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The Hood Magazine

Virtual Learning for a Local Sioux Falls Family

Sep 14, 2020 09:13AM ● By Shelly Gaddis

The start of the school year usually means shopping for school supplies, back to school physicals and setting the alarm earlier. However, 2020 has shown us that there are a variety of ways that can work for educating our youth and virtual learning is becoming a reality that many families are choosing. 

For a variety of reasons, thousands of families in the Sioux Empire have chosen to keep their children home this year and choose this alternate method of learning. Our family has four children at various schools and we have chosen to consider the decision for their educational delivery mode as individuals.

We have two children who are in high school, one in middle school and one in elementary school. When the Sioux Falls School District released the Return to Learn plan, our children were tasked with researching what the virtual learning option would look like for each of them.

Our kindergartner was not asked to research anything, but we did decide as a family that we were most comfortable with her staying closer to us this year and that meant the virtual academy was best for her.

Our middle school child thrives in environments with more consistency and we weren’t confident that an in-person learning experience would provide very much consistency this year. While we all agreed it would be better for him to be a part of the virtual academy, we had to have some serious discussions about what the expectations for virtual learning would be. While we all know that there may be some challenges that we will face during his virtual learning experience, we are ready to work together to help see him succeed!

Our oldest two children are both in high school and there were numerous factors to consider for each of their situations. After many hours of research and discussion, our family ultimately decided that our sophomore is going to attend in-person learning, while our junior is going to be a part of the virtual academy.

The reasons are too numerous to list, but the primary consideration for virtual learning with our junior is that he is very self-driven and motivated to learn independently while carrying a very tough class load this year. He was signed up for multiple AP classes and ultimately, we decided together that the consistency of virtual learning was going to be very advantageous for him. Now that we have gotten a little further into the process, he is seeing more opportunity than we could have realized when we decided the virtual academy was the best choice for him. He is now signed up for multiple dual enrollment credits through state universities and will be earning multiple college credits this year!

At the end of the day, every person in our community plays an important role in the education of our children, especially this year! There is no right or wrong answer that will solve all concerns for our community. We are all making the decisions that are right for our families with the information that we have at our disposal. Here’s to a safe, happy and healthy school year!