Online school growing in popularity with Arizona students, parents

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- There are all kinds of schooling options in Arizona from traditional public and private schools to charter schools  and even an online school.

Arizona Connections Academy  is a tuition-free, accredited online public school for K-12 kids.
The school started 10 years ago and now has nearly 2,000 students statewide.

We talked to one family that went from home schooling to online school.

The Akers have four kids  Their eldest started with home schooling then went to an online school and is now in a public school.

Their other three children, including their kindergartner, are now going to the online school. 

Cheryl Akers says she likes that the kids can work at their own paces, she can oversee all three, and each of the kids has his or her own teacher.
Anthony is a sixth-grade honor student who loves working quickly through some of his  classes  and then being able to talk to the teacher about how he's going to improve in some other classes that he's having a harder time with.

Even little Madison, who started school just last week, is having very little problem navigating through her kindergarten work. 

Teacher Meg Kirby, who works with Anthony, spent more than a dozen years teaching at a "brick and mortar" school before becoming an online teacher.  

Although Arizona Connections Academy follows the same curriculum as a traditional school, she says she likes  the one-on-one education with the kids and more time to talk to parents about how things are going. She says she has fun coming up with new ideas for computer classes  to stimulate the children's excitement about learning.
While these online  kids don't have friends they see every day, there are chances for socialization through several field trips, clubs and other social activities offered by the school.

Akers says while an online school might not be for everyone, she sees how it could help people struggling to do home schooling or for parents whose kids need more of a challenge in school.   It's even being used by some kids who are actors and can't go to school during the traditional hours.

Arizona Connections Academy is not the only online option for Arizona students. Other online schools include: