Madison Lowdermilk is trading in her classroom desk for a laptop.
“I don’t have to [raise my hand]. Nope, not anymore,” she told WHAS11 News.
She is just 11-years-old, with a personality that’s louder than most. She's energetic and enrolled in fifth grade, though school is special, much like Madison.
“You get to talk with your classmates. Not in a classroom, but at home,” she explained.
Madison is enrolled in an online public school called Indiana Digital Learning School. She has autism and is learning at a third-grade level. IDLS tailors the curriculum to her needs. Everything is at her own pace, and in her own space.
“That's what I want from K12, I want to see more good quality in every school,” she said.
The program is free, just like public school. Teachers are state-certified and the curriculum is standardized.
Instead of sitting in a classroom, though, Madison video chats with her teacher and classmates.
“You have a camera that has a little video camera,” she explained. “You can see everyone's face in your class.”
Madison had a tough time learning and making friends in the traditional classroom setting in Clarksville, Indiana.
“It was really, really not that easy.”
Determined to find something different, she started researching and came across IDLS.
”I was searching K-12 commercials and I saw the gloriness,” she said with enthusiasm.
Her older sister said she’s already noticed the progress.
“She's doing the numbers a lot quicker,” Rebecca Lowdermilk explained. “For the longest time, I was worried, is she going to be able to do this by herself if me and my mom aren't there one day.”
Rebecca said Madison is making strides socially, too. She’s no longer opening textbooks but certainly seems to be opening up.
“I adore all of my classmates,” said Madison.
It’s an interactive classroom, with homework included. Her mother said Madison is in school four to five hours a day, at least.
Madison wants other kids who might be struggling to know, IDLS is an alternative that works for her.
“We all know that sometimes it can be hard for all of us, but don't worry.”
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