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Branching Out: Learn All About Trees!

By: Dan Reiner

family holding little tree in palm of handsAs we wrap up the school year, the amazing team at our Pennsylvania cyber school Commonwealth Connections Academy has planned another fantastic field trip—and it’s open to the public! The school’s Mobile Classroom will be planted at the Galeton Public Library on Saturday, May 26, from noon to 2:00 p.m. for “TREES, TREES, TREES!” an exciting science and environmental program for kids.

Rangers from the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will be teaching us about the life cycle of trees, and the important role trees play in ecology and economy. Students will also receive a free sapling to plant at home! Families in Pennsylvania that wish to attend can register for the event online or check the cyber school’s Mobile Classroom schedule for upcoming events across the state of Pennsylvania.

If you live in another area of the country, why not host your own special tree party? Select a well-wooded area, maybe a state park, and invite a few other families to join you. (Be sure to pack bug spray and plenty of bottled water!) Plan a hike that’s not too difficult for the youngest members of your group, and equip kids with bags for collecting various types of leaves along the way. To avoid poison ivy, parents may want to supervise closely.

After your hike, head home for a picnic lunch, then use the leaves (and websites or library books) to help kids identify what kind of trees grow in your area. To ...

Is Using an Online School at Home Right for Me?

By: Carrie Jean Ross

It's not unusual to see a question like this pop up on the Connections Academy Facebook page. People everywhere are becoming more familiar with online homeschool and virtual public school options as alternatives to the traditional school setting.  According to a recent segment about homeschooling on the TodayShow.com website, virtual schools have become the fastest-growing trend in public and private education.  Virtual school enrollment growing fast according to iNACOL.orgMore and more parents are taking notice that full-time virtual public schools like Connections Academy can fulfill their various educational needs from the comfort of home.  Many of these same parents that are interested in learning more about online learning also want to get more information before they finish enrolling their child into an online school program.

If you are considering enrolling in either a public or private virtual school,  be sure to watch the recent TodayShow.com video feature highlighting the Cooper family of Commonwealth Connections Academy in Pennsylvania.  If you scroll down to read the accompanying article about Lyndsey Fry, a 2010 Arizona Connections Academy graduate who received a full Harvard scholarship, you’ll find some excellent insights that could really shed some light on your decision-making process regarding selecting an online school.

So, how can a parent looking into a virtual school program decide if it's going to be a good fit for the family?  Ask questions, lots and lots of questions!   If you aren't sure what questions to ask, the International Association of K-12 Online Learning has a wonderful downloadable guide, "A Parent's Guide to ...

A Cornucopia of Clubs

By: Michael Coone

I'm a 3rd year Master Teacher at Commonwealth Connections Academy in Pennsylvania, currently teaching Gifted Literature. I have a passion for merging technology with education and love to introduce the students and teachers to new and fun ways to learn.

Do your kids love trying new things? When I was in school, there were not as many opportunities to try new things, specifically through various clubs, as some virtual schools like Connections Academy offer today. These days I am in awe each time I hear about the new unique activities available to our students. At Connections Academy, not only do we tailor lesson plans to individual student needs and strengths, we also offer a wide variety of clubs to appeal to many different student interests, as I have listed for you below.

Hands-on Students
Contrary to what some people think, cyber school students actually do participate in hands-on activities together with other students. Would you believe we have a Drumming Club? And a Recorder Club? Yes, we have both! We even have a Robotics Club where students learn hands-on engineering skills through in-person meetings and tournaments. We’re lucky to have teachers here who love to think outside of the box!

Virtual School Students at Science FairThe Future Scientist
Scientists are all about exploration and discovery. It’s easy to explore the universe by joining our Astronomy Club. Going from the stars to the home, there’s even a club called Science in the Kitchen. For the next Marie Curie, we have a Traveling Science Lab...