Online Learning

A Life-Changing Experience

By on April 20th, 2016

This is the final post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney Adventures 12For the past 12 months, my family and I have been recounting our trek around the world and sharing what it meant to each of us.

Although it’s been nearly seven years since we returned in September 2009, there is not a day that goes by we don’t think about what the trek meant to us individually and collectively. Needless to say, it was a life-changing experience for each of us. My wife Catrell and I set several goals before leaving on our trek and they were all met. Continue reading


A Narrow Piece of Geography

By on March 16th, 2016

This is the 11th post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney World Adventures Issue 11Our around the world trek was accomplished in two stages.

The first lasted four months and we backpacked through Central and South America. After returning home for a short visit, we resumed our trek, which lasted seven months. During our odyssey, we traveled to six continents, visited 22 countries and covered more than 61,000 miles. Although we did circumnavigate the globe, the fact is we only traveled a narrow piece of geography.

No matter how well-traveled someone is, they tend to stay within the lines – back roads, hiking trails, plane routes and highways. We were no different. Through Central and South America, we traveled almost entirely by bus – from “chicken buses” packed with 30 people when there should have only been 15, to a luxury motor coach that had its equivalent of a flight attendant onboard. Continue reading


How Online Learning Helped our Dream Come True

By on February 29th, 2016

This is the tenth post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney Adventures10As any parent knows who has children enrolled in an online learning program, there are pros and cons.

In most cases the pros outweigh the cons, which is why the number of options for online learning have exploded in recent years.

Whether someone is simply brushing up on basic skills, completing a Kindergarten-12 class or working on his or her PhD, online learning has become deeply rooted in our educational infrastructure.
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“Education for Everyone!”

By on February 3rd, 2016

School ChoiceThink online learning is too difficult for students with unique abilities and needs? Think again.

Florida Virtual School has been a proud provider in education for students with unique abilities and needs for many years. Our teachers are trained to work with students and help them succeed and the data is showing just that…success!

Let’s take a look at the State funded Personalized Learning Scholarship Accounts (PLSA) program, now known as the Gardiner Scholarship. It launched in fall 2014 and allows parents to personalize their child’s education based on the individual needs of each unique eligible child. The funds can be used for therapeutic resources, tuition, tutoring, and even virtual school.  During the 2014-15 school year, FLVS had 215 successfully completed courses from students with a PLSA. Of these courses, 99 percent were completed with a grade of A B, or C.  A special thanks to the legislature and Governor Scott for expanding this program effective July 2016 through SB 672.

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The Value of a Diverse Education

By on January 21st, 2016

This is the ninth post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney Adventures 9Most people who live in the United States believe they are well informed about world events. It isn’t until a person travels that he truly understands how wrong he is.

And by travel, I don’t mean staying at a resort and participating in touristy tours, but going to the local markets, riding the local buses and getting to know the local residents. You can only truly understand and appreciate the culture and people when you’ve transitioned from tourist to traveler.

As a result of social media and cable television, we live in a world of 24/7 news, or so we believe. In reality, very little of the “real world” news seems to filter through the noise of popular media.

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Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle While Traveling

By on December 9th, 2015

This is the eighth post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney Adventures 8Whether you are planning a “stay-cation” or a global yearlong adventure around the world similar to ours, staying healthy, happy, and fit while traveling can present a few obstacles.

Maintaining healthy eating habits at home can be difficult and doing the same on the road requires even more due-diligence. Preplanning is the key, and can mean the difference between completely abandoning your healthy lifestyle or keeping you on track.

Incorporate some or all the following tips we’ve used to ensure you have a healthy, happy trip.
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Travel is the Ultimate Education

By on November 16th, 2015

This is the seventh post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney World Adventures Issue 7Recently, friends of ours withdrew their nine-year old daughter from school to take her with them to Washington, D.C. and Iceland.

They planned to tour the nation’s capital before leaving for Iceland for the family’s first trip abroad.  To do so, Jennifer (not her real name), would miss approximately a week of school.  Jennifer’s mom contacted the school well in advance and completed the necessary paperwork to request an excused absence.  She outlined in detail all that Jennifer would experience and see during the trip.

However, the school principal did not respond and after repeated calls asking for an update, it was time to leave. Continue reading


What Travel Has Meant to My Career

By on October 12th, 2015

This is the sixth post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney World Adventures Issue 6Traveling has been such an amazing opportunity for me in so many ways.

It’s taught me more than I ever could have learned from solely reading books. It’s showed me how to relate with people and find ways to communicate with others, even if we don’t speak the same language. You begin to realize deep down we’re not all that different.

Traveling has been an extremely liberating experience, though it wasn’t always easy. It pushes you and constantly forces you out of your comfort zone. Early on I had to find a way to be able to continue school while traveling. FLVS was such a great way to be able to do that. There were times when I was in the middle of the jungle in Central America, monkeys were swinging above my head and I was still able to take a test online. Continue reading


Never Stop Exploring

By on September 4th, 2015

This is the fifth post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney World Adventures 5

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

In Margret Mitchell’s novel, “Gone with the Wind,” Gerald O’Hara states that, “Land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.” While I agree that the preservation of natural places is one of the most important goals, Mitchell’s character is only partly right, in that there are other things in life worth the effort as well. There are non-material events and knowledge, which are incommensurable.  Continue reading


5 Ways to Stay Safe While Traveling the World

By on August 5th, 2015

This is the fourth post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney Adventures 4Travel Safety Awareness Month is the perfect time to address one of the questions we were often asked before leaving on an around-the-world trek.

“Aren’t you afraid to travel to other countries with your family?”

As we all know, there is risk in nearly everything we do.  Whether taking a shower, driving to work, walking across the street, shopping at the grocery store, going to the movie theater, or skydiving, there is inherent risk in everything we do.  If you don’t think so, just count the number of attorney ads on TV, radio, and social media. Even after our trek, the question of safety continues to be asked when I give talks about our adventure.

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