Meet Pearson Online Academy's Involved Parents

One of the hallmarks of Pearson Online Academy’s virtual school program is parental involvement. A parent’s (or other trusted adult’s) involvement in learning activities shows children that education is a top priority and helps ensure their success. There are proven benefits to this level of parent involvement in education, such as improved grades and test scores, higher graduation rates, and greater enrollment in postsecondary education. At Pearson Online Academy, the person who supports the child’s education in the home is called a Learning Coach.

  • Lauren

    Headshot of Lauren

    The Bartl family’s goal was to enroll their son “into one of the strongest school programs [they] could find.” Lauren Bartl researched many possibilities, looking for the “program that taught using the best techniques,” with “electives options, language courses, and clubs,” where her son would “be part of a classroom filled with attentive peers.” They decided on Pearson Online Academy.    

    More Flexible and More Rigorous

    The Bartls had always fully embraced homeschooling, never considering “traditional schooling methods” for their son. They actively led the initial years of his education, choosing the subjects, making sure “we weren’t missing any pivotal school-based materials or lessons,” and immersing themselves in the local homeschooling community, including “clubs and groups” for their son. 

    Eventually, Lauren realized her son needed a more robust educational experience. Pearson Online Academy “crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i's we had hoped for,” she said, “while offering more potential for growth and exploration.” 

    The Bartl family recognized the academic caliber of the Pearson curriculum. “The school teaches at the highest levels in the country in each of the four core subjects,” she explains. They’re also thrilled with the teaching and the support. “We have loved all our son’s teachers,” she says, mentioning specifically that his primary point-of-contact “is supportive and available … a fantastic liaison … and talented at teaching in a fun and positive way.”   

    Friends at School, Friends in the Neighborhood 

    As for extracurriculars, Lauren reports “our son is trying out all kinds of things.” This includes both Pearson-related activities such as “gaming and cooking clubs,” as well as activities outside of school: Brazilian jiu-jitsu, soccer, baseball, “creative mode in Minecraft,” and more.  

    Lauren believes that unstructured time is just as important. Her son “loves playing outside in the neighborhood or at the parks with other kids.” The flexibility of Pearson Online Academy makes it all work. “Our son can go to school on the same schedule as the neighboring kids and we make sure he can go out to play with them when they get off the bus.” 

    “Pearson Online Academy has been a wonderful blessing to us and our son.”  
    — Lauren

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  • Amalia


    During the pandemic, parent Amalia Sanchez was unsatisfied with “the way brick-and-mortar schools [were handling] the situation.” She knew she needed to find a new education path for her daughter. The family considered a number of online schools, but felt a strong connection with Pearson right from the start. Amalia’s daughter is thriving as a student at Pearson Online Academy.   

    At Pearson Online Academy, “communication is clear, constant, quick, and helpful,” Amalia reports. “The teachers… really care about my student’s progress. I feel much closer to them than [I did to the teachers at our old] brick-and-mortar school.”   

    Since enrolling at Pearson, Amalia’s daughter has become more “responsible and self-directed… She takes the time to take notes, studying and understanding, connecting the information to her other subjects and to her life.”   

    Amalia is thrilled with how active her daughter is, both in school and out. “My daughter participates in the Drama Club… and helps at Pearson Press, where she interacts with classmates.” Outside of school, she takes music lessons and swims three days a week in the afternoons. She also likes collecting and reading Penguin Popular Classics, which Amalia and her daughter enjoy searching for in used bookstores. 

    “Pearson has helped my daughter… develop skills that will help her for life.”  
    — Amalia

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  • Amy


    Amy Sparks is an Pearson Online Academy Learning Coach for two of her children, Samantha and Patrick Jr. Her daughters, Carol-Anne and Sarah, are recent graduates of Pearson Online Academy. Amy and her husband, Patrick, are thrilled with the quality and flexibility of the program. Learn more about Amy’s story below.

    The Sparks family was first introduced to Pearson Online Academy eight years ago. Amy was looking for a virtual school that would allow her children to spend more time with their father, who works at night. “Family time is really important to us. Patrick teaches [our kids] math and science during the day, and I handle the English and social studies at night—so the flexibility allows us to split our learning day,” Amy says.

    Amy believes the teachers at Pearson Online Academy go out of their way to help and stay connected with their students. Amy shares, “I know my children are learning because their progress is tested three times throughout the year. This process allows the teachers to zone in on their trouble areas and keep them on track.” The flexible pacing of the program has been amazing for the Sparks family—Patrick Jr. was able to move ahead and take an 8th grade math class.

    Samantha and Patrick Jr. stay connected with friends through LiveLesson® sessions and clubs during the day. In their free time, they use Skype to communicate with their friends and enjoy visiting the YMCA.

    After eight years with Pearson Online Academy, the Sparks family considers Pearson Online Academy teachers family. “Staying in touch with them is the key, and knowing that they really are just a phone call away is such a blessing,” explains Amy. She says it is helpful that her children can reach out to the same teacher or a tutor every day when help is needed. “If that teacher is teaching another class at that particular time, my student can jump into a LiveTutor session and still get the assistance he or she needs,” says Amy.

    As for the future, Patrick is anxious about taking coding classes in high school because he wants to pursue a cybersecurity career, and because of the school’s broad selection of electives, Samantha’s aspirations range from clothing designer to chef. Amy and Patrick look forward to what tomorrow will bring for their students.

    We have seen results from Pearson Online Academy. My older girls graduated from Pearson Online Academy in 2011—they received both Senatorial and Marine Scholarships!
    — Amy

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  • Carol

    Learning Coach Carol

    Carol is a Learning Coach for her daughter, McKenna, who is a high school student at Pearson Online Academy. Carol is grateful for the school’s flexible program, which allows her daughter to receive a quality education while maintaining a busy schedule as a professional martial artist. She shares her family’s story below:

    “I learned of Pearson Online Academy from the internet. My daughter and I were researching online schools and came across it. After a great deal of research, we felt very confident in our choice.

    What I like best about Pearson Online Academy is not only the rigorous program but the flexibility to take your studies with you. We often travel at a moment’s notice. Traveling for us isn’t just for pleasure but also for work and McKenna’s martial arts tournaments. My daughter is extremely active in her martial arts (Kuk Sool Won). Most of her activities are in the evening and therefore easy to accomplish. When she has tournaments, we plan accordingly and bring her computer to finish any school assignments.

    I simply ask my daughter’s teachers any questions that I have. Her teachers have been wonderful and prompt with their replies. When I check McKenna’s grades and daily progress, I know with confidence that she is doing well. We have a close relationship, and she’ll tell me if there are any problems. Our favorite subject is history/government. We read together a lot on history because it’s the one subject I have a lot of fun with. I usually will tell her an interesting story behind a figure or time.

    McKenna’s dream is to be a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Pearson Online Academy provides all the correct courses to be accepted into a four-year college or university.”

    As a family who has lived abroad and experienced different cultures, Pearson Online Academy’s independent approach to high schooling is a perfect fit.
    — Carol

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