving, homeschooling mama of 5 living in Overland Park. You can find her (and all her offshoot projects) at TheKerrieShow.com.

Sure, virtual homeschooling is different from brick and mortar school, but some things are similar. Here are some things to consider when you are getting your student/child ready for back-to-virtual-school:

  1. Set a start date. It’s important for your entire family (and friends and neighbors too!) to know when school is starting. Vacations and events should be scheduled around the first day of homeschooling.
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  1. Go back-to-school shopping. Leavenworth Virtual School (LVS) in conjunction with Calvert Education sends everything a kindergartner would need, including watercolors, jumbo crayons and pencils, construction paper, math manipulatives and more! For the older kids, they make sure to include plenty of scratch paper for writing and doing math problems. Still, your kids might enjoy some new things to call their own, like maybe a colorful fabric bin to keep all their homeschooling goodies and projects in, or a new set of markers or special notebook. I can’t tell you how nice it is not to have a massive list of things to buy, compiled by a teacher, for each kid. The cost and logistics of all those must-have items makes my head spin!
  1. Plan some freezer meals. You’ll want to focus on figuring out the routine and rhythm for your kids and for yourself, and having some freezer meals (or the pizza delivery place on speed dial) ready to go, will save your sanity and help you focus on the lessons each day during those first few weeks.
  1. Plan some extracurricular, active and social activities. Leavenworth Virtual School has Fun Fridays, where there is plenty of time to play and socialize, as well as a short, fun and educational lesson on something cool like hieroglyphics. Get all their field trips on your calendar as well so your kids can meet up with other LVS kids while you get some time to meet other homeschooling parents.

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  1. Have an unpacking party! Once the boxes come from Calvert, full of textbooks, workbooks, reading books, the science kit and so many other fun things, have fun unpacking them with your children.
    1. Review the curriculum ahead of time. Take some time to check out the curriculum so you are prepared to teach the first week of lessons.

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  1. Start the day right. Prepare a special breakfast to get that brainpower going for the whole family.
  1. Don’t forget to take a family photo. The photo of the first day of school is always one to treasure and look back on with fondness.
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  1. Celebrate the first day of school. You might want to go a little bit light and ease into your first day of school, which is a wonderful benefit of virtual homeschooling. After you’re done, consider going out for ice cream or heading to a park so you can all blow off some steam. You could even have your fellow homeschooled friends over for a potluck picnic dinner in the backyard!
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  1. Finally, have your students keep a journal for the year. This can be an inexpensive spiral-bound notebook or in something fancy your kids create and decorate themselves, but the point is to try to jot something down daily throughout the school year. Even little ones can draw a picture of how they are feeling or of something they did that day.

Article re-posted with permission from Kansas City Moms Blog.