Virtual Flexischooling

Our Virtual Flexischooling

Sharon Currie

Sharon shares her experience of educating her son Greg. Faced with a range of challenges that make the traditional school environment impossibility, Greg appears to be thriving on virtual flexischooling.

 When we took our son out of school six years ago, we had a child who not was not only depressive but also school phobic. Until the present, he hadn’t got a good memory of school. His capabilities were such that he was tested for giftedness, but his Asperger’s syndrome worked against him. In the recent years, we realised it was not just Asperger challenges our child had to deal with, but also Sensory Integration Disorder. We also discovered that he suffers from tree and grass pollen allergies being partially responsible for his topsy, turvy sensory intergration system. Knowing what we know now, we could see how school was a very scary and confusing place and could not possible work for him.  When we removed him from school and started homeschooling, we found all his learning difficulties disappeared. What was left behind was a highly intelligent child with a very distinct learning pattern.

 Greg is a kinesthetic learner. He needs to be moving when he is doing anything. He cannot handle sitting still and doing worksheets but he can solve maths problems super quick when bouncing on a gym ball. He responds best to computer screen learning. In fact, all his learning was done via the computer, bouncing on a gym ball.

 When he is learning, there cannot be any other distraction as he struggles with listening if there are other people talking in the same room. Instructions have to be given verbally and then reinforced with text (just like watching television with subtitles on). We suspect Greg has auditory and visual processing issues. Hence, over the years, we have supported Greg’s learning through online educational programs and private tutors.

 It has always been Greg’s ambition to go to college. This year saw him starting first year of high school. It will be impossible for Greg to survive a physical bricks and mortar school… the sensory overload would totally overwhelm his senses. The loud noises, the crowds; scratchy uniforms, smells, lights and the multitude of distractions in classrooms would all work against him. Flexischooling seems to be the only option to us. We chose virtual schooling and decided on InterHigh Virtual Highschool

 So far, Greg is enjoying himself. Lessons are from 9.30 – 11.45, with a 15 minutes break in between, Monday to Friday. Homework is issued daily. Every morning, after breakfast, he logs into his classroom from the comfort of our living room. There is no audible sound from his classmates only his teacher. This clarity allows him to listen and understand everything being taught easily. If he has any problems, he can privately text the teacher his questions. When he gets stressed, he can move about the living room, without having to leave his classroom. It is important for Greg to keep moving, as this will help his brain understand of what is being taught. 

 Greg is also doing ICT classes with FunTech, a local ICT academy in Maidenhead. This is where he will be sitting his ICT GCSE exam too.  At the moment he is attending classes physically but there is arrangement being made for him to do his ICT lesson virtually in January 2013. Once this happens, Greg will be able to do his lessons virtually anywhere… even when we are travelling.

 We felt flexischooling is the way forward for our child. It allows him to continue to learn without unnecessary stress. It also allows us the freedom to travel. We feel travelling is an important part of his education. The flexibility also allows Greg plenty of opportunity to pursue his own interests such as music lessons in guitar, drums and piano; swimming; museums visits; meeting friends. 

Technology is amazing and has made it possible for my child to learn outside school. When we travel, he logs into his virtual classroom on the internet, on his laptop, via our iPhone hotspot function. Learning has no boundaries now for my kid. School doesn’t have to be a bricks and mortar building anymore.

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