Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is an online education provider that offers publicly-funded courses to students in Florida. Outside the state, courses are available on a tuition basis. Homeschool students can choose from a catalog of elementary, middle, and high school courses that include core subjects, honors, Advanced Placement, world languages, electives, and more.
Website: Florida Virtual School
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Reviews are solely the opinions of the contributor.
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Florida Virtual School Review by Cee JayOctober 7, 2021Pros: flexible, good curriculm
Cons: need more engaging videos
Grades Used: 3, 5, 6, 8
I have a 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 8th grader in FLVS. I have a 1st grader doing virtual through our county and the platform is FLVS. I will say it is better than the schools in the district. My personal opinion. I do notice the material for grade levels are appropriate and it is helpful in teaching. I look at FLVS as a curriculum that is used to help parents teach their children at home (basically for homeschooling). I do have to use other videos for my 1st and 3rd grader to give them extra help. They also have to use prodigy, IXL, and Khan academy. I can honestly say they do learn, some things I have to teach to help them understand it better, but I use the material they have to do that. It just depends on what you are looking for. If you want to put your children in front of the screen for self learning and help out when needed, I will say this may not be the program for you. It is really flexible, but you have to be really hands on.
Florida Virtual School Review by LauraSeptember 30, 2021Pros: Free if you are a Florida resident
Cons: Poorly written; my kid hated it, reading curriculum is particularly disappointing, and you will need to heavily supplement it with spiral review
Grades Used: 2nd
We started our second-grader in Florida Virtual School because of Covid. I went into it with an open mind- I was prepared that I would be heavily involved as her "learning coach" (what they call parents) and that like any curriculum, there would be gaps that needed feeling.
We have been displeased in almost every aspect of the experience. Please note that this review is for second grade only.
The proprietary curriculum is entirely written by FLVS and is online. That means in Reading there will be no reading book, and the stories will not be anything that is copyrighted outside of FLVS. The quality of the stories is disappointing. There is no published DRA or Lexile level for any of the stories, and some are too easy to read, and others are quite challenging for a normal second grader. You will not get a reading curriculum that progresses in complexity over the course of the year. My instinct is that this isn't a good way to teach second-grade ELA, but it's only my opinion.
For each lesson, your child has to either take a short quiz or complete an assignment, to prove that they learned the required material. This means there is a lot of busywork, but my concern was that my child wasn't actually learning much from the busywork itself. When you get a question wrong on a quiz, you are not told the correct answer, so no learning is actually occurring. This does not seem appropriate for second grade.
At the end of each unit, there is a big test (so you roughly have a big test every few weeks in each subject, but more often in math). Sometimes the questions are chosen to trick the student- either an obscure part of a lesson your child may have missed or questions that require the student to analyze a concept that was never explained in any of the lessons. My kid (a great student and a hard worker), started to hate everything about FLVS within a few weeks. She would spend hours studying for an end-of-unit test, only to be confused by questions that were never covered in the curriculum or the prior work. I do understand the merit of these types of questions for older students, but I think it's simply not designed to measure the progress of a second-grader. It will also quickly make your kid hate testing- which is concerning. My kid used to love tests (weird I know), and developed severe test anxiety in this program despite having good grades the entire time. To me, that's a big red flag.
Math is heavily common core based, even though Florida is leaving common core, and all math students must explain the reasoning behind different common core methods on their unit tests, even though the reasoning is often never discussed in the curriculum itself. We got to the point that my kid was looking up common core teacher videos online ahead of tests, not to learn how to do the math itself, but so she could have a clue how to explain why a particular common core method was invented. Your child will also need to know the common core terms for strategies, which isn't the end of the world, but isn't teaching them anything useful. And is especially bizarre given the new Florida state standards.
Which reminds me- after a multi-year process, that was expansively covered in the news and by educators all over the state, Florida officially changed its standards last year. FLVS apparently didn't know this, as our teacher told us the first week that the pacing guide and lessons were still being modified to incorporate the new standards- standards that have been publicly available for several years, and were officially put in place in April. It's obvious that lessons were cobbled together at times, and I'm still confused how FLVS was so unaware of these changes, as I, a lowly mom with no background in education, knew about the new standards and where to find them a year ago.
There are no fees for the curriculum if you are a Florida resident, but you will need to purchase many items for P.E. and Science. You will also need to print a massive amount of worksheets. At FLVS orientation you are told that you rarely need to purchase supplies, and a printer wasn't required. You will need a printer, and you will be spending a substantial amount of money on ink. Anyone who tells you different is not telling you the truth.
There is a teacher that grades your child's work, and I will say our teacher always had grades back within 48 hours. Your child will also have periodic oral tests with the teacher throughout the semester. This wasn't anything good or bad about this process. The teacher did respond to all emails in a timely manner. I felt her commentary in grading could have been a bit gentler, but maybe I just have a very sensitive learner for a child. The commentary was likely created by FLVS, as you receive the same comments over and over.
I think the saddest thing for me was the Social Studies curriculum. The Florida CPALMS standards for social studies in 2nd grade are pretty interesting (how to read maps, how to use money, beginning civics). The FLVS social studies curriculum was entirely joyless. I know that's a very opaque description, but it's truly my best explanation. The projects were not fun, the questions were confusing, and the material was not presented in an engaging manner. What a missed opportunity.
Diversity within the curriculum is entirely based on tokenism. There are characters that show up to discuss concepts. There is a character named Frida, that looks like Frida Kahlo, but at no time is there any discussion of the real person Frida Kahlo, and the Frida character was teaching computer science. There is a Native American character that introduces himself as "Hi, I'm Ninovan, and I'm a Native American." Ninovan never discusses anything about his experience as a Native American (he's in the ELA curriculum), or anything to do with Native American culture.
The curriculum is riddled with grammar and spelling errors. So many that my kid gets a prize every time she finds one on her own. A few were likely typographical errors, but I think this overall speaks to the care and attention put into creating the curriculum.
There is a shocking lack of spiral review in ELA and math. A concept in ELA is covered in 2 weeks with a few lessons and is expected to be immediately mastered, rarely to be reviewed again. I provided the spiral review. If you decide to do FLVS, I would be prepared to do the same.
I think the hardest moment for me was when my kid looked at me one day and said "I hate learning, this is awful." I was heartbroken. This was a kid that used to be sad on the weekend that there was no school. And who cried on the last day of school. She's not afraid of hard work. This was a terrible decision, and I regret it, and I am worried there will be long-term consequences.
Be prepared that younger children will need a parent at their side for most of the lessons. My kid is an advanced reader but is not old enough to handle a lesson on her own. I was expecting this, but other parents were upset about the amount of time they had to spend each day "coaching". Just a heads up. At orientation, we were told that second graders would be able to do the work by themselves eventually, but I never expected that to happen, and was neither upset nor surprised at how much I was involved.
Florida Virtual School Review by Stephanie CummonsJune 18, 2021Pros: Shortened screen time than public online learning.
Cons: Some video sound was too low, no diploma
Grades Used: 7th, 8th
Flvs worked great for my daughter that failed 2 classes when the pandemic hit. Her grades fell for at home learning through her school.... 8 hr days on a computer is tiring for a 14 yr old. Out of the 3 classes she's taken the teachers were all super helpful, 1 class had videos that were almost impossible to hear but we adjusted. We are continuing flvs for another year before going back to regular school bc flvs does not give diplomas but "prepares students for a GED exam" not that it's any different but every student deserves to walk when they graduate... along with all the memories and friendships u meet along the way. I'm happy we found flvs to get us through the tough spots though.
Florida Virtual School Review by Siobhan RungDecember 4, 2020Pros: Flexibility
Cons: Errors in materials
Grades Used: K,2
I have a kindergartner and second grade student enrolled in Flvs through our local school district and I am disgusted by how many errors there are in the materials. Almost every day there is either a grammatical error, spelling error, or missing information. The read aloud is a robotic voice that mispronounces words and doesn’t read everything on the page or the tests. During sorting activities, if the child accidentally puts something in the wrong box you have to restart the entire activity. Worksheets don’t match the videos they are supposed to go with. When you do submit a complaint, you get 3 emails about each thing you report and they never tell you what they are going to do to prevent it from happening in the future. Their latest email is that I’m sending in errors too often so I should wait for the end of a module to report all the issues in the module. It should not be up to the parents to proofread their classes! Very unsatisfied with this user unfriendly program.
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