As an early childhood and elementary education teacher, Tara is knowledgeable about a variety of classroom settings. She appreciates Oklahoma Connections Academy’s curriculum and the flexibility of a virtual school environment. As a dedicated Learning Coach she loves that she has the ability to witness and participate in her children’s education. She tells her story below.
'My name is Tara Vandeberghe. I am a wife and mother of two boys; Dawson and Hayden. I graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in education and specialize in the areas of early childhood and elementary education. I have been homeschooling Dawson for almost five years and Hayden for almost three years. I first learned about Oklahoma Connections Academy while searching for worksheets on the Internet. I came across an ad for an online school. When I clicked on the link, it sent me to the OKCA website. I was surprised to learn that Oklahoma had an online school.
My husband, Matt, and I agreed to try this new type of learning environment. We have been very impressed. The staff at Connections Academy was very helpful and answered all of my questions over the phone. I was really excited about the opportunities that this school could provide for our children. The boys are able to work at their own paces. They have options like foreign languages and clubs they can join.
The teachers have really impressed us because they invest time each week to send WebMail messages and/or call the boys to talk with them and with us to find out how they are doing. They are also present at the field trips. The students participate in LiveLesson® sessions once per week, where the teachers and students come together in an online classroom. They are taught lessons and are able to talk with each other. We are able to track their progress via the online grade book that is constantly updated. We are excited about the difference that Oklahoma Connections Academy has made in the education of our children.
OKCA offers the best curriculum to use and a knowledgeable staff. Their lessons provide access to Discovery® Channel streaming movies and BrainPOP® movies, tutorials to further explain what they are learning, and manipulatives for hands-on learning. The school also takes field trips to aid in the social aspects of school. The field trips are a great way to keep the boys excited about learning and to keep them in contact with their peers and teachers.'
I feel that Oklahoma Connections Academy gives my children a great opportunity to work from home, while providing stimulating, state-approved learning material to keep my boys working on or above their grade level. I believe that online schools can definitely be successful as long as everyone works together for the children. Online schools do not take the place of the role of the parent in the learning equation. However, it provides tools to help both parents and students be successful together in a home environment.