What is FLVS (Florida Virtual School) and how does it work?

 In Education

FLVS is short for Florida Virtual School, which is really a fancy name for online school.  FLVS is free to those who live in Florida.  You can use it as a supplement to regular public school, in case you child wishes to take a class over the summer or take a class that isn’t offered at their school.  Or you can use it as a full-time replacement for public school.  Or you can use it in Flex mode.  With both of my boys, we have chosen flex mode.  However, in elementary school and middle school flex works very differently.  I’ll go through both here and discuss how it works.

Supplies required for FLVS

The most important supply is a computer.  I prefer having a laptop for the kids to do their FLVS classes.  They can take the laptops with them and we can do the class from anywhere.  I do find it important to have a computer for each kid, though.  This way they can be working at the same time.  I know that makes things more expensive, but it is really worth it. FLVS has a list of system requirements for their computers that you can check.  Don’t worry about getting a laptop with Microsoft Office installed, you can get a license through FLVS for free.  These are a few of the best laptops that I recommend for FLVS, at various price points.

Best Computers for FLVS

Other Supplies for FLVS

Pens

Pencils

Notebooks and binders

I like these plastic protectors to slide work into

Crayons and colored pencils

Scissors

Protractor for Middle and High School Math

Headset with microphone for class time.

Why FLVS?

First things first, if you wish to enroll your child in an extra class, summer class, or take a class at FLVS while they are enrolled at a regular Florida public school, you will need their guidance counselor’s approval.  I have found the middle school to be better equipped for this than the elementary school.  But with one quick email to the elementary school, this was straightened out and it was approved easily enough.  What are some examples of why you want to do this:

  • Taking a Middle school level class (like Typing / Business Computers) over the summer
  • Re-taking a class that your child didn’t get a good grade in while enrolled in middle / high school. You can do one semester at a time.
  • Taking a class that is not offered at your school, they have a career education class for middle schoolers and another class on study skills and organizational habits.

FLVS as Homeschool

If you wish to use FLVS flex for homeschool purposes, they are a couple things that you will need to do.

  • Withdraw your child from public school
  • Register with your county as a homeschooler
  • Get a copy of that intent to homeschool sent to FLVS
  • Enroll at FLVS
  • Send FLVS any paperwork you have for your child, IEPs, 504s, etc.

Elementary FLVS Flex

Elementary FLVS Flex is organized, but flexible.  It follows a standard school year schedule, Aug – June.  You have class time in a video/audio classroom with your teacher on Tuesday and Thursday.  At 9 am, there is a 1-hour lesson on Language Arts and Social Studies.  Then there is a 15-minute break and at 10:15 there is a one hour lesson on Math, Science, and Technology.  The kids get to participate via video, audio, chat, and other polls and interactions that the teacher coordinates.  On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the teacher has an outline of work that needs to be done.  Several of these assignments must be submitted to the teacher at the end of the week for grading.  Other assignments go in your child’s portfolio.  The work is typically 2-4 hours a day, depending on the day and the motivation of the child.

What do the Elementary FLVS Flex assignments look like:

There are 2 hours of time spent on computer programs a week.  One hour in iReady on English skills and activities.  One hour in DreamBox, a math program that has interactive games.  In addition to time spent in these programs, there is a minimum number of lessons that must be completed in each program each week.  Then there are other assorted lessons like (this is for 3rd/4th grade):

  • Watching videos on how to make different letters and then practicing the letters in their notebook
  • Reading a short book or excerpt and answer questions on it (Typically focusing on an area they are studying in Social Studies)
  • Working on Spelling city on vocabulary and spelling tests
  • 20 minutes of reading each day with a short writing activity afterward (5 days a week)
  • Interactive geography games
  • Fun projects
  • Watching short videos on math concepts
  • Worksheets on the math concepts
  • Sections in the science book and activities that go with it
  • Science vocabulary
  • Typing practice
  • Multiplication and division drills

You don’t turn in all the work your child does in FLVS Flex.  Only some things each week get turned in to the teacher.  Those are graded.  Your child will get a grade for each class.  However, you will also need to present a portfolio to your county at the end of the year as a homeschool student.  So, all those other assignments help fill out your portfolio.  I do believe that you can also submit a teacher evaluation in place of a portfolio.  In Palm Beach County, simply submitting the FLVS transcript is sufficient.  Speak to your individual county if you have questions.

Middle School FLVS Flex

Middle school FLVS flex works quite differently.  It truly is flexible.  There is no school year or schedule to abide by.  Most teachers are available 8am-8pm.  A student may take as many or as few classes at a time as they wish.  They may also take the class at whatever pace they wish.  A full year class is supposed to take 32-36 weeks, and a half year or one semester class is 16-18 weeks.  This is doing 2-3 assignments per week.  You can go slower or faster if you wish.  It is easy to work ahead if your child is motivated.

You get one teacher for each class.  In addition to regular assignments that you need to submit, you also must do DBAs (discussion-based assessments) with your teacher on a regular basis.  This is a quick 10-15 minute phone call with you teacher where they talk to you about the details of what you have learned.  This is to make sure that the student is the one doing the work and that they really understand it.  Each assignment can be submitted up to 3 times.  This is because they want students to strive for mastery of the topic. The student can try and get a better grade on each attempt, however, if they get a worse grade the grade can go down.  When you have a quiz or a test, and you repeat it, the multiple-choice questions do change.  They have a bank of questions that get randomly selected for each quiz.

Teachers typically grade assignments in 1-3 days.  They are reliable in providing grades in this time frame from what I have seen.  Some assignments are as simple as a quiz or a worksheet.  Others are more involved with an essay or a short project.  Others might involve watching a video and working on something multi-media for a project.

Example FLVS Middle School Assignment

Example FLVS Middle School Assignment
Typically, each class also has a collaboration.  Usually at least 1-2 per semester.  This is an online class that occurs at a specific time and it is led by a teacher.  Kids join via the BlackBoard software, they can use video and audio to participate.  These lessons are more interactive and my kids typically enjoy them.

Submitting FLVS reports to your county

Once a year, your county will require some sort of assessment. In Palm Beach County, the unofficial transcript is enough evidence.  Other counties have different policies.

Support for FLVS parents

There are a couple great Facebook groups that you can join if you are using or plan to use FLVS.

FLVS Homeschooling Parents

FLVS Flex Elementary Parents This is only if you are already enrolled in Elementary FLVS FLEX and is administered by the folks at FLVS.

If you have any FLVS questions or want to know how it is working out for us, let us know!

 

 

 

 

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Showing 5 comments
  • education for all
    Reply

    Excellent blog here! Also your website loads up very fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol
    http://educationguide.eu

  • Anonymous
    Reply

    Hey nice post! I hope it’s ok that I shared it on my Twitter,
    if not, no problem just let me know and I’ll remove it.
    Regardless keep up the good work.

  • K. Sullivan
    Reply

    Thanks for this in depth look. It gave me the info I needed.

  • Lupita Eyde-Tucker
    Reply

    Hi Nicole, great article!

    I noticed that the link to the FLVS Homeschooling Parents facebook group is broken. We changed the address to: http://www.Facebook.com/groups/FLVSFlex – its still the same group but I opted for a shortened url. Will you please change it in your article?

    Thank you!

    • Nicole
      Reply

      You bet, I’ll update it now!

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