Originally aired on KARK-TV – February 12, 2018
AUSTIN, Ark. – Two local children with rare and debilitating health challenges are going the non-traditional route to school.
A virtual school is allowing them to further their education.
Sage Carpenter and his sister Lily follow a specific schedule at home.
Their to-do list on the refrigerator focuses on their studies.
“I now have an essay in English and a project in science,” says Sage Carpenter, Online School Student.
“History and art, science and music,” Lily adds.
The siblings take all the traditional classes. The only difference is that classes are online.
“It’s a lot easier to do it at home,” says Lily.
The Carpenters say the Arkansas Virtual Academy essentially helped them continue their education.
Sage was born with severe food allergies to peanuts, dairy, shellfish and soy, to name a few.
“If I ate anything that wasn’t on that list of things that I could eat, I could just die,” he explains.
Monitoring Sage’s condition and controlling his environment made it impossible to attend school.
Keeping him alive is his mother’s top priority.
“This is beyond anything I’ve ever imagined,” says Siobhan Carpenter, Sage and Lily’s mother.
While his food allergies have gotten better, online school seemed to fit their lifestyle.
“He’s on there with all these other students and they go in to break out chat rooms and they type with each other and they talk on the mic and discuss and problem solve,” Siobhan says.
The teacher is also online answering questions and teaching lessons.
Like her brother, Lily, a 5th grader, also faces some health challenges.
She had gallstones at age two and was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was six. Lily had to wear a back brace for long periods of time.
“There would be some nights where I couldn’t get any sleep because of it,” she says.
A virtual classroom just made sense and these kids are excelling in school and the arts.
The Carpenters also have extra-curricular activities like dance and band.