Family feels CCA provides perfect environment to educate their kids

The Fergusons were looking for a school to integrate home life into their children’s education.

For the Ferguson family, finding the right school is all about having the ability to instill their values and beliefs into the fabric of their children’s education. Jen was home-schooled when she was a child, and she wanted to integrate home life into her children’s learning. 

“I had such a good experience once I came out of that with my own family,” Jen said. “It brought our family together, and I wanted it for my kids and my family.”

However, she wasn’t sure how she would manage being a teacher for all her kids – and all of the responsibilities that come with it: creating lesson plans, grading schoolwork and having to master all of the content she would be teaching to her children. She wanted to find a solution that allowed her to oversee her children’s schoolwork but also provide enough time and flexibility to manage her household and take care of her family’s needs. 

That’s why cyber school at CCA has been a perfect fit for her family. 

“You have so much support,” Jen said. “The cyber school provides so much support with the teachers who are qualified to bring the curriculum across. It’s not just me presenting the information to my kids.”

Family background

The Fergusons live in Watsontown, Northumberland County. They have three children enrolled at CCA. 

Hailey, who is 13 and in seventh grade, is the artist. She draws and paints continuously. She’s explored different art programs through CCA. 

Their second daughter, Kiley, is in fifth grade. She is the horse rider and is part of an equestrian club. She wants to own a ranch and have horses. She wants to feed and board horses. She likes to be outside, get muddy and climb trees.

Their son, Xander, who is 10, is in fourth grade. He is interested in geography. He will look up facts and statistics on countries, and he takes an atlas with him everywhere he goes. He loves random facts and trivia. He loves math. He will want to pursue something with geography, travel or numbers.

“They are so vastly different – even though they are under the same roof,” Jen said. “But, because of the flexibility of the school, they have been able to pursue those things.”

Jen said it’s validating to have a partner in education with CCA.

“To see them thriving makes you feel like you’ve done something right. They are growing. They are independent. They have opinions and are confident.”

Search for the perfect school

The Ferguson family looked into every possible option when they were searching for the right school. They went to home-school conventions, looked into private schools, went to seminars and read books on the benefits of keeping their children at home to do school. They felt CCA provided the perfect environment to educate their kids.

The Fergusons have been with CCA for eight years, and Jen serves as a family mentor at CCA. She enjoys helping other families get acclimated to cyber school and providing some of the helpful guidance she received when she was new to the school.

Jen said one of the benefits of doing cyber school at CCA is that the curriculum is provided to you. Also, there’s no need to fret about functioning as your child’s teacher. CCA provides a robust staff of state-certified and highly qualified teachers to guide your child’s education. 

The Ferguson family takes full advantage of the opportunities CCA provides to its cyber school families. They attend a number of field trips, and their kids participate in clubs and visit their regional Family Service Center. There are plenty of opportunities for kids to socialize and enjoy enriching, engaging educational experiences.

“I think the socialization argument is such an old, tired argument,” Jen said. “Just like anything else in life, you make it what you want it to be. CCA provides all kinds of options, from clubs to field trips. My kids are able to interact with students in their lessons. They are definitely not alone. CCA presents all kinds of opportunities, and it’s up to us as parents to engage and take part in those opportunities.”

The Ferguson children also are involved in a number of activities outside of school. They play basketball and take horse riding lessons.

Another benefit for families is that CCA offers community class reimbursement for activities a student is involved in outside school to offset some of the costs. 

Jen said she also has been impressed with the technical support provided by CCA.

“The tech support is great,” she said. “I can call and say this isn’t working. If you were on your own in a traditional home school, you’re fully responsible.”

Jen and her husband initially had a different approach regarding what they wanted as the best educational option for their kids. But CCA has provided the perfect mix to satisfy their needs.

“It was the blending of my idea of home school and having the kids home with me,” Jen said. “He had some fears that it would be a lot of responsibility for me. He didn’t want me to have to manage all of that. But as he researched it he realized this is probably best for us to keep them home. Best for our kids to instill our value systems and protect them.” 

Helping other cyber school families

Although the Ferguson family has had a relatively smooth transition to cyber school, Jen said in her role as family mentor for CCA she hears a lot of reasons that traditional school isn’t working for families and why they are desperate to find a school that works for them.

“The top reason, I’d say 85 percent of the families I talk to, is bullying,” Jen said. “That is the top reason as to why they have taken their child out of the district. You have other families who have health issues. Their child has missed too many days of school, and CCA has given them the flexibility to do school while they’re traveling to doctor’s appointments.”

That’s why providing a safe environment for kids to learn from their home and the flexibility to do school at a time that’s convenient for them are two of the biggest advantages of doing cyber school at CCA.

“One of the benefits to keeping your kids home is catering the education to what helps them thrive,” Jen said. “Not all kids learn the same. CCA has been a big support for those families.”

Jen said she has seen tremendous growth in her children – as students and as people academically and socially – during the time they have been enrolled at CCA. Trying to juggle managing school for multiple kids can be challenging, but CCA provides a tremendous amount of support for parents and learning coaches.

“It can be challenging and a little bit crazy in a day,” Jen said. “Thankfully, the school is really good about keeping communication open with parents. It’s a juggling act sometimes, and that’s the best you can do.”

Unlike parents of students in a traditional school setting, CCA parents can see what their children are learning through edio, the cyber school’s learning platform. CCA provides Live Classroom sessions for students in edio. All of the lessons are recorded, so it is a wonderful tool for students who might not grasp a particular concept. 

Students can rewatch the lesson to see if they missed something. The recorded lessons also are helpful for parents so they can see how the teacher is presenting a concept and try to aid in their child’s comprehension of the material.

“All of the lessons are recorded,” Jen said. “If the time doesn’t work for you to tune in for that lesson, you can go back and watch it. I love the flexibility. Our family enjoys flexibility. There are so many resources available at CCA.” 

Family mentors provide a lot of support. New families receive a letter with the name of a family mentor in their area if they need help with anything as they adjust to learning in a cyber school environment. 

“As a family mentor, I always say the first three months of joining cyber school is a learning experience,” Jen said. “I can ease their fears because I’ve been there. You will settle into a routine. I’ve also provided a listening ear as families are going through things beyond school.”

CCA provides great support network

Jen said what really makes CCA special is the level of support the school provides to the students and their families. 

“Cyber school at CCA has given us such a great community and support system,” she said. “They sincerely care about the family’s success and the student’s success. They go above and beyond to make sure the entire family is being served and given the support they need. It’s really become like another family for us.”

The Fergusons believe education is not one size fits all. They believe in the power of giving families a choice in where their kids are educated and what they are learning.

“School choice is vastly important,” Jen said. “It’s about freedom. It’s about how we raise our kids. Not every kid learns the same. By having school choice, that’s freedom to raise our children the way we want to raise them. It’s important to instill our value system that we have into the lives of these kids. The freedom to say I want to do what’s best for my kids.”

CCA is committed to helping families find what works best for their children. Children want independence, but parents can still oversee their work as a learning coach. That’s the solution that is working for the Ferguson family.

“CCA works for my family because of the flexibility, the quality teachers and the way to pinpoint my kids’ interests and use the curriculum and teaching staff to home in on those interests and skills,” Jen said. “CCA strives to help every child be successful. They go above and beyond to meet the interests of not just the child but the entire household.”


High School Learner