Mercury Online Academy blends online learning with charter school environment

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Mercury Online Academy of Arizona is a blended learning program -- a combination of online courses and charter-school curriculum.

"The beauty of this program is it's online learning, which you can customize for every child," explained Gene Eidelman of Mercury Online Academy of Arizona."With online options, you can, first of all, find out what level students are in all different subjects."

With the blended charter school component, students go one day a week to a learning center for project-based learned and to interact with his or her teacher and other students.

"That is the uniqueness of this program -- the online component and the in-classroom component," Eidelman said.

Parents can customize the program not just for the children but for their families' lives.

There are two Mercury Online Academy learning centers in Arizona -- one in Ahwatukee and one in the West Valley.

In a traditional classroom setting with 30 or more kids, teachers are forced to teach to the average, which means some students get bored while others get left behind.

That doesn't happen with Mercury Online Academy of Arizona.

"In this environment, we can take an assessment of every individual child's level, and then progress them at their own paces," Eidelman said. "Studies have shown that in an online learning environment, students can progress at much more advanced pace."

Mercury Online Academy of Arizona, which is a free online school, also offers a wider variety of options than traditional schools. Students, for example, can study any one of 12 languages.

In high school, students can take Advanced Placement courses online whenever they're ready.

"They can take it without waiting for everybody else," Eidelman said. "It's a huge option for parents, especially those with students who are advancing above pace."

This year, Mercury Online Academy of Arizona has classes for kindergarten through eighth grade. They will add high school components next year.

If parents prefer their children to have a more traditional classroom experience, Eidelman said that it an option.

>>> Learn more about Mercury Online Academy