What is Virtual Home Learning? Interview with Melissa Perkins

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: What is Virtual Home Learning? Interview with Melissa Perkins.

What is Virtual Home Learning? Interview with Melissa Perkins

What is Virtual Home Learning? Interview with Melissa Perkins

There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school and so Vicki is excited to talk to a new friend about virtual home learning. Our new friend is Melissa Perkins of Blue Star Virtual Home Learning.

Melissa Perkins is such an interesting person. She is a graduate of Meredith College and a distinguished teaching fellow. Melissa is a world-class educator as well as a former military wife (so has taught all over the world including Central and South America, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia and China). Somewhere along the line, Melissa started bringing her love of teaching online with Blue Star and has grown her organization into a thriving educational resource.

Vicki ran into Melissa in the Facebook world where she enjoys Melissa’s Conscious Educator community.

Melissa started the virtual learning program at the request of her friend who had been homeschooling her son but needed a tutor for her son when she had to go back to work.

Melissa helped him succeed while the family made their lifestyle adjustments. Then her friend’s co-op asked for her teaching support, too. That was three years ago. Since that time, her online home learning platform has gone worldwide. She has virtual offices in Mexico, Malaysia, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya and is working on opening locations in Great Britain, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Australia.

One of the stand-out principles of the program is the concept of Master Students.

These are young people from toddlers thought adult who work at being their own primary educator. They bring Blue Star in to be their guide. Thus, Blue Star is not a school, per se. Rather, it is an “educational ecosystem” that helps develop the hearts, souls and minds of students and their families.

Blue Star is there to enhance their student’s educations- whether they are homeschoolers, hybrid schoolers (those in a traditional school but taking Blue Star courses to develop student interests and abilities). Melissa wants her students to have educational experiences that are:

  • valid
  • relevant
  • enriching

Melissa’s Blue Star works to support their Master Students’ families as well as the students themselves.

Because Blue Star is not a school, they do not issue credit for courses. Not only that, they make sure their families know that they are not in the education business in order to babysit their students. They want families where the parents are “hands-on involved” in their children’s education.

Melissa calls her staff “educational concierges”.

In other words, they provide some academic administration or “TA-ing”. They help with resources and lesson planning as well as courses. This leaves more time for families to be families and enjoy themselves.

One of the virtual learning distinctives is having an education concierge. This person:

  • Answers questions
  • Walk you and your students through the program
  • Have a weekly meeting with families

Melissa’s story

Her call as a teacher when she was five years old when she began teaching her dolls and stuffed animals. In Melissa’s high school in North Carolina, she was part of a program for future teachers. After that, she became a teaching fellow to have her college education in return for teaching service.

She was inspired by good teachers in her home county of Wake County, North Carolina (the home of great colleges, so there were lots of great teachers available to local schools). Her parents were involved in her educational success.

Once she finished her teacher training, Melissa was excited to begin her teaching career. She was saddened by the archaic resources and systems. Teachers were not included in leadership or planning. She felt sad about the communication between schools and parents- so rather than teachers and parents collaborating, there was an adversarial relationship.

Melissa decided to start innovating to make things better. Her first adventure in innovations was taking a group of high schoolers for study abroad in South Africa. Soon she was teaching in Beijing, as well as leading teacher training there. Through her organization she traveled to numerous regional countries and learned from the many school systems she experienced.

The way Blue Star Virtual Learning works like this:

  • Parents decide to own their kids’ education.
  • They contact Blue Star to develop their four areas:
    • Constellation

      • This is comprehensive learning- an entire educational ecosystem, using diagnostics to help know where to place kids, develop schedules and rhythms. This includes:
        • Master Circles
          • Bonding time once a week with students, virtual teacher and student one-on-one to discuss and explore concepts
        • Master Huddles
          • Bonding with four other students and a Master Guide to dive deep into a subject. These are not credit classes but learning opportunities.
  • Skills Universe

    • This program is for young people in a traditional learning situations (schools) but they want more support when they are not in school. Blue Star provides guides (not tutors) that help delve into issues that cause learning stressors through relationships and “drill down” supports.
  • Twinkling Playhouse

    • This program is learning for toddlers. It essentially gives toddlers an in-home pre-school with puppet shows and other learning adventures. Little ones develop early-learning skills in pre-reading and pre-math.
  • SuperNova

    • These are elective courses for teens such as cooking, sign language and conversational Spanish.
  • PLUS, there are courses for parents!

    • Melissa knows parents want to learn also. Sometimes they want courses simply to develop an interest. Other times, they want to develop a career-related skill. So Blue Star offers virtual learning experiences in:
      • A+
      • MAC IOs
      • Pre Nursing
      • GED support
      • AND much more
    • Adult learners tell Melissa that they enjoy the one-on-one attention of the teaching.

Blue Star Virtual Learning gives families, digital and non-digital learning experiences- with lots of outdoor and hands-on experiences.

Interested in virtual learning?

Talk to Melissa Perkins about Blue Star Virtual Learning at the Conscious Educator Facebook group or Instagram and Clubhouse.

Join Vicki and Melissa about virtual learning.

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