As a mother of two, Tricia Powell knows that no two kids are alike, but she does have some tips when it comes to online learning.

Her daughter, Hannah, has been enrolled in virtual public school since kindergarten.

Hannah, currently a seventh grader, took a two-year break to attend a traditional public school, in fourth and fifth grade, but asked to go back to virtual learning at the start of middle school.

“It was nice to see her be able to make that transition,” Powell said. “Her grade transcript from the virtual school transferred over to Fullerton, and vice-versa.”

Powell’s son, Isaac, has been enrolled at Fullerton IV Elementary School since first grade and made the switch to distance learning Monday. He is now in fourth grade.

“It’s a learning curve,” Powell said. “There is a learning curve but it will get easier.

“Teachers are working so hard. They’ve been so wonderful to connect with all families. There’s a lot going on inside our homes and I want to encourage families to hang in there.”

For Powell, the transition has been pretty smooth, but that could be attributed to her experience with virtual learning.

Her advise is to reach out and connect with teachers, and stay on a routine, but be a flexible.

“We always do school in order of most difficult first and save the fun for the end of the day,” Powell said. “In the morning they’re alert and awake.”

She also asks parents to keep in mind that virtual learning is “school at home, not home school.”

Virtual schools also doesn’t mean all the interactions are online or that school won’t change during the coronavirus pandemic.

There are learning meeting centers, monthly field trips through the school and other clubs that have been canceled.

The teachers are certified and students have to take state certified tests at the end of each year.

Being able to transition from a traditional school to a virtual school and keep transcript was one of the reasons Powell was attracted to virtual learning.

Another reason her family chose virtual school was because it allowed the family to move school around work schedules, and be able to take the kids along on work assignments that required travel without it interfering with their education.

“We’re blessed to have the choice,” Powell said. “It’s nice to have options.”

While her daughter thrives in the virtual learning environment, her son really enjoys attending a traditional school.

“Every child learns differently,” Powell said. “That’s definitely true for my kids.”

She added that not only do her children learn differently, sometimes what works one year doesn’t work the next and people will need to be flexible.

She also wants parents to know that they are all doing a wonderful job. “This will pass. Summer is coming, and the quarantine will end,” Powell said.

If families would like to learn more about Oregon virtual school, they can visit oregonvirtualschools.org or email info@oregonvirtualschools.org.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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