Online learning a godsend

Around this time of year, it is always nice to give thanks for those things we are truly grateful for in life.

As a grandparent guardian, this holiday season I am thankful for virtual learning and how it has helped my child succeed. Our grandson is an active 10-year-old Boy Scout who participates in a bowling league and, as he says, “has one true friend.” That’s because he has Asperger syndrome, or high-functioning autism.

He is extremely bright, has a 95 percent average overall in all his classes and loves school. He attends South Carolina Connections Academy, a virtual public charter school that was recommended by his therapist, and it has been perfect for him. He was being bullied at school, had trouble with transitions, and after many discussions with administrators we were at our wits’ end.

My husband and I were concerned about socialization issues, but with virtual schooling, our grandson has multiple field trips and more opportunities available through the Aiken Home School Group – although virtual schooling is not the same as home-schooling. We have South Carolina certified teachers who are in front of our grandson and his classmates during real-time, online, Live Lesson sessions. Our grandson has a schedule of lessons to complete with quizzes daily.

South Carolina Connections Academy offers difficult and challenging curricula, much more so than at his former bricks-and-mortar school. Our grandson is taking American Sign Language as an elective this year. My husband and I act as learning coaches, assisting in the day-to-day activities, making sure his work is finished, taking attendance and consulting with teachers as needed either through email or telephone.

We are in our second year with Connections Academy. Our grandson asked if he can go to college with Connections! If he excels, he can complete college courses in high school. Our grandson had two to three hours of homework with his bricks-and-mortar school.

With virtual schooling, when he is finished with lessons at the end of his school day, he is done. There is no wasted time. This year his course work is centered on composition writing. He has been published in the school literary piece “Pens and Lens” twice – as a fifth-grader. We’re very proud of him.

The general public does not understand virtual schooling, but I encourage them to learn more. It has been a wonderful experience for our entire family, and we feel the education is more intensive with family support. Even Great-Granny gets involved. If she comes over during the school day, she helps out. It’s a perfect fit and a wonderful blessing for our family.

Online learning has helped my child succeed academically and emotionally, and that is something we are truly grateful for this season.

Lindy Cansler

Aiken, S.C.

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