A look at the differences in virtual learning options for Lee County students

Reporter: Sydney Persing Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:

Sending your kids to school or keeping them at home to learn – your choice isn’t just one or the other. There are options when it comes to learning from home that can help kids thrive.

It’s a tough call for parents, and if you’re on the fence, Lee Virtual School Principal Al Shilling wants you to make the right decision to set you child up for success.

That starts by knowing what your student is in for, because virtual school is different.

“The traditional classroom teacher is ‘I teach, you learn.’ The virtual environment is more the student learning and then reaching out for those gaps they need,” Shilling said.

He recommends you make an honest assessment of your child’s skills before choosing the virtual school. Students must be motivated self-starters, ready to tackle 12 to 18 assignments a week.

“It’s full-time school,” Shilling said, and as a general rule, the younger the student, the more parental involvement they’re going to need.

“In situations where there isn’t a parent or responsible adult, where there’s a K-3 student, Lee Home Connect is a better solution.”

Lee Home Connect is different from virtual school in that it allows the student to follow along with teachers from their school and return to class when parents think it’s safe.

But there are a lot of benefits to Lee Virtual, Shilling said.

“Students have access 24 hours a day, it’s portable.”

On top of that, their school is good, Schilling said, and their curriculum hasn’t really had to change.

“The world changed five months ago,” he said. “We’re still doing school, and we were still teaching the same thing long before anyone knew of coronavirus.”

Shilling said that if your child has special needs, Lee Connect is a better choice for education.

Lee County parents have until July 26 to decide whether to send kids back to school or choose a virtual option.

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