Virtual schools appear to thrive in Washington

King 5 News
Michele Li

SEATTLE - Most families these days are hustling to get out the door to make the school bus, rushing to pack school lunches or even worrying about classroom safety. Yet there are thousands of teachers and students who only have to make the short commute from their bedroom to their home office or living room.

Washington Virtual Academies is an online public school that enrolls thousands of K-12 students across the state. School started on September 6.

Students and teachers interact in many ways including web chats, email, phone or face-to-face.

The Jubis family has homeschooled three of their four children but this semester has decided to try the virtual academy.

"I like the fact that the structure was there as well as the flexibility and of course, the focus on academics," says Vanessa Jubis. "I'm really totally impressed with it so far."

Jubis has three girls ranging from third to seventh grades. The three each sit at the kitchen table with their laptops while Jubis helps them along as their learning guide. Previously Jubis was their homeschool instructor but coming up with lesson plans is no longer necessary. You can follow their learning adventures on Facebook.

"I just think the option to have that for families is amazing," says Jubis. "Not every child will learn the same."

Her kids can also attend public school functions and are enrolled in extra curricular activities. The academy even has a talent show and prom for its students.

A survey from by Edge Research found that of the parents with kids enrolled in Washington Virtual Academy, 94 percent felt their child benefited academically from the curriculum. 

"I have two sons, and they've only known WAVA," says James Karr. "My ten year old learns in a very specific way - very straight forward. I may be a biased father, but I believe he's by far beyond academically than his peers just because the curriculum is so powerful."

WATCH: Teachers and parents have a conversation on virtual learning

"It's not just a correspondence course where you read and mail in the paperwork," says Holmes. "This is a real school with real interactions."