Homeschool Student Finds Her Passion with Agriculture Courses
Six years ago, Lily W.’s dad traveled extensively for work, prompting her family to explore homeschooling. They wanted to seize the chance to travel and explore Florida and other states. However, they realized that traditional brick-and-mortar schools wouldn’t accommodate their needs. So, they opted to homeschool Lily and turned to Florida Virtual School (FLVS) for help. Little did they know, homeschooling with FLVS would open doors for Lily to explore her passions and achieve her aspirations.
Nurturing Connections on the Road
The combination of traveling and homeschooling throughout Florida not only offered their family opportunities to see new places but also brought them closer.
“Lily was more engaged with her homeschool online courses through FLVS and would frequently discuss her learnings during family dinners and gatherings,” said Katie, Lily’s mom. “We would take what she was learning online and find ways to apply it during our travels. FLVS really helped us grow closer as a family.”
Seeds of Success
Lily’s upbringing was deeply connected with nature because she had a large backyard where outdoor play was integral. She was always intrigued by the plants and trees, a passion sparked by her father’s interest in plants. Central Florida’s diverse ecosystem, filled with hundreds of native plants, trees, and shrubs, further fueled her interest. Throughout her childhood, Lily honed the skills to nurture numerous plants, transforming their home into a thriving haven of houseplants. Imagine her excitement when she discovered that FLVS offered agriculture classes! And the best part for Lily? She was given the opportunity to take industry certifications.
Green Thumbs and Bright Futures
As an 11th grader, Lily has almost finished the Agriculture Communications program of study and passed the Agricultural Associate and Agriculture Communications Specialist certifications. Both will enhance her resume as she looks to her future and a possible career.
The flexibility of being an FLVS homeschool student allows Lily to volunteer eight hours a week in the mornings at a local garden and nursery. Through her volunteering she can explore her passions and experience hands-on opportunities in a field she hopes to join one day, all while earning volunteer hours for her Bright Futures scholarship.
“I enjoy the gardens and working with my hands to make something beautiful with plants,” says Lily. “Plus, I’m gaining real-world experiences and making connections that can help me in the future. If I were in a traditional school, I wouldn’t be able to volunteer so early in the morning and would miss out on some incredible experiences. I love interacting with employees and customers and feel confident in the knowledge I share.”
She’s also looking forward to another benefit FLVS offers and will start dual enrollment with Valencia College next semester. According to the U.S. Department of Education, college credit earned prior to high school graduation reduces the average time-to-degree and increases the likelihood of graduation for the students who participate in these programs. There is also evidence that dual enrollment increases academic performance and educational attainment.
“This will bring me closer to earning my degree in plant science or landscape architecture,” she says. “Because of the connections I’ve made with my FLVS teachers and the ability to reach out to them whenever I have questions, I feel very prepared to be in a college setting with professors who expect a certain level of communication with their students.”
But the best part of homeschooling with FLVS for Lily? The clubs! She was thrilled to join the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Club.
From Roots to Recognition
Lily joined the FLVS FFA Club during its inaugural year and was excited to be among students with similar interests. Additionally, the FLVS FFA chapter made it to the state competition in their first year for the nursery and landscape division! This was a significant achievement for the FLVS FFA students, given the tens of thousands of students in FFA across Florida. The FLVS chapter has high expectations for future competitions, thanks to the virtual nature of the preliminaries, something FLVS students are quite accustomed to and excel at. Through video meetings, the FFA members study the general knowledge and identification questions to prepare for competitions.
As FFA treasurer this year, Lily and her team made it to state in the vegetable division, where they were tested on their knowledge of vegetable production and management. While the competition was fierce, Lily and her fellow FFA members are looking forward to making it to state during the spring competitions.
Seeds of Wisdom
Lily credits her homeschool experience with FLVS for exposing her to a variety of courses, especially agriculture courses. She looks forward to finishing her program of study with additional certifications. Her advice to fellow FLVS students?
“Take a variety of courses to see what interests you and maybe what doesn’t, then you can really figure out what you like before college,” she says.
And don’t forget about the huge advantage of one’s ability to talk to their teacher whenever needed. Lily says, “FLVS teachers are always there to talk to you, so don’t be nervous to call them if you have questions.”
Interested in homeschooling with FLVS? Families can enroll through FLVS Flex. For more information or to learn how to enroll, visit our FLVS Flex page.