“Our son, Elijah (Eli), was homeschooled since kindergarten. I primarily facilitated Eli's education with his dad, Jerry, filling in the gaps when I returned to seasonal employment every winter. When Jerry made a change in his employment and was no longer available to facilitate school during the winter, we knew we needed a change for Eli's education.
Eli is a bright kid who has a voracious interest in history. Because he was quickly approaching high school, we wanted him to be appropriately supervised, stimulated, and challenged. Enrolling Eli in public high school was not an option for us, so we looked (again) into virtual schools.
We were cautious about this option, because we had tried other virtual schools in the past. Unfortunately, the previous virtual schools we tried were expensive and lacking in dedicated teachers and technical support. Staff members were located in another state, so there was no possibility of in-person face time. Often, Eli's school work would come to a complete standstill because of the school's lack of appropriate staffing. Tech support might take up to two days to repair glitches. Eli became very frustrated when he needed some one-on-one tutoring to 'get' a concept, but he would have to wait for a teacher to be free enough to call him back. That might be a few days, and sometimes he didn't get a return call or an email from anyone at all.
During our time of sampling other virtual schools, we did encounter one math teacher who did an excellent job of engaging Eli in the way that he needed to achieve success. She would telephone or Skype with him on a regular basis when he needed instruction (and even when he didn't 'need' instruction). We recognized that this was how virtual school could really work.
When we learned of the new possibility of a Connections Academy virtual school as a legal educational option in Iowa, we investigated it. Everything we had tried as homeschoolers was an experiment, so we were open to all ideas. What is the worst that could happen? If the new virtual school option in Iowa did not work out, for whatever reason, we would return to homeschooling.
We took the risk, and Connections Academy guided us through the Iowa Open Enrollment paperwork that was due by March 30. We waited, hoped, and continued formulating our 'Plan B' just in case. At the end of June, we got the letter indicating that our request for Open Enrollment to the CAM School District was accepted. Eli would be a ninth grader at Iowa Connections Academy in the fall.