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Connections Academy and K12 Pros and Cons


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#1 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 02:43 PM

I realize that both are virtual public schools and I am not looking for reviews of how much you have to answer to a teacher or take state tests. I am looking for honest opinions of the actual curriculum, assessments, and general day to day aspects of using the curriculum.
We have already been accepted into k12 and we are applying to connections as well. We are sort of hedging our bets as our state has a limited number of slots and may have to have a lottery. k12's registration opened up a month earlier so that is why I know we have spots in k12 if we choose that route.
I have a kindergartener, 4th grader, 6th grader, and 7th grader. They are all pretty much on grade level.
We are finishing our 3rd year homeschooling and I know that if I don't switch to a virtual school then they will return to public school next year. I am burned out.
I am really concerned about the kindergarten for both programs. My ds has already completed kindergarten at home and will repeat with virtual school b/c of the birthday cut-off. Connections tested him for 1st grade and I believe will accommodate him with academically appropriate material. k-12 told me to just have him work through the assessments quickly and put in for 1st grade once he completes those.
I have friends that use both in my state and overall they are split on whether they like them. I have some friends in k12 that rave about it and some that use it that said they will not do it again and the same goes for connections.
I know every state is different but I believe the curriculum is pretty much the same. I would really like some honest reviews of the actual curriculum not about dealing with it being public school at home.
Thanks in advance.

#2 jujsky

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 03:59 PM

We've used K12 independently for 1st-3rd grade. The curriculum is challenging and thorough. I feel their math is somewhat weak (it's typical PS math) but everything else is good. I like their history program, which follows the 4-year cycle for 1st-4th grade. Language arts is very thorough, and includes grammar, handwriting, writing, and reading. This year for 3rd grade, the kids got to pick 4 novels from a long list of books to read. I liked that. It gave them some control over what they were learning, and not all kids in each grade are capable of reading the same books. Some need easier books, while some need more of a challenge. Science is pretty typical science. It's a little more animated in the earlier years than it is in 3rd grade. They do a decent job of presenting a wide variety of topics. Art is nice. There is a big focus on art history. I do wish the projects were a bit more step-by-step for my non-artsy child, and my artsy-but-perfectionist child (if her work doesn't look like the sample, she flips out). DH does music with the kids because I am not musically inclined and couldn't handle it. He likes the program and feels it's a fairly complete music appreciation class. Are there specific questions you have about the curriculum?

#3 overpeople

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 04:53 PM

We have 'used' both Connections and K12. We much prefer K12. We actually never used Connections because we found the interface too confusing, so we cancelled Connections and tried K12.

We then quit K12 too, but from what we did see here are our thoughts.

  • The K12 interface is MUCH easier to use.
  • The K12 curriculum felt less like public school (more creative).
  • We loved K12 history.
  • K12 came with lots of good books for reading.
  • K12 was very flexible with placing our kids.
Hope this little bit of info helps.

#4 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 06:16 PM

I guess one of my main concerns would be if a child can just keep going through assessments with K12 then theoretically they could bluff their way through the work. I know with Connections that they have portfolio assignments as well as receive letter grades. It is my understanding that in K12 they can keep taking the assessments as many times until they get an 80 to move forward.
I guess my main reason for doing virtual would be to have actual feedback from a teacher and have a teacher actually evaluating my children's work. I am not sure K12 will do that compared to what I have heard about Connections.
Does K12 take them through the writing process and evaluate rough drafts and give helpful edits and corrections and then they do a final draft on written work? I am really speaking specifically about my middle school age children benefiting from specific writing guidance and instruction from someone besides myself.
I would like to hear about the middle school years if anyone has experience with K12 or Connections for 6th through 8th grade as well.
I want to choose the program that gives a thorough education and will get them into college, but at the same time doesn't overwhelm us to the point that we won't be able to continue our other interests. We are active in scouts, sports, and public school 4H.
I need to know how easy it is to get through a day of K12 with 4 kids or how hard it will be to get through the day. I need to know how much real teacher help I can expect. If it is just free books and a good curriculum with little teacher involvement then that is not what I am looking for right now. I am looking for the program that will alleviate my stress, help my children become better learners and students, and will not overwhelm us.

Edited by OpenMinded, 07 April 2012 - 06:38 PM.


#5 jujsky

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 06:54 PM

I guess one of my main concerns would be if a child can just keep going through assessments with K12 then theoretically they could bluff their way through the work. I know with Connections that they have portfolio assignments as well as receive letter grades. It is my understanding that in K12 they can keep taking the assessments as many times until they get an 80 to move forward.
I guess my main reason for doing virtual would be to have actual feedback from a teacher and have a teacher actually evaluating my children's work. I am not sure K12 will do that compared to what I have heard about Connections.
Does K12 take them through the writing process and evaluate rough drafts and give helpful edits and corrections and then they do a final draft on written work? I am really speaking specifically about my middle school age children benefiting from specific writing guidance and instruction from someone besides myself.
I would like to hear about the middle school years if anyone has experience with K12 or Connections for 6th through 8th grade as well.
I want to choose the program that gives a thorough education and will get them into college, but at the same time doesn't overwhelm us to the point that we won't be able to continue our other interests. We are active in scouts, sports, and public school 4H.
I need to know how easy it is to get through a day of K12 with 4 kids or how hard it will be to get through the day. I need to know how much real teacher help I can expect. If it is just free books and a good curriculum with little teacher involvement then that is not what I am looking for right now. I am looking for the program that will alleviate my stress, help my children become better learners and students, and will not overwhelm us.


Scarlet uses it for middle school as a virtual charter school, I believe. If she doesn't see this post, you might want to PM her.

#6 KarenNC

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 07:53 PM

:lurk5:

#7 Plum Crazy

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 08:47 PM

I used CA for one year with my 5th grader. I had a friend who used K12 that same year, so could easily compare. I avoided K12 because of the tests. I liked CA's assessment setup much more. By the end, we had it down. Every lesson had a 5 question assessment. After a certain number of lessons, they would use those questions for the unit test. Some teachers would add in new questions, but most used the same questions for easy review. We never did the workbooks until it was time to study for a unit test. Those made good review for him and it didn't feel like he learned it by rote.

I also joined CA because of the gifted classes. Lit was really worth it. They used Junior Great Books and had some really great conversations as a result. Science was an extra project each lesson. LA was not worth the extra time and effort.

I didn't have any trouble with the interface, but I think they updated it last year (right before we joined.) He had a list of things to do on his calender and could do them in any order he wanted unless there was a Live Lesson with the class. With middle school, there will be a lot more LL than elementary and they are scheduled. You can only miss 2 (?) or you start to get in trouble. As far as interaction with the teacher. They call once a week to check up on them, see if they have any questions, ask a few questions regarding the lessons they have been covering to make sure it's not just the parents doing the work. 5th Grade was writing intensive because of state testing. They cover every form of writing then. I'm not sure about 6th grade.


I realize that both are virtual public schools and I am not looking for reviews of how much you have to answer to a teacher or take state tests. I am looking for honest opinions of the actual curriculum, assessments, and general day to day aspects of using the curriculum.
We have already been accepted into k12 and we are applying to connections as well. We are sort of hedging our bets as our state has a limited number of slots and may have to have a lottery. k12's registration opened up a month earlier so that is why I know we have spots in k12 if we choose that route.
I have a kindergartener, 4th grader, 6th grader, and 7th grader. They are all pretty much on grade level.
We are finishing our 3rd year homeschooling and I know that if I don't switch to a virtual school then they will return to public school next year. I am burned out.
I am really concerned about the kindergarten for both programs. My ds has already completed kindergarten at home and will repeat with virtual school b/c of the birthday cut-off. Connections tested him for 1st grade and I believe will accommodate him with academically appropriate material. k-12 told me to just have him work through the assessments quickly and put in for 1st grade once he completes those. That would concern me. I would ask if you could test out of it completely. I've heard of this a couple of times and those kids get burned out having to go through everything quickly.

I have friends that use both in my state and overall they are split on whether they like them. I have some friends in k12 that rave about it and some that use it that said they will not do it again and the same goes for connections.
I know every state is different but I believe the curriculum is pretty much the same. I would really like some honest reviews of the actual curriculum not about dealing with it being public school at home.
Thanks in advance.


I guess one of my main concerns would be if a child can just keep going through assessments with K12 then theoretically they could bluff their way through the work. I know with Connections that they have portfolio assignments as well as receive letter grades. It is my understanding that in K12 they can keep taking the assessments as many times until they get an 80 to move forward.
I guess my main reason for doing virtual would be to have actual feedback from a teacher and have a teacher actually evaluating my children's work. I am not sure K12 will do that compared to what I have heard about Connections.
Does K12 take them through the writing process and evaluate rough drafts and give helpful edits and corrections and then they do a final draft on written work? I am really speaking specifically about my middle school age children benefiting from specific writing guidance and instruction from someone besides myself. Again, speaking for CA, they had a bunch of graphic writing organizers, links for outside help. He would turn in a rough draft, but honestly, he didn't get much feedback on them.
I would like to hear about the middle school years if anyone has experience with K12 or Connections for 6th through 8th grade as well.
I want to choose the program that gives a thorough education and will get them into college, but at the same time doesn't overwhelm us to the point that we won't be able to continue our other interests. We are active in scouts, sports, and public school 4H. Middle and high school have required times for lessons with teachers. Sometimes very early in the morning. CA was not really flexible on these.
I need to know how easy it is to get through a day of K12 with 4 kids or how hard it will be to get through the day. A friend of mine used K12 while I used CA. She had 2 in older elementary and 2 younger. According to her, it really depended on the teacher. Her teacher allowed her to group up assignments, making it much easier. She said she had to turn in one piece of work once a month. Her teacher left and was replaced with one much more strict.

I need to know how much real teacher help I can expect. For middle school, they emphasize independent work. You may have to gather up materials for science projects and help guide them along or be there to ask a question, but it's supposed to be less parent involved.

If it is just free books and a good curriculum with little teacher involvement then that is not what I am looking for right now. I am looking for the program that will alleviate my stress, help my children become better learners and students, and will not overwhelm us.



At CA they kept the subjects lighter in the beginning to help parents adjust. Second semester became much more time intensive. My 5th grader had a long writing assignment, a long and short-term science project in addition to his normal work. It's only stressful if you fall behind. We purposefully stayed a week ahead on most subjects just in case. He usually had nothing to do the last week of the semester. Which was nice because we could use that for enrichment stuff like field trips.

Really, with CA (and I think with K12) parental stress was dependent on how independent your child can work. If they can stay on schedule, then you'll have no trouble. It's really just checking off the boxes, answering questions, giving tests.

Sorry for the info dump, I have to get going and didn't have time to organize my response. HTH!

#8 mystika1

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:33 PM

:bigear:

#9 magnificat

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:20 PM

I have only used K12 throught a virtual charter. Last year, I had four enrolled - 1st, 4th, 6th, and 8th - so I thought I could comment on having four in at the same time. It was the first time I had used K12's 1st and 4th grades, but I had been through the middle school before with my older daughter. Honestly, it was easy to get most everything done (excluding all the science experiments!!!) - but it felt like we were just checking boxes.

1st grade was wonderful. The history was written by SWB, but it is grouped by culture - which I actually liked. Both history and science are scheduled 2x per week, and they are completely online lessons. My daughter LOVED the science. It was quick, easy, fun, and she retained a lot. The literature was too slow and we don't care for reading the same story 3-4 times. There were little bits of grammar, but I added WWE1 for more grammar on top of all of its other benefits. The phonics was pretty good. Math was awful. We used MM. Art was nice for picture study, but not enough simple projects for a 1st grader. Even with adding WWE 4x per week and doing two math programs (still had to complete the K12 Math+), we finished each day in less than 2 hours, usually about 1.5 hours.

4th grade was ok. It didn't work for my daughter. Lots and lots of writing in language arts (in both the literature and composition components) as well as in history. Both science and history were boring for both of us during the first month and a half of the year. I pulled her out at that time for pretty much pure WTM. In K12, my daughter's days were L O N G. There were so many "subjects" to juggle and what seemed to be a lot of busy work. Jumping in to Math+ after 4 years of Saxon was a disaster. Did I say Math+ was awful? :) Great literature program, though.

6th and 8th grade K12 are so independent. You really just have to answer questions, grade, and discuss. As someone mentioned, the assessments can be taken over and over until an 80% is reached (in our case, I expected over a 95% since it was the same exact test they took over again). You could see how many times they took the test, but only the grade from the last attempt. I had my boys take notes in science (again, all online lessons) and I had them do a lot of extra history reading per WTM. They were working together in the first year of world history, and it was a good text. I spent anywhere from 1-2 hours total for both boys per day grading and discussing. Love the literary analysis. Grammer is bleh (add your own diagramming, there is very little in K12). We liked science - it was thorough and interesting (one in Earth and one in Physical). The labs (some entire lessons were called labs but there were also almost daily "mini labs" after the lesson) were very tough to keep up with having 4 enrolled! I know several people with 4+ enrolled in K12 and NO ONE does all the labs! Math was ok since we avoided the Math+ "upgrades". One was in the old pre-algebra A course and one was enrolled in K12's high school for geometry (which was fantastic).

I've probably said too much. Sorry for the very long post. PM me if you have any questions. All in all, it is doable with four children at the same time. I happen to also have 2 in private high school as well as 2 more not yet in school - so some days got pretty long! So many people I know using K12 in a virtual school use it just for the reason you stated - to keep their children at home with a pretty solid curriculum - but not have to do it all yourself. Best wishes.

#10 Samiam

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:04 AM

We started with K12 via virtual school this past Jan for DS13 in 8th grade.

Overall, our day has not changed all that much from when we were traditional homeschoolers. I still pretty much decide what he will do that day (I go into the K12 planning in my parent side of the system and decid/change what subjects he will do each day.). I do decide if his work is good enough for "offline" work. I agree, I am not fond of the "keep trying until you get an 80% thing" because they can see the correct answers after the first attempt, and so just mark them all correct for the 2nd attempt. A younger student might not catch on to that, but an 8th grader will and frankly, it's just too tempting NOT to look at the right answers, isn't it? I wish they would at least change the questions or change the order of questions on retakes, but nope, exact same each time. On the other hand, I've never been one to be into "grades" until high school, so although he's getting all A's, it's not a HUGE deal to me...I prefer that he just puts his best effort into all of his work.

LA: For 8th, it's four components:
-Grammar: Honestly, I can't really comment on this as he does this all by himself. We done years of grammar, using Shurley, WWE, GWG, and last year Analytical Grammar. At this point, he should be a grammar expert. So he's getting it done with ease.
-Vocab: They use Vocabulary from Classical Roots, which was wonderful because that is what we used already!!
-Lit: They read short stories from a K12 published book. They also have a list of books they choose from a few times a semester and then do a book study on that. So far he's done Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm.
-Composition: They do go through the stages of outline, revision, final copy etc, step by step for each paper they write. But in the end, it's you as the parent/Learnin Coach who decides if it is good enough. They give you grading guidelines to follow, but in the end it's your decision. It's decent overall, I think. On the other hand, he wrote an Argument paper, which honestly, I did not feel was that wonderful. I felt he could have put more work/effort/arguing into it. I graded it accordingly, (we'd had several discussions about changes he could make, and he choose not to really follow through). Turns out, I sent that in as his "sample writing" for our quarterly samples, and his homeroom teacher sent back a note that it was wonderful. :glare: Not sure if my expectations are too high, or her's too low!:D

Science: It's fine overall. I personally think some of the labs are a bit much. We pick and choose which we do.

History: He's doing state history (I think it's our state law that 8th graders do state history). It's a decent text, I've read quite a bit, and I like how he has to do some writing on it almost every lesson.

Math: He's doing high school Honors Algebra, so I couldn't comment on the regular 8th grade math. The high school classes are a bit different than the elementary/middle school so that's a whole 'nother forum topic.

Music: He hates it. He refuses to listen to the music included. He barely glances at the lesson. He takes the daily assessments, and unit assessments and gets a 100% every time.

Art: He's not an artsy guy, but overall it seems to be like a decent course. He's drawn a self portrait, drew a room showing dimension, made a drawing showing movement, created a clay statue, did some sort of chinese ceramic thing. Overall, no bad thoughts here about Art.

#11 ChandlerMom

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:31 AM

I guess one of my main concerns would be if a child can just keep going through assessments with K12 then theoretically they could bluff their way through the work.


There is a fundamental difference there: K12 is mastery-based -- you move on when you get it and only when you get it. This means you can test thru units very quickly (my K'r did 2-3 grades in K in math and LA just by assessing through) and this makes it very adaptable to the gifted child. It also means that if your child struggles with a concept they can't just "take the bad grade and move on" -- you don't move on until you master it.

Connections takes the more traditional ps approach, with grades and moving on. IMO the ps approach is more about managing the herd than giving each child the best education. *To me* mastery IS accountability. But you need to figure out what you believe. ;)

#12 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:30 AM

I really appreciate every one's experiences. My kindergartener did test for Connection's 1st grade and passed. He just can't take 1st grade b/c of his birthday. This is just a state thing. It is the same for K12. I can either supplement or test through with K12. I think with Connections that I am supposed to let his teacher know he tested 1st grade and she will provide him with supplements. There is no way around the birthday cut-off unless I take him and get him tested for gifted at the school system. I have thought about it, but I feel it is more that he has done kindergarten at home this year rather than he is advanced at this stage in the game.
I think I understand K12 a bit better now. I don't think I have any particular educational philosophy to be honest. I don't think grades are good or bad. I do think sometimes that grades can motivate a lazy child. I just really want to make the right decision as I know that if virtual school doesn't work out that I will be putting the children back in b&m public school. Everyone except my peanut allergy child. I would try to get him into a private school.
I am a little nervous about how they will test into K12. They have already taken Connections' placement tests and placed on grade level. Actually 2 of them placed above grade level. I have found with Connections' that they are obsessed with the kid's birth dates with respect to placing in a higher grade level or advanced level. My upcoming 6th grader actually tested into 7th grade, but they were more focused on the fact that she will only be 11 next year. So she is placed in 6th grade with room for supplementing again.
Connections has guaranteed me that we will receive all new materials for all the children always b/c of my son's severe peanut allergy. K12 put me on hold 4 times and transferred me a lot until the last person said they had to clear it with a supervisor and that I should receive a kmail but to call and double check if I see a ship date on our account. That made me a bit nervous to be honest. I did tell her when they get the records from my son's 6 month stint in kindergarten that his allergy is on record (I think he has a 504 b/c of it to be honest) and his allergy action plan is in there too so I think that they have to give us new materials b/c he has a contact allergy and according to the public school that is a disability. I am nervous that somehow we will get something that some other child has smeared with their pb&j from lunch a year ago. I know I am paranoid but I really don't want to have to go to the hospital or him have an anaphylactic reaction.
I guess my only other question is how bad is the math? I have seen over and over that it changed and is awful now. My kids are doing Teaching Textbooks a grade level ahead alongside Jump at Home Math (grade level) right now. They are not math geniuses by any stretch of the imagination. My youngest is doing Singapore Math Earlybird K. They are probably right on grade level with math to be honest and it has taken a bit to get there since pulling them from public school 3 years ago. I don't want to go backwards now that they are finally bridging the gap. Is it feasible to continue teaching textbooks alongside K12?
I really do appreciate all the replies. We go to an information meeting next week for K12 and one for Connections the week after, but it is my understanding that it is a lot of walking you through state requirements and their computer system than talking about actual curriculum and that they often only have books for one grade level or for just elementary or high school out. So I really needed to hear some stories from those that have been there done that.

#13 magnificat

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 11:09 AM

As I was reading the OP's latest post, I thought it would be a good idea to point out that in my state (WI), the virtual school does not have traditional grades (except in high school courses). Even on the progress report they send out mid-year and end-of-year, there is only progress shown (and maybe a few comments based on the few things you have to send in to be looked over by a teacher). The percentages are only to "prove" mastery on the computer before you move on to the next topic/chapter - and as I said before, the student can take the same exact test multiple times to prove mastery :).

A few thoughts about your kindergartner. I personally love K12's kindergarten program. History is a virtual tour of the world and science is just fun. It seems like the math and phonics/reading would be your only areas of concern (yes, those are BIG areas!). It really is quite easy to do the unit assessments in math to prove mastery, without going through all the lessons. At some point, your son will probably hit some topics he hasn't mastered-that's when you start teaching new material. It may take a week or two of your math lesson for the day being working through a math Unit assessment or two to find the right spot, but I have found that to be the case any time we switch math curricula. That is what I was told to do here in WI, so I don't know if it is the same where you are regarding just taking unit assessments to find the right spot. Because it is a public charter school, they do stick to grade designations, but I have had children 2-3 years ahead in specific K12 subjects (math and grammar for example) - which you would have a tough time doing in most public schools.

For the language arts in K, the read-alouds would be great for any 5,6, or 7 year old. The phonics could be handled just like the math to find his right spot.

I almost forgot - you asked how bad the K12 Math+ is. How much detail do you want? There are several posts on these forums, but they seem a little tricky to find (for me at least!). I would be happy to share my experience with my children, but it would be a long post. So, why don't you PM me if you are interested in my opinion. As previously stated, it was very easy to do the minimum for the 1st grade Math+ lesson for the day plus complete a MM lesson.

Hope that helps.

#14 joyofsix

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 11:27 AM

Dd is using connections for 7th grade. In our case, they do have live lessons but only the gifted and talented literature is mandatory for her. It is easy to navigate their site. It has worked well for her. I like the portfolios which push her a little out of her comfort zone. Learning to write lab reports has been useful. We don't have to turn in daily work so she just doesn't do it if she understands. Overall it has been a good experience. A friend of mine tried k12 and they hated it.

#15 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:31 PM

As I was reading the OP's latest post, I thought it would be a good idea to point out that in my state (WI), the virtual school does not have traditional grades (except in high school courses). Even on the progress report they send out mid-year and end-of-year, there is only progress shown (and maybe a few comments based on the few things you have to send in to be looked over by a teacher). The percentages are only to "prove" mastery on the computer before you move on to the next topic/chapter - and as I said before, the student can take the same exact test multiple times to prove mastery :).
This is how it is here as well. The report card is the same as their progress they can look at any time. It is just the percentage of the program completed. I am not liking the methods of proving mastery at this point. I mean if you can just keep taking it over and over again until you "master" the assessment, then I would really have to stay on top of the kids not to manipulate the system. I do think my 4th grader on up would figure this out quickly.

A few thoughts about your kindergartner. I personally love K12's kindergarten program. History is a virtual tour of the world and science is just fun. It seems like the math and phonics/reading would be your only areas of concern (yes, those are BIG areas!). It really is quite easy to do the unit assessments in math to prove mastery, without going through all the lessons. At some point, your son will probably hit some topics he hasn't mastered-that's when you start teaching new material. It may take a week or two of your math lesson for the day being working through a math Unit assessment or two to find the right spot, but I have found that to be the case any time we switch math curricula. That is what I was told to do here in WI, so I don't know if it is the same where you are regarding just taking unit assessments to find the right spot. Because it is a public charter school, they do stick to grade designations, but I have had children 2-3 years ahead in specific K12 subjects (math and grammar for example) - which you would have a tough time doing in most public schools.


For the language arts in K, the read-alouds would be great for any 5,6, or 7 year old. The phonics could be handled just like the math to find his right spot.
I really, really don't want to do phonics at all. He is reading. I don't want to have to go through a tile system when he can read and is already on map 5 of reading eggs and lesson 44. By the time August gets here, I really expect him to have completed all of the Reading Eggs maps. He is also doing the Reading Lesson 3 pages a day and doing well with it. If I could get around the phonics and not have to mess with it at all for kindergarten and 1st grade, then K12 would look better to me. He is also 1/2 way through MCP Phonics K. I truly believe that by the time August gets here that he will be reading emerging readers solidly. I do not like phonics intensive programs that require flash cards, blends, and tiles when a child is well on the road to reading.

I almost forgot - you asked how bad the K12 Math+ is. How much detail do you want? There are several posts on these forums, but they seem a little tricky to find (for me at least!). I would be happy to share my experience with my children, but it would be a long post. So, why don't you PM me if you are interested in my opinion. As previously stated, it was very easy to do the minimum for the 1st grade Math+ lesson for the day plus complete a MM lesson.
I really don't want to have to purchase more math and supplement. I am wanting to have everything I need provided for us. I know that Connections uses Envision math for elementary and Prentice Hall for the middle schools.
I will have 2 kids in Pre-Algebra, 1 kid in 4th grade math, and 1 kindergartener. I really need what we use to cover all the bases and for them to have a strong background in math.
I won't have time after a day of K12 to do supplemental work with them.

Hope that helps.

This is very helpful. I really am looking for more of a school at home that will have teachers calling and talking to the kids and giving us all feedback. I really want to know that my kids are learning not just testing through a program. I am not sold on mastery at all. I really want a teacher giving my children honest assessments of their abilities and work. I guess I do want a traditional report card if we are going to go the virtual route.
I guess I am reading these replies and seeing that K12 would just give me free curriculum. I am looking for a bit more than that and I am looking not to have to do phonics intensive work with my kindergartener.


#16 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:35 PM

Dd is using connections for 7th grade. In our case, they do have live lessons but only the gifted and talented literature is mandatory for her. It is easy to navigate their site. It has worked well for her. I like the portfolios which push her a little out of her comfort zone. Learning to write lab reports has been useful. We don't have to turn in daily work so she just doesn't do it if she understands. Overall it has been a good experience. A friend of mine tried k12 and they hated it.


This sounds like what I am looking for in a school at home program. I hope we get in to Connections. We won't know until May 11 at least. If we get in, I believe that I will be withdrawing from K12. I just have a better feel for Connections for both my middle school children and my kindergartener.

#17 TracyR

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:29 PM

we've been with a K12 and Calvert charter. I know Connections uses some of Calvert in the beginning.
I prefer K12.

"I guess my main reason for doing virtual would be to have actual feedback from a teacher and have a teacher actually evaluating my children's work. I am not sure K12 will do that compared to what I have heard about Connections."


No, I have not encountered this at all with cyberschooling. We even belonged to a cyber that did virtual classes and it was up to me to teach my daughter's the writing process, though their materials were not helpful at all. They would write their assignments and get their grades. There was no feedback, no evaluating and tips given. If you actually ever really encounter this please let me know.

I know with Pacyber they got grades, but no one ever evaluated their work.
Depending on your K12 and what they do they may do this a little bit. They did a few years ago but they've stopped doing that in our state.
Does K12 take them through the writing process and evaluate rough drafts and give helpful edits and corrections and then they do a final draft on written work?
In the 4th and 5th grade it takes them through the process, maybe even a little earlier than that. I only have experience with K, 1,4 6th grades so far. You have to do this together. Teachers are not involved with this process. You are the learning coach so therefore you do the work.


" I am really speaking specifically about my middle school age children benefiting from specific writing guidance and instruction from someone besides myself. "


Again , no. By middle school they expect them to be writing on their own. If they are given an assignment it is up to the learning coach to guide them through it and get the assignment done. They may have some classes here and there. But the ones we've ever encountered really weren't much help to my girls.

Sorry for the negativity but if your looking for cyberschool to be your writing evaluator you'll be very disappointed.

#18 Sctigermom

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:33 PM

We did k12 for 1 month (Kinder). I did not like it at all. There was a lot of busy work. We had all kinds of conferences with a teacher. We watch all these powerpoint presentations. The curriculum didn't sit well with my son. The phonics was too much and the math was too slow. It was like public school with a few bonuses. Bonus #1 we were at home. Bonus #2 we could make our own schedule. Bonus #3 my son could move up a grade level in certain areas like math after testing out of his grade level.

#19 joyofsix

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:35 AM

This sounds like what I am looking for in a school at home program. I hope we get in to Connections. We won't know until May 11 at least. If we get in, I believe that I will be withdrawing from K12. I just have a better feel for Connections for both my middle school children and my kindergartener.


I can only speak about IN CA but dd does receive grades and her writing is graded by a teacher. There are short answer questions on tests too that an actual human grades. She can contact teachers pretty easily if needed. My only complaint has been it's very schooly with text books, etc. and I don't think dd has been pushed in history because of her love for the subject. She already knew the 7th grade ancient history. It works for us because she can be almost totally independent. She and I often rub each other the wrong way and this has helped our relationship, allowed her time to do her acting, music, etc, and indulge her love of reading on her own.

#20 Calming Tea

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:46 AM

PS Connections doesn't use any Calvert at all anymore.

#21 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:34 AM

PS Connections doesn't use any Calvert at all anymore.


They still use it for kindergarten. In first, they switch to envision math and scott foresman everything else it seems.

#22 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:40 AM

I can only speak about IN CA but dd does receive grades and her writing is graded by a teacher. There are short answer questions on tests too that an actual human grades. She can contact teachers pretty easily if needed. My only complaint has been it's very schooly with text books, etc. and I don't think dd has been pushed in history because of her love for the subject. She already knew the 7th grade ancient history. It works for us because she can be almost totally independent. She and I often rub each other the wrong way and this has helped our relationship, allowed her time to do her acting, music, etc, and indulge her love of reading on her own.


That is the way it is here as well. My friend that uses CA for 7th said her son submits a rough draft that the teacher reviews and edits and gives helpful hints and sends it back to him for him to make revisions and submit a final draft. My children know the writing process. I am looking for a teacher to actually look at their work and give an opinion and grade.
I plan to let my children read books on the side to enhance the history. They will probably use the HOD catalog to add to their history.
I also know in the elementary grades that CA evaluates their portfolio assignments. It sounds from everyone's replies that K12 just relies on the computer assessments and your child keeps on trucking. I have talked to more people in our state that use both now and the general consensus is that K12 gives you free materials and then just gives the state test at the end of the year and you need to get to 100% on your progress for every subject. The only contact with teachers has been to ask why you aren't where they want you on the progress bar. With Connections, there is bi-weekly telephone conferences, live lessons, and actual teacher graded assignments, follow-up, and guidance.
I am crossing fingers that we get in to Connections!!!!

#23 EKS

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:55 AM

The K12 curriculum itself is reasonably good. Some is excellent (history and literature) and some is good (science) and some is adequate (grammar, usage, and mechanics). I haven't used the math, but from what I know about it, it would probably fall in the adequate category for us. We have used various K12 courses independently for several years.

That said, unless a VA gave me complete control over how I used K12 materials, I would not be a happy camper. K12 only works for us because I pick and choose what assignments we do. Even though I pay for the entire English course, I only use the literature. That sort of thing. If I had to use all of it (as in a VA) or none of it, I'd choose none of it.

#24 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:10 AM

My draw to a VA is more than free materials. I want the kids to have a schedule and assignments and deadlines that do not come from me. I want them to learn to answer to someone else. I plan for them to continue through VA or go back to school in 9th grade.
I am really not looking for something that I still have to pick and choose what we do from it. I am looking for something that is all set for me and the children while I will help the children and still enjoy teaching and learning with them....they will have a genuine teacher giving grades and feedback.

#25 Calming Tea

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:29 AM

Ok sorry about that. When I looked at it I must have clicked on every year except K. :)

There's a lot of Glencoe, Prentice Hall in the older grades, some McGraw Hill Science.

Honestly, it looks awful. I looked through it all last night and looks like tons and tons of busy-work, textbook bore. Even the "gifted and talented" choices were kind of lame.

Lastly, I can't see how this would be less work than HOD and LLATL.

#26 EKS

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:38 AM

My draw to a VA is more than free materials. I want the kids to have a schedule and assignments and deadlines that do not come from me. I want them to learn to answer to someone else. I plan for them to continue through VA or go back to school in 9th grade.
I am really not looking for something that I still have to pick and choose what we do from it. I am looking for something that is all set for me and the children while I will help the children and still enjoy teaching and learning with them....they will have a genuine teacher giving grades and feedback.


I totally get this.

If this is the case, I'd still be cautious about K12. The curriculum was designed for the parent/teacher to pick and choose what assignments would work best for their student. For most families, including mine, doing *all* of the assignments included with the curriculum was too much and very quickly became a terrible experience. But many VAs don't seem to understand how the curriculum was designed (from what I've heard) and require that everything be done.

You can get a demo account by calling K12 and asking for one. This gives you access to most of the materials so you can see for yourself if it would be something that might work for your family.

#27 Plum Crazy

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:41 AM

That is the way it is here as well. My friend that uses CA for 7th said her son submits a rough draft that the teacher reviews and edits and gives helpful hints and sends it back to him for him to make revisions and submit a final draft. My children know the writing process. I am looking for a teacher to actually look at their work and give an opinion and grade.
I plan to let my children read books on the side to enhance the history. They will probably use the HOD catalog to add to their history.
I also know in the elementary grades that CA evaluates their portfolio assignments. It sounds from everyone's replies that K12 just relies on the computer assessments and your child keeps on trucking. I have talked to more people in our state that use both now and the general consensus is that K12 gives you free materials and then just gives the state test at the end of the year and you need to get to 100% on your progress for every subject. The only contact with teachers has been to ask why you aren't where they want you on the progress bar. With Connections, there is bi-weekly telephone conferences, live lessons, and actual teacher graded assignments, follow-up, and guidance.
I am crossing fingers that we get in to Connections!!!!


There's Yahoo Groups for each to help you compare as well.

From my experience in CA, they use a multi-discipline approach. Most lessons include a reading, video, writing and/or workbook assignment. It is not necessary to do everything on the list unless a) you have to turn it in or B) it will be covered in the assessment/test. As a parent you can see what will be covered in the assessment, so you can make sure you don't miss anything. You will quickly find yourself working all day long on school if you try to do everything on their assignment lists. You'll know what works for her and what you can drop.

#28 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:01 AM

Ok sorry about that. When I looked at it I must have clicked on every year except K. :)

There's a lot of Glencoe, Prentice Hall in the older grades, some McGraw Hill Science.

Honestly, it looks awful. I looked through it all last night and looks like tons and tons of busy-work, textbook bore. Even the "gifted and talented" choices were kind of lame.

Lastly, I can't see how this would be less work than HOD and LLATL.


HOD isn't working for us to be honest. I find that I am not altogether in agreement with some of the beliefs taught in respect to our beliefs. It is becoming more obvious as we have gotten to higher guides and my children are more independent. I want them to have more work and earlier introduction to material the same as their peers are receiving.
I feel right now with HOD that I am sending my older two off to be independent and it is a lot of religious material interwoven with other subjects. They are doing them independently and it is not always what we believe. The Bible is too integrated in respect to the history and our beliefs concerning church history. To be honest, CTC is the main reason that I am looking for something different.
I also have come to the realization that the late start on language arts and writing has put my son in a horrible position with respect to state testing and being on par with his peers in social/academic settings. He had a difficult time in scouts this year b/c he attends scouts at a Catholic school and their 3rd grade students had been exposed to so much more in terms of writing that it was horrible to watch him struggle alongside them for certain requirements for rank. I felt like crying b/c it was my choices that had put him in that predicament.
I was in love with the idea of living books and following the better late than early approach to language arts. It has really set him back and his peers are noticing he is behind and slow with writing. I am definitely not doing that to my younger son.
My children thrived the year we did Christian Liberty Press (all textbooks). They have not thrived with HOD. I was the one who kept coming back to HOD and trying to make it work. It does not work for us at all and I honestly regret not continuing with textbooks last year as the children all did well with our year of textbooks. I do love LLATL and will miss it.
My kids attended public school for years though and actually loved the looks of Connections. I think it is one of those to each his own kind of things.
I have looked at K12 and Connections in person and K12 is textbook style as well. It is just in-house textbooks that you can only see if you know someone that uses it or if you go to an in-person meeting.
I do think HOD can be a great program for someone that intends to complete it all the way through and that believes in what HOD teaches in respect to religion. I do not plan to complete all the way through now that we have tried CTC.

#29 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:04 AM

I totally get this.

If this is the case, I'd still be cautious about K12. The curriculum was designed for the parent/teacher to pick and choose what assignments would work best for their student. For most families, including mine, doing *all* of the assignments included with the curriculum was too much and very quickly became a terrible experience. But many VAs don't seem to understand how the curriculum was designed (from what I've heard) and require that everything be done.

You can get a demo account by calling K12 and asking for one. This gives you access to most of the materials so you can see for yourself if it would be something that might work for your family.


I have been given the demo account information and going on the demo was part of the reason that I posted this question. We still have to get in to Connections in order for it to be a choice. Part of this post is to see if I would still want to try K12 if we don't get in to Connections. At this point, I have really ruled out K12 over Connections and will go with Connections if we get in to their program. However, if we don't get in to Connections then I have to decide whether to still try K12.

#30 jubilation

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:28 AM

We used K12 for half of kindy this year, through a virtual school.

I liked their science, history, and literature for the most part (although expecting us to read the same story over and over four days in a row is a little much).

The phonics was okay, but again rather overkill. I started out trying to do the entire assignments every day, but that ends up being 60 minutes per day on phonics alone, and leads to lots of head-butting and tears. Eventually I switched to just printing off a few phonics worksheets from each lesson, and then having her test out of the lesson once she had learned what she needed to learn.

I hated their math, and we switched back to mostly using Horizons again after a couple of months. The way it is set up, at least for kindy, makes absolutely no sense. Last fall, she was expected to learn to add and subtract up to 20, and to round to the nearest 5 or 10. Now that we're almost done with kindy, she is in a unit where she is supposed to circle which line is longer, which container holds more, counting objects up to 30. :confused: I have no idea what they were thinking setting things up in that order.

Also, I will add that we have had very little contact with her teacher. I think I've talked to her on the phone 3-4 times maybe? The only contact that DD has had with her is when she did her DIBELS assessment, and that was a complete flop due to DD being unable to hear half of the sounds the teacher was making thanks to static/accent issues.

It might be better in the higher grades, but for next year, we're definitely either switching to our local PS or going back to regular homeschooling. No more K12 for us.

Edited by jubilation, 09 April 2012 - 09:32 AM.


#31 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:26 AM

We used K12 for half of kindy this year, through a virtual school.

I liked their science, history, and literature for the most part (although expecting us to read the same story over and over four days in a row is a little much).

The phonics was okay, but again rather overkill. I started out trying to do the entire assignments every day, but that ends up being 60 minutes per day on phonics alone, and leads to lots of head-butting and tears. Eventually I switched to just printing off a few phonics worksheets from each lesson, and then having her test out of the lesson once she had learned what she needed to learn.

I hated their math, and we switched back to mostly using Horizons again after a couple of months. The way it is set up, at least for kindy, makes absolutely no sense. Last fall, she was expected to learn to add and subtract up to 20, and to round to the nearest 5 or 10. Now that we're almost done with kindy, she is in a unit where she is supposed to circle which line is longer, which container holds more, counting objects up to 30. :confused: I have no idea what they were thinking setting things up in that order.

Also, I will add that we have had very little contact with her teacher. I think I've talked to her on the phone 3-4 times maybe? The only contact that DD has had with her is when she did her DIBELS assessment, and that was a complete flop due to DD being unable to hear half of the sounds the teacher was making thanks to static/accent issues.

It might be better in the higher grades, but for next year, we're definitely either switching to our local PS or going back to regular homeschooling. No more K12 for us.


This is exactly what I was afraid of with kindergarten and phonics. The math sounds horrible. He is doing Singapore Earlybird right now and loves it. We did have a friend who had a child in kindergarten this year and it took 1/2 of the year for them to test through the assessments to get to 1st grade work.
I really appreciate your honesty about the kindergarten program.

#32 CMmomma

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:37 AM

I am not sure how you do k12 with young kids and keep your sanity. I had a k'er and a 3rd grader signed up with the virtual school in my state and I went crazy. It's a lot of work for any young child and not a lot of flexibility. They claim that you can skip certain work and tailor it to fit your schedule but its not that way. You have to log in certain times, keep attendance records on actual time spent one on one AND total time spent on a subject, and it's a lot of upkeep for the parent. I ended up doing school for 8 hours a day to handle both of the kids getting on and off of the computer all day long. We could never find a flow that made it easier. I ditched it and vowed to never do it again. Now....with a student that can work independently, there may be good use for it. But I would not recommend it for anyone below middle school. I hated the requirements of a virtual school. If you did not have all the mindless record keeping and the feeling of being boxed in then I would recommend it. Based solely on the curriculum, its good. Based on the whole package, a miserable fail.

#33 mamakelly

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:38 AM

A gf of mine switched her 10th grader to Connctions in the beginning of this year. She said it was a little tough to get used to, but it's working well for them. She and her son clash a bit, and she wanted something more independent. Also, he's super bright, so he can take AP classes and such. The only thing she said she didn't like was that they are on the computer *a lot*, too much in her opinion.

#34 magnificat

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:52 AM

When my 1st grade daughter started K12 this year, she had been in a private school for K4 and K5 before that. She was reading very well, so we used the phonics lessons as a quick review. Someone mentioned spending 60 minutes on K12 phonics lessons - we spent maybe 20 minutes per lesson and frequently did two lessons in 30 minutes. We did lots on the whiteboard and orally. We quickly looked over the worksheets since they were so easy, but we counted any writing as penmanship practice :). I didn't mind using it as review for my daughter, as it certainly improved her fluency (especially reading the phonetic stories).

By the way, ALL of Catherine's materials were brand new from K12. The older kids had a few used books (the K12 literature books for example).

Just trying to provide data - not trying to sell you on K12! As a matter of fact, we are no longer using the curriculum! But my 1st grade daughter really misses the history and science.

To comment on the post regarding keeping your sanity with young ones in K12 - I really think it depends on the virtual school. Ours was wonderfully flexible. Every few days I logged approximate times for subjects (very approximate!), we had some required things to send in electronically every semester, state testing for the older children, 3-5 online classes per semester per child, and an occasional call from a teacher (about once per semester). Now, with 4 enrolled, I did have to keep really good records of those things so I would receive my internet reimbursement!

I can tell this is a big decision! Good luck.

#35 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:37 AM

When my 1st grade daughter started K12 this year, she had been in a private school for K4 and K5 before that. She was reading very well, so we used the phonics lessons as a quick review. Someone mentioned spending 60 minutes on K12 phonics lessons - we spent maybe 20 minutes per lesson and frequently did two lessons in 30 minutes. We did lots on the whiteboard and orally. We quickly looked over the worksheets since they were so easy, but we counted any writing as penmanship practice :). I didn't mind using it as review for my daughter, as it certainly improved her fluency (especially reading the phonetic stories).

By the way, ALL of Catherine's materials were brand new from K12. The older kids had a few used books (the K12 literature books for example).

Just trying to provide data - not trying to sell you on K12! As a matter of fact, we are no longer using the curriculum! But my 1st grade daughter really misses the history and science.

To comment on the post regarding keeping your sanity with young ones in K12 - I really think it depends on the virtual school. Ours was wonderfully flexible. Every few days I logged approximate times for subjects (very approximate!), we had some required things to send in electronically every semester, state testing for the older children, 3-5 online classes per semester per child, and an occasional call from a teacher (about once per semester). Now, with 4 enrolled, I did have to keep really good records of those things so I would receive my internet reimbursement!

I can tell this is a big decision! Good luck.


I don't know if you can reference the 2 but is the phonics in K12 similar to Abeka's phonics or is it as intense?

#36 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:41 AM

I am not sure how you do k12 with young kids and keep your sanity. I had a k'er and a 3rd grader signed up with the virtual school in my state and I went crazy. It's a lot of work for any young child and not a lot of flexibility. They claim that you can skip certain work and tailor it to fit your schedule but its not that way. You have to log in certain times, keep attendance records on actual time spent one on one AND total time spent on a subject, and it's a lot of upkeep for the parent. I ended up doing school for 8 hours a day to handle both of the kids getting on and off of the computer all day long. We could never find a flow that made it easier. I ditched it and vowed to never do it again. Now....with a student that can work independently, there may be good use for it. But I would not recommend it for anyone below middle school. I hated the requirements of a virtual school. If you did not have all the mindless record keeping and the feeling of being boxed in then I would recommend it. Based solely on the curriculum, its good. Based on the whole package, a miserable fail.


We school from 9 to 3:30 right now and that is just part and parcel of schooling 4 kids I think. We do have 4 computers so each child will be able to use the computer when they need it and not juggle it. We will also get a computer from the virtual charter (whichever one we choose).
I do not mind keeping hours and attendance. While the state I currently live in does not require this of homeschoolers, the state I am originally from does and I didn't find it stressful.
I am not one for creating my own lesson plan or picking reading lists and such. I have always used homeschool materials that were all laid out for me. I am looking at it from the perspective of which will be the better curriculum and education.

Edited by OpenMinded, 09 April 2012 - 11:50 AM.


#37 magnificat

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 12:56 PM

I cannot comment on Abeka (never seen it), but I would be happy to describe what a typical week looks like in K12 phonics. I still have the teacher and student guides. I picked a random week - Unit 25 in Phonics 1 (the 2nd year of K12's two-year program).

Day 1 - Introducing long I. Spelling review of some consonant blends (ex. hand, milk, shelf, dentist, insect). Then a review of what they call heart words (sight words). Today "because" is added to the list. Then, the spellings for the long I are introduced (example words are hi, pie, fly, light, and kite). Then a student page reading examples of the five spellings of long I. An optional page with more examples in there if you want it. Then oral reading - a story from a reader included in the phonics box.

Day 2 - Some spelling review, some sight word review (both reviews include activities with index cards which we never did). Then making word chains with letter tiles - only will change one tile at a time as each new word is called out (follows word groups - so will do 4 words that end with ie, then a bunch that end with ind, then some that end with ight, then the i-e pattern). Student pages - sorting 5 sounds of long I (cut out squares and categorize the words). Then an optional sorting of words with the long I at the end vs. in the middle of the word. Lastly, another story read out loud from a reader.

Day 3 - Starts with a spelling page to build words by selecting the correct ending blend (quick and easy to do out loud). Another sight word practice activity (concentration) - we usually skipped these - too redundant. Some more word chains (with y ending, ind, i-e, and ied). Then a student sheet with a word bank to complete 6 sentences (again, easy to do out loud or use to supplement penmanship). Oral reading is 6 good sentences read out of the student guide.

Day 4 - Spelling page - to spell words under the picture (light, belt, gift, tent, nest, raft) and unscrambling 3 sentences. Then sight word review (yes, again!). Then a student page to read a bunch of words (30) as fast as you can (words like together, animals, while, people, many). Then an optional sheet to eliminate the word that does not rhyme in 5 lists (ex. sides, rides, kites, hides). Then dictation (I loved this!!). There are 5 sentences at this point (but earlier in the year there were 2 or 3 sentences). "I went on a hike", "Did you get it right?", "Tom is kind." etc. Great review of capitalization and punctuation while covering phonics concepts. Then oral reading from a reader.

Day 5 - Weekly wrap-up starts with a review activity (usually a game you cut out from the student pages). Then the assessment. At this point (again, unit 25, year 2 - so half way through the 2nd semester of the 2nd year) - it starts with 12 spelling words (some ex. shelf, held, camp, just, because). Then 3 dictation sentences (ex. We dig in the sand at camp.). Then listening for words that contain the long I sound. Then circling (out of a list of 8) the 5 ways to spell long I. Then reading 8 nonsense words (ex. zigh, gite, pight). Then reading 8 sight words (ex. people, move, other, here). Then reading 8 long I words. Lastly, reading 5 sentences (ex. Lightening was in the sky and it struck the pines.).

I hope that all makes sense. I know that there really is no way to understand K12's phonics program without actually looking through it for awhile! There is no online component except for you to enter in assessment results (how many incorrect responses in each area on the assessment).

For us, phonics time was sitting on the floor with Catherine between my legs, with all the books, whiteboard, and some tiles handy. I had my 4 year old son do the cutting before each lesson (if there was any) - he loved it! It was kind of snuggle time for us. We did not do everything, and we modified a lot. Tiles didn't work well for us, so we almost always just wrote on the whiteboard with lots of different colors.

Most weeks follow the same basic pattern, with some variety in the suggested activities. The assessments did get longer and longer as the year progressed - but you would expect that.

Again, hope that helps!!

#38 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:50 PM

This is great information. I really hope that they have some materials to look at next week. I would love to flip through some books and get a better feel for it all.

I cannot comment on Abeka (never seen it), but I would be happy to describe what a typical week looks like in K12 phonics. I still have the teacher and student guides. I picked a random week - Unit 25 in Phonics 1 (the 2nd year of K12's two-year program).

Day 1 - Introducing long I. Spelling review of some consonant blends (ex. hand, milk, shelf, dentist, insect). Then a review of what they call heart words (sight words). Today "because" is added to the list. Then, the spellings for the long I are introduced (example words are hi, pie, fly, light, and kite). Then a student page reading examples of the five spellings of long I. An optional page with more examples in there if you want it. Then oral reading - a story from a reader included in the phonics box.

Day 2 - Some spelling review, some sight word review (both reviews include activities with index cards which we never did). Then making word chains with letter tiles - only will change one tile at a time as each new word is called out (follows word groups - so will do 4 words that end with ie, then a bunch that end with ind, then some that end with ight, then the i-e pattern). Student pages - sorting 5 sounds of long I (cut out squares and categorize the words). Then an optional sorting of words with the long I at the end vs. in the middle of the word. Lastly, another story read out loud from a reader.

Day 3 - Starts with a spelling page to build words by selecting the correct ending blend (quick and easy to do out loud). Another sight word practice activity (concentration) - we usually skipped these - too redundant. Some more word chains (with y ending, ind, i-e, and ied). Then a student sheet with a word bank to complete 6 sentences (again, easy to do out loud or use to supplement penmanship). Oral reading is 6 good sentences read out of the student guide.

Day 4 - Spelling page - to spell words under the picture (light, belt, gift, tent, nest, raft) and unscrambling 3 sentences. Then sight word review (yes, again!). Then a student page to read a bunch of words (30) as fast as you can (words like together, animals, while, people, many). Then an optional sheet to eliminate the word that does not rhyme in 5 lists (ex. sides, rides, kites, hides). Then dictation (I loved this!!). There are 5 sentences at this point (but earlier in the year there were 2 or 3 sentences). "I went on a hike", "Did you get it right?", "Tom is kind." etc. Great review of capitalization and punctuation while covering phonics concepts. Then oral reading from a reader.

Day 5 - Weekly wrap-up starts with a review activity (usually a game you cut out from the student pages). Then the assessment. At this point (again, unit 25, year 2 - so half way through the 2nd semester of the 2nd year) - it starts with 12 spelling words (some ex. shelf, held, camp, just, because). Then 3 dictation sentences (ex. We dig in the sand at camp.). Then listening for words that contain the long I sound. Then circling (out of a list of 8) the 5 ways to spell long I. Then reading 8 nonsense words (ex. zigh, gite, pight). Then reading 8 sight words (ex. people, move, other, here). Then reading 8 long I words. Lastly, reading 5 sentences (ex. Lightening was in the sky and it struck the pines.).

I hope that all makes sense. I know that there really is no way to understand K12's phonics program without actually looking through it for awhile! There is no online component except for you to enter in assessment results (how many incorrect responses in each area on the assessment).

For us, phonics time was sitting on the floor with Catherine between my legs, with all the books, whiteboard, and some tiles handy. I had my 4 year old son do the cutting before each lesson (if there was any) - he loved it! It was kind of snuggle time for us. We did not do everything, and we modified a lot. Tiles didn't work well for us, so we almost always just wrote on the whiteboard with lots of different colors.

Most weeks follow the same basic pattern, with some variety in the suggested activities. The assessments did get longer and longer as the year progressed - but you would expect that.

Again, hope that helps!!



#39 Calming Tea

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:54 PM

((hugs)) but the public schools are pushing so much writing so early.

I'm not advocating for HOD.

I'm just saying, that you wanted something easier on you, and Connections will be harder.

But what about using Calvert privately? It sounds like it might meat your criteria.

#40 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:17 PM

((hugs)) but the public schools are pushing so much writing so early.

I'm not advocating for HOD.

I'm just saying, that you wanted something easier on you, and Connections will be harder.

But what about using Calvert privately? It sounds like it might meat your criteria.


Calvert is out of my price range and my oldest is 7th grade so I would be rethinking again in a couple of years for her. I do think a virtual school will be easier for me.
I wish that we would have focused a bit more on writing earlier with my son. While he does great narrating to me and copying, he can not write on the same level that he thinks. I regret not having him write his thoughts more earlier.
He does great with copy work, but he has not had enough experience writing his own work and thoughts. He is working through MCP Phonics C which does have him exposed to writing and the writing process. It is hard work though to get 3rd grade work from a child who had no build up with writing.
My girls on the other hand who spent from pre-k (3 yrs old) to 2nd and 3rd grade in private and public school write wonderfully and with little prompting. They came home in 3rd and 4th grade and were totally able to write anything that I asked. My son who has been homeschooled with HOD for 3 years can barely write a sentence on his own. He can come up with great discussions and great narrations, but he can't put them to paper. He has had no practice with writing his own thoughts and making sentences out of his own thoughts. His vocabulary is excellent and his ability to speak thoughtfully and intelligently is wonderful. It is his ability to write for himself and convey his thoughts in writing that is probably grade levels below.
I appreciate your replies. It does give me a lot to think about, but I truly believe that going with a virtual will give us more of what we need to get him where he needs to be at this point.
I haven't ruled out K12 at this point. We haven't gotten into Connections either. I do appreciate everyone's advice and replies. It has given me a lot to think about and weigh.

Edited by OpenMinded, 09 April 2012 - 02:20 PM.


#41 abbeyej

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:33 PM

The complaint I've been hearing from a lot of friends about K12 *through*the*state*charter* is that a number of the classes have been altered from the original K12 to fit the state's annual standards. Apparently each year it has gotten worse, so while when they began, families got the whole K12 program for the grade levels, in years since then it's been more and more watered down and focused on state standards. They felt cheated.

That's one question I would really want answered. When you do the free K12 (rather than buying it independently), will you get the whole thing? How many adjustments have been made?

#42 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:04 PM

The complaint I've been hearing from a lot of friends about K12 *through*the*state*charter* is that a number of the classes have been altered from the original K12 to fit the state's annual standards. Apparently each year it has gotten worse, so while when they began, families got the whole K12 program for the grade levels, in years since then it's been more and more watered down and focused on state standards. They felt cheated.

That's one question I would really want answered. When you do the free K12 (rather than buying it independently), will you get the whole thing? How many adjustments have been made?


I have seen K12 from our state charter for the kid's current grade levels (6th,5th, and 3rd( as we have friends doing it in those grades. K12 says it is the exact same thing their private school students receive. They do add in state history in 4th grade. That is all that I have seen different.

#43 melmichigan

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:15 PM

I guess one of my main concerns would be if a child can just keep going through assessments with K12 then theoretically they could bluff their way through the work.

This was my experience with my older DD.

I need to know how much real teacher help I can expect. If it is just free books and a good curriculum with little teacher involvement then that is not what I am looking for right now.

This will vary by state so it's hard to compare.

I am looking for the program that will alleviate my stress, help my children become better learners and students, and will not overwhelm us.

K12 can be a lot to get done, a lot that to me is just busy work.


I have no experience with Connections, we applied and were accepted, but declined to enroll.

#44 Samiam

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:52 PM

You have to log in certain times, keep attendance records on actual time spent one on one AND total time spent on a subject, and it's a lot of upkeep for the parent.


You went overboard, and took it too literally.

Yes, you or the student needs to log in on a daily basis, ie "show up". It's how they know you are working (after all it is a public school that you signed up for, so they do need some accountability). But you don't have to log in at certain times of the day. You can work in the a.m., or in the afternoon, or a night, or any combo. Yes, there are some "Class Connects/Elluminate sessions" which are live online classes, scheduled at certain times of the day, but most of those are optional. You can also listen to the recording of it, again, at your schedule.

As far as the Actual time spent,plus One on one....come on, you didn't HAVE to actually sit there and write down each minute. That's the "too literal" part I am talking about. The attendance system puts in the expected time, ie say Math 60 Minutes....and that time adds up to the required 6 hours a day for all subjects. If you took longer than that time, sure put the actual time, but if you didn't, just leave it at the system-generate time. It's a rough estimate.
I take about 3 minutes a day, putting in my son's daily hours in. So NOT a big deal! I just make sure his total daily time "in the system" adds up to at least 6 hours.......does that mean he spent 6 hours doing K12 school work? Nope. Does that mean I lied? Well, wait, haven't we homeschoolers always said that LIFE is the education, that lots of the little things we do on a daily basis are actually part of the child's education? If I go by that theory, then nope, I don't feel like I lied, because although he might not have spent 6 hours doing K12 work, he did spend 6 hours of life learning.

#45 Briartell

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:41 AM

:bigear:

#46 aselei

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:20 AM

Hi. I mostly just lurk here and read a bunch, but I wanted to comment because we did K12 and my son has a severe peanut allergy. I tried talking to a bunch of different people (both at K12 and at the VA), but we still received used materials - even when I called and requested new materials after getting used materials the first time. My son is technically in K, but they advanced him to 1st in math (tested through) and 3rd in everything else.

Although pp's have said that you can test through, in our experience, you cannot break up the Language Arts portion. For example, although my ds was doing 3rd grade LA, he was not up to 3rd grade in writing, but far beyond 3rd in reading, vocab, spelling, etc. However, the higher ups wouldn't let him advance in certain LA subjects - he had to advance in the whole thing.

Also, the math was horrible. He would just get frustrated everyday. I also felt there was way too much assessing and testing - I almost felt like I was "teaching to the test." I did like it at first though, and I know others that are really pleased with it.

#47 Tidbits of Learning

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:31 AM

Hi. I mostly just lurk here and read a bunch, but I wanted to comment because we did K12 and my son has a severe peanut allergy. I tried talking to a bunch of different people (both at K12 and at the VA), but we still received used materials - even when I called and requested new materials after getting used materials the first time. My son is technically in K, but they advanced him to 1st in math (tested through) and 3rd in everything else.


Did you return it for new? Or did you take clorox wipes to everything and just hope that no one had touched it with peanut butter fingers ever?
One of our main reasons for homeschooling is his peanut allergy. K12 made it seem like I would have to be the one monitoring and checking to make sure they remembered to send out new materials. He does have a 504 I believe that says he needs new materials b/c of a contact food allergy, but it is from 3 years ago when he did a brief stint in public school K. They are supposed to have to follow it.
Connections on the other hand called me and told me that none of my children would receive anything used b/c of his peanut allergy and his 504 plan. I still don't know if the children will receive slots in Connections though.

#48 Briartell

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 07:52 AM

For those who used K12 and hated the math, what did you do to fix it? Is it possibly something you could substitute with a different math curriculum?

Thanks for your help!

#49 NoPlaceLikeHome

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 07:53 AM

I have used K12 K-4th grade materials. IMHO I would not worry about starting your child with K instead of 1st grade since the curricula is rigorous. Our school allowed you to advance in math and language arts only and you could do this by doing the assessments. We chose to only advance in math even though ds was a fantastic reader, reading years beyond his age level. We were able to use the phonics as more of a spelling program. We also had to hand in a monthly portfolio of specific assignments from the curricula usually in math and english. They gave us a list of assignments for the year that needed to be handed in to the teacher in addition to the assessments. You could always supplement K12 material if you felt it was too easy.

We did not do every art project but did cover the art history. We substituted music lessons for K12 music and just did the assessments. We did not do every science experiment.


I have looked at CA many times by attending info sessions and looking at curricula and honestly I think K12 is better.

#50 NoPlaceLikeHome

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 07:58 AM

For those who used K12 and hated the math, what did you do to fix it? Is it possibly something you could substitute with a different math curriculum?

Thanks for your help!


I would ask for serious samples and access to sample math lessons. We used old K12 math which used Sadlier Oxford Progress in Mathematics with K12 materials and we liked it. It was easy to tailor to your child. I would ask about how easy is it to tailor new math with a child. For example, if they have truly mastered a subject can they do all of the even problems. Or can they do even problems and then advance on the next lesson and gradually finish previous problems over the next few months. We did that with basic addition and subtraction for ds since he mastered these concepts so we only did part of the problems and then had him do the rest a little bit at a time over the next couple of months to prevent boredom by advancing to new lessons/concepts.


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