At Posnack Virtual School, we strive to make a school day as similar as possible to a day in our brick-and-mortar school. Students sit in front of their computer with a webcam at an appointed time. They participate in real-time classes, with their teacher and classmates also in front of their computers with webcams at the same time. (See sample video below.) This allows class discussions and student-student interaction in ways that are missing from other virtual high schools and from homeschooling curricula. The teacher has the ability to put students in small groups, to allow students to write on the shared white board, and ask students to answer questions either by voice or by text. Many universities use this class format successfully, and some even charge extra to take a class online.
A question I am frequently asked is “why don’t you let students take classes on their own time?” There are many options out there for students who want to take classes on their own time, and that might be the right choice for some students. However, that style of course requires students to learn the material on their own, with limited opportunities to ask questions for better understanding. We believe that discussion, both between students and between teacher and students, is essential for developing a deep understanding of challenging concepts.