Homeschooling Several Online Students at Once: A Success Story
Talk about a Super Mom. Imagine homeschooling four elementary students at once. This is exactly what Amber Dingman does. Her students are enrolled in Michigan Virtual Charter Academy (MVCA), a K12 online partner school.
Amber doesn’t just act as a Learning Coach (a parent or other responsible adult that oversees online students’ education) for her own kids, she has also taken on two other students whose parents were unable to step into the role. In addition, she takes are of two younger children not yet in school.
How does she do it? By putting together a daily schedule that keeps everyone on track. Because of the way the curriculum and school are set up, her third and fourth graders are able to be relatively independent, while the first and second graders require more one-on-one attention. Amber keeps track of her students’ assignments and areas where they may need extra help and schedules their days around everyone’s needs.
All of her students previously attended a brick-and-mortar school, and she was asked to homeschool two children other than her own. Not feeling comfortable with traditional homeschooling—where she is responsible for the curriculum and teaching—she looked for other options and found K12. Since then, she has seen these kids become much more engaged and excited about school. They all love history and even share what they’re learning with each other, which allows them to learn and grow even more.
Her son who has Asperger tendencies was struggling in his original school—having trouble with tests, writing, and behavior. In MVCA, he has been able to advance quickly in the subjects that are easier for him, while also being able to get the extra help he needs for other courses. Amber says his teachers have been especially helpful, giving him the one-on-one time he needs to master concepts.
While her students are greatly benefiting from MVCA, she says that it’s not necessarily a fit for all families. She says that the curriculum is rigorous and describes being a Learning Coach as a job. But she also says that it really helps to have the support of teachers, who are always there to help her out. She also feels comfortable with the curriculum and the fact that she doesn’t have to be concerned that she’s not covering everything she should.
Lauren Martin is a Writer for Learning Liftoff. Previously, she has written for nonprofits as well as marketing agencies. She's covered environmental issues, women's rights, world poverty, and animal rights. With a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Ithaca College, Lauren enjoys interviewing families about their experiences with online education.