Which Online Learning Option is Right for You?
Have you ever stood inside of an ice cream shop looking at many great flavors and found it hard to choose just the right flavor for you? Chocolate, strawberry, and cookies & cream are all great options, but which to choose? For parents trying to decide which online school is best for their child, the wide range of virtual school options can feel overwhelming!
We’re here to help you decide what’s best for your family by reviewing similarities and differences of online schools as you consider your options for the upcoming school year.
Part-time vs. Full-time Online School Options
Florida Virtual School (FLVS) offers flexible and supportive learning with an engaging online curriculum used by families and school districts across the state, the nation, and around the world.
If you’re looking for an online school option that allows your child to learn from home, you can choose to enroll with FLVS Flex as part of your homeschool curriculum or as a supplement to traditional school — or FLVS Full Time for a full-time online learning experience. In Florida, both options are tuition-free and open to all Florida students in grades K-12.
We also work with school districts across Florida to offer our award-winning curriculum through the local County Virtual Schools. Every school district in the state has a County Virtual School which is locally managed and operated.
Students outside the state of Florida can take online courses through our national tuition-based online school with state certified teachers and engaging online courses.
Virtual School Similarities
Whether your child is enrolled with FLVS Flex or FLVS Full Time, Global School, or your local County Virtual School, all students will be taking classes online using robust curriculum developed by Florida Virtual School. All online classes are taught by state certified teachers, who follow the FLVS instructional model that’s been a national standard for online learning for 25 years.
FLVS online teachers provide a myriad of resources including live and recorded lessons, guided notes, video tutorials, and more. You can feel confident that your child is staying on track and mastering grade-level material when taking FLVS courses. No matter which online school option you choose, your child’s teacher will work with you to help meet his or her learning goals. FLVS teachers frequently communicate with each student and provide personalized instruction with 1:1 attention.
FLVS students consistently outperform state averages on standardized tests like Advanced Placement and end-of-course exams!
Virtual School Differences
FLVS Full Time is a Florida public school on a traditional 180-day calendar.
When you apply for Florida Virtual School Full Time, your child will be enrolled as a public school student attending FLVS Full Time. FLVS Full Time is like any other public school. We’re considered the student’s “official” school of record, but that school just happens to be from the comfort of your own home! Since we’re the school of record for your child, you’ll need to submit an online application that includes all your child’s academic records and relevant details.
FLVS Full Time follows the traditional school year calendar, starting in the fall and ending in May.
As the official school of record, FLVS Full Time issues all report cards or transcripts – and a diploma when students graduate from high school. FLVS Full Time students take six courses each semester. Teachers are available from 8:30 AM-4:30 PM and most students follow a traditional school day, although there is still plenty of flexibility. Teachers and students connect by phone, text, and email. FLVS Full Time, as a public school, also requires state standardized tests.
FLVS Full Time offers a bit more structure and extra opportunities to get involved when it comes to school activities and events. Elementary and middle school students can participate in morning announcements and high school students have weekly updates and a student-produced school news show. FLVS Full Time offers monthly meetups by county, field trips, and senior class activities – including Grad Bash and a graduation ceremony for our seniors, typically held in Central Florida.
The FLVS Full Time mascots help us build a school culture that encourages students to feel connected to our online community. All the mascots have their own unique identity and personality, they also look like a family—which is what we always aim to be: a FLVS family!
- Byte the Shark — the Full Time Elementary School mascot
- Qwerty the Owl — the Full Time Middle School mascot
- Phoenix the Firebird — the Full Time High School mascot
FLVS Flex offers individual courses on a flexible schedule.
FLVS Flex is our part-time “a-la-carte” option that allows families to choose individual courses from our Florida Virtual School course catalog for grades K-12. To take FLVS Flex courses, students must be enrolled in a public school, affiliated private school, or be registered with their county home education office as a homeschool student.
Students using FLVS Flex for their entire course load, not just part-time, generally register as homeschool students in the county in which they live. FLVS Flex courses are available year-round, so students can choose how many courses they take and when to take them. Homeschool students can take up to six courses at any one time. Students who are taking online courses while attending a traditional school can take up to three courses in addition to taking classes with their traditional school.
Many FLVS Flex students benefit by taking 1-3 courses at one time to supplement traditional classes in order to complete all their needed credits for the school year. Teachers are available 8 AM-8 PM Monday through Friday to support students. While FLVS Flex provides online curriculum and instruction, it is not a school of record and does not issue diplomas.
Homeschool students who graduate from high school using FLVS Flex courses are graduated by their parent/guardian, based on their local district’s graduation requirements for homeschool students. Public and private school students who take FLVS Flex courses graduate from their traditional school of record.
What about my local County Virtual School?
County Virtual Schools throughout the state of Florida use FLVS digital curriculum, including our courseware and systems. The local school district teachers follow FLVS instructional best practices, but school operations are handled by the local school district administration and teachers are employed by the local school district.
In many cases, County Virtual Schools are more structured and have more similarities to FLVS Full Time than FLVS Flex. County Virtual Schools often follow the traditional school calendar of August through May, although some operate year-round. County Virtual Schools may also have opportunities to meet teachers in-person at a local school office or campus and may have options to provide a laptop device. Teacher availability also varies by school district. While County Virtual Schools serve both full-time and part-time students, every district is different – so it’s important to reach out to your local school for details.
Check your local school district websites for more information specific to your county.
Ready to take the next step?
As you can see, there are many wonderful online school options to choose from in Florida. If you still need help with making a decision, please review our Frequently Asked Questions, or reach out to a member of the FLVS team at 800-374-1430.
If you’re seeking a supportive and flexible online learning environment, Florida Virtual School may be just the solution for you. Explore our options and enroll today!
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