Virtual School

As I pursue my Master's Degree in Education, I am becoming increasingly disenchanted with our Nation's public schools. There is a mandate for excellence, but no money to fund it. What we are creating in our public schools is an educational culture obsessed with testing and test grades. Schools don't really support teachers who want to teach a subject matter they are passionate about and they won't allow kids to pursue academic interests beyond a narrowly defined curriculum. It is not a promising prospect for would be teachers or their students.

A new spin on an old trend is the virtual school. It is in effect a modern version of home schooling. When people think of home schooling, they picture a parent at home with their kids performing the same functions as a traditional teacher. This is true to an extent, but it is changing. A parent must still take on a lot of the responsibilities of home schooling, but virtual schooling is changing that.

Virtual schools fill the academic gap for parents who may not have the knowledge to teach a subject to their child. A curriculum is provided to the parent online with an actual real live instructor available for support. All the traditional structures for a curriculum in a subject matter are available to the parent and student. So if a parent is a whiz at math, they can teach math any way they see fit; but if they need help teaching American History, the help is there with a virtual school.

Religious education has always been at the forefront of home schooling. Many home schooled children have a significant religious component in their education. It should come as no surprise that virtual schools like St. Gabriel Catholic Academy have a religious origin. They recognize the trend and they are using new technology to bring a traditionally excellent educational institution, the Catholic School, into the virtual world. (I wonder if they have virtual nuns?)

While home schooling is certainly a big challenge for parents who choose to pursue it, virtual schools like St. Gabriel Catholic Academy will certainly make it a little easier and present unfamiliar coursework in a more relevant and organized fashion. Who knows, maybe the hotdogman will ad "virtual teacher" to his resume someday....

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