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Frequently Asked Questions

You may have questions about navigating a new learning experience with your learner, and for that reason, we have compiled a list of some of the most common questions we receive about Virtual Elementary School (VES). If you don’t see your question on the list, please contact us and we will get back to you quickly.

Topics

General

VES is an online course provider of various elementary courses. Our safe, online learning environment supports students by providing engaging content that aligns with the Ontario curriculum. Our professionally designed and written courses enable students to develop the skills and knowledge they will need to thrive in a rapidly evolving world.  

Students and learning coaches decide how, when, and where VES courses are completed. VES allows students up to 12 months to complete a course, but students may move through the material at their own pace. Our online courses make use of texts, videos, graphics, interactive elements, and suggested offline activities throughout.  

Anyone may take a VES course regardless of their age, location, education level, or current school. Permission from a student’s main school of registration is not required.

Yes, students from any location in the world are welcome to take courses at VES.

VES offers two pathways to suit your learner’s needs. Each VES course includes a detailed course outline, lessons, practice activities, assignments, quizzes, tests, and tools for tracking student progress and achievement. Regardless of the path you choose, the course and all its contents will be the same. In both options, a learning coach is expected to provide support to the student. 

Independent Use Facilitated Use

This option is for families who want to register for a course and designate a learning coach to take on the role of the teacher. Here’s how it works: 

  • Learning coach guides student through course content 
  • Learning coach supports the student 
  • Learning coach tracks student progress and achievement using VES tools or by other means 

This option is for families who want to register for a course with the added support of a qualified teacher. Here’s how it works: 

  • Student submits work and communicates with teacher via email 
  • Teacher grades student work and provides feedback 
  • Teacher issues progress, midterm, and final report cards  
  • VES issues a certificate of completion 
  • Learning coach provides immediate support 

Students work through VES courses at a pace that suits them within the 12-month time limit. The time that it takes each student to complete a course depends on the learner’s unique skills and abilities, as well as on other commitments the student may have while working on the course(s).  

VES provides a Pacing Tool in each course. This tool can be used to set a schedule for completing the course based on the date by which the student would like to complete the course. This schedule may be adjusted by the learning coach or student at any time. 

All course content, including lessons and assignments, is contained within the VES learning environment except for novels in language courses. Some novels may be available in libraries or through online sources. 

While students will need access to a device that will allow them to view the courses, some additional materials may be required to provide hands-on opportunities for student learning and/or to meet curriculum expectations. Where possible, VES courses incorporate the use of household items only. The course outlines provide information on any additional required materials.

Students can access their courses from any device, such as a laptop or tablet that has stable, high-speed internet access. All software should also be up to date on the student’s device. Students may email VES with any technical problems they encounter. Students should have access to a printer and a scanner or a smartphone camera so they can digitize handwritten work.

Students who register for a facilitated course receive three report cards throughout the course: a progress report, a midterm report, and a final report. 

Progress report 

  • Issued after completion of the first unit 
  • Does not include grades but provides feedback at the beginning of the course 

Midterm Report 

  • Issued after completion of half the coursework  
  • Includes grades, learning skills, and written feedback 

Final Report  

  • Issued after completion of all coursework  
  • Includes grades, learning skills, and written feedback 

When the student successfully completes the course, they receive a certificate of completion. 

We suggest that parents or guardians contact future schools to inquire about their processes and documentation requirements regarding the student’s educational history. VES recommends that learning coaches document student progress as much as possible as proof of course completion to provide to future schools. VES students enrolled in facilitated courses may use report cards as proof, and students in independent courses may use the gradebook and completed assessments as proof. The detailed course outline can also be used to demonstrate that the Ministry’s expectations have been covered in the course. 

Yes. The Virtual Elementary School Bursary Program ensures that Virtual Elementary School (VES) courses are accessible to students from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. The bursary is awarded on the basis of financial need. We issue the bursary three times per calendar year in April, August, and December. One successful candidate will be chosen for each submission period. Students granted the bursary will receive full tuition for up to two independent courses or one facilitated course. This bursary is non-transferrable, and successful applicants must use the bursary within 90 days from the date it is issued. Recipients may receive this bursary only once per calendar year. 

Please visit the Bursary page for more information. 

In Ontario, credits are not issued at the elementary level. However, Virtual Elementary School has been inspected by the Ontario Ministry of Education. VES’s Board School Identification Number (BSID) is 883303. 

Our courses are not offered in French at this time.

Courses

Please visit the Our Courses tab in the navigation bar to view our course offerings. 

Ontario students typically follow this level-age pattern: 

Grade LevelAge (Years)
16-7
27-8
38-9
49-10
510-11
611-12
712-13
813-14

However, parents and guardians may choose the grade level best suited to their learner’s needs at the elementary level. Students may also be registered in courses below their current grade level for the purpose of reviewing, or learners may be registered above their grade level to extend their knowledge base. Furthermore, students may be in a different grade level for each subject depending on how the student is progressing through the courses. For example, a student may be at a Grade 5 level in language but at a Grade 6 level in science.  

We recommend that parents and learning coaches review the course outline of each course to determine which concepts and skills have already been acquired, which ones may be too challenging, or which ones may be appropriate for the learner. We invite you to contact us if you have questions about which grade level would best suit your learner. 

Elementary students who wish to take high school courses must follow the Reach Ahead process outlined here. 

No. Students at a physical school in Ontario study mathematics, science and technology, language, French, art, physical education, and social studies (Grades 16) or history and geography (Grade 78). VES does not currently offer a full elementary curriculum. For this reason, we recommend that VES homeschool families supplement their home learning curriculum with additional resources to include the courses we do not offer. This ensures that all curriculum requirements are met and that homeschooled students are prepared for the Ontario secondary school curriculum. However, homeschooling parents and guardians in Ontario have the authority to determine the curriculum their children follow. 

Yes. VES courses are based on the Ontario curriculum, which is designed to prepare students for the next grade level. VES courses are recognized by high schools across Ontario. Taking courses with VES also prepares students for online courses with our sister school, Virtual High School. 

A student who is interested in taking a course with VES will receive the full course content. Because schools follow the curricula in any order they choose, the structure of a previous course may differ from that of a VES course. However, our courses do allow students flexibility in how they complete their courses. Your learner is free to move more quickly through any content already covered and to spend more time on new content. Students registered for a facilitated course must complete all coursework, including all assignments and tests, in order to receive their report cards. If the student is registered in an independent course, the parent or learning coach will determine which work the student completes. 

No. At the elementary level, students do not write final exams. Once they have successfully completed all coursework, including all assignments and tests, the course is considered complete.

No. VES accepts all students without the need for a placement exam.

The Learning Coach and the Teacher

The learning coach provides immediate support to students throughout their courses. This may include gathering materials, printing, or assisting with technical aspects of the course. The learning coach may be a parent, guardian, or another person chosen by the homeschooling family. 

In independent courses, the learning coach answers content questions, grades assignments, and documents student progress. Assessment tools, such as rubrics and checklists, are provided for each assignment to assist the learning coach in grading. We recommend having the learning coach document the student’s work throughout the course and keep examples of graded assignments. There is no age requirement for the learning coach, but the coach should have sufficient knowledge in the subject area. 

VES courses include a gradebook in the form of an Excel spreadsheet which can be used to track the student’s grades throughout the course. The gradebook assists the learning coach in determining a final grade. The learning coach and the learner may determine the best way to share files, such as through email or by exchanging physical documents. 

Please note that learning coaches are responsible for tracking student progress when students are registered for independent courses. In these cases, VES does not provide report cards or certificates of completion because tracking and achievement are monitored and documented by the learning coach. 

Students are assigned a qualified teacher in facilitated courses only. Students may email their teacher at any time with questions about course content or assessments. The teacher will respond within one day.  

Students who register for facilitated courses receive three report cards throughout each course: a progress report, a midterm report, and a final report. When the student successfully completes a course, they receive a certificate of completion. 

Yes. The learning coach has access to the Learning Coach Portal to monitor the learner’s progress. The learning coach has an associated, secure internal email address which can be used to communicate with the teacher in facilitated courses. In addition to providing access to course content, the Learning Coach Portal enables the learning coach to follow the progress of the student: 

Independent CoursesFacilitated Courses
  • Login history and time spent in the course 
  • Pages/content topics visited 
  • Quiz/test results 
  • Login history and time spent in the course 
  • Pages/content topics visited 
  • Quiz/test results 
  • Assignments submitted 
  • Grades and feedback provided by the teacher 

Registration and Fees

Independent courses are $99 each. Facilitated courses are $399 each. These fees include tax.  See above to learn more about independent and facilitated courses.

No.* The tuition fee covers all fees, including administration costs where applicable.  

*There may be a need in language courses to borrow or purchase novels for study. If a student chooses to purchase a book, that cost is not covered by VES. Some additional materials may be required to provide hands-on opportunities for student learning and/or to meet curriculum expectations. Where possible, VES courses incorporate the use of household items only. The course outlines on our website provide information on any additional required materials. Please note that additional fees may apply if a course transfer is requested. 

Starting a course is easy. Students may register at any time on our website. No documentation is required at the time of registration. 

Following registration, the parent or guardian and student will receive login credentials granting access to all course content by the next business day. The parent will receive credentials allowing access to the Learning Coach Portal, and the student will receive credentials to begin working on the course. To ensure proper tracking of student progress, students should log into their own accounts when they work on the course. The learning coach’s account does not have access to all the tools available to students.

Students may transfer to a facilitated course at any time. An administrative fee will apply, and the difference in tuition will be reconciled. 

Student Records and Support

If you register your learner in a facilitated course and your learner has an existing Individual Education Plan (IEP) through another institution, please send a copy of the IEP to VES for implementation once the student is enrolled. Note that many of the supports typically outlined in IEPs are integrated into our courses, including a tool to read text aloud to students, closed caption video, and the ability for students to integrate flexibility in scheduling and environmental accommodations that suit their needs.

If your learner is or was previously enrolled at another Ontario public, Catholic, or inspected private school, the student will have an Ontario Student Record (OSR), which is a record of the student’s educational progress. If you register your learner in a facilitated course, we will send report cards to the school that holds your learner’s OSR so that the report cards can be added to your learner’s records. If your learner’s OSR is located at a school that the student no longer attends, we will inquire about transferring the OSR to VES. If your learner doesn’t have an existing OSR, we will create one. This OSR created by VES will follow the student to any Ontario school they attend after VES. If you register your learner for an independent course, we will not communicate with other schools or seek to obtain an OSR.