In the summer of 2003, our oldest child, Hadyn, was set to start kindergarten. We knew the traditional public school within our district would not be a good fit, and through an inter-district agreement, he was able to attend a school nearby. This was when we first heard about California Connections Academy, a K–12 virtual school. It was all online, included professional teachers, and had everything a child would need for school except for the physical classroom. But, at the time, we felt a brick-and-mortar school was the answer—at least for a while.
Fast forward five years and the kids seemed happy at school, but then we started thinking about our daily routine—it took us an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon to shuffle kids back and forth to school. Hadyn was now almost in middle school, and homework was beginning to control our evenings—this made us think about our kids’ education and if it was still a good fit.
We began thinking more and more about the online program with California Connections Academy. I didn’t want to homeschool—go solo and look for a curriculum; I didn’t trust myself to be disciplined enough to actually do it. I felt strongly we needed an accredited school. When we researched online schooling, we learned the students were far from what you might expect—they were confident, well spoken, and comfortable with a variety of age groups. In short, they were dynamic, and most importantly, they were able to pursue their passions while attending school.
Our kids, all three of them, are active in 4-H, rodeo, and fishing. We believe strongly that the education of our children is not limited to academics—what they learn outside the classroom is equally as important. We have a small farm, and it is a vital part of our children’s lives. The more we thought about it, California Connections Academy seemed like it would be a good fit, so we switched to virtual education when the kids were entering the 6th, 4th, and 2nd grade and have never looked back.
I wouldn’t trade virtual schooling for anything since I have had the privilege of spending almost every day with my kids. For us, virtual education is a good fit—there is no tuition, all materials are provided, the quality of the education is phenomenal, and my kids have the flexibility to pursue their passions! I truly feel my kids will be more than adequately prepared to succeed in college and beyond.
Hadyn is now a freshman at Woodland Community College and plans to pursue a degree in business and become a professional bass fisherman, Erin is a junior at California Connections Academy, and Sofi is a freshman there. When asked if they wished to return to a traditional brick-and-mortar school, the answer was a resounding “NO!”
About the Authors
The Evans family lives in a small northern California town called Lower Lake where they enjoy raising horses, goats, and sheep. All three kids are active in 4-H. Sofi competes in High School Rodeo in many events and hopes to qualify for national finals in the next four years. Hadyn is an avid bass fisherman. Erin enjoys sewing and fashion design, as well as breeding and showing livestock. All three intend to attend a four-year college. Their dad, Greg, is a successful realtor and volunteers as a rodeo coach. Katy, their mom, oversees the education of all three kids and works alongside Greg in their real estate business. She also volunteers as a local 4-H leader.