Meet a CPDLF Family: The Henry Kids

We recently sat down with Robyn Henry, mother to two CPDLF students to learn more about their CPDLF experience and why her kids are thriving in cyber school. Delaney Henry is in 6th grade and Brynlee is in 5th grade. Little brother, Wesley, will eventually join them at CPDLF. The Henry family have been with CPDLF since September of 2023.

How did you end up at CPDLF?
Our children started out in traditional brick-and-mortar public school. When the COVID-19 pandemic caused schools to go online, my kids struggled with the "back and forth" situation of being in-person, then online, then back in person. I noticed that they were doing so well in cyber school that we decided to allow them to do online school for a full year.

Once things stabilized with a return to normal in-person school, we sent our kids back to public school for two full years. The girls did well during that first year but we did notice that our kids were ahead of their peers who had stayed in brick-and-mortar school the entire time we had been doing cyber school. The transition back was hard because our girls were used to moving at their own pace: which was faster than brick-and-mortar school could accommodate. Then, we noticed the girls started to deal with some bullying. At the start of our second year back in brick-and-mortar school, it was awful. Brynlee lost her motivation to learn. She didn't enjoy going to school. Her grades slipped significantly and she even stopped reading for pleasure.

We decided to return to cyber for this school year. Brynlee is having a great year and she has returned to reading for the pure fun of it. The in-person situation had just dimmed her light. She's gotten back now. Delaney decided to join her and now both girls are enjoying school again.
Delaney Henry with one of her animals in the show ring.

What was that transition like?
I was a little nervous. It turns out I didn't need to worry. My oldest daughter is not as tech-savvy. It took about a week for her to get into a routine and feel comfortable. She had to learn to be independent. My younger daughter picked it up very fast. Now both know exactly what is expected of them, when to check-in to meetings, and how to manage their assignments.

You both work full time. How do you manage the kids' school schedule?
It's not as hard as you might think. We are able to work alternating schedules so that one of us is always here to supervise the kids. The girls know their responsibilities and take it on themselves to follow routines and join meetings at the right time. The parents really don't have to do much: way less than you'd think!

How did family and friends react to your choice to go cyber?
Every single one of them were leery! Both of the kids' grandmothers were skeptical and thought heading back to cyber was unnecessary. I was brought up in the public school system and my friends got to go to cyber school so they could spend more time in 4H. I envied that because they got to prioritize what they were passionate about and I wanted to do the same. My mother wouldn't let me and worried I'd be a "failure at life" if I went to cyber school. My mission is to prove to everyone that you don't have to go to brick-and-mortar school to be successful.
The Henry kids with their animals in the show ring.

Are there any classes the girls particularly enjoy?
They love them all! They talk about each one of their classes and tell us what they're learning. Delaney took an American Sign Language class last semester. She was so excited about it that she was teaching everybody in the house what she had learned in day. Now we all know a tiny bit of ASL. 

Tell us how the kids stay socialized.
The kids are already highly socialized due to their 4H activities and showing livestock. 4H kids have similar interests so it's easy for them to make friends. Brynlee also made a CPDLF friend and they would video chat with each other after their morning meetings. They even met up in person over the holiday break. The girls are learning how to be social: it's just on a new platform.

Tell us more about the 4H activities.
Brynlee and Delaney show sheep and goats through our local 4H program. CPDLF allows them to be more involved with their animals. We show at the state and national level, so there's a lot of travel involved. The school's asynchronous schedule is really important to us because we need that flexibility. We know when mandatory on-camera times are coming, so we can build a schedule around those and then plan the rest of their time according to the needs of the animals, the show season, and their school work. The wiggle room is appreciated!

The girls get their school work done early in the day and take care of their baby animals in the afternoon. They're able to incorporate the things they're learning into their animal husbandry, like budgeting for shows, taking measurements, and calculating formula for the babies. This year we were able to attend the North American International Livestock Expo. The girls took their computers and were very comfortable attending classes in the Expo hall and doing school work on the grooming stands. The flexibility is perfect for them.
Delaney Henry in the 4H show ring.

Is there anything you'd change about your CPDLF experience?
No - just keep doing what you're doing. This platform and this way of learning is preparing our kids for college. CPDLF's flexibility and time-management sets them up for success in life and post-K-12 education. Children get a schedule and they have to figure out when to study, when assignments are due, how to manage their activities, and when to show up for class time. You're being taught how to think and make your own decisions, so you learn self-advocacy and self-management. That's priceless.

What should families considering CPDLF know?
Just do it! I love being able to know in-depth what's going on with my children's education, what they're learning, and how they're progressing. For the two years they were in public school, we never really knew what they were up to or how they were performing until report cards came out. I wanted to be part of their education and brick-and-mortar school didn't make that easy. Now I am part of their education. If that's something you want, then you should definitely enroll at CPDLF.