Virtua Education: Online Homeschool Curriculum
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Wanna hear a funny story?
I’ve sort of neglected the language arts portion of my children’s educations. When you have eight kiddos, a farm and two part-time jobs, you just can’t do everything, you know?
Math is my favorite subject and Science is a close second, so I make sure to fit those in. We study math daily and science a couple of times a month.
We learn geography by traveling and my kiddos learn history because they are voracious readers and I sneak books into our library bag each week. They also read a ton of great literature and thoroughly enjoy it. So it’s not like they are suffering from educational neglect.
But grammar? Writing? Those subjects fall by the wayside in our homeschool. Writing is so painful for my kiddos that they make it painful for me.
I’m talking temper tantrums on the floor painful! Can you blame me?
I do hand my children an Easy Grammar Plus Workbook around age 12 and let them work through it independently. English teachers would heartily disagree with me, but I feel like that single book provides sufficient grammar instruction for most students. But since I let them work through it independently, without really providing instruction or corrections — there are no guarantees!
Anyway, I recently gave my current 12-year-old his copy of Easy Grammar. It probably feels like a rite of passage to my children, because he eagerly accepted it and went to work.
My 7-year-old and my 9-year-old daughters were upset about having to wait until they were older for their own copies (I think they could have managed it, but they’ll be more successful if they wait). These particular daughters have noticed their lack of knowledge about parts of speech as they’ve completed Mad Libs with older siblings and their lack of knowledge about punctuation as they’ve both been working on books.
(Yes, I agree that it’s odd that they have such conniption fits about assigned writing and then voluntarily write novels in their spare time.)
That’s the funny part of my story, though, in case you missed it. What kids cry about wanting grammar instruction?
I firmly believe in striking while the iron is hot, so I determined to check out some grammar programs! I’m maxed out at just teaching/correcting math, plus these two benefit from at least a little direct instruction rather than working completely independently, so I wanted more than just a workbook.
I was compensated for my time, but my opinions are my own and I was not required to post a positive review.
I may have dragged my feet a little, but in the end it turned out great, because I discovered Virtua Education! I hadn’t yet heard about it, so I’m excited to share it with you!
What is Virtua?
Virtua includes several different pieces. The first is Virtua School, powered by CENTURY, a tried and tested intelligent tool that combines learning science and artificial intelligence to identify and address educational gaps and weaknesses. Virtua School will create a constantly adapting personalized pathway for your child. It includes all of the core subjects: math, science, literature, grammar, writing and reading for all grades, K-12.
Subject material is broken down into nuggets (mini-lessons) which are presented sequentially. Parents (parents receive a teacher login) can assign courses and nuggets within each course or parents can just allow the AI to suggest the best nuggets based on their child’s strengths and weaknesses.
The second piece of Virtua is the Virtua Library. It includes over 25,000 additional educational resources like Muzzy videos, which teach foreign languages by way of entertaining cartoons. The languages included are French, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.
You’ll also find magazine subscriptions like National Geographic for Kids, Wildlife, and Cosmos as well as thousands of excellent ebooks, audiobooks and movies in the library. The library is a great way to add variety and depth to your homeschool, and is perfect for visual learners!
Just FYI, Virtua is British so you’ll see British spellings and the videos are spoken with a British accent. Also, Virtua is not common core aligned.
My little girls dove headlong into Virtua’s grammar course for grades 2-5 and completed the entire course in about three days. It’s very thorough and robust, but my girls enjoyed it so much they spent hours on it each afternoon. My 12-year-old joined them for much of it just because he wanted to.
The three of them are currently working through the second grammar program, grades 6-10. We also looked through the other courses (except for math) just to get a good idea of how they worked and whether or not they were rigorous and they are.
How Does Virtua School Work?
Through initial diagnostic assessments, the platform will identify your child’s knowledge gaps and misconceptions and push relevant micro-lessons (or nuggets) into the student’s learning pathway. The pathway is adaptive and will learn how the student learns.
Another option is for you to assign courses and nuggets yourself within the parent’s dashboard. Your child will immediately be able to see and work on whatever is assigned.
Completed assignments will show up in the parent’s dashboard, along with scores and other relevant information.
Our Experience with Virtua Education
I particularly appreciated the AI aspect of the software, which tailored the learning experience specifically to my children’s abilities. The diagnostic testing, adaptive learning and intervention strategies were very helpful!
My children loved the instant feedback within each nugget. One of the hardest part of working with 8 kiddos simultaneously is that the kids end up frequently waiting for my attention. I liked that part, too, because grading takes a lot of time. I’m happy to let it go!
My favorite part of the software is the teacher dashboard. You can see at a glance what your child has completed and exactly where he might have errors or misconceptions. You can see how much time your child spent and in which courses. And you can easily switch back and forth between your children so you can keep tabs on all of them.
The learning platform itself is very intuitive. I had to click around a bit to figure out how to assign course to my kiddos. It probably only took me about ten minutes to figure out. My kids worked it all out immediately. Each child should have his own login, and you, as the parent, will have your own login.
I haven’t looked through any of the math courses, but the courses we have completed or are currently working on have been extremely thorough and rigorous. In fact, they made me feel just a little deficient.
I know that homeschooling works because my oldest three are attending university on full scholarships made possible near-perfect ACT scores. So I’m not going to let a little deficiency make me feel guilty. I’m just going to embrace the rigor that someone else is willing to provide!
Seriously, Virtua could make your job as a homeschool mom easy! I love our math curriculum so much (Saxon Math) that I’m going to keep that for myself, but I’m thrilled to let Virtua take some of the teaching responsibility off of my plate!
I seriously limit my kid’s time online (because they lose all sense of time and place and end up watching other kids play with their toys or cat videos!) but Virtua is worth making time for! I recommend using Virtua for only one or two courses if you, like me, limit your children’s screen time.
Another great way to use Virtua would be as a supplement to the curriculum you already use. It would be a great tool for diagnosing and rectifying educational gaps or misconceptions because your child could only complete nuggets which were suggested for remediation by the AI tool.
What are the Technical Requirements?
You can read, watch or listen to the resources in the Virtua Library from any device. Your computer, tablet and smartphone are all able to support your Virtua Library.
Virtua School can be accessed from any computer or tablet. We mainly access it from Chromebooks. Any browser should work. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t work on mobile phones.
How Do I Get Virtua?
You should definitely register for a 30-day subscription for only $1 (offer available to US Billing Addresses only) in order to try it out and make sure it’s a great fit for your family. Within minutes of placing your order through the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op, the Co-op will publish instructions and a link on your “My Subscriptions” page in your Co-op account.
You will be notified via email when your subscription is ready. If you don’t receive the email, just sign in to your Co-op account and look for “Virtua” on your “My Subscriptions” page.
After registering, select the appropriate grade level for your child, then follow the instructions to explore the dashboard and assign your children courses. The courses will show up immediately on your children’s dashboards and they can get going. I could hardly believe how quick and easy it was to get going!
If you like Virtua and decide to continue, your card will be charged automatically (the price is currently $29.99 per month) each month.
Get your trial subscription to Virtua for ONLY $1!!!
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