Will Online Elementary Education Programs Make My Kids Happy?

Online schooling offers advantages and opportunities that the traditional classroom does not — flexible scheduling, one-on-one attention and the ability for students to enjoy a learning experience that is customized to their needs and strengths.

However, many parents wonder if their child will be happy attending an online school. Here are a few reasons that kids (and parents!) love online schooling.

Why do some elementary school students love online learning?

As any parent knows, the traditional classroom doesn’t always allow for active participation — especially for children that are more reserved. One of the primary reasons that students love the online learning experience is that it gives them the opportunity to engage with their teachers, their fellow classmates and the course material in the security of a safe and familiar environment.

“I am most proud of the elementary school children who have found their voice and participate wholeheartedly on the webcam and in our talent shows, expressing themselves,” says Miriam Rube, K12 International Academy’s head of school. K12 International Academy offers a private, online Lower School for children in grades K-5. “Particularly, those who had not done so in their previous environments.”

Online Schooling creates strong bonds between teachers and their students

While teachers in traditional schools must see to the needs of 20 or more students at one time, educators in online schools can provide far more one-on-one attention.

“We consider the best fit for each individual student,” Ms. Rube explains. “In our model, the family’s designated learning coach — usually a parent — and our school’s homeroom teacher work hand-in-hand to be sure the student fully engages with the material in a meaningful way. This relationship is paramount to the student’s success and progression.”

How do I find the “right way” to do online schooling? (Hint: there isn’t one)

While the traditional classroom experience works beautifully for some children, for many others, its limitations have a negative impact on an individual child’s quality of education and engagement. Unlike the rigidity that brick and mortar schools require, online schooling allows for students to customize and take control of their own learning experience.

“At the International Academy, there is no identified ‘right way’ for students to learn,” Ms. Rube says. “For this reason, many students choose our environment. Their learning is available to them 24 hours, seven days a week. The right way is no longer sitting in a desk at the front or back of the room every Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. until the bell rings at 3 p.m.”

What Kind of Support is There for Parents?

Students aren’t the only ones who love the online learning experience; parents also enjoy the unique opportunities it provides. As you’re learning how to make online learning work for your family and student, you have the benefit of having the support of both your child’s teachers and fellow learning coaches.

“Because there are no limits between teachers and parents, it can be really nice to know that, as a parent, you have someone there that you can talk about these issues with who is on the same page, and is also invested in the success of your student,” says Susan Hollingsworth, manager of family and student support at K12 International Academy.

You want your child to be happy and enjoy learning, and sometimes the road less traveled provides the most enjoyable and effective learning experience.

Want to learn more about how online schooling works?

K12 International Academy offers online learning opportunities for students in grades K-12. If you are specifically interested in the Lower School, here are a few resources to check out:


A U.S. High School Degree Is The First Step Towards Becoming A Global Citizen


A U.S. high school diploma opens the doors towards pursuing degrees from a U.S. college or university as well as offering preparation for careers all around the globe, opportunities to travel and chances to network and intern with business and industry leaders from all over the world.

A U.S. high school diploma checks the boxes that many post-secondary institutions and employers expect from candidates, and simplifies the process of taking these exciting steps.

If your son or daughter is planning on pursuing a degree from a U.S. college or university, here are a few things you’ll want to consider.

Why a U.S. high school diploma is important for international students

  1. Students need a high school diploma to attend a U.S. college or university.

To best understand how to get your child ready for admission to a U.S. college or university, it’s important to know a little bit about how the system works.
For example:

  • American students log 12 years of study before earning a high school diploma.
  • American students start school at the age of five. They attend primary (elementary) school for five years, then go to middle school (also known as junior high school) for two to three years, and then spend four years in high school.
  • A diploma is awarded after successfully completing high school. Students are usually 17 or 18 years old when they complete high school.
  1. The schools in your city may or may not meet the educational or admissions requirements of U.S. colleges or universities.

American colleges and universities not only judge the grades your child receives in secondary school but the quality of that educational experience. These institutions will also expect a competitive student to have taken certain, specific type of courses before beginning the college experience.

To increase your child’s chances for getting accepted at the U.S. college or university of his or her choice, StudyUSA offers the following tips:

  • Make sure that the official transcripts of your child’s academic work are available. You’ll be required to submit these documents with these college application.
  • Understand the U.S. grading system. For example, two students with a 4.0 GPA — considered excellent in American schools! — may be evaluated differently based on the academic difficulty of the school they attended, or the courses he or she takes.Anna Wulick of PrepScholar notes that students should plan, at a minimum, to take four years of English, three to four years of mathematics, three years of science and two to three years of history.At the same time, colleges and universities will want assurance that the academic rigor of the school your children attended prepared them for the challenges ahead.
  • Ascertain the U.S. equivalent of the last level of education that your child attended in your home country. Did your child complete the equivalent of four years of U.S. high school?
  • Be aware that admission requirements vary among colleges and universities and even among individual degree programs. Don’t assume that the requirements are the same from one college to another. Competition to get into post-secondary schools is red-hot, and the funnel narrows to a trickle for the top colleges and universities.Your child should plan to take on leadership roles at a young age: participation in sports and clubs, community volunteerism and business internships are great steps for your young student to take.
  • Encourage your child to meet regularly with his or her academic adviser. Make sure that he or she is staying on track to meet the admission requirements of his or her chosen college.
  1. International students make up a large percentage of U.S. college and university students…and that number is growing.According to Project Atlas, 974,926 international students attended U.S. colleges and universities during the 2014-2015 academic year. The majority of these students come from China (304,040 students), India (132,888 students), South Korea (63,710 students), Saudi Arabia (59,945 students) and Canada (27,240 students.)

Project Atlas also reported that more than 65 percent of these international students concentrated their studies in five areas:

  1. Business and management (20.2%)
  2. Engineering (20.2%)
  3. Math and computer science (11.6%)
  4. Social sciences (7.8%)
  5. Physical and life sciences (7.6%.)

While nearly every U.S. college and university has at least a few international students, some schools have a higher concentration than other. The five U.S. colleges and universities with the largest number of international students are New York University, the University of Southern California, Columbia University, Arizona State University and the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign campus).

  1. Follow the checklist for college-bound international students seeking a U.S. high school diploma.

In summary, international students seeking to enter a U.S. college or university should take the following steps:

  • Make sure that you meet the basic entrance requirements for a U.S. high school or college. These can generally be found in the school’s admissions material.
  • Take advantage of the school’s guidance counselor or college counseling service to help your child prepare for the sometimes-complicated college application process.
  • Encourage your child to sign up for advanced placement courses while still in high school to give him or her a head start on college coursework and earn college credits.
  • Suggest your child get to know American students and socialize with them prior to entering college.
  • Help your child Improve his or her English language skills.

Want a more competitive education – and a U.S. high school diploma?

If you want to ensure that your children receive the type of competitive education that prepares them to compete at U.S. colleges and universities as well as the American job market, consider an online private school.

Students from all over the world attend K12 International Academy online to earn a U.S. high school diploma before moving on to some of the top post-secondary educational institutions in the country.

For more information, visit K12 International Academy online today.


Staying In Touch With Online Teachers

How to Stay Connected with Your Online Student’s Teachers

One of the biggest benefits of online learning is the one-on-one attention and instruction that students receive from their teachers. Rather than fighting for the attention of the instructor with 20 or 30 other children, or — even worse — simply drifting into the background, online students are guaranteed ample facetime with their teachers.

They do have to make sure to grab those opportunities, because the online education model often requires the students to proactively approach their teachers with questions or concerns. Sometimes, kids need a little assist from mom or dad to do that kind of outreach — and, as we’ll see, mom and dad are expected to do some parent-teacher outreach of their own.

We recently spoke with Anna Peacock-McLaughlin, a middle school history teacher with K12 International Academy, and Susan Hollingsworth, K12 International Academy’s manager of family and student support, to discuss how parents of online students can stay involved with their child’s progress and connect with their teachers throughout the school year.

How Often Do Online Students Communicate with Their Teachers?

Online students are encouraged to communicate with their teacher on a regular basis, according to Ms. Peacock-McLaughlin.

“Students can reach out as much as they want,” she said. “I always want to make sure that I am absolutely meeting their needs. (But) if a student is falling behind on their work, I will reach out more often to help keep them on track. We won’t let you fall out of touch.”

The frequency that your child meets with their teacher will vary, noted Ms. Hollingsworth, depending on their grade level. She cited K12 International Academy as an example.

“In the lower schools, the teachers are homeroom teachers, they meet with students on a biweekly basis,” she explained. “In the upper level (6-12), the homeroom teacher goes away, and we now have subject specific teachers. The students talk with each of their subject teachers once a month.”

How often do parents of online students talk to teachers?

As the parent of an online student, you are also expected to be your child’s learning coach. You will need to connect with your child’s teachers regularly.

Ms. Peacock-McLaughlin told us that the frequency of the meetings changes at K12 International Academy, however, as your child moves up through the grades.

“For lower school, K12 International Academy does have set parent-teacher meetings that are recurring twice a month,” she said. “In middle school, parent meetings are sort of ad hoc, so if the parents request them, we’ll set it up. It’s up to the parents if they want to create a scheduled and recurring meeting.”

During these meetings, you will discuss your child’s progress and receive the support that you need to make sure online learning is a success.

“Each time I communicate with parents, we almost always talk about grades,” Ms. Peacock-McLaughlin said. “During these conversations, I also like to touch on learning styles, because no one knows a kid’s learning style better than their parents and Learning Coach.”

Maintaining open communication with your child’s teacher

Model best practices, parents! The most effective way to encourage your child to maintain a good relationship with her online teacher is to demonstrate how the importance of a strong relationship.

“At all levels, the learning coach needs to facilitate communication with the teacher, as well as model it,” Ms. Hollingsworth explained. “Not just encouraging their student’s contact with the teacher, but also leading the way with regular communication with teachers and the school.”

Resources for Parents

As a learning coach, you must be committed to ensuring that your student thrives in the online learning environment. Sometimes, fellow learning coaches provide the best support for each other, which is why K12 International Academy encourages parents to connect.

“We offer high school parents three sessions a month called The Parent Corner. They’re focused on how to support your child in an online environment,” Ms. Hollingsworth said. “We present one about time management, one on course selection and another on finishing a semester strong. These sessions are actually led by Learning Coaches. In the lower school, we have Coach to Coach sessions that happen once a month and are specific to issues that parents have voiced.”

By staying connected with your student’s teachers, you can ensure that your student’s experience with online learning is enjoyable and successful.


Want to learn more about the benefits of an online education at K12 International Academy? Request information today now.


How Online Students Celebrate Bike Month

DIY-Bike Desk for Online School Students, Teachers and Learning Coaches

By Anna Peacock-McLaughlin

First of all, it’s National Bike Month; and better yet, May 20th is the bike to work day. So, what do you do if your work (or school) is in your home? The answer is totally simple: make a stationary bike desk!

Just think of the hours you spend sitting when you could be riding on a stationary bike desk that you DIY! You can attend classes or meetings while on a bike. I’m writing this blogpost while peddling away! Go to any fitness club and you will see dozens of people riding and reading. Oh, and what about talking to your teachers on the phone or through video conference—again, that can totally happen on a bike!

Let’s face it, all sorts of daily tasks can easily be completed while gently biking into better health. Yes, I said, “gently.” We don’t have to win a competition or even sweat. We all simply need to move more and what a better time to start than today?

I truly hope you are now grinning from ear to ear because you are about to embark on a fun journey of in home health and fitness DIY to make your schooling experience even more awesome than it already is!

I created my desk in January–it was a bit of a New Year’s goal to move more. I love it! My favorite time of the day is my “ride to work” before my household wakes—during that time, I’m checking my email and grading assignments while calmly peddling to a healthier lifestyle in my home-based virtual classroom.

Here’s what you need to do to create your very own stationary bike desk.

1. Find a stationary bike. I bet there is one laying around your garage or a neighbors garage gathering dust! Many times you can even find “gently used” bikes at thrift stores like Goodwill or free ones by checking out sites like Craiglist. I picked mine up at a bigbox store that was going out of business for a mere $50.

2. Take a few measurements.

How big is your computer that you need to fit on the desk?

With the help of a friend, place a book at a comfy reading level. Using a protractor printout tool -mark the interior angle between the bottom of the book and the top of the stationary bike handle bars.

3. Head down to the hardware store and buy a few materials and tools for the DIY desk. (You can also gather old items in your garage like I did.)

a. Materials

i. Two Pine Shelf Brackets LOWES

ii. Ten Nails or screws LOWES

iii. One (small) Plywood sheet 1/2 inch thick cut to the size of your computer. They are sold in 2×2 foot sheets. LOWES Mine is made out of an old shelf from an Ikea bookshelf that broke. Lowe’s and Home Depot will both make two cuts in the small plywood sheet for you at the store–just tell them the size you want.

iv. 1×2 Firing Strip LOWES and ask them to cut it for you to the size of your computer.

b. Tools

i. A mini hacksaw LOWES.

ii. A hammer (or drill if using screws) LOWES

4. Now that you’ve gathered the materials and tools, let’s cut and assemble. First, using the shelf brackets, translate your desired angle measurement to the underside of the brackets. Then cut off the excess wood and your notch out a place for your desk to rest securely on your handle bars at the pre-measured angle. Next, attach your plywood desk top to the cut and notched brackets using at least 4 nails. Lastly, attach the 1×2 firing strip to the front of the desk creating a lip for so your computer can’t slide off.

5. Lastly, personalize your new desk with some artistic drawings or paint.

Here is an idea for how to construct a bike desk for a recumbent (reclining) bike.

And finally, if you’ve read this post—and you just want a more simple solution to a bike desk for your K12 International Academy schooling experience…then check out this $30 bike on Amazon that you can pop under your existing desk.

Please share your ideas for modifications to make your DIY stationary bike desk even more personal. Also, send in your pictures of you “riding to school!”

Can Blocking Be Your New Normal?

Can “Blocking” be your new normal?

By Jessica Sullivan

In an online school environment, independence and responsibility are two big factors that you need to have in order to be successful. But how do you learn how to be those two things if you’ve never had the opportunity (or necessity) to do so?

In each course, the school provides you with a 90 Day Calendar. This gives you the official run down of the course and what you should be completing daily (or weekly in some cases). Besides this calendar, there is typically nothing else provided for you and it is your responsibility to keep up with your calendar as well as look ahead to see what is coming up.

Why is this so hard? I’ll tell you why! Because many students have never had the opportunity or needed to have the opportunity to set their own schedule! If they are coming from a regular brick and mortar school, then schedules have always been set for them. If they have tricky every day schedules, it may be hard for them to sit down and work on every single class, every single day of the school week. Being responsible for your own schedule and completing all courses each day can be an overwhelming task for anyone…but do not fret, there may be a solution!

Blocking could just change your life! The essence of blocking is that you work on a few select courses each day, and then repeat, in order to hit every class and all assignments each week.

A history department instructor, Ms. Kristine Hawk, introduced the idea at a recent Staff Meeting, and I must say that it has taken off! She has used this concept in her classes with several students. Here’s what she had to say:

“What I believe [blocking] does is allow for student to learn organizational skills. They have to look at their calendars each week to set up. It also allows them to work on time management skills. They have two hours to complete the two days of assignments, if they finish early then can do Wednesday’s assignment or do a makeup assignment or, start working on a writing assignment that might be in the future (like Thursday).

It also allows students to focus on three subjects a day, which many students could use.

Those who are at partner schools and who only have two computer block times a day, can now focus on one particular class and complete the assignments to the best of their ability in the morning lab, then in the afternoon lab can focus again. And then after school (if they don’t complete it all during the two lab times). Many of my partner athletes are ahead because of this schedule. It allows them to go to a tournament and not have to worry.”

Responses to Blocking have been great!

“As this semester winds down for student, I just want to let you know that the block scheduling you set up for student completely saved us. Before you took the time to help student set this up, she was struggling terribly. Once you set up her individual plan, and she worked the plan, she was able to stay on track much better.”

“The block schedule that Mrs. Hawk showed me has helped my time management, and also my academics. I have had a few slip ups, where I just go back to a normal schedule, and do my work in traditional form, but I am getting used to catching myself and restarting. I have talked to a few other students about the schedule, and how it has helped me. Overall I have found the block schedule to be a great tool in my schooling, and hope that I will be able to continue using it for as long as I can.”

I’ve provided examples below of how YOU can use Blocking for yourself. Try it out – see if it works! It just might change your life!

Possible Schedule Option 1:


Monday-Math (2 hrs), Science (2 hrs), Language (2 hrs)

Monday and Tuesday’s work

Tuesday- History (2 hrs), English (2 hrs), Elective (2 hrs)

Monday and Tuesday’s work

Wednesday- Math (2 hrs), Science (2 hrs), Language (2 hrs)

Wednesday’s and Thursday’s work

Thursday- History (2 hrs), English (2 hrs), Elective (2 hrs)

Wednesday’s and Thursday’s work

Friday- Math (1 hr), Science (1 hr), Language (1 hr) History (1 hr), English (1 hr), Elective (1 hr)

Possible Schedule Option 2:

(This modified schedule can be made to suit those scenarios in which you have classes you need or want to do each day and some that you don’t.)

Modified Block Schedule

Monday-Math (1 hr), Language (1 hr)


Science (2 hrs), Elective (2 hrs)

Monday and Tuesday’s work

Tuesday- Math (1 hr), Language (1 hr)


History (2 hrs), English (2 hrs)

Monday and Tuesday’s work

Wednesday- Math (1 hr), Language (1 hr)


Science (2 hrs), Language (2 hrs)

Wednesday’s and Thursday’s work

Thursday- Math (1 hr), Language (1 hr)


History (2 hrs), English (2 hrs), Elective (2 hrs)

Wednesday’s and Thursday’s work

Friday- Math (1 hr), Language (1 hr), History (1 hr), English (1 hr), Elective (1 hr) Science (1 hr)

Planning Your Novel during National Novel Writing Month

Planning Your Novel for National Novel Writing Month
by Lucas Humphrey

Okay, so you’ve chosen a genre for your novel. Now what? How do you plan to effectively use your time? (We’re two weeks in so hopefully you have some ideas by now!) Here are some suggestions:

1. Commit yourself. Dedicate to spend a specific amount of hours working on your novel each day no matter what! Determine when you’ll have free time in your schedule, and what is realistic. Also, decide how long your novel will be—or at least have a general idea.

2. Develop your characters and backstory. What makes them interesting? How will you introduce their past and make them complex? Which characters will be static, and which ones will be dynamic? What major changes will these dynamic characters undergo in the story?

3. Establish your setting, and build your world around it. Will your story take place in a real setting? If so, what do you know about it, and how can you be sure you portray it accurately? How can you provide vivid imagery around your setting as well, and how can you make it believable and unique?

4. Have a solid idea of your plot and conflict. Write an outline or develop a detailed plot triangle. What will the rising action be? The climax? The falling action? Will there be a clear resolution to the story? Will there be a twist? How will it all fit together? How does the conflict build and resolve? These are all questions to consider at this stage of novel writing.

Best of luck with your novel.

We will check in on progress next week. Here’s to happy writing!

National Novel Writing Month Week 1

National Novel Writing Month: Week 1 – Choosing a Genre

By Lucas Humphrey

Welcome to NaNoWriMo! By the end of this month, your goal is to have a complete novel written and ready to share out to the world after a few finishing touches. Let’s get started!

The first step you’ll want to take is to choose a genre, or category in which you’d like to write. Will it be nonfiction, such as a memoir or personal narrative? Or will you choose fiction—and write a fantasy novel, mystery novel, children’s book, a scary story, etc.? It’s completely up to you.

You’ll want to write what you love. What genres do you enjoy reading? What ideas have been floating around in your head that you finally want to get out on paper? Given the fact that you only have a month to write this novel, you’ll want to choose a genre that hooks you and doesn’t let go.

You’ll also want to understand the style and characteristics of the genre you choose. Examine some common examples of other books within this genre. What do they all seem to have in common in terms of their archetypes, motifs, mood, tone and style? Take note of these—you can, of course, be nontraditional and break from these conventions, but you should be aware of them so that you have a template in which to work.

Lastly, make a commitment! This week, go ahead and set some time aside each day to write—whether it’s brainstorming, planning, or drafting. Get your ideas out on paper! Stick to it, and come back every day to add something to your novel.

Good luck! Now that you’ve chosen a genre, we’ll talk more about planning your novel next week.