I remember the exact moment that our family decided we were “all in” with Veritas Scholars Academy.
It was mid-September, and two weeks after my oldest daughter began her first live classes. We had spent numerous years prior doing You-Teach Veritas courses and working our way through the excellent self-paced History courses. I honestly did not think that any subjects in our homeschool could top my daughters’ enthusiasm for self-paced Veritas Press History. I was wrong.
Live courses at Veritas Scholars Academy cemented our decision that a VSA Diploma would be at the end of our daughters’ high school educations. During that first year, I realized that live classes not only were compatible with my ideal of what classical Christian education should look like, but also were far superior to what I could teach on my own. It took my husband and I only a few weeks to realize that the teachers in our daughter’s live classes at VSA were experts in their subjects; how interactive and engaging a virtual classroom could be; and how flexible live classes could be for our active and mobile family. Most importantly, live class teachers wanted to form relationships with their students and help us as parents to mold character and point to Christ.
We began with only two live classes in the first year. In subsequent years, we added another class each year to our live course lineup until we were at full time in 7th grade. In that first year, I found it easy to balance the two live courses along with the other You Teach courses, Scripture study, and morning time activities that had become the rhythm of our home. We learned that live courses were an efficient way to teach a subject. While my older daughter sat in her live courses, it gave me an opportunity to give my younger daughter the one-on-one time that she needed in individual subjects. Now, with a 9th and an 11th grader, we schedule and participate in 14 live classes. In addition to live classes, my daughters have found time to continue their piano studies, be part of a community youth choir, a swim team, and participate in church activities.
Live course teachers are experts in their subject and are also passionate about their subject area. They have the freedom to boldly speak Christ and the Gospel to their students. Beginning with the early math and grammar teachers all the way to our current live teachers, we have found that VSA faculty have abundant subject area knowledge. Many live course teachers have their master’s degree and even doctorate. It is astonishing to us that middle and high school students are being taught by teachers qualified enough to teach the same subject at the collegiate level.
Classrooms in Adobe Connect, the hosting platform for live classes, are engaging and filled with opportunities to have “in real-time” interaction with other students and teachers. Daily, I hear my students going on camera and microphone to discuss big ideas with their peers, working problems on the blackboard, watching and giving feedback to other students’ presentations, and collaborating with other classmates in breakout rooms on group projects. I especially love to hear the random giggles and guffaws coming from my daughters during live class. Not a day goes by that a laugh does not escape their mouth or a smile crack their face. Live VSA classes are flexible enough to be able to be picked up and taken with us wherever we need to go. We find that if we have a Wi-Fi connection, my students can attend class anywhere. We have even had times when we needed to miss class. The attendance and extension procedures within live classes allowed flexibility for us to be away from class on occasion.
Throughout the years and as we transitioned into secondary school, I found myself to be more of a task manager and less of the primary teacher for my daughters’ education. In the free time that I had now discovered with our family’s use of live classes, I found myself becoming a cheerleader for other families just discovering Veritas Press. I enjoyed directing others to resources and information and helping them see why we have loved and love VSA and live classes. So, when I was offered an employment position with Veritas Scholars Academy as an Academic Advisor, I was quick to reply and begin my work with new and returning full-time Diploma students. That role grew further, and now I am also the advisor of our student Yearbook staff.
When I transitioned into an Academic Advisor's role, I became fortunate to see and experience much of what our teaching faculty create and provide. It has been such a joy to see and hear how much our teachers seek to give their students the very best education. I regularly hear teachers praying for their students, mentoring and molding their students, and meeting up with their students outside of class time. One of the biggest joys is when a teacher shares an accomplishment a VSA alumnus or alumna has made – academically, professionally, or spiritually – all because the student formed a mentor/mentee relationship with the teacher and strives to carry it forward into adulthood.
My daughter tells me, “When we started out in Spanish I, Mrs. Tochijara said that she was taking a French class. She said knew how hard it was to learn a new language, and she was right there with us the whole time. She told us that she's gone through the same thing herself. I just really love when [the teachers] relate to us personally. I love to see that my teachers are lifelong learners and have the same problems as their students. I also love how literally every teacher brings creation and our worldview into each class. Especially, Mrs. Collender, in Composition I and when we started the fiction writing, expressed to us that our creation of writing fiction is a reflection of the image of God. He is the original Creator, and we reflect Him in our writing. Mr. Haarhoff, also, wrote and shared an immense paper about why we should study math. He tells us that God speaks in mathematics, and His creation is glorified in mathematics.”
I am so very thankful that VSA and live courses have been the vehicles that have driven our homeschool journey, and that now I am given the opportunity to help other families along the path.
Finding joy in motivating and encouraging homeschool families brought Dion Mote to the academic advisement team. After experiencing an amazing mentor family in the Mote family's early years of homeschooling, Dion is eager to “pay it forward”. With the Veritas Press catalog in hand, she has home-educated her daughters since 2010. She, her husband, two daughters, and a grumpy miniature Schnauzer currently make their home outside of Atlanta, GA.
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