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Goshen teen takes learning by the reins

Many students will get out of bed on Monday morning in a hurry to catch the school bus to travel to a brick and mortar building. For one Goshen teen, her classroom is virtual. Mia Miller is one of many students who attend Indiana Connections Academy.

Miller's school day starts at around 8 a.m. She logs into her virtual classroom where a series of lessons are laid out for each school day.

“There’s this thing called a live lesson I have about everyday usually for about an hour and that’s where the teacher goes in their “live lesson room. It would be like teaching in a real classroom,” Miller said.

For Miller's busy schedule, online learning is a viable option because she is able to work at her own pace.

“You can kind of do your lessons as time works for you. You can do a lot in one day or you can spread it out as they have it for the whole week,” she added.

She does 30 hours of class work each week. She typically works ahead during the week so she can have an extra day off.

“Most of the time I get everything done so I don’t have to do school on Friday or much school and I can be outside,” Miller said.

The online school is tuition-free and Kindergarten through 12th grade. It was founded in 2010 by the Indiana Department of Education as a Virtual School Pilot Program. The school allows for students to be home-schooled without parents having the burden of teaching.

“This has really worked well for us. It allows her to do her passion and her grades are amazing,” said Mia's father Dewey Miller.

Miller chose this type of learning because she wants to be a rodeo star. Each day after she finishes her schoolwork, she goes outside to her barn and trains her horses. She competes in rodeo competitions where she does barrel racing, breakaway roping, goat tying, and pole bending.

Her hobby began years ago when she was in 4-H and that hobby quickly turned into a passion.

“One day I was like, ‘I kind of want a horse and my dad was like okay,’” she said.

Her future goal is to win a rodeo scholarship so she can compete in college. Ultimately she hopes to become a professional in the sport one day.

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