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by Amber Bowie July 14, 2023
Why I Pulled My Kids from Public School to Start Cyber School
Technically, my girls have never attended a traditional brick and mortar school. Pre-school was very different from my oldest. We intentionally sought out a school that promoted exploration and creativity. We loved her pre-k experience so much, we decided to try our hands at homeschooling. I loved that pre-school allowed her to learn through play and discovery. Her preschool building including a garden, where the students planted many fruits and vegetables like eggplants, tomatoes, and more! She really enjoyed gardening (and now, as elementary schooler, she loves planting) and art. Many students learn their ABCs and 123s through workbooks in the school system. Here in Philly, it's suggested to get your kids enrolled in a preschool curriculum at the age of 3. For us, our girls learned through play and crafts. My oldest learned to write her name with her easel and lots of paint! Every day she'd put on her smock and begin to sound out the letters in her name. Within a few weeks she was painting her name and more! I loved the support her teachers gave, allowing her to discover and problem solve on her own. That early foundation has influenced the way we teach now.
We decided to start cyber school with Reach Cyber Charter School after one full year of traditionally homeschooling. Our main reason for enrolling at Reach was the social aspect of the school. Reach is a fairly relaxed learning environment, comparable to homeschooling. While the school assigns teachers, counselors, and specialists - the live video classes are not required (although highly recommended) we can work on our own. As their learning coach, I like to preview the lessons for the week, scheduling visits to local museums to bring the lesson to 'life'. Art class for us is usually an afternoon spent at the Art Museum or Penn Museum. If your student needs additional support in reading or math, smaller zoom classes are available to assist your child.
But, as I said, the social aspect of Reach is what we love most. Interacting virtually is a way of life. Especially for the younger generations. Communicating online is expected, however we love attending (and hosting) local school field trips in our area! We've picked sweet potatoes and popping corn in the fall and even enjoyed a day at the Sesame Place amusement park to end the school year! Our girls have made so many amazing friends through Reach! I know many people question if homeschool/cyber school children will be 'socially awkward', that was a concern for many of our family members. But what was most important to us, was our children being allowed the time and space to be children. We feel by attending a cyber school, they are allowed to do that and excel!
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