By Kristin Frimond
Executive Director, Mission viejo
American Academy of Strategic Education
What is flexible schooling?
Flexible schooling allows a student to attend a learning academy for all, some, or part of the week at flexible times. Students learn remotely at home on days they are not the academy– an ideal compromise for some families, and becoming increasingly popular.
What is remote learning?
Remote learning occurs when the learner, instructor, or source of information are separated by time and/or distance and therefore cannot meet in a traditional classroom setting. This is especially useful during illness outbreaks such as Covid-19, extracurricular activities that conflict with traditional school days and times, parent(s) work schedules, and travel.
Why would someone want to choose flexible schooling?
Academic excellence, physical safety, and the desire to pass on the family’s governing values to the children are perhaps the most common reasons parents choose a flexible schooling approach. Flexible schooling maintains the enthusiasm for learning that a child is born with and allows each child to receive individual attention, taking into consideration his/her own learning style and interests. There are probably as many reasons or combinations of reasons for flexible schooling as there are families. It is not the demographics that unites flexible schooling families, but their motivations.
- Flexibility. Students and families can complete their academic work on a schedule that works for them.
- Choice. Choose the program and philosophy that meet the needs of your family and child. Learning is not a one size fits all process.
- Customization. Each student’s curriculum is customized to fit their strengths, weaknesses, interests, and pace of learning.
Are Charter Schools considered public schools?
Yes, charter schools are public, free and open to all! Charter schools are accountable to state and federal public education laws and undergo extensive oversight by a local charter authorizer, which is often the local or county school board.
What are “educational funds” and where do they come from?
The majority of California’s educational funds come from income taxes and to a smaller extent property taxes and the lottery. When you enroll in a virtual charter school, you can choose to use those funds at approved vendors for academic programs such as American Academy of Strategic Education.
What is the difference between my charter school and American Academy?
Your child’s charter school is their school of record (SOR). A SOR is an institution that documents and awards credit for courses or programs and will ultimately give your child their high school diploma. If your child is enrolled in a virtual or independent study charter school program, you can elect to send them to American Academy to receive enrichment services like project- and discussion-based classes, student clubs, tutoring, and amazing educational experiences like field trips.
Is the enrollment process difficult?
Not at all! There are no intense entrance interviews or complicated paperwork.
How long does it take to enroll and what is required?
Enrollment for American Academy is simple. Just fill out a personal information and health form and sign our basic waivers. It takes about 10-15 minutes.
Enrollment for charter schools takes about 45 minutes and requires:
- Proof of California residency such as a mortgage, rent receipt, or utility bill
- Birth certificate or US passport
- Immunization record (if you participate in immunizations)
- American Academy or Strategic Education participation form
Enrollment in a charter school allows you to receive charter funds and will provide your student with a school of record.
SOCIAL & ACADEMIC PROGRESS
How will I know if my child is learning while flexible schooling?
American Academy believes that test scores are a small component of your child’s overall education. Flexible schoolers are well-rounded, critical thinkers that are fully equipped to handle…well, LIFE!
We utilize technology-integrated learning as well as project- and discussion-based learning. We provide performance assessments and evaluations based on the student’s understanding of the core-subject curriculum as well as the student’s physical work including writing samples, teacher observation, and projects.
The usefulness of standardized tests has been questioned by many educators and researchers. Because they are multiple-choice, they don’t measure the ability to think or create. Many critics call for replacing standardized testing with “performance assessments.”
How well are children socialize who flexible school?
Flexibly schooled students overcome the potential for “lack of socialization” through heavy involvement in learning academies such as American Academy of Strategic Education. Students participate in discussion-based classes that help develop student’s communication skills. They also join social and academic clubs such as Drawing Club, Music Club, Cooking Club, and more. Students also have opportunities to conduct and attend virtual and physical field trips. Most flexible students grow up extremely involved with other children. Flexible learners participate in more field trips, spend more time planning their own education, have unique opportunities to pursue their interests and to apply their talents and work with a wider age span of children and adults—all “real-world” opportunities. Read our ‘Are Homeschoolers Ready for the Real World?’ Blog post here.
Can my child still go to college if I flexible school them?
Of course! Almost every college or university has policies for flexible schooling admissions. If a flexible school student wants to pursue a college education, they can certainly do so within some of the finest universities.
Research suggests that those students who were taught in a flexible school environment who attend college, successfully integrate socially and excel academically.
How do flexible schoolers test compare to public school students?
Although California charter schools encourage but do not require students to participate in state testing, in states where testing is required of flexible school learners, they usually score in the 80th percentile or above.