Schooling in Pajamas

A cyber school comparison

It’s that time of the year when school is about to start. For some the choice has been made but for others the option is still open. Let me begin by saying I do not think one choice is better than the other. My oldest just graduated from public school and he was previously homeschooled. My middle child was homeschooled, went to public school and is currently in his third year of cyber school. My youngest started in cyber school but is in his second year of homeschooling. As you can see, I am not biased for one over the other. Just do what is best for your child and your situation. That may change over time but be open to options and you’ll be amazed how things can improve and surprise you.

I’m off my soapbox now so let’s talk cyber schools.

For my son’s ninth grade year, we switched to Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA). My youngest did kindergarten and first grade with GCA. We really enjoyed GCA up until the second half of second and ninth grade. It was easy to begin the enrollment process so no problem there. We enjoyed their curriculum which come from K12. My oldest was not challenged but that could be because he came from an early college problem so he had already covered most of the material during his eight grade year. Communication was great until the second half of the year and it went down hill fast. The math especially was chaotic and the lessons were just not cutting it. It was confusing and seemed to skip around a lot and the format totally changed. For my youngest, he enjoyed the online aspect but not much else. It became a game to him. My youngest is advanced in math and his reading. We found that to be an issue with GCA. For kindergarten, we were able to easily transition to first grade math and phonics. We had a great teacher. First grade was a bit more challenging. The teacher was great but had trouble getting admin to switch him to second grade math before Christmas. We ended up getting the new material for math but were only allowed to do two lessons a week. He was so bored with it. We decided not to continue cyber school but begin homeschooling him so we could move at his pace. A good decision so far.

My ninth grader did not want to go back to public school for a variety of reasons such as anxiety when in large crowds and that is all high school is here. Large classes and hallways that are to navigate due to so many bodies pressing each other in the hallway. Talk about a nightmare plus he was missing school due to some medical issues. So public school was ruled out. That left me researching the other cyber school in offered in Georgia and that is Georgia Connections Academy.

Let’s do a break down.

1. Uses K12 curriculum.
2. High number of students.
3. sends computers for those who qualify.
4. Numerous field trips.

1. Low number of honors class offerings
2. not always great in communication department

1. large number of honors and AP classes
2. great communication both by email and phone call
3. large number of books available as etext and linked within lessons themselves
4. website set-up is easy to use and very transparent
5. low number of students

1. no computers for any grade
2. few field trips (at least in my area)

We are sticking with GACA (Georgia Connections Academy) for eleventh grade. He is taking honors classes again and is excited to start. He loves the student set-up for lessons and he enjoys the live lessons. The teachers are funny and really make an effort to know each student in each class whether they attend every one or just as they need help. Communication with the homeroom teacher is awesome. We get emails and phone calls both student and teacher wise. I know exactly what is going on at all times.

Take this posts with a grain of salt. Not everyone is going to agree with me. Neither one of my kids has any IEPs or other situations to take into account so I can not give an opinion about either school in these areas.


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