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 2020-21 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 FLVS Global School with state certified teachers and engaging online courses.

View full-size comparison chart.

Virtual School Similarities

Whether your child is enrolled with FLVS Flex or FLVS Full Time, FLVS Global, 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 22 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 mascot, Megabytes, helps us build a school culture that encourages students to feel connected to our online community. Go Megabytes!

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, view an Information Session 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!

Infographics About Online Learning

Find additional resources on Pinterest!

View full-size and text version of infographics.


Anne FlennerAnne Flenner, School Counselor, has worked to meet the academic, social, personal, and professional needs of FLVS students since 2011. Previously a school counselor in Alachua County, she has received several awards and serves on multiple state counseling boards and committees. She has a Master's degree in Counselor Education from UF. Anne loves working with student athletes, supporting college and career readiness, and focusing on student mental health and wellness.



64 comments on “Which Online Learning Option is Right for You?

  1. Tarsha Miller

    I have 3 boys, twins who are 10 and a 12 -year-old. They currently attend public school in Hillsborough County. I am considering virtual school only for this school year, but not sure how it works. I am a teacher so my husband will be the one overseeing their schoolwork most of the day.

    Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Tarsha, FLVS Full Time is similar to a traditional school with more frequent classes but Flex is a bit more flexible! If you need more advice, we recommend reaching out to a guidance counselor at your school or FLVS!

      Reply
    2. Melanie Prater

      Hello how can my son take a foreign language now during the summer? We cannot reach a counselor for approval.

      Reply
      1. Nora

        Hi I had been asking for a Spanish class for my elementary daughter for almost a year now,, up to now she is still not assigned a teacher yet.her school principal approved the request, but the Flvs never give her a chance

        Reply
  2. Roxann Evans

    We want to enroll our Son in Virtual learning this year. He is in 5th grade has an IEP. We have worked closely with the school’s ESE Department. We are seriously considering the Flex program. We want to know all we can so we will be confident our Son will be in the right fit for him.

    Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Roxann, FLVS Flex has an amazing ESE team on staff that works with our student/families in regards to accommodations for our students. FLVS Flex is not a school of record so IEP’s/504’s are not updated or revised with Flex however, we can provide accommodations as needed. We encourage families to submit the student’s IEP/504 so we can have it on file to best support them.

      Reply
      1. Kat

        Is there a number for the ESE? Do they work with student with IEPS? It is important to me to find something to help us navigate our challenges as students who are struggling internally. I have been taking FLVS FLEX program for three years and It is difficult some days because I need extra help. I don’t always feel I am getting the right amount of help.

        Reply
  3. Jackie

    I have 2 sons in middle school one going into 8th and the other starting in 7th grade and he gkt into the stem and inno8 classes how would this work for that? I dont want to take hin out of that he worked so hard for it. And i have a daughter going into 1st grade. I just want to make the right choice for my children and do right by them. But this whole thing is confussing. I don’t want them to fall behind or if they need help and i can’t help them with their work. Help please!

    Reply
  4. Meagan

    If we choose the Flex option and decide to reenroll back to in person classes mid year what will need to be completed?
    Can flex effect their grade promotion if they switch back to the campus mid year?

    Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Meagan, Students will be able to return to their previous school midyear. We recommend students complete the first semester to ensure that grades are accepted by your school.

      Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Deborah, Students are able to transition back to their current school from FLVS Flex and FLVS Full Time. We recommend that students complete the first semester or full year to ensure that grades are accepted by your school. Students should enroll with FLVS Flex if they plan to return to during the 2020-21 school year. Hope this helps!

      Reply
    2. Merly Mack-Laplant

      Hello, I would like to use FVS for the first nine weeks but will not be able nor plant to so it long term. What option would be best for me? I have 2x 2nd graders And an 8th grader.
      I look at Flex and it seems really good for a temporary online learning option. Does this work? Their school is a charter and they have their own not flexible elearning. Any advice?

      Reply
      1. FLVSFLVS

        Hi Merly, The standard pace for most courses is 18 weeks, similar to a typical semester. If you need more advice, we recommend reaching out to a guidance counselor at your school or FLVS!

        Reply
  5. Anita Gisondi

    We want to enroll our son in this program but we are unsure about who chooses the courses he is to take. He is entering the 8th grade. We don’t want to choose courses that will not benefit him or give him the credits he needs to continue in school for the future.

    Reply
  6. Tamisha Johnson

    Hello, My son is suppose to start kindergarten this year and i have been thinking of his safety and of course everyone’s else. He is already enrolled in a public school but under the circumstances. I just want to make sure my son is getting the teaching at home just as well if he was in the classroom face to face. I also do work from home and i will be assisting him if i do decide to go with virtual learning. I wanted to know which plans can i choose from if things turn around from this epidemic? I just want to make the right chose for our safety. Than you for your time

    Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Tamisha, FLVS Flex and FLVS Full Time students can transfer to a traditional school if they would like. We recommend that students complete the first semester to ensure that grades are accepted by the school they are transferring to. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  7. stacy davey

    i called my son school twice about this program its our first time going through virtual classes and I want to know did i fill it out correctly. his traditional school is Buddy Taylor middle school in Palm coast seventh grade returning to school hopefully in January. I hope this virus will blow over by then because if not he will h ave to go full time on line. please contact me at 9082510089 or 3862064145

    Reply
  8. Ester Lloyd

    Hi, I have a child entering 1st grade. He was previously in traditional school, but due to Covid we have decided to keep him at home and do public virtual school. Do the FLVS full time or FLVS flex require re-testing to get back into a brick and mortar if he finishes the school year and recieves all his grades? What date is the last day of school? Also, how flexible is the school day for the full time or flex program, and how many hours will a typical day take for a 1st grader? Are you requiring a 1st grader to log in at a specific time or do you just require a certain amount of time to be accumulated? If on a certain day, we cant log in around 8am can we log in later in the day? Is that allowed? So many questions. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Ester. With FLVS Full Time, students are on a traditional school schedule with morning announcements and live lessons. FLVS Flex offers more flexibility for students and families with unique schedules. Here’s some more information specific to elementary students: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OXnfD_xo5Y. Our FLVS counselors can answer any questions regarding your student’s unique academic needs at https://www.flvs.net/student-resources/flex/advisement.

      Reply
  9. Vanessa Silva

    I have a child with special needs, Down syndrome. She is going to be a junior this year. Do you have a program that applies to children with special needs.

    Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Vanessa, FLVS Flex does not have ESE courses or ESE teachers. All Flex courses are set to the state standard of each grade level and the curriculum cannot be modified to a lower level. So, for example, your daughter is in 11th grade. We have one English course for 11th graders and that is English 3, which is at the state standard level. While Flex can provide applicable accommodations off of existing ESE documentation (such as an IEP or 504 Plan) Flex is unable to evaluate students, or write or update ESE documentation.

      If your daughter is working towards a standard high school diploma, we would advise you speak with her current school before withdrawing her and registering as Home Ed and then not being registered with a school that issues diplomas. It is difficult to know your daughter’s actual academic level from this inquiry. However, if you would like to discuss things further, you can contact the ESE Specialist for FLVS Flex, Natasha Sieber at 352-217-6553.

      Reply
  10. Pingback: Florida Virtual School: What is it and how does it work? – Tampa Bay Online

  11. Kevin

    Hi. What type of timing are you currently running at regarding reviewing and accepting applications, as I know you must be very busy? We just submitted an application for FLVS Full Time on 7/24, and we are working against needing to notify our private school of my child’s eventual departure (as they begin school in 2 weeks). Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Kevin. Our admissions team is currently processing applications within a 3-week time frame. Be sure to check your email for notifications on the status of your application.

      Reply
      1. Christina Santos

        3 weeks have already passed and my nephews still have not received any information. When we call we just get be patient and it can take 3 wks. How much longer do we need to wait ? Kids are losing instruction time and no one is helping

        Reply
        1. FLVSFLVS

          Hi Christina. Thank you for your patience as our admissions team works quickly to process new student applications. As soon as your nephews are places in their courses, they will receive Welcome Calls for their teachers who will work with them to adjust their schedule accordingly.

          Reply
  12. Nellie Eastep

    I have 2 boys in public middle school and I recently enrolled them in the flex program with intentions of them going to both schools. Is this possible ? Can they attend both schools at the same time ? Public school so they won’t get behind and flex school for extra instruction to increase grades and learning. Is this possible ?

    Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Nellie, You can reach out to your local school counselors or FLVS to learn more about your middle school’s online learning options. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  13. Rhonda

    I was told if I do the FLVS FLEX for homeschool when I place my child back in regular brick-and-mortar the academic course he completed with FLEX will be on his transcript and counted and shown towards completion of that grade to stay on track for a diploma is that correct?

    Also if I choose FULL TIME and its to much constraint for my special needs son can I switch to FLEX ?

    Reply
  14. Kyana

    I am enrolling for FLVS full time high school as a 9th grader. I would like to know if I can also take FLVS flex classes while doing this. For example, if I finish one of my 6 classes before the end of a semester, can I take a flex class afterwards? I would also like to know if there are any differences in whether I take pre-calculus honors or AP statistics first. I have completed Algebra 1, in a public middle school, Geometry with FLVS flex and will be completing Algebra 2 this coming week also with FLVS flex. I will be working on the rigorous academic track so AP statistics would be next. Since I am only a 9th grader what would I take after AP statistics if I chose that course this year?

    Reply
      1. Kyana

        I just realized that on my enrollment application I chose World History instead of World History Honors. Is there a way to fix this mistake?

        Reply
        1. FLVSFLVS

          Hi Kyana. If you are starting FLVS Full Time this year, our school counselors can help with that once they finalize course schedules. Once school starts and your schedule is confirmed via email, you should have that option.

          Reply
  15. Kensy Dorn

    Hello I have been reviewing all the information and I need help, my children have been in private school North Florida Christian School Tallahassee Florida the last years, this year they are in third and fiftth grade
    But I’m not sure on wich FLV program I should enroll them, I saw you have in the list of school NFCS as a private school, how can i now about the cost of tuition? the plan is have them at homeschooling but transfer them to brick and mortar school as soon as the covid situation settle down

    Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Kensy. Florida Virtual School is free to all Florida students, although there are exceptions if your children currently receive scholarships such as Gardiner or Step Up for Students to attend a private school. If you are looking to homeschool and withdraw from your private school for now, you can register with your local school district as a home education student and enroll in courses with FLVS Flex. If they remain enrolled with the private school, the school would need to approve any online FLVS Flex courses. Both are good options and something you can discuss with your current private school!

      Reply
  16. Kat

    Hi,
    I am a student of FLVS FLEX high school program. I have an IEP and was wondering if FLVS FLEX has anything to help us students with IEPs with FLVS. Is there any particular classes that FLVS offers to IEP students? It would be great to offer tips to prevent us from being overwhelmed.

    Reply
  17. clara e salazar

    Hello,
    I have enrolled on the full time on July 20th and still waiting on the answer on the acceptance for the FLVS to withdraw the other school, but is almost time to start and still nothing yet, should I cancel my other school this week or wait until the next week to do so?
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Clara. We’re currently ea high volume of new student applications. Our admissions team is currently processing applications within a 3-week time frame. Be sure to continue checking your email for notifications on the status of your application.

      Reply
  18. Gina

    Can I take classes on FLVS if I have a high school diploma? For example, French I or Biology I, just for the fun of learning. I can even pay for the class if it is not free.

    Reply
  19. Taraji

    Hi how do u reset a username and password to create a new one and delete the old one because i did not choose the course for her

    Reply
  20. Rose Augustin

    I’ve registered my son almost 2 months ago i still haven’t heard from anybody can someone please get in touch with me i am new to this i have been calling emailing with no luck i need to know when can my son start?

    Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Rose, We’re currently experiencing a delay in processing applications due to the high volume of new student enrollments. Keep checking your email for updates and notifications regarding your students application. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

      Reply
  21. jessy

    hi. my children’s are behind because I have not been able to register it and I do not know how to do it. nobody answer or returns my message. I moved from Tampa to Orlando. I need register.

    Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Jessy. You can find steps to enroll and register your child with FLVS Flex at flvs.net/flex. Please note that our Elementary program will not be accepting new applications until late October 2020.

      Reply
  22. Benita Wright-Gibson

    hi, do FLVS go by standard school bell schedule? or do the student have set days to finished the work? How does it work?

    Reply
    1. FLVSFLVS

      Hi Benita. The schedule varies by grade and courses. You can reach out to your student’s teacher for important dates and times. Hope this helps!

      Reply

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