Virtual School is the New "Home-School"

A local student decided to complete her final two years of high school, virtually. We talk more about this home-based learning environment.

Just weeks away from starting the fall semester, Chelsea Shepherd, is taking on her senior of high school...virtually. This unique and flexible program includes the curriculum and all books for free.

"It's different for everyone, they need to be able to see what environment is good for them," Shepherd said.

Chelsea has been home-schooled by her mother since third grade, and decided to try public school during her sophomore year at Grape Creek High School. The following year Chelsea made the decision to try a different option with Texas Connections Academy.

"It was her choice and she wouldn't be able to make the choice without attending public school," Loraine Shepherd said.

Texas Connections Academy provides students, grades three thru twelve, with their individual learning plan.

"Personally I think Connections is for already excelling students, students that already have a lot potential," Shepherd said.

As a parent, Shepherd appreciated the personal learning environment.

The teachers are willing to work through with each student and in public school you can't always do that, the ratios are so large anymore. You just don't have the time the teachers are really overwhelmed," Shepherd said.

Chelsea says she still enjoys the interaction with other local students.

"I do go on the web cam and I get to talk to other kids. It's like any other environment to talk with my friends and learn with them. I do projects with them sometimes so no I don't think I get lonely," Shepherd said.

Chelsea is deeply passionate and involved in the arts with ballet and sketch-work. Recently, she was offered a job as a ballet instructor.

"I think connections has helped with that, I think if i hadn't been a part of connections I wouldn't have ever had that opportunity," Shepherd said.

Students take all state-required assessments, in the Texas Connections Academy program, and are able to participate in a number of clubs.

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