This year (2022) we have two new full-time students: Charley and Georgey. Their mom, Heather, has always been a strong advocate for a holistic and challenging education. Seeking to expand the academic intensity and variety of their experience, she enrolled Charley in AP US History with OC Online. After taking this one class, both daughters decided to join us as full-time online students. This was transformational not only for the family, but for Reece Talley, the AP US History Teacher.
Heather’s Parent Story:
My goal [has always been] to allow our daughters enough time in their lives to pursue their passions which included activities not offered in traditional schools. We had a great system already in place, [having] homeschooled for over ten years, first with Sonlight, then a combination of Classical Conversations, and Schole Academy online, which were all excellent primers for success in high school.
The draw of AP classes was the allure to OC Online since both of our girls plan to attend college. Our initial interest was based on the desire to find online AP classes with a Christian worldview to boost [my oldest daughter’s] high school GPA and demonstrate a challenging curriculum for her college applications.
Charley loves history, so enrolling in AP US History was a good fit.
The most serendipitous discovery was definitely her AP US History teacher, Mr. Talley. Charley thought he was such a gifted teacher, so she was able to really thrive in the class and gain additional academic skills under his guidance. Also, the flexibility and Charley’s ability to accomplish assignments that worked within her busy schedule [made a big impact]. To be able to do this and then earn an “A” in an advanced AP class was a huge advantage for her as a student.
I wanted to make sure [both of my daughters] received the best education with all of the academic opportunities that most kids in private and public schools are afforded. Oaks Online met this criteria, so that’s why we enrolled them full time this year.
Mr. Talley’s Teacher Story:
Charley was a member of my AP US History class. APUSH is considered one of the most difficult AP courses simply because of the huge volume of information you not only have to memorize, but then you have to be able to analyze it and apply it across many different historical periods. The writing component alone is a huge mountain for students to climb.
From my standpoint, I try and get my students to put themselves in the place of the people we are learning about. I also make regular connections with biblical principles and characters. My goal is to make what we are learning both relevant and useful.
Charley was well prepared from the get-go. She had a broad base of general knowledge and considerable analytical skills. At the same time, she did need to work on her essay skillset. To her credit, she never balked, gave up or complained. She made all the changes needed, learned new ways of expressing herself, and developed the ability to use scholarly language and connect things across widely divergent historical periods. I was very impressed with her tenacity and her drive to learn. Charley was not shy about asking for help or clarification.
Rather than being a passive learner, she aggressively attacked the learning challenge.
For online learning to work, the student must actively pursue learning, engage the material and remain in regular communication with the teacher. Charley, as with all of my really successful online learners, sent me messages at least twice a week and frequently asked me to review her submissions while they were in progress. Even her mother was very active in communication with me and expressed satisfaction with our program more than once. This is the heart of online success. The student really has to ask for feedback, (formative assessment) before the summative assessments. In a Brick and Morter class, this would happen as the teacher “worked the room” each class. Since that can’t readily happen online, the student must take the initiative and make it happen through regular, meaningful communication. This is what Charley seemed to sense intuitively and it was a big part of her success.
What a joy to see the connection between student, teacher, and parent and how that ultimately lead to the decision for this family to become part of our OC Online community full-time. If you have questions about particular classes or are curious to see how online learning might fit into your academic plan, we’d love to help. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org