Carrie Vonderheide is a parent and Learning Coach to two students at Indiana Connections Academy (INCA). Her oldest child is an INCA graduate. Carrie has seen firsthand how an online learning environment can not only increase student success, but also improve a parent’s involvement in his or her child’s learning. She shares why her family chose INCA below.
“My family became interested in INCA when my oldest son was struggling with anxiety and depression while dealing with bullying at our local bricks-and-mortar school. He needed a safe learning environment, and INCA was the perfect solution. My younger two students switched to INCA after seeing how much their brother enjoyed it. Online learning provides my kids with a safer and more relaxed learning environment—there’s less peer pressure and it helps them to build time management skills.
My students appreciate the flexibility that INCA provides. Being able to work around family events, doctor’s appointments, and work or volunteer schedules is a huge help. My oldest son, who graduated from INCA, enjoys building computers and graphic designing. He also held two jobs during his junior and senior years at INCA. He did a few lessons each morning, went to work, and then finished his lessons in the late evening. Sometimes he even completed extra homework on the weekends to catch up or get a little ahead.
My daughter plays guitar, volunteers at the hospital and nursing home, babysits, and is a Girl Scout working towards her gold award. She usually breaks her lessons up throughout the day and engages in enjoyable activities in-between. My youngest son likes to play x-box, swim, hike, and camp. He’s also a Boy Scout. He usually gets started mid-morning so that he can finish his lessons all at once and c move on to other things.
I enjoy helping my kids work through their homework and study for tests. In their previous traditional school, I only got to hear my kids’ explanations of how their school days went and had very little contact from their teachers. At INCA, I get to witness their learning myself, participate much more often, and I feel encouraged to communicate with the teachers as much as needed.
My students stay connected with their friends through social media, texting, and WebMail. They go to friends’ houses or meet for activities such as bowling, swimming, hiking, skating, and going to movies. INCA field trips are always fun and great ways to meet other students. They’ve each made several friends through INCA and kept many of their friends from their former school.
My children have different interests. The oldest is pursuing a computer technology degree at Indiana University Southeast, and is also interested in criminal justice. My daughter plans to be a cosmetologist and own her own salon—she would like to attend beauty school during her last years at INCA. The youngest has dreams of being a paleontologist. INCA provides challenging classes that require them to work hard, study consistently, and be accountable. Those skills will be beneficial through all of their college and working years.
INCA gave my family a new start with school. It gave my son the courage to overcome challenges, work hard, and show his abilities in school work. It gave my daughter the chance to study and learn without the pressure of fitting in, and her grades are much better as a result. It gave my youngest son the chance to work at his own pace and find challenging activities or books when needed.”
At INCA, I get to witness their learning myself, participate much more often, and I feel encouraged to communicate with the teachers as much as needed.