Monday, August 14, 2006

Christa McAuliffe Academy

The best advice given to aspiring writers is usually - Write what you know. At first glance, I'd say that advice is pretty limiting. The life of a 10 year old is pretty much school, family, and recreation. So, it seems fitting that in reviewing great gear for gifted kids my first post should be about something I know well - my school.

Christa McAuliffe Academy (www.cmacademy.org) is a fully accredited online school that is ideal for gifted students. It is ideal because it offers individual attention from professional educators in an environment that is self paced and focused on special interests.

I began attending CMA in January 2005 after many years of struggling in the public school system. I was a 4th grader when I started and am now in the middle of 7th grade. The courses are a combination of online work - taking classes and tests on a secure website and meeting with my teacher and classmates in a secure private classroom with voice and video capability - and offline work - including research, writing, art and physical education.

The best thing about CMA, from my perspective, is the ability to study things I'm interested in. Just this summer I've learned about African American history in Virginia, capoeira (afro-Brazilian martial art), Shakespeare (I'm reading the Tempest), video game design, and Japanese robotics. Even the things I'm not really interested in aren't too bad at CMA. This spring, for example, I had trouble with 6th grade fractions. Ugh! My teacher met with me online everyday and helped me work the problems until I really understood them.

I think CMA is the perfect school for a talented and gifted kid because it doesn't matter whether you are an overachiever, underachiever, or have special needs like me (I have a mild form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome), the classes can be formatted to draw on your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses.

If you are interested in learning more about the online learning experience that could be your gifted and talented kid's best opportunity at Christa McAuliffe Academy (www.cmacademy.org), tell them Stephen sent you!

Sayonara!