Last school year was the first year for Missouri’s virtual instruction program (Mo VIP). Mo VIP is government school at home. It is
designed for students wanting to take a class their school does not offer, for students who have been expelled or are homebound for medical reasons, or for parents who want to homeschool but need direction.
I want to be clear that Mo VIP is not homeschooling. Missouri has a homeschool law that does not fall under the jurisdiction of the board of education. Mo VIP is not homeschooling, although many people (including school administrators) are calling it that.
In Mo Vip’s first year 3,200 students enrolled in the program yet only 1,800 finished. That’s a 56% success rate, hence the failing grade.
Joanna Thomsen compares her experience with Missouri’s virtual school to childbirth: something she is glad she did but would never want to repeat.
“We went through a lot of work; the kids did a lot of growing. But by the time the year was over we were all totally exhausted and never wanted to go through it again,” she said.
“It’s really not that virtual. The parent really does have to be there to explain. You are going to have to do exactly what a teacher would do in the public arena,” said Thomsen, who said she was expecting more virtual tutorials or streaming video. Her twin third-graders and fifth-grade daughter would log on to the computer to see their assignment for the day, but would mostly rely on her to teach and guide their lessons, she said.
Two families that enrolled in the program and finished it said that it was too much work and that they would be enrolling their children in a brick and mortar school for the next school year.