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Individualized Learning Can Come First in Public School

When it comes to her boys’ schooling, Anita can point to many aspects of their online public school in Washington, D.C. that make sense. For one, individualized learning comes first.

Though technically a 7th grader, 13-year-old Lovell is working ahead – two years in math; three years in science.  Zachary, 9, is a year ahead in most subjects.  As Lovell, a budding computer scientist, says, “I don’t have to wait for others to advance. It’s just the right speed for me.”

Anita credits the K12 curriculum and the way subjects are closely “linked together” with helping her boys “become the kind of thinkers they need to be to solve problems.”  Students are encouraged to “put all the pieces together” which enables critical thinking.  She also appreciates that there isn’t conventional grading in their K-8 program* so what’s important is, “Understanding … not just, ‘did I get an A?’ … It’s “customized for my kids.”

Like many K12 parents, she appreciates the comprehensive way her public, tuition-free online school is put together.  Since Anita was a traditional homeschooler first, she knows what it’s like to try to do it oneself.  The “rigorous curriculum,” well-organized online school system, and instruction from certified teachers “freed me up” so Anita can support her kids, rather than trying to do it all.

There is some flexibility in the K-8 daily plan so that the order of subjects may be moved around, and the amount of time spent on lessons can be adjusted, based on student needs. Of course, if there are scheduled, live sessions, then students are expected to attend.  But, as Zachary puts it, “You can go as far ahead as you want…and your mom can change the schedule.”

As for whether this kind of schooling is too isolating, Anita and the boys say it’s “no problem.” Their school sponsors all kinds of local outings, and they’ve made lots of friends in the neighborhood and through favorite activities like skating and Tae Kwon Do.

Anita emphasizes that this method of education “does take commitment … but it’s not out of the reach of the average parent.”  K12 has “everything you need to help your child academically,” and, in the end, “Like every parent, we want to help our children achieve their dreams, and K12 is helping to do that.”

*Some schools in the K12 network utilize letter grades in K – 8.

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Michael Solow

Michael Solow has worked as a teacher, journalist, and commercial writer/creative director. Michael has also taught high school English and junior high math, gaining his teaching certification from Vassar College and a master's degree in the teaching of writing and literature from George Mason University. His writing has been published in the New York Times, the San Francisco Review of Books,, and the Hemingway Review. He is the proud dad of two grown daughters and the happy husband of an elementary school librarian.

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