'Virtual' public schools draw interest of religious families

Published: Thursday, Jan. 17 2013 3:15 p.m. MST

In this March 29, 2011, photo in Durham, N.C., home-schooler Rebecca Lobach, left, studies while mom Mary Lee teaches her siblings.

Gerry Broome, Associated Press

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Our take: In an effort to protect their children from negative experiences and allow more time for spiritual edification at home, some parents are turning to virtual schools. Learn more about the schools in this article from The Christian Century.

Worried about exposure to foul language, immodest dress, peer pressure, and other inappropriate behavior, Susan Brown didn't want her two daughters attending public schools even though she's a substitute teacher in a public school in Minnesota.

Brown initially home-schooled her daughters until a friend told her about the Minnesota Virtual Academy, an online public school that is fully accredited. She liked the curriculum, and as a single mom relying on substitute teaching income, she preferred how the school provided the supplies instead of having to buy supplies herself as a home-school parent.

"You can't give your kids an effective moral and religious upbringing if you only see them a couple of hours a day," said Brown, a Catholic whose daughters, now in the 10th and 12th grade, started virtual school in the second and fourth grade. "When you're at home with them, you can incorporate your beliefs into the day."

Read more about virtual public schools on The Christian Century.

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