A Typical Virtual School Day

Many of you have read my virtual school post and may have wondered about what a typical day in a virtual school entails. Our day is far more relaxed than it would be in a regular classroom, and we are able to get started when we are ready to. This means our kids are much more awake and ready to learn.


When you do school from home, your kids can take breaks when they need to and they are able to move around more freely. There is no need to ask permission to go to the restroom, and they don't have to be nearly as quiet. All these things together create a much more relaxed atmosphere, and we've found that our kids thrive in it.


 

How do our days usually start?


Unless one of our kids has an early live class session, we let them sleep until 8:00 am. The earliest they've got live classes or tests is 8:30, and on these days we make sure they're up by 7:30. Usually, though, their live sessions don't start until 9:30 or later, so there is no need to rush a sleepy kid out of bed.


Once the kids wake up, they have breakfast, brush their teeth, get dressed, and get their beds made. By this time it's usually around 8:30 or 8:45, and it's time to get started. We turn on all the computers and they log into the Online School (or the OLS) and open their daily plans. This is where they are able to see all of their lessons and live sessions for the day. We take a look at that day's assignments and make a plan.


A screenshot of a k12 daily plan for virtual school.
A screenshot of one of our daily plans.

This is a screenshot of what their typical daily plans look like. There isn't much on them right now since school hasn't started yet, but you can see where the live sessions are listed. Where it says "Brain Boost Grade K" is where their lessons for each subject will be listed once classes officially open. Each one is a link, and by simply clicking the link it takes you to that day's lesson for that subject.


We try to start the day with a quick lesson to get the kids focused and ready to go. Often this means we begin with handwriting, which is currently part of the curriculum through third grade. Our kids have had manuscript handwriting through second grade and cursive handwriting in third grade. This lesson takes just ten minutes, so I am able to get them all started and ready to learn, all while finishing my coffee.


I try to let them decide the order in which they want to do their lessons so they feel that they have some control over their day. This isn't possible if I know they have a live class coming up and a particular lesson will take too long, but I give them this flexibility whenever it's possible. We move through our lessons and attend any required live classes until around 11:00 or 11:30, then we take a lunch break.


Our usual afternoons:


Unless one of the kids has a live session in the afternoon, I let them eat at their own pace and unwind for a little while before we sit back down to complete our lessons. The latest class sessions usually begin no later than 2:00 pm.


After lunch, we work on finishing up our assigned lessons for the day. We are usually able to wrap up the school day by 2:00 pm unless they have an afternoon live class. In these cases, the class usually only lasts for thirty minutes, and they are done by 2:30 or so. This is the same time or earlier that school days end in a conventional school, but we're already home so they can immediately unwind.


What about homework?


Since our kids do all their work from home, they don't have traditional homework or anything extra to be done outside school hours. Our older kids that are assigned novels or longer reading assignments will sometimes read in the evenings to get ahead, but this is by choice.


The only time I give them any extra work to do in the evenings is if they are struggling to understand something. For example, I may print out multiplication sheets to help them memorize their multiplication tables. They do not have to worry about spending all afternoon and evening doing homework and not having any free time. This was a problem we faced when they were in conventional schools. Even our kindergartener had close to two hours of homework every day, and we felt it was excessive.


After the students' day ends, the learning coach (LC) has a little left to do:


A screenshot of a k12 LC account home page.
A screenshot of my LC account home page.

At the end of the kids' day, I still have a few things left to do. I am their learning coach (or LC), which means I'm responsible for their day-to-day learning, planning ahead, and entering their attendance. Our school requires six hours of attendance each day. As I mentioned in my first article on virtual school, this does not mean they spend six hours each day at a computer. Attendance comes from many different activities.


A screenshot of a k12 attendance screen.
A screenshot a the attendance screen.

However, the attendance policy is strict and is subject to state truancy laws, so I am very careful to make sure I enter their hours each afternoon. I open my LC account through the OLS, and on the left-hand side, there is a menu option for attendance. Clicking on that opens up a new screen where I can input the information.


This screenshot is of one of our kid's attendance from a day at the end of last school year. You can see where you can adjust the time for each lesson. You can adjust it up to accommodate any time over the allotted time it took, but don't adjust it down, even if your child completed that lesson in less time. This is the time that would be allocated to that particular subject in a regular classroom. Adjusting it down may make it difficult for your student to reach their required attendance hours.


As LC it is also my responsibility to plan ahead for future lessons. I do this by checking the advance prep area to see what we'll need for upcoming lessons. I like to print out the advance prep for the entire week. Sometimes a lesson will need a germinated green bean seed or a special book that wasn't provided by k12. Usually, we need to know this ahead of time to obtain what we need.

The two images below are screenshots from one of our daily plans. The first is a screenshot of the bottom of their daily plan. Because school hasn't started yet, there is no advance prep, but it would have everything listed for the following day in this area. The second image is an example of where you have the option to view and print out the advance prep for the entire week.

Screenshot of the bottom of our daily plan.


Screenshot of where I can see the weekly advance prep.

With our younger students (kindergarten and first grade), I especially like to keep an eye on what we'll need for the next day's lessons. At this age the students take phonics. K12 supplies us with magnetic letter tiles and boards for learning to spell and form words. I store these tiles in a large zipper bag, and it takes time to fish out the needed letters for each day. If I pull them out the night before, we can immediately get started the next morning without delay.


The advance prep usually lessens as students get older, but it is still something that should be checked each day. It will save you a ton of stress when you realize that the reader's choice literature unit starts today and you don't have the book. Entering attendance and checking the advance prep usually takes me less than ten minutes, then our school day is officially done.


 

I have said it before and I stand by it- choosing virtual school is the best decision we ever made for our children's education. They are much more relaxed about school and they enjoy their school days. When they aren't understanding something, I am right there to catch it immediately, before it becomes a problem. We have more time to spend together as a family, and they can enjoy more time being kids.


In this time of COVID and uncertainty, I cannot recommend virtual school enough. Stay tuned for more posts detailing our virtual school journey.


Are you considering virtual school, or have you already enrolled? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.





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