School choice, flexible learning, and traveling: One charter school student's adventures

Vaughn Springer
Sep 22, 2021 9:56:21 AM

For some charter school students, flexibility is the most important part of their education. Jonah Hall, a first-grader at LifeTech Academy, is taking full advantage of being a completely virtual student and completing his education on his own clock.

After a year of traditional, in-person preschool, Morgan Hall, Jonah’s mom, realized being at a brick and mortar school wasn’t the ideal learning environment for Jonah. He needed more hands-on learning, access to flexible education, and the ability to take breaks while spending extra time focusing on topics and concepts that interest him. It also benefits the family, with relatives split between two countries.

When we started looking at different school options, it was really important to have flexibility. My husband is from England and I’m from Michigan. With his entire family over in England, we really wanted to have the flexibility to spend more time over there - more than just a spring break. We thought it was really cool that LifeTech is Michigan-based. We liked the individual touch they offer. They have local offices if we ever want to do anything in person. We thought it was the best of both worlds. “

- Morgan Hall, Jonah's mother

There were plenty of factors that really sealed the deal on choosing LifeTech over other virtual learning schools such as direct access to teachers when he needs assistance and a mentor to help him stay on track. In addition to classroom needs, the availability of electives and extracurricular activities that interest Jonah have been one of the best parts of choosing this school. 

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As a kindergartener, Jonah joined Spanish club, where he spent time with middle and high schoolers practicing Spanish. This gave Jonah the opportunity to socialize with other students that he might not have had with other completely online programs. 

This school year, the Halls are starting a new adventure - visiting all 50 states in just 50 weeks. During travel time and throughout the days, Jonah will still have time to do his class work, and in each state they plan to find applicable real-world experiences to expand on his knowledge.

When the pandemic hit, we were frozen wondering what we should do. We really just thought ‘why in the world aren’t we exploring our own backyard?’ We did our research and realized there really are so many experiences here to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. Jonah is so interested in social studies right now. Being able to take him to the places he’s learning about gives a whole new meaning to something.” 

- Morgan Hall, Jonah's mother

During their travels, which they will document on YouTube as The Live Out Loud Family they hope to spend as much time as possible learning and experiencing new things. Jonah’s younger brother Jude is interested in swimming with aquatic animals, Morgan wants to take a helicopter tour through the Grand Canyon, and Jonah wants to practice his Spanish skills in real life while visiting different cities. 

The principal from Marshall Academy walks a student to the bus

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