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k12 Virtual Academy... or not?


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#1 mom32boys

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 10:01 PM

Hi everyone,
I usually just enjoy reading posts, but have been debating this issue so much lately that I figured I'd go ahead and post. This last year was our first year homeschooling. My boys will be in 5th, 4th, and 2nd grades next year. Prior to last year, they were all in public school. Our public school experience was fine (our county has highly rated schools) and my children all had good teachers. Our reasons for homeschooling were to spend more time as a family, incorporate the Bible into our children's education, and to individualize their education.

Last year I chose a boxed curriculum - MFW 1st and ECC. I followed MFW's recommendations for English and Math, but ended up adding R&S Math and English half way through the year. While I respect the author of MFW and think the curriculum is well laid out, it just didn't work very well for us. The Well Trained Mind "fits" my educational philosophy better, but I didn't follow it last year.

The dilemma...
I was so frustrated in the spring that I decided to enroll in GCA (Georgia Cyber Academy - uses k12 curriculum) for next year. What worries me is that k12 seems to get good reviews, but k12 public school virtual academies DON'T usually get good reviews. My impression is that doing GCA with 3 kids is going to extremely difficult and time consuming. From what I've read, it seems the majority of people who've tried k12 public virtual academies quit.

Is it even worth trying it? (I have met parents who love GCA, though they seem to be in the minority)

My other option is to unenroll from GCA and try a year of homeschooling via TWM.

Can anyone relate?

Thanks in advance for any input,

Julie

#2 MariannNOVA

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 11:08 PM

Hi, Julie: I'm not sure this will help but you might PM Scarlett -- she does K-12 Virtual or whatever it's called (you see how much I know about it ;))

HTH

#3 Evanthe

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 05:52 AM

I've met people who love K12 also and I'm keeping it in the back of my mind for high school.

Could you afford some K12 classes independently? (I can't - LOL! :lol:)

Also, you have a 5th grader and a 4th grader - have you looked at Oak Meadow? Their middle school program looks awesome. We're going to switch to OM for the middle grades. At 4th grade, most of OM can be done independently by the student (well, alledgedly). OM also seems to work really well with boys and students in the Wiggly Willy category :glare: (I have one of these).

As far as the K12 VA, do they have an informational meeting for parents that you could go to??

#4 mom32boys

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 06:02 AM

Thanks for the advice. I'll look Scarlett up.

Unfortunately we can't afford k12 independently. I haven't looked into Oak Meadow, but will have to do so. I have a Wiggly Willy too!

We did attend an info meeting before we enrolled. The facilitator was very friendly - she made the VA sound really flexible. I asked her about the reality of using the VA with 3 kids; she told me it can be done, but you have to organize your time really well.

Thanks again :)!


Julie

#5 Pamela H in Texas

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 07:01 AM

Julie,

I'm about to go to work so I can't write much but we were VERY happy with our year and a half with TXVA (the Tx Virtual Academy). There were a few pain in the rear things but not nearly as bad as public school. And there is a LOT more freedom and individuality than most people give them credit for. It *is* public school at home, but there are some definite positives.

Here are some threads (there are many more though if you want to do a search):

http://welltrainedmi...&highlight=txva

http://welltrainedmi...&highlight=txva

http://welltrainedmi...&highlight=txva

This one has a long post by me regarding TXVA: http://welltrainedmi...&highlight=txva

HTHs,

#6 michmom

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 07:02 AM

We used K12 independently for a few subjects - I liked it a lot for history and the art that followed the history. From everything I have heard, whether it works as a charter varies widely from state to state. There are Yahoo groups in every state for the charters. There are tons of Yahoo groups apparently for Georgia, many set up by region for those involved in K12. This one looks to be the one that you can join to ask questions to see if it would be a good fit for you so that might be where you can get a lot of your questions answered by those who know more about how it works in Georgia which may be very different from other states.

http://groups.yahoo....VirtualAcademy/

Lynn

#7 newbie

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 07:12 AM

We did independent for six yrs, so not familiar w/public. Freedom is worth it to me. It worked well for both my dd's. And my oldest is graduating next wk. from International Academy which she adores, her love of that school was worth every penny.

Have you considered other virtual schools, like Veritas Press.

#8 Homeschoolmom21

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 07:37 AM

We too are in GA! I spoke to one mom last yr who was homeschooling her two boys and using k12. Her boys were about the age of your youngest 2 and she liked it. There were some group field trips with area moms who were using k12 to Stone Mountain, etc...

We also live in an area with some of the best schools in the state but I am going to use a more "boxed" curriculum.

Have you looked at Sonlight? To me there are alot of similarities between SL and WTM, but SL has the schedule you can buy.

Good luck!

#9 Martha in GA

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 07:48 AM

We aren't going to do GCA this year because my dd really wanted to go back to home schooling -- mostly because she doesn't like all the writing:glare: -- but, to be honest, I loved having it all planned out for me and I thought the curriculum was solid. There are a few things you have to put up with because it is a public school, e.g., CRCT testing and all that goes with that (Study Island because the K12 curriculum doesn't line up with state standards, etc.). I thought it was reasonably flexible, and my teacher was great.

Here's a thought for you, though -- would you consider enrolling one of your children -- let's say your fourth grader -- and let your other children tag along for history and science? Give them their own math and maybe their own language arts. Then you wouldn't have to run 3 full K12 programs. I have only done grades 3 and 4, though -- grade 5 is probably a little more independent, so you might be able to pull it off with 4th and 5th grades. Your other children would just be considered home schoolers...I had my 2nd grader tagging with my 4th grader and it worked fine for me. You can always print extra worksheets, etc. from the computer.

HTH,
Martha

#10 tennismomkelly

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 08:12 AM

Hi Julie! I don't have any advice to offer you but I was in a pretty similar situation to you. Last year was our 1st year homeschooling. We pulled DS out of one of the top ranked schools in the state. I signed up DS for GCA during open enrollment for next year. But, after a lot of thought I decided not to move forward with it. We need A LOT of flexibility due to our travel schedule. Plus, I really didn't want to be forced to use only one curriculum and I didn't see how *I* would find time to incorporate some of the things that are important to me such as Bible and Latin. Basically, I didn't want to follow someone else's schedule and rules.

Good luck! I know that it's a difficult decision.

#11 tennismomkelly

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 01:29 PM

Ironically, I received a phone call this afternoon asking me to sign a petition for the Georgia Families for Public Virtual Education. I know that your kids are younger but I thought that I'd share the info for you to review. :001_smile:

www.gavirtualed.org

Edited by tennismomkelly, 30 June 2010 - 01:46 PM.


#12 Evanthe

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 03:14 PM

Julie,

I'm about to go to work so I can't write much but we were VERY happy with our year and a half with TXVA (the Tx Virtual Academy). There were a few pain in the rear things but not nearly as bad as public school. And there is a LOT more freedom and individuality than most people give them credit for. It *is* public school at home, but there are some definite positives.

Here are some threads (there are many more though if you want to do a search):

http://welltrainedmi...&highlight=txva

http://welltrainedmi...&highlight=txva

http://welltrainedmi...&highlight=txva

This one has a long post by me regarding TXVA: http://welltrainedmi...&highlight=txva

HTHs,


Thanks, Pamela for posting these links! We're in TXVA territory also and always want to keep that option open.

#13 mom32boys

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 03:34 PM

Thanks everyone!! I really appreciate the input.

Pamela, thanks for your input and all the links. Wow - great info!

Lynn, thanks for the link. I joined one group and am in the process of joining a group for enrollees (waiting for approval :001_smile:).

Newbie, I understand about freedom and appreciate the recommendations. Unfortunately our current budget prohibits independent or other virtual schools. There are some hybrid schools in our area (classical model where the students attend 1 or 2 days per week and homeschool the other days) that I'm really interested in, but we can't swing the cost this year.

Angel1970, thanks for your input. Sonlight does look great. I think I would have loved to learn that way.

Martha, glad to hear it worked for you. Thanks for the suggestion - it's something to consider.

Tennismomkelly, it's a hard decision and I can totally understand the option you chose :001_smile: - I got the phone call too. It's funny - the box of 2nd grade curriculum arrived today.

I think the hard part for me is that I haven't tried either type of "homeschooling" - k12 public VA or designing my own curriculum based on TWM. I kind of want to try both. I guess we can try k12 VA and if it's way too much/ doesn't fit well, I can always try it my way.

Thanks again!!!!!!

Julie

#14 littlebug42

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 05:17 PM

I have found for many people, the K12 schools helped them get their feet wet and gain confidence to help them venture out on their own. We just finished a year with K12 OHVA where I had one in 2nd grade and one in K. We are going back to traditional homeschooling next year but I was extremely pleased with K12 and OHVA. I will continue to recommend them to anyone. With multiple students, it will take a lot of coordination on your part and I would encourage you to get them to do as much independently as you can.

I have not experienced it but as an FYI, many parents I met complained about the amount of writing in the upper elementary years. This started to become a problem for me with the 3rd grade LA but we just did a lot of it orally. It would depend on what you are required to turn in to the teacher etc. For us, that was minimal. My 2nd grader was expected to write a 5 point paragraph for her end of the year assignment.

#15 SugarandSpice

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 03:28 PM

Hello, I currently have three children in gca . I home schooled 3 years prior to this! My children are going into grades 4th, 2nd and k . I was also like most of you who wants to incorporate bible into my curriculum . I also was not satisfied with most christian curriculum's . Don't get me wrong but they just aren't good enough, and are not up to all state standards.Even if we don't believe in evolution ,do you want your child to be lost when someone bring's it up? Gca is structured and let's face it most of us are not certified teachers. We do however know what's best for our children. I feel like I can do my best with gca . I seen that some of you don't like the state testing, that was the best part to me! I think if your doing what you should ,you would be proud when your child goes in and blows brick and mortar schools off the map with his or her test score! I will admit gca is a tough school ,and i almost quit twice,but for my own selfish reasons.Like it takes time! Here's some facts that helped me about gca. #1 when you put in attendance if it only took your child 20 minutes to do the lesson you still keep it on an hour if it took one minute longer you add that minute. #2 outing's are sometimes free or with a discount and your not under the eye's of people who want you to change churches .#3 You do not have to do study island if you do not wish to! Or the online teacher classes once or twice a week. Although my kids like both.#4you don't have to do any lessons you don't wish for your child to learn,although it will be on the crct.#5 believe it or not it is republican based learning . which is a must for us! any more questions i would be glad to answer them . We love G C A !!!


Edited by SugarandSpice, 04 August 2010 - 03:31 PM.


#16 ChiMomNP

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 06:45 PM

We used CAVA for 5th grade from last September to December before we moved to Illinois. There is no virtual academy here. It was a great first step into homeschooling for us. It is a lot of work, a huge % in my opinion is busy work. You can alter it yourself, skip things and so on. We could not opt out of study island or the enrichment classes though. My son completed their 5th grade curriculum between September and December last year. I can't complain but it was public school at home and I felt the leash was pretty tight in a lot of ways. I much prefer being free to have complete control over his education.

We are using k12 independently as part of our curriculum now. We pay monthly and it isn't too bad. I'm also using Oak Meadow this year too. They have an online version as well. You might want to check them out.

If the choice came down to sending them physically to public school or using public school at home, I'd choose the at home version. You still get to be together as a family. Looking back it was pretty good. Good luck!

#17 JudoMom

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 06:54 PM

Thanks for the advice. I'll look Scarlett up.

Unfortunately we can't afford k12 independently. I haven't looked into Oak Meadow, but will have to do so. I have a Wiggly Willy too!

We did attend an info meeting before we enrolled. The facilitator was very friendly - she made the VA sound really flexible. I asked her about the reality of using the VA with 3 kids; she told me it can be done, but you have to organize your time really well.

Thanks again :)!


Julie


I know three families that use K12 through VA in my state. The first has boys ages 11, 13, & 15. It's all they've ever used and they love it. The second has 4 kids (8, 10, 13, 15) and they've loved it, too (it's also all they've ever used). Though the oldest started at a charter last year and the next oldest is hoping to start at a charter this year. I know 1 family used it for 1 year with their oldest and then dropped it.

I seriously considered it last year--I was in serious burnout/breakdown mode. I talked to the second family about it, and she told me I most likely wouldn't like it. She said that the people who don't like it are hsers who join after hsing independently. I knew she was right when a K12 rep called me after I looked at samples on their website--I figured if I got that irritated at a follow up call, I probably didn't want to have to field calls from teachers. The 1 family I know that dropped it liked the curriculum, but didn't like the oversight. She had done 1 year of independent hs before she joined.

Since you've joined, I'd go ahead and give it a whirl. Can you withdraw if you hate it?

#18 Sue G in PA

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 09:31 PM

We did K12 with PAVCS and then Agora (2 years) in PA. I do like the curriculum. I found it to be very solid and engaging however there was a lot of what I would call "busywork". I had 3 enrolled at that time with 3 other younger children. I found it "doable" only b/c my oldest dd was fairly independent with all of her work (she was in 4th and 5th). My sons were in K/1st and 2nd/3rd and I combined them in History and Science and Art and Music. That is the only way that I could finish school in a reasonable amount of time and not go insane! We had a fun 2 years until PAVCS started becoming a bit too intrusive and over-the-top in the "extra" requirements. The teachers would assign extra work above and beyond what was already assigned in the curriculum. :001_huh: And the curriculum was full. Also loved the online school and having my day already planned for me. Only thing I miss now!

At the end of those 2 years, I felt confident enough (and fed up enough with the instrusiveness and "brick and mortar"esque feel of it) that we ventured out on our own using WTM recs. We, too, wanted more Bible and a curriculum that taught from a Biblical perspective (esp in Science and History). We used MOH for History and Christian Kids Explore the first year out and then switched to MFW ECC (which bombed here at our house :glare:). Fast forward to today and we are super-excited to have found Heart of Dakota! :D Biblical, Christ-centered, full, challenging and is a great mixture of all that I love about the WTM classical method and the Charlotte Mason method. Perfect fit for us. (Dd13 is using MFW for high school, though, bc I do love that program). I forget how many kids you said you have enrolled, but you might try to see if you can combine any of them for History/Science/Art/Music to make your day a bit less stressful and long. Teach the older ones to use the OLS independently (with supervision of course). Do not try to do EVERYTHING in the curriculum b/c if I remember correctly...there were options. Give it a go since you already have the materials. You might really enjoy it.

#19 mom32boys

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 10:24 PM

Thanks to everyone who wrote today. I appreciate the info and encouragement. We're going to go ahead and "give it a whirl". We do have the option of quitting at any time and homeschooling again if we don't like GCA. That was actually one of my concerns; I know several families who tried GCA and quit before finishing the year!
Thanks again :)!!
Julie

#20 SugarandSpice

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 09:52 PM

Hello , I was reading where you are going to go G C A! Just wanted to give you a quick tip seeing we start school in three day's . I make packets for the week for my children. They all have 3 ring binders with separate folders for each day of the week , I then make daily packets for each folder. This really cuts your time in half. I make packets every Sunday night for the next week . On the area's they do good in I add them a few extra pages a day.Then you can go to advanced prep and it will tell you all of the extra books your child will need for the day. One issue I had was I always had books every where! This took that problem away and cut my time in half with 3 kids! Also don't forget if it only takes your child 30 minute's to complete a subject leaving it on 1 hour is not cheating !!!Move on because the next subject could use that time. Science or History once a day never both!! Only skim over a lot of science and history. My child's teacher said that's what they do in public school. If your child passes the assessment skip it! It's as complicated as you let it be ,don't sweat it !Don't let it get to you if they don't call you the teacher. You will always know you are, trust me. If you don't like something tell them they will work it out!! Let me know if you need any answers to any questions!! :)

#21 cjshima

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 10:30 PM

I have found for many people, the K12 schools helped them get their feet wet and gain confidence to help them venture out on their own. We just finished a year with K12 OHVA where I had one in 2nd grade and one in K. We are going back to traditional homeschooling next year but I was extremely pleased with K12 and OHVA. I will continue to recommend them to anyone. With multiple students, it will take a lot of coordination on your part and I would encourage you to get them to do as much independently as you can.

I have not experienced it but as an FYI, many parents I met complained about the amount of writing in the upper elementary years. This started to become a problem for me with the 3rd grade LA but we just did a lot of it orally. It would depend on what you are required to turn in to the teacher etc. For us, that was minimal. My 2nd grader was expected to write a 5 point paragraph for her end of the year assignment.


I just finished 2 years with CAVA (California). I was very impressed with their curriculum - it is very thorough. I switched to another public charter school this year for a few reasons. The first is that my daughter (entering 5th grade) is dyslexic, and if you attend CAVA you must use K12 curriculum - there is no special curriculum I can use for her dyslexia (This summer I purchased the Barton Reading system - the new school I am going to will let me use this for her curriculum).
The second reason is my son was in 6th grade last year and starting in 6th grade K12 gets very heavy on writing. It seems like every assignment is to write about what you learned. My son is good at math and wants to be an engineer. He absolutely hated all the writing. I tried to cut down on the amount of writing, but it was still too much for him. I also didn't like how they taught writing composition - I think that's one area that K12 can improve in.

Overall I was very pleased with CAVA and if my current school doesn't work out, I will probably go back.

#22 Ellie

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 11:03 PM

I would not enroll in a government-funded program. I prefer to homeschool privately.

#23 JenniferB

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 11:53 PM

We're in WAVA - started in Feb. of '08. We did independent homeschooling before that. I prefer the on-line public school, using K12, to independent homeschooling. It just works better for me, and my oldest daughter who like the feeling of "official" school. We love our teacher, who is the same for all the kids, and we can even keep her all the way through middle school. We have developed a wonderful relationship with her. She gives me the support, kudos, back patting, etc. that I desire, as well as the accountability I need. She also gives the kids the extra encouragement to do their best work, which I appreciate very much. The K12 is top notch, and I believe, on par with TWTM recs.

Regarding the government school issue, since I pay quite a lot of property taxes, I think it's nice to get something back that helps our family. Additionally, the goals and priorities of the on-line schools line up with our family's educational goals, which is sometimes hard to find in a government entity. So, I appreciate that as well.

#24 cjshima

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 08:23 AM

Regarding the government school issue, since I pay quite a lot of property taxes, I think it's nice to get something back that helps our family. Additionally, the goals and priorities of the on-line schools line up with our family's educational goals, which is sometimes hard to find in a government entity. So, I appreciate that as well.


I agree. Many friends of mine are moving from private homeschool organizations to public charter homeschools this year. Economically it makes sense and in the school I am in this year, they give us funds to purchase our own curriculum (the only stipulation being that it cannot be religious based).

#25 Ellie

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 08:46 AM

I agree. Many friends of mine are moving from private homeschool organizations to public charter homeschools this year. Economically it makes sense and in the school I am in this year, they give us funds to purchase our own curriculum (the only stipulation being that it cannot be religious based).

And ultimately, private homeschooles will find it more and more difficult to teach their children at home. It has happened in California, where public school programs proliferate. School districts which have programs put a great deal of pressure on private homeschoolers to capitulate and enroll.

The state has little control on private homeschoolers. It does control public schoolers. Many of us are unwilling to accept for "free" that which limits our choices. Having to use state-controlled instructional materials is a loss of freedom, much more so than having to comply with homeschooling laws, especially for those of us who prefer to use Christian (or other religious) materials.

Yes, we all have the right to make our own choices, but we should carefully consider how our choices may negatively affect others, and, ultimately, our own freedoms.

JMHO.

#26 LisaK in VA is in Italy

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 09:08 AM

And ultimately, private homeschooles will find it more and more difficult to teach their children at home. It has happened in California, where public school programs proliferate. School districts which have programs put a great deal of pressure on private homeschoolers to capitulate and enroll.
.


I'm not sure how one necessarily follows the other here. Tremendous pressure to enroll in public school exists (from the local public schools), independently of a free, public charter at-home program. This is especially true if you go to a school for private, extra-curricular activities. Local teachers and admins have been trying to convince me as to "how much better" my children would do in the local school (the constant comments about my son's incredible handwriting aside) :lol:

We have family and friends who pressure us.

But pressure does not equal the elimination of private homeschool rights. In CA, I thought homeschools were private schools anyhow...okay, splitting hairs. ;)

The only people who have actually said this are people I know directly connected to HSLDA. No one has been able to provide research, proposed legislation, etc. which ties the availability of a any public at-home program to eliminating the private homeschool alternative.

Although, I do believe the state will work to eliminate home schooling if it can -- I'm just not sure it actually has enough support to do so, even in CA. And, most of the people I know in a public at-home charter would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the private homeschoolers to fight any such legislation, because the elimination of home schooling is an erosion of school choice and parental control.

Moreover, the public schools fight any type of charter, especially school at home. (if publilc school at home is there only to eliminate private home schools, and that is successful -- then there is nothing standing in the way of eliminating all home education ... period.)

Everyone who stands on the side of parental rights for the education of our children, and on the side of educational choice, should work to protect the rights of all -- not create division and weaken the whole.

#27 Ellie

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 09:22 AM

I'm not sure how one necessarily follows the other here. Tremendous pressure to enroll in public school exists (from the local public schools), independently of a free, public charter at-home program. This is especially true if you go to a school for private, extra-curricular activities. Local teachers and admins have been trying to convince me as to "how much better" my children would do in the local school (the constant comments about my son's incredible handwriting aside) :lol:

"Free" charter schools are public schools. And that's one of the problems: that homeschoolers do not understand this. See how y'all are being snookered in? It's public school. It's at home, but it's still public school.

#28 LisaK in VA is in Italy

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 10:59 AM

"Free" charter schools are public schools. And that's one of the problems: that homeschoolers do not understand this. See how y'all are being snookered in? It's public school. It's at home, but it's still public school.


Well, if people can't tell the difference between a public school at home, and a private school at home -- they are in for a rude awakening -- either that, or the differences between what is required for a homeschool in their state are so onerous there is virtually no different.

Here in VA, I do annual standardized testing and submit the scores, I also provide an outline of the curriculum (but for 3 children, it still fits on one page).

The VA in our state uses the K12 curriculum, requires the VA SOL tests (which are not worth the paper they're printed on -- they make the CAT look impressive), you must send in monthly samples, have at least once a month meetings with the teacher, plus there are other "expected" study sessions (usually centered around those aforementioned SOL tests), and have all of your shot records in line with public schools (same registration forms and all). Parents must log hours and attendance.

As a homeschooler, none of the above is required. FTR, our VA is very "relaxed" VA -- and people have to pay $500 per student or $1000 per family to participate each year and don't get to keep anything (other than consumed materials).

They have pulled 98% of their students from public schools across the state, and the other 2% were K12 independent users (used the curriculum already, but were paying about twice as much.

#29 JenniferB

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 07:44 PM

"Free" charter schools are public schools. And that's one of the problems: that homeschoolers do not understand this. See how y'all are being snookered in? It's public school. It's at home, but it's still public school.


No snookering going on here. I knew it was public school by the website, the paperwork, the explanation, and every step along the way of signing up. It's stated many, many times that this is "not homeschool."

FWIW, when I made my list of "pros" and "cons" to sign up for WAVA, the fact that my tax dollars were going to be used for something that I needed and wanted, and the fact that we had a public school teacher to help us were two of my top pros. The fact that it was "free" was an added benefit, but I knew that it wasn't "free," as it is paid for by tax dollars, which I will pay whether I use the program or not. Homeschool curriculum is not tax deductible. If it was, that would be another pro on the side of homeschooling for me. The pros outweigh the cons for me with WAVA. It's as simple as that. I'm not duped, or snookered or anything of the kind. I think most homeschoolers are intelligent enough to figure out that the state virtual academy is public school, at least I would hope they are intelligent enough to figure that out. I would question if they are fit to homeschool if they couldn't figure that out. My husband and I made the decision thoughtfully and intelligently. It is the best for our family at this time.

Edited by JenniferB, 18 August 2010 - 07:47 PM.


#30 Scarlett

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 07:57 PM

Hi, Julie: I'm not sure this will help but you might PM Scarlett -- she does K-12 Virtual or whatever it's called (you see how much I know about it ;))

HTH


I'm a little late to this party and haven't read the rest of the posts but I will add my 2 cents.

K12 is a great curriculum. It is classical and it is rigorous.

Your experience using it through a state Virtual Academy will vary depending upon the state. I am in AR. My son is in his 5th year of the program and I really have no complaints. The hoops are minor for the benefit of getting all the free curriculum, free computer and even reimbursement for some internet use.

Even though this makes my son a 'public school student'....I just shrug and say call him whatever you want....he is with me all day and I am teaching him what I want at the pace I want. I run the show, I don't let them run me. I don't know how anyone could do ALL of the K12 lessons....it is overwhelming....I assign what I think is appropriate for my son and no one has EVER said a word to me about what we do. For instance, he takes piano so we barely even glance at their musc lessons....In art....we do about half of the projects...same with science.

So I think in order for you to determine if you can handle the GA VA you will have to just....try it. How is that for scientific? I don't really see what you have to lose.... I love the fact that everything is preplanned and I love the progress and attendence program where I can see how we are doing at any moment.

I love K12. A friend even bought it independently on my recommendation when she couldn't get in to our VA.

#31 cjshima

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 05:52 PM

Even though this makes my son a 'public school student'....I just shrug and say call him whatever you want....he is with me all day and I am teaching him what I want at the pace I want. I run the show, I don't let them run me. I don't know how anyone could do ALL of the K12 lessons....it is overwhelming....I assign what I think is appropriate for my son and no one has EVER said a word to me about what we do. For instance, he takes piano so we barely even glance at their musc lessons....In art....we do about half of the projects...same with science.


When I used K12, I definitely adjusted the curriculum to fit my children's learning styles. I learned that it was OK to mark a lesson complete even if I didn't do everything they said to do. Sometimes just going over the lesson orally was all that was needed. I also did not do every art and science project - our days would have been too long! That's the trick with K12 and not getting overwhelmed with it. There's a lot of "meat" in their curriculum! (For my son who was very good in math, I basically just quickly went over the lesson and then gave him his assessment)

#32 Scarlett

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 06:20 PM

When I used K12, I definitely adjusted the curriculum to fit my children's learning styles. I learned that it was OK to mark a lesson complete even if I didn't do everything they said to do. Sometimes just going over the lesson orally was all that was needed. I also did not do every art and science project - our days would have been too long! That's the trick with K12 and not getting overwhelmed with it. There's a lot of "meat" in their curriculum! (For my son who was very good in math, I basically just quickly went over the lesson and then gave him his assessment)


Exactly. It is kind of what I don't like about it....I have to really struggle with wondering if I am doing 'enough.' It would be nice to have a curriculum that was easy to complete completely, ya know?

But it doesn't matter....as I said before, my son is getting educated, his public school teachers are happy...it is all good.

#33 cjshima

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 07:09 PM

Exactly. It is kind of what I don't like about it....I have to really struggle with wondering if I am doing 'enough.' It would be nice to have a curriculum that was easy to complete completely, ya know?


I can sympathize with you!! :001_smile:

#34 SneguochkaL

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 12:32 AM

My daughter was using MOVIP program and it was very flexible for us. I didn't feel any pressure. We chose subjects most of which were electives. Being a K-er my child was working 1 grade ahead in math, music, social studies, foreign language. She had excellent foreign language teachers who work with her additionally( she wanted to learn how to read in French so we coordinated with her French teacher and they read few nice children story books together).

#35 mom32boys

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 06:49 PM

Thanks to everyone who gave insight and advice.
We are finishing our first week with GCA. It's quite overwhelming - doing 3 different grade levels. Georgia doesn't even provide art, music, or a foreign language (supposedly they spend a lot less per student than most other states) and I still had trouble getting it all done. I think, like many of you said, that I have to just use the curriculum the way I want to and check off the assessments. Anyone have additional advice on using k12 with 3 different grade levels?
Thanks :001_smile:,
Julie

#36 MomLovesClassics

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 08:08 PM

Sorry I know I will not be much help, so not sure why I am responding. Maybe I want to share my experience. I have two kids enrolled in GCA and this is our first year with the program. I was very closed minded knowing I prefer to homeschool privately. This has not been an easy week at all. I would have prefered GCA giving parents the handbooks before the first day of school. I would have prefered they loaded courses or at least loaded introduction to online learning before the first day of school. Those things alone gave me a meltdown trying to juggle that with 2 students on one computer. Then to top it all off OLS was down all day on the first day of school, plus repairmen appointments so we all had a meltdown. My husband decided to take a couple of days off to help us get organized, it seemed that made things worse instead of better. For whatever reason the kids have the idea if Dad is around, no one has to do any school work. GCA no longer does placement test, and goes strictly by age grade level, so that is a downer. The oldest child has been more than helpful, he does his work without my telling him to or my standing over his shoulder. I know the work is too easy for him, and he is being lazy by not moving forward and just doing the minumum. I explained he needs to step it up a notch and try moving ahead a bit to where he is learning something instead of the constant review, but he is doing the required work without being told. My youngest child can be argumentive, she does not understand why she has to do things she finds much too easy. All I heard one day was "I know this why do I have to write it down?" She will even tell you what the answer is as if you are the one who needs to learn it. Our teacher did tell us we can take semester test to complete the course and get the new one. I use more than one browser on the computer, that makes things easier. Another computer would make things much easier but that is not in our budget. If you do not have at least 2 computers for 3 kids, I would be persistent they send you a computer. We wanted to get two solid weeks under our belt, and make sure things are going good before we add in any supplements like art. it is not as bad as I thought it would be, and the curriculm is of good quality. My oldest child does hate the social studies, and found the elluminate sessions boring. I told him not to worry, I could find some good history books for him to read. If I had one more child in this program, I think it would be even harder on me. With time I think it will be easier. Sorry to be so long winded. My advice is have enogh computers, and use more than one browser at a time.

#37 mom32boys

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 05:46 AM

MomLovesClassics,
Thanks for the advice. We do have 2 computers and have opened several browsers. I agree with you - GCA not loading the classes until Monday, technical problems Monday, plus all the elluminate sessions this week definitely contributed to a very rough week. It surprised me that math, history, and science are all online. I knew some of the program was online, but didn't expect my kids to have to read most of the history and science off the computer screen. I assumed the online parts of the lessons would be more interactive than they are so far. I called a friend today who used GCA a few years ago. She told me that after a month of trying to follow the curriculum, she started doing it the way she wanted to. For example, she typed each child's spelling words into spellingcity, then had them take the spelling test without doing the k12 lessons at all. I guess there's just a big learning curve on my part.
Thanks again :),
Julie

#38 MomLovesClassics

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 07:31 AM

I have had a parent tell me that as long as they get the material from some source, even if it is not K12 source and they can pass the assement it is ok. I say do what works for you. I do think we will start tweaking thing some soon. They say it can be individualized, so we will use it how it works for us. I am just glad we made it through the week.

#39 SugarandSpice

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 08:06 AM

I agree rough first day! Just remember you are in control,It will settle down. Something that makes me know that everything will be fine is my teacher saying ( If your child does a 4th of this curriculum they will pass the c.r.c.t). My child was behind last year at the start of school. He was suppose to be 3rd but I wanted 2nd based on my knowledge of a difficult curriculum . He passed on 3rd grade level at the crct (doing 2nd grade work) and now is in 4th this year! That to me shows. We only completed half of the curriculum. I stressed all year (dont do it)! We had all of our hours and 180 days! I also did not even make him write but half of what he was suppose to , My teacher said that was normal not cheating .Hope this helps.:)

#40 LisaK in VA is in Italy

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 09:10 AM

I have 3 children in the VA Virtual Academy. Although, ours sounds a bit more organized than GCA! (We received our materials at the beginning of July, and were able to log-in to VAVA 2 weeks before school starts...but I'm still not organized enough :tongue_smilie:)

My children are in grades 6, 3 and 2. We have all subjects except foreign language -- but my oldest daughter will probably be starting one in October, not sure about my oldest son (6th grade) we'll have to see how he's doing.

We have 3 computers, it was quite a juggle with 2.

I do have a schedule (broken into times of the day), with each child's name owning a "column." I have tried to arrange each child's schedule according to the amount of teacher time/computer time/child's needs.

Elementary math is now much more computer-intensive, so I have to schedule lessons that are not computer-intensive opposite it (While 2nd grade boy does math, 3rd grade daughter does penmanship, spelling, vocab, comp & grammar -- and vice-versa) My oldest also starts with math, so that he is "fresh" and gets it done. He has his own schedule, which we go over on a weekly basis, and then again at the beginning of each day. I check his assignments (especially math) while other children are doing seatwork portions of their lessons. My oldest finishes up with science, so that if there is an experiment, we can gather all of the materials and have it ready to complete when his father gets home (when I have back-up)

I also took some time to go through the student pages for the various subjects and "pick" the activities we were going to do. I used a highlighter throughout the book, and especially for my work-skipping oldest -- highlighted EVERY part of what he was to do, so that there were "no excuses" of, "I didn't know I had to do that too." You can move through those pages pretty quickly in a few evenings.

The children all do their art lessons at the same time of the day (only one big mess), my younger two do music together, and I alternate history/science with literature for my younger two. We do "big" science experiments on Saturday.

As far as organization goes, my 2nd grader has primary composition books for his reading notebook, history notebook, science notebook and dictation. I find they get less abused than binder paper. Also, he draws more of his narrations -- and I like that it has space for a picture.

Both my 2nd & 3rd graders have graph paper spiral bound notebooks for math (again, easier to do the daily work, no missing pages, plus helps reinforce spacing and size.)

My 3rd grader has an English notebook, a science/health notebook, and a history notebook -- these all use dividers and notebook paper.

My oldest has a science/health notebook, history notebook, English notebook, math notebook, a Bible Study spiral notebook -- all with dividers and notebook paper (where necessary). My oldest is learning to take notes on the computer for science and history... does composition drafts and literature assignments on the computer, but handwrites math grammar, Latin, Bible, final comp. drafts, and all worksheets. We print out his vocabulary and unit notes for the unit review days, and then they go into the notebook.

[B][U]Assess Out[B][U] Do not be afraid to "skip" meaningless busywork, or take assessments to "finish" a course. I'd even be so bold as to say, if you don't have to turn it in -- and your child knows the concept (such as math), mark the assessment complete and move on! I spent a semester last year doing each and every math assessment for 2nd grade math, despite the fact my son knew 90% of the material. He completed both 2nd and 3rd grade math last year at a break-neck pace, and I am so relieved to finally, finally only have to "worry" about ONE math lesson a day.

Doing all of the assessments is tiring. So I am voting to do what you "have" to for record keeping purposes, and skip the other material altogether!

Not having the placement tests is a royal pain. Our school just had a new policy change that says students must begin in their grade level for a few months, before being moved up. This is going to create problems for my 4yo daughter when she enters K (she is currently reading CVC words, and doing simple math...I am hoping I can have her evaluated EARLY, because it will be *awful* for her to be doing the K level phonics and math program, if we can't have her moved forward quickly, I will not put her in the VA in K, and will instead wait until she is in 1st grade, when we'll assess her out of everything very quickly. Sorry, I just don't feel the need to do "finger-stretching" blend exercises with a child who is reading short chapter books. KWIM?)

Anyhow, I hope this gives you a general idea of how we get it done with 3 in the VA. We do also have a family Bible time, I'm working with my 4yo, and we do Song School Latin with the 3 youngest.

It's a packed schedule, but my oldest is usually done by 3pm, and my younger two are done by 1:30 (although I have their schedule built until 3pm).

LMK if I can help in any other way.

Lisa

#41 cjshima

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 11:38 AM

I have had a parent tell me that as long as they get the material from some source, even if it is not K12 source and they can pass the assement it is ok. I say do what works for you. I do think we will start tweaking thing some soon. They say it can be individualized, so we will use it how it works for us. I am just glad we made it through the week.


I was told by the teacher going into K12 to "teach to the objective". Look at what the child is supposed to learn for that lesson and then it is up to you how they learn it. You can use what they give you, or if you have something else you want to do, go for it!
In CAVA (California), they didn't require the elluminates, so my kids never did them. They preferred to do their work at their own pace. I did attend a "community day" once a week where their teachers taught some of the math and language arts lessons. It was a good source of support, as I was able to talk to other parents every week and figure out the best way to teach the kids.

#42 mom32boys

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 01:44 PM

Lisa and cjshima - thanks for the advice :).
cjshima - thanks for the advice on teaching to the objective - I think I will do that. Our elluminates aren't required either - as a newbie, I just felt compelled to attend all the orientations - hours worth :)...
Lisa - I really appreciate you sharing the details of your day/ setup. It does help to get a "picture" of how someone elses day flows.
Thanks!!!!
Julie

#43 Scarlett

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 02:23 PM

I also took some time to go through the student pages for the various subjects and "pick" the activities we were going to do. I used a highlighter throughout the book, and especially for my work-skipping oldest -- highlighted EVERY part of what he was to do, so that there were "no excuses" of, "I didn't know I had to do that too." You can move through those pages pretty quickly in a few evenings.
Lisa


Great idea! Thanks!

#44 cjshima

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 03:01 PM

Lisa and cjshima - thanks for the advice :).
cjshima - thanks for the advice on teaching to the objective - I think I will do that. Our elluminates aren't required either - as a newbie, I just felt compelled to attend all the orientations - hours worth :)...
Lisa - I really appreciate you sharing the details of your day/ setup. It does help to get a "picture" of how someone elses day flows.
Thanks!!!!
Julie


I did the orientations also. They did help with navigating the OLS :001_smile:

#45 jtcarter14

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 01:12 PM

So, how did the school year go with GCA? We are thinking about starting it this year. I posted with some questions on the k-8 board this morning.
Thanks!

#46 mom32boys

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 03:07 PM

Jessica,
We actually only did GCA for a few weeks. This last year was our 2nd year homeschooling (I used a boxed curriculum the first year) and I had been deciding between GCA and using the Well Trained Mind. I loved k12s literature program. Science seemed good. I didn't care for their new math program, and I liked the content of history - but not that my kids had to read the information off of the computer screen (at least for young elementary age). I didn't like the testing emphasis either. Basically, I figured out pretty quickly that GCA wasn't the route I wanted to go.
A good friend of mine did GCA with all 4 of her children last year (2 elementary and 2 middle school). She quit in December because of all the emphasis on testing/ CRCT - the online elluminate classes for the kids to attend several times each week were mostly geared toward CRCT testing. I know public schools usually focus on that from January through March, but GCA was all year round.

I do know people who use GCA and like it. Most of them use what they want to - pretty much do their own thing and just jump through the hoops when necessary. I'm too much of a rule follower to do that (thought when I told one of the teachers that we were quitting - she begged me to stay and told me to just do my own thing and check off the lesson assessments).

I guess to sum it up. GCA didn't work for us, but I was pretty quick to bail since it wasn't like I thought it would be and I had another option I was interested in trying.

Julie


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