CVA offices will be closed from December 24th to January 1st.

Quick Start

Everything parents and students need to know to get started with CVA.

Get Started

What do I need to know first?

Essential information to help you get started.

What do I need to know first?

Grit: The key to your success at CVA

Written Student Learning Plan (WSLP):

  • Please verify that all WSLP courses are correct.
  • We begin processing instructional resources 30 days before courses begin. If you wish to check the status of your student’s curriculum shipment, please see these instructions. 
  • Most online courses do not require additional instructional resources and they are available to registered students on their first day of school.
  • Teachers will help determine whether or not any supplemental materials should be used.

Initial Teacher Contact:

  • Homeroom teachers will send an introductory message prior to the first day of school.
  • Homeroom teachers will call no later than the first week of school to answer your questions and help you get started. 

CVA Help Center

  • This website contains a wealth of information about CVA and there are links to Help Center on each of our websites.
  • Teachers are the first point of contact for support during the school year, but if additional assistance is needed, please submit a support request.

CVA Website is where parents:

  • complete registrations;
  • view school calendars;
  • browse the course catalog;
  • review learning plans;
  • view instructional resources;
  • view progress reviews; and
  • access other CVA resources.

CVA Buzz is where students:

  • gain access to online classes (grades 6-12);
  • submit work samples for text-based courses (grades K-8);
  • view performance in each course; and
  • read school, teacher and class announcements.

* Parents can observe student activity by logging in to Buzz with parent accounts.

i-Ready is a K–12 adaptive diagnostic tool for reading and mathematics that pinpoints student needs down to the sub-skill level. CVA uses i-Ready to determine course and curriculum placement and for ongoing progress monitoring. See the i-Ready Parent Letter for more information.

Office 365 is a collection of services that allows students to collaborate and share schoolwork. The service includes Outlook, Skype, Office Online (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote), unlimited OneDrive storage, Yammer, and SharePoint sites. Students can install the full Office applications on up to 5 PCs or Macs for free. See this support article for more information.

Navigating CVA websites is very easy once you understand a few key principles:

  • Parent accounts only have access to student information on cva.org and the option to observe students in Buzz. Parent accounts will not work for iReady, Learning A-Z and Office 365.
  • We use Microsoft's Single Sign-On (SSO) service for all CVA websites. This means a student can log into one CVA website and have immediate access to other CVA websites while using the same web browser. On shared computers, students must sign out of CVA accounts before other students in the family can sign in.

What's all the Buzz?

Agilix Buzz is optimized to engage students, teachers, and parents in the learning process.

What's all the Buzz?

Agilix Buzz is the learning management system platform that CVA uses to host online courses and facilitate student-teacher communications for online and text-based courses. The Buzz Student Orientation course is available to students with complete registrations and courses on student learning plans will be available on the first day of school.

Logging into the Buzz learning management system

 

What do I need to get connected?

See if your technology meets the minimum requirements.

What do I need to get connected?

High-Speed Internet Connection, such as Fiber, Cell Data, Cable or DSL. Satellite Internet is not supported.

Minimum Hardware:

Microsoft Windows Apple OS X
CPU: Core i3 2.5 GHz or Better CPU: Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz
RAM: 2 GB RAM: 2 GB
Video RAM: 256 MB Video RAM: 256 MB
   

Supported Browsers (latest 2 versions):

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Apple Safari
  • Microsoft Edge

Check your browser here

Minimum Screen Width: 1024 pixels

Mobile Devices: Phones, tablets, and Chromebooks may work with CVA systems, but some elements are incompatible.

Is the learning environment important?

Creating distraction-free zones will result in more effective learning.

Is the learning environment important?

Create a Good Environment for Studying at Home by Art Markman

A core goal of education is to create lifelong learners. Success in the workplace requires an ability to pick up new high-quality knowledge. The foundation for these learning skills is the study habits that are acquired from early in school. After all, most learning in life takes place outside of the classroom.

We use the term study habits all the time, but we do not often take both parts of that term seriously. Clearly, we want students to study, but what about the habit component?

Habits are actions that people perform automatically and without thinking. The human mind is a habit creation machine that looks for actions performed consistently in a particular environment and allows those actions to be performed again in the same environment without thinking. For example, you don't have to think about where the light switch is in your bedroom, how to press the gas and brake pedals in your car or how to type letters on your computer keyboard. You have done these actions so many times that they have become habits.

The study environment needs to harness the power of habits. We want students to think about the concepts they are learning, but we don't want the environment to suggest other actions that will get in the way of studying. Here are three things that can make studying more effective.

Minimize the Habits of Distraction

In the modern world, children are attached to iPods, smart phones, text messages, Facebook and instant message. From early on, children have developed the habit of checking these sources several times hourly. Those habits break into a child's concentration during study, reminding him or her that it is time to check the phone or computer.

Unfortunately, this multitasking gets in the way of acquiring high quality knowledge. It takes time to shift attention from homework to some other source of information and additional time to shift attention back. Not only does that constant shifting influence the amount of time it takes to get work done, it also affects the quality of the study itself.

To create a more effective work environment, create a distraction-free zone during work time. Park the portable technology elsewhere in the house. Keep the smart phones and iPods out of arm's reach. Remove instant messaging from the computer and ban Facebook during study time.

Create a Consistent Work Space for Study

The habits children create reach all the way down to the level of where they should look to find the tools and supplies they need to study. That means children's work space should be set up so that they do not need to search each day for pencils, erasers or calculators. Children who study at a desk should keep that desk set up the same way each day. Children who study at a communal table at home should have a nearby bin or tray with supplies where they can regularly find what they need without having to spend a lot of time thinking about how to prepare for studying.

Find an Effective Location and Posture for Studying

Modern technology is so flexible that it does not place many constraints on where or how children study. It is common to see a child writing briefly at a desk, then working from a laptop computer on the floor, and then lying down on the couch to read a book.

It is hard to maintain the same level of concentration when lying on the floor or propped up in bed as when sitting at a desk. The body's habit when lying down is to relax and sleep. It is not helpful for a child to have to fight that tendency when studying. In addition, lying down promotes passive reading. It is hard to take notes or type while lying down. So students who are lying down are playing a less active role in their learning than those who are sitting up.

The advantage of promoting these behaviors is that after a while the habit system kicks in. Eventually, sitting in a consistently structured environment free of distracting technology is simply how studying gets done -- now and for life.

Do I really need a daily schedule?

Creating a daily routine is a great way to give direction to your learning.

Do I really need a daily schedule?

Creating a Daily Routine for Your Homeschool by Jessica Fisher.

Creating a daily routine for your homeschool can add structure and direction to your homeschool day, help you and your students be more productive, and make the school year more fun.

Ready to teach your kids at home? You’ve researched until you’re blue in the face; you’ve shopped until you’re ready to drop; you’re all tooled up for homeschooling. Now’s when the rubber hits the road.

But, how do you get things done? Where do you start? How do you stay on track?

Creating a daily schedule or routine can be a great thing to add structure and direction to your homeschool day. There are families who will be drawn to a minute-by-minute schedule, while others will lend themselves to a basic outline that can be tweaked on a day-to-day basis.

What you choose will should ultimately be determined by what works best for your family. What works best will change with the seasons.

Yeah, you knew that successful homeschooling was a moving target, right? However, if you don’t have a target, you’ll hit nothing. So, set a schedule or daily routine for the beginning of the year, realizing that it will need some tweaking as the year progresses.

A schedule or routine is the basic guideline for how your school days will go. Here’s an example:

  • BREAKFAST: 7 am
  • Morning meeting: talk about the day, read alouds, etc.
  • Math
  • Science
  • SNACK
  • Reading
  • History
  • LUNCH
  • Handwriting/Language Arts
  • Art/Music
  • Quitting Time and Clean up: 3:00

Time blocking is important, just remember that it may get frustrating if math takes 60 minutes instead of 45 and your whole day goes wonky as a result. Give yourself lots of margin and remember to hold things loosely.

Here are some things to consider as you create your daily schedule or routine:

  1. What time of day are you and your kids strongest?
    Go with your strengths and set up your school day for when you and especially your kids are at your collective best. Homeschooling gives you lots of freedom to choose, particularly what time of day you start and when you call it quits.

  2. What activities take the most energy?
    If Math is a breeze, but Language Arts is a little slower going, be strategic in when you cover each subject. There are several options. Perhaps you start easy to get some traction on the day. Or maybe you tackle the tougher topic first so that the hard stuff is out of the way. Eat the frog, as they say.

    Test out the different theories and see what works best for you. It may be that you just mix it up from day to day.

  3. Are you including regular breaks and “fun school”?
    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Make sure that you are including snack breaks, “recess,” and some more “fun” educational activities throughout the day.

    Play a game like Bingo, Boggle, or Trivial Pursuit Family Edition. Watch a short video on the topic of history you’re currently studying. Mix up the media that you use for learning.

    Get everyone outside several times a day. Consider taking a walk around the block to get the blood pumping and the lungs refreshed. Everyone will feel better for it and concentration will be improved.

  4. Have you scheduled quitting time?
    In my early years of homeschooling, I would decide on the things we needed to do in a day and keep at it, regardless of the time. If we started late, then we worked late. But, when the sun went down (albeit early on a Kansas winter night) and my kid was still doing his math, I realized that enough was enough.

    Nowadays, we try to wrap up by 3:30 at the latest so that we can have an official quitting time. If someone’s been lagging throughout the day, then they do homework later in the evening.

  5. Don’t forget happy hour.
    Since we don’t school in a “traditional” manner, my kids aren’t coming home for an after school snack. That doesn’t mean we don’t need one. My husband is usually home by 3, making it a perfect time to reconnect as a family, switch gears from “working,” clean up school work, and enjoy a healthy snack to hold us over until dinnertime.

    Now, of course, if you’re teaching more than one child at home, you’ll have more factors to think about and more personalities to mix into the fold. Every day looks different when you teach your kids at home.

  6. Make adjustments for special days.
    This year we’ve got five kids in four different away-from-home science classes as well as a Community Bible Study class for everyone. This means that co-op Mondays look different than regular at-home Mondays. The same is true for the other days when we have away-from-home activities.

    This year, in addition to my weekly time budget, I’ve created a time-blocked daily routine for the different kinds of school days. In this way I don’t have to figure out every day fresh. I can just turn to that day in my binder (see photo at top) to get a picture of my day.

    Creating a daily routine can be a great way to give direction to your homeschool days. It just may be the organizational tool you’ve been missing. If you don’t have a routine set up, consider it this school year!

Where do I begin with the curriculum?

You are excited to get started with your curriculum but may wonder where to begin.

Where do I begin with the curriculum?

All Subjects:

Online Courses - CVA offers a number of online courses developed by Florida Virtual Schools (FLVS), eDynamic Learning and Mawi Learning. Please contact your Teacher, Academic Advisor or CVA Support if you have any questions about the following videos.

Calvert - Welcome to Calvert

Moving Beyond the Page

Language Arts:

CVA Language Arts - we integrated several outstanding learning resources to create a complete Language Arts curriculum. See this support article for pacing and additional information.

  • Explode the Code is your phonics-based learn-to-read program. Grades K-2 come with leveled books appropriate for each grade level. However, the first step is to determine which workbook is the best place to start your child. Look for the green, spiral bound placement test booklet and help your student complete the placement tests following the scripted testing instructions, beginning on page 9. Once you know which workbook is the appropriate level, have her start the lessons. If the set you received does not include the appropriate level, contact your teacher to request the correct workbook. Each lesson will take an average of two days to complete. The 1/2 books are review and not required. If you find your student is bored and has proven he/she know the skills but hasn’t finished the workbook, go ahead to to the next book. Your teacher is ready to help if you have questions. 
  • Bob Books are sequential, leveled readers designed to help beginning readers move from learning letters and sounds to reading words on their own. They also help students learn and practice sight words and improve their reading fluency. Use Bob Books Steps for Success to begin. Start with the lowest level included in your curriculum set and when your child masters that set, move on to the next level. Contact your teacher with questions.
  • Soaring with Spelling and Vocabulary builds spelling and vocabulary skills together. Look for the student workbook and answer key booklet. Each lesson includes five days and is designed to be used daily, but you can plan a schedule that works for you. Start on Lesson 1 Day 1 and go from there. Depending on your child’s skill-set and level, you will read the daily lesson to her or your student will read instructions independently. Contact your teacher with questions.
  • Ready Reading will help your child develop strong reading skills in a fun, interactive way. Ready Reading includes the Teacher Resource Book and the student Reading Instruction workbook. Watch the Ready Reading overview video for a helpful overview (note that you will not have access to the online “ToolBox” as this resource is designed for the classroom setting and not needed for our purposes). Look for a printed resource overview and pace chart for additional information and please contact your teacher if you have questions.
  • Ready Writing starts at the 2nd grade level and helps students develop strong Opinion, Informative and Narrative writing skills. Ready Writing lessons are connected to and integrated in with Ready Reading lessons. Each lesson is scheduled for 15 days. Pages A56-A57 Ready Writing Teacher’s Manual pages provides a detailed explanation of the writing pacing guide. Look for the printed overview of CVA Custom Language Arts in your box of learning materials for additional instructions on how to get started. Contact your teacher with questions.

Math:

Saxon Math:

Math-U-See - Using every resource in your Math U See set is essential. You should have received a box with Instructional CDs, Instruction Manual, consumable Student Workbook, consumable Test Workbook, and Manipulative Kit. Parents and students will work together to follow a 3-step learning method: build, write, and say. Lessons in every level follow a similar outline: watch the DVD lesson together, complete lesson example problems from instruction manual together, and then the student will complete the corresponding lesson problems in the Student Workbook independently. There is a total of 30 lessons in each level and each level must be mastered, as verified by lesson tests, before the student moves to the next lesson. There are regular cumulative tests to make sure the student is remembering concepts and each level ends with a final, comprehensive test.  

Science:

Studies Weekly Science is a curriculum for kindergarten only. Simply start at Week 1, read the articles according to the pace guide (or teacher-approved modified pace), and then help your student complete the corresponding activity. Studies Weekly is available as a supplement for grades 1-6.

Singapore MPH Science is an easy to use science curriculum. Each level includes a total of six books: Teacher’s Guide (parts A and B), Student Textbook (parts A and B), and Activity Book (parts A and B). Think of part A as first semester and part B as second semester. Use the Teacher’s Guide’s scripted lessons (written for the classroom but easily modified for the home setting) to guide student learning in the Student Textbook or allow more advanced students to work more independently with parental support. Then have the student complete the corresponding lesson activity in the consumable Activity Book. While most activities are completed with everyday household items, some activities require equipment and materials found in a science classroom. We don’t expect you to purchase these materials. If an activity cannot be completed with items you have around the house, simply skip the activity and move to the next lesson. MPH is an international version, so you might notice the occasional oddly spelled word. Lessons are recommended to be completed sequentially.

Prentice Hall Science Explorer suggestions:

  • Have students read each section and answer the section assessment questions at the end, following the Journey Map sequence.
  • Use the Guided Reading Study Workbook (highly recommended) to guide learning for each section.
  • Look for “Zone Lab” activities integrated throughout the student texts. Some activities will be difficult to do because of the materials required, but many of the activities use everyday household items and are fun and engaging. The Teacher Edition has a quick reference section to “Zone Labs.” Go to the “Activities Section” in the front of the Teacher Guide, right after “Contents.” Some labs are suggested to do before reading, some labs are designed to reinforce key concepts learned, and some labs allow the student to practice specific science inquiry skills. These different labs are listed by sections in the teacher guide: Chapter Project, Discover Activity, Try This Activity, Skills Activity – there is a list of activities specifically designed to be done at home. Hands-on learners may want to center learning around the hand-on activates.

Other tips:

  • Prentice Hall Science doesn’t have set tests. However, the end of each section includes assessment questions (under the heading "Review and Assessment") and the teacher's edition provides the answer keys on the far right hand side of the corresponding page.
  • The answers to the student work books are in the Teacher edition on the right and left page margins. The structure is a little bit different but the answers are all there. Use the corresponding page numbers and the bold headings in the student workbook and teacher edition to locate the answers. Parents might have students check their own work by using the teacher edition. This will reinforce their learning.
  • CVA does not provide the “All in One Teacher Resource.” This is designed for the classroom setting and most of these resources are irrelevant and not necessary to a home study of this curriculum.

Social Studies:

Studies Weekly Social Studies is a curriculum for kindergarten only. Simply start at Week 1, read the articles according to the pace guide (or teacher-approved modified pace), and then help your student complete the corresponding activity. Studies Weekly is available as a supplement for grades 1-6.

The Story of the World - Getting started is as easy as begin reading and/or listening to the CD at page 1 of the student text and following the sequence of the text. Use the provided timeline found in the course catalog as a pace guide or work with your teacher to customize the pace to your child’s needs. The first half of the consumable activity book provides complete learning opportunities with review/discussion questions, narrative summaries of content, and a variety of projects, such as map work and art/craft projects (it is not expected for all of the activities to be completed; be selective). The second half of the activity book contains student activity pages. A test booklet is also provided for a user-friendly format to check for learning at the end of each chapter. Enjoy learning the Story of the World with your child!

History Odyssey - The student guides designed to be used independently with minimal assistance from parent or teacher. History Odyssey was written without the need for teacher guides due to the subjectivity of the assignments that encourage critical thinking (i.e. there is rarely any one correct answer). Answer keys to map work are found in The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. Look for the “Letter to Parents and Teachers” immediately after the Table of Contents of the study guide for instructions on how to get started.

McGraw Hill TimeLinks - This curriculum has a straightforward textbook and activity workbook approach to learning history, complimented with online enrichment opportunities. Each lesson will take a week or more to complete (see timeline in the course catalog). The Teacher’s Edition provides suggested guidelines for teachers in the traditional classroom and will need to be modified for the home setting. However, a typical lesson will include parents and students reading and discussing lesson content together and completing activities outlined in the textbook pages and in the activity workbook. More advanced students may be able to work independently with minimal parent involvement.

Your first day!

How to prepare for your first day of school.

Your first day!

  • Set up your computer for a good beginning. Firefox or Google Chrome web browsers work best for CVA websites.
  • Check your printer and ink and make sure your scanner is ready.
  • You should already have your login information to access CVA websites. See this support article if you forgot your password.
  • It is best not to save your CVA password in the web browser if students share a computer. Students should sign out of web browsers when done with CVA websites so it is ready for another student to use.
  • Become familiar with the navigation of the Buzz learning management system by using the student orientation course and note the welcome section in each course.
  • Develop a notebook or folder that includes:
    • Your CVA school calendar
    • Teachers name(s) and contact information (phone, email). 
    • Login information and passwords.
    • Create a daily schedule and routine for each subject. Discuss these expectations with your child and post the schedule in their study area and in the notebook.
  • Look for a welcome email message from your homeroom teacher. You can imagine how busy the first days are for your teacher. If you call your teacher and they do not answer, be sure to leave a detailed message including your full name and phone number so your call can be returned. Often in the first few days, email is the best way to contact your teacher as the phones get pretty busy.
  • Online students should become familiar with each of their courses. Look for teacher announcements in each course for further information. You will see a list of modules on the left side of your screen. This list is much like a table of contents in a book. Each module is similar to a unit with a number of lessons and activities. You will complete lessons in order. Do not bounce around or skip over lessons.

Your first week!

What to expect during your first week of school.

Your first week!

Your homeroom teacher will be calling you on the telephone.

Refer to your calendar on a regular basis and notice how the schedule you created is working out. The key to success is constantly monitoring how your schedule is working for your student and adjust accordingly. Can they take on more or do they need more breaks?

Initial Contact Activity: Your first submission in Buzz

  • Students using text-based curriculum will receive get-to-know-you questions then begin working on the first lessons
  • Online students will begin working on first assignment.

How to access and navigate online courses:

  • Log into Buzz using your student account and password.
  • Select the appropriate course.
  • On the left side of the screen in the gray bar there is a list of modules. This is similar to the table of contents of a traditional textbook. Module is another word for ‘unit.’ You will find module folders under ‘announcements’ and ‘to-do.’ Please navigate your course from this list and NOT the to-do list. Items in the to-do list open assignments, but not course content.

Your first month!

How to summarize your first month of school.

Your first month!

Your homeroom teacher will schedule your first student led conference and Monthly Progress Review. 

Review the schedule you set for your student, ask yourself the following questions and make the necessary adjustments to the schedule:

  • Was my student stressed?
  • Was my student able to complete the scheduled work?
  • Was my student bored?
  • Could my student complete more work than we scheduled?
  • If my student kept this pace, would he or she finish by the end of the school year?

Always keep track of what your student completed and note his or her understanding of the concepts using grades or some other documentation that works for you.

Discuss with your teacher any questions or concerns you have regarding student progress/pacing and any personalization you think is necessary to meet your child’s needs. Your CVA teachers’ primary goal is to help you and your student be successful!

© 2018 Columbia Virtual Academy