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K12 Virtual Academy -- Anyone?


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Okay, I bit the bullet... VA now has a virtual academy, and we signed our three children up for it -- admittedly, to save money AND give my 10yo someone else to be accountable to. (it will save us about $1000 this year and $2000 next year)

 

We've been approved.

 

Now, onto the controversy. I had a meeting with our PAL (our teachers haven't been assigned yet). They are sending our children all of the "grade appropriate" materials (as it is generally regarded that K12 is 1-2 years advanced anyway).

 

Only problem is that all of my children have completed the LA K12 materials for their grade level (with the exception of history and art, and in the case of the 1st and 2nd grader science). I read the scope and sequence for LA and math and just *had* to laugh (my 1st grader is "playing" on the computer using his sisters TT level 4. Ummm, 1st grade math is going to be a HUGE step backwards.

 

I was told this would probably be the case -- but that once we had our assigned teachers I should go over it with them.

 

The first grader is the one I'm most concerned about, since he doesn't actually have an on-line history with K12.

 

I've told the 2nd and 5th graders that if the DON'T want to repeat last year's coursework that they had better do their absolute BEST with what they are doing, and show their teacher that it isn't too difficult. So far, that tactic seems to be working (thanfully).

 

Anyone else have a BTDT scenario with a Virtual Academy, that can give me some encouragement?

 

I can just see my 6yo breaking down into tears -- and if that's the case I will pull him out if they keep in in the 1st grade materials. Having him learn his +1's and stuff when he's doing addition with carry right now just seems so wrong.

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I think you should be able to just give him the math assessments and move right along. I know K12 charter schools will send you the next year's materials if you've successfully completed a grade level in something. Hope this helps! I would suggest looking in Yahoo for a Va. K12 charter group. This is a common scenario and they would have some thoughts/suggestions.

 

Nan

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I would suggest the placement assessments to have the kids placed appropriately. Also, for what they DO have to complete, they probably can do the assessments to prove they know the material and just move on. A friend of mine's children had some gaps from schooling but were able to do the year before, their own year and start the following year all within the same school year. A lot of schools allow acceleration like that. I don't know if it's possible in every state, but in Texas, as long as they area ready for the next year's materials (even in just one subject), they can get it as long as it's by April 1st.

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In WAVA they give you the materials for the child's grade based on age, and if the child already knows the material, you just work through all the assessments to show completion of the course, then they send you the next level of courses. If there are any gaps, you'll find them when your child doesn't pass an assessment. You can probably do 2-4 assessments per day in the same time that one lesson would take.

 

FWIW, I was very concerned that Kindergarten math would be too easy for my 5yo because she was already doing addition and subtraction in her head, but it turns out that she had some gaps in some really simple things like left & right, top/middle/bottom, and several other terms like that. So, we are just doing the lessons as planned. The lessons are very easy, but I'm doing them as written because I recognize the progression of skills is building a good foundation for higher thinking. We're also at the beginning of our school year, so I'm taking it slow. We might pick up the pace once I get a handle on teaching 3 with the K12 curriculum. It's a doozy! :tongue_smilie:

 

I wish you the best. I am very impressed and pleased with K12 and my state VA.

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My ds is enrolled in a public cyber charter school that uses K12 as curriculum. Initially they gave him a placement test and placed him 1 grade level higher in math only. I have heard that some of the cybers that use k12 are now placing and grade level and adjusting after enrollment although I could be wrong. I do know that with the cybers in PA that you can advance on language arts and math if you finish lessons before March or April, I believe.

 

I would ask the school questions regarding placement and working at faster paces if you think that would help:). I was told that you could always do the assessments if they already know the content. If they have already taken the course, I would definitely try to look into not repeating the course. I would try to be a squeaky wheel in this case if you do not get results initially. Or you could try to work through course quickly without actually doing it all over again. I would just do the required assignments that must be turned in and required online sessions if there are any. I would also do any reviews that you think are needed.

 

Good luck:)

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Unfortunately, they aren't using the K12 placement tests -- or Joshua would have no issues being placed in 2nd grade LA and 3rd grade math.

 

I submitted a curriculum history and evaluation for each of the children, but only the CAT tests for the oldest two from this spring (which weren't their best... but oh well!)

 

I'm hoping for the 1st grader the "just do the assessments" is our last resort. I will have actual ITBS test scores (he is taking the test for completing 1st grade and entering 2nd) in 2 weeks -- I'll furnish those results to his teacher. Personally, I can't imagine having to assess out of 2 years of math to get to where he actually "is." That would be torture. If we have to do that, I will definitely keep him doing his Teaching Textbooks just so he isn't bored out of his skull.

 

I shouldn't (hopefully) have any other issues with the 2nd and 5th graders, as they have been enrolled in K12 for 2-3 years -- so having them repeat what they did last year should seem nonsensical.

 

Here's hoping we have an awesome group of teachers that will be willing to work it out with us :D

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We are with Virtual academy in Oregon for 2nd year. My daughter is 6.5 now. We started last year K with 1st grade material in all courses. I told them, that we have already finished K courses last year being independent K student. We finished 1st grade last year in K official grade by March, and got all 2nd grade courses from April being still in K officially. Now we finished Math 2 over summer and get Math 3 in October, LA 3 in January/February, and History 3, Art 3, and Science 3 in April, and hopefully Math 4 also in April, being still 1st grade officially. I don't see how I would otherwise stretch Math 3 until next September, it is an easy course. We are moving fast with Math, but LA 3 is very big and too much writing assessments for our age 6.5. You may call them and request placement tests for your 1st grade. They have placement tests available online and on demand through the school officials. That is what I did too. They did not argue with my estimation of placement to 1st grade courses, but still requested that we submit the tests for their peace of mind. Tell them that if they won't provide you with right courses, you may need to pull the child out. They won't like to loose a child, the virtual academies are fighting for life now.

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We are with Virtual academy in Oregon for 2nd year. My daughter is 6.5 now. We started last year K with 1st grade material in all courses. I told them, that we have already finished K courses last year being independent K student. We finished 1st grade last year in K official grade by March, and got all 2nd grade courses from April being still in K officially. Now we finished Math 2 over summer and get Math 3 in October, LA 3 in January/February, and History 3, Art 3, and Science 3 in April, and hopefully Math 4 also in April, being still 1st grade officially. I don't see how I would otherwise stretch Math 3 until next September, it is an easy course. We are moving fast with Math, but LA 3 is very big and too much writing assessments for our age 6.5. You may call them and request placement tests for your 1st grade. They have placement tests available online and on demand through the school officials. That is what I did too. They did not argue with my estimation of placement to 1st grade courses, but still requested that we submit the tests for their peace of mind. Tell them that if they won't provide you with right courses, you may need to pull the child out. They won't like to loose a child, the virtual academies are fighting for life now.

 

Wow! You are making some progress all right! Good for you and your dc. I hope it's not true that VA's are flighting for their lives right now. In WA our VA has twice the enrollment as last year, so I think in WA we are doing good. I hope it stays that way, because I love our VA.

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Let me go on record as saying, I want to "love" my virtual academy :D

 

Thank you all for sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly. I know there are bound to be areas on which I will have to compromise -- and I am bracing for the worst, but hoping for a really good experience.

 

My oldest -- the major reason we're doing this -- is already starting to rise to the occasion. He does NOT want to repeat his 5th grade year. I have told him that his new teacher will want to see that he can handle the material and that he needs to, "man-up" and "bring his A game," so that s/he would be able to tell what he is capable of.

 

This is going to be a huge learning experience for all of us. Here's hoping it goes so well that we have no qualms about enrolling them for the next couple of years (and that they open it up to high school!).

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One other idea is that you could do many of the assessments verbally if they are not to be sent in to the teacher on material they already know.Many of the assessment are short and to the point as well. They so far have been about 5-10 questions at most in many cases. You also may be able to check many of them as done in many cases if they are not to be handed especially if you already did the same curriculum before. Since they are short you may find them good for review:)

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I have one other thought with the first grader. My son is advanced in math and was not so good in writing skills when he was in first grade. Previously, we had done a lot of math online and verbally with little writing. As he got just a tad older we switched to more writing with math and that benefited him as well even though some of the material is easier. He also needed and needs practice showing his work since he can do many problems in his head. So the assessments might come in handy for this as well if this is your situation:)

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I received some AWESOME news today! They are changing out the courses for the kiddos! I suppose it really helps that we've been using K12 for a few years already... and they have taken placement tests, etc.

 

I don't even have to do the "paper trail" thing for Joshua. They will be switching his LA and math today. I am so happy... no tears required! We'll still be using Teaching Textbooks, and the Chalkdust videos in the background -- and I still get to cringe through music 1 again, but hey -- this is still a LOT better than where we were when they turned the courses on last night!

 

Whew!:D

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BTW Lisa,

 

What's your secret to getting so much done with your kids? I have 3 in K12 right now, 5th, 1st, and K, it's almost impossible to get all their lessons done every day. 2-3, maybe even 4-5 days per week we are a lesson or 2 behind. Yesterday we took 2 Elluminate sessions, which were highly recommended by our teacher, and we were so behind after that. I learned my lesson with that, but even without the Elluminate sessions I'm struggling to get all the lessons done. Please, give me your secret! :bigear:

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I struggle as much as the next person getting it done (especially with the 10yo :tongue_smilie:). We have 3 computers in use all the time (by me, and two children). I spent the first couple of weeks feeling out the kids and the lessons -- trying to see where I was needed. I front load my oldest with Literature and Math to get those out of the way, and hopefully the rest of his day will go easier. Of course, now that we're adding Josh to the K12 mix for math and LA I'm going to have to do that again!

 

My 1st and 2nd grader quiz each other on Spelling -- which helps a lot. They use the white boards and it's one thing I don't have to worry about. I still administer the tests and the dictation, and make sure they understand what they are supposed to do.

 

Basically, while Christopher is doing lit, Kathryn is doing math, and Josh is doing LA. Then, it's Christopher's and Josh's turn at math and Kathryn's turn at LA. Then, Christopher goes back to LA and finishes history before lunch. Latin is done right after lunch, and then Christopher does Science or Art, music and anything he hasn't finished from earlier. Kathryn and Josh have history/science/art/music after Latin, and then they are "done."

 

Also, I schedule school on Saturday (math, literature, grammar, history OR science an art OR music), this really helps us not fall behind, and actually stay on track (more or less). This way we also can take 1 Friday a month for a "big" field trip with the whole family.

 

I'm hoping 3 in the VA won't be horrible... but we'll see!

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We are with a K12 school here in PA. They are placing kids at their grade level and no longer giving placement tests. My recommendatiion is to have him take the assesments. Once he's completed that they HAVE to send out the next grade level of math to you.

So that shouldn't be an issue.

 

As for your older kids have them work through the assessments as well. If they get through it they have to send out the next level. So like you said they have to man up and get the work done.

 

K12 is an EXCELLENT curriculum. Just with virtual schools you have to put up sometimes too. YOu are trading in the freedom to do what you want to doing what the schools want. From my experience with cyberschools its not that bad when you just don't have the money.

 

I currently have three in a K12 cyber and its been doable. You just have to figure out the way that works. You can check out one of my methods that has been working for us lately on our blog(link in siggy). I was just talking with our orientation teacher yesterday that had 5 start with K12 and had never homeschooled before. She said the poor lady was beside herself. I would feel that way to in the beginning. But it will get better and you will find your groove eventually. Hang in there.

Edited by TracyR
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I did not mean that virtual school is fighting for life, because there is something wrong with it. It is in our state, Oregon, both virtual schools ORVA K12 and Connections academy are under danger of closing. K12 have one (second year) of contract, so this year is good, but for next year both schools in danger of closing, that is what I was said by teachers. I personally love K12 and wish to stay with it through high school.

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I'll have to say that the virtual schools are growing, the ones that exist. There are some though that are under investigation due to scrupoulous acts by trustees who run some of the schools though. OUrs is one of them. I am praying though that our school will continue to stay open though.

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We've been assigned our teacher, and so far I really like her. She really is coming across as a facilitator/partner vs. a dictator (which is what I worried about).

 

My 10yo is doing LA6 this year, and it looks like it could be a bear. Last year was difficult enough -- but from what I understand, they really ratchet up the LA in the 6-8th grades. Our teacher is perfectly "cool" with slowing it down a bit and being more thorough, to "get it right" vs. just "getting it done." I would rather take 2 years to get through this material and have him develop a really strong foundation before launching into even more writing and literary analysis.

 

I am really, really excited about this -- and what it means financially for us. My children are getting top-notch materials and I can still add our Latin and Bible into our mix...but our costs are going way...way... down. I couldn't stand the thought of stopping the homeschooling, OR cutting out materials I really, thoroughly enjoyed using. It's not my ideal -- but it comes pretty darn close.

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Same here. We are in the same boat. I started off homeschooling this year but found we were short of getting what we really needed and just didn't have enough money. I used K12 with my third daughter last year and she did very well and we enjoyed it. I still do.

 

As for the LA, yes in the 6th grade its gone up a notch. My 11yr old is doing the 6th grade LA and it can take her a while to finish.

As for our teachers as well they all have been wonderful with our school. My girls love talking to them and they like to give me information on teaching that I already know :>)

But they pretty much leave us alone to do our thing. We just hear from them once a month for conferences, and any elluminates we may want to participate in.

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I would rather take 2 years to get through this material and have him develop a really strong foundation before launching into even more writing and literary analysis.

 

 

 

Just so you know, the 8th grade LA course is actually a 9th grade course. So if you finish English B in 8th grade, you're not behind. And actually, you're not behind anyway, because didn't you say your child is in 5th?

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  • 2 years later...

In PA , our K12 cybers ( we have a few) are placing by grade level only. They used to do grade assessments then place the kids in the work they needed to be, but not anymore.

 

What you can do is just have him do the assessment tests and if he does have any gaps you can address them. If not then just move on and they will send you out the next level. We did this and I'll admit we spent a lot of time assessing our youngest daughter out that we could have been working on newer things.

 

I know this year after using K12 for a while we're going to do our own thing.

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TracyR - Was K12 too much work? We are considering VA's K12 virtual academy. I have 4 children, grades 8,6,3,1. We have attended private school the last 3 years but it's pricey. I work full-time but mostly at home and it's pretty flexible (as is my husband's schedule and we have local family). This looks perfect for us, but I hear over and over that it's a lot of work.

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It varies with the individual charter school. Our experience with the K12 school Agora was that we were told the dc would have placement tests but after enrollment that did not happen. We were then told the dc should 'accelerate' through the material beginning with their age-grade to find their proper level. We had started with Agora in January, and we were also told that not only did we have to ask the dc to 'accelerate' to their level, the dc had to start with the material from the beginning of that year!

 

Well, it got worse. Dd dutifully accelerated through nine months of math at her age-grade level ten weeks, putting us half-way through March. We requested the next grade level of material.....but Agora refused to send it, saying it was 'too late in the year' to start the next level. :confused:

 

They actually wanted dd to do no math at all until they sent the next level in late August. It made absolutely NO difference that this was a kid who had just done nine months of math work in ten weeks and was supposedly 'accelerating to her level'.

 

Don't even get me started on Language Arts! Language Arts are actually her strong point, and Agora totally dropped the ball there. Dd reads at a high school level and they had her doing phonics.

 

I hope your charter school is more responsive to your children's needs. One would think that charter schools would tend to be, but we have not found that to be the case. I also do not think K12 deserves a reputation for being a grade or two above normal grade level. As for K12 being 'too much work', if you understand the concept of mastery learning then you know that if your child understands a concept you can simply test out of it and move on rather than trying to complete every assignment before moving on. I believe that the people who feel that K12 is 'too much' are folks who do not understand that they do not have to complete every assignment to show mastery.

Edited by Rainefox
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Endswell, We did K12 via a virtual academy for 3 years of schooling. It is a lot of work, especially with several kids all in different grades. After 3 years I found the administration of it (checking in, K-mails, making sure requirements were met, etc.) was too much for me. Doing the lessons with the kids (and I only had 3 of school age at the time) was too much also. I found myself rushing like mad through everything just to get it all done, and the quality of our lessons was poor. I switched gears last school year going back to independent homeschooling. It was a much better experience after doing K12 for 3 years, and I will stick with independent from here on out. I'm not even tempted to go back to K12 when things get tough. I remember how rushed everything always was, and I don't want that atmosphere in my home. I wish you the best. K12 did help me in a lot of ways, so I don't regret those years, I just don't want that anymore.

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