My SC Education sat down with Wendy Moore and her son Nicholas to learn more about their education journey.
1) Please tell us about your family.
We are a small family – a family of three. But we make up for it through our desire to travel and explore the world around us. I am currently taking a break from my full-time career as a safety engineer, which is a great career, but is limiting when it comes to time off. My husband is a Geo Archaeologist who has the opportunity to travel and dig on various archaeological sites throughout the southeast and beyond. It quickly became a natural choice to simply combine his professional work with our personal lifestyle. When appropriate, we travel with my husband as he takes on one project or another.
2) Can you tell us more about your education journey and the education option you are currently using?
We felt a bit tied down to the local school. If we wanted to participate in an archaeological dig in Florida, we would have to miss school. I was hesitant because we knew that although this trip would be a fantastic educational experience, we would be penalized for missing those few days. I wanted something with structure, but something that had enough freedom to allow us to travel. I finally decided on Connections Academy – an online charter school. I chose this particular school because the curriculum was identical to my son’s brick and mortar school. We would be using the same books, same format, and it was my thought that would result in an easier transition to a new schooling style. For the past two years, we have been using Connections Academy with wonderful results. I feel that I now know how my son is doing, I know his strengths, and I know his weaknesses. And when we came upon those weaknesses, we were able to stop, work, and get this new concept down before moving on. To me, this was integral during his 3rd and 4th grades years.
This fall we will be using another school, Tall Pines STEM Academy. Our son wanted to try something different, and we felt Tall Pines would be a wonderful school for him. This STEM based school will focus not only on academics, but physical activity. Performing experiments in an active, outdoor environment. We felt mixing education with physical movement would not only benefit our son, but any child – allowing them to focus when needed, all while having fun in a structured learning environment.
3) What would your son say is the most exciting thing about how he is being educated?
Travel. He has visited 5 state capitals, worked on three archaeological sites, met world renowned leaders in archaeology and geology, watched manatees in their natural environment, and most importantly (in a 9 year old’s eyes) visited a real city – we toured and walked all through downtown Nashville, TN during one of our work trips.
4) What advice would you give to parents who are considering virtual school as an option?
First, know that you will have work to do. Connections assigns parents as learning coaches. We are there to help, to guide, to ensure the work is completed. We are hands on, and you will read along in the texts. But this is the wonderful part – you now know what your child is doing! You can help him or her when they are having issues. Most importantly, you get to see them grow.
Second, set aside a small area for all of your school work – we use a small bookshelf. Each morning we set up and when school is finished, we place everything back on the bookshelf signaling the end of the school day.
Third, take advantage of field trips. You now have the freedom to go places during the week. Do it! Make the trip to the zoo an educational experience. Visit a state park beach and start working on a Junior Ranger badge, talk to a Ranger and see if your child can help the Ranger for the morning.
Finally, if it doesn’t work, that’s okay too. Go to plan B. My motto is, “I’d rather look back at the mistake, than regret the opportunity I never took.”
5) Fill in this sentence: Having a choice in education matters because __________.
I want the best type of education for the way my child learns.
6) What have we not asked about, that you think is important? Is there any other part of your family’s education story you want to share?
We realize we are extremely fortunate to travel down this particular educational path for our son. Because of that, we have tried our best to really take advantage of the varied educational resources offered to children now. This path has given our son more opportunities to learn, and memories our entire family will cherish for a lifetime.