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I'm almost afraid to ask....or to admit (about virtual schools; Connections & WIVA)


BatmansWife
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ETA UPDATE: This is an old thread from 3 years ago.  What I was considering then never even happened.  I'm using a home-based program (not online) through our local school district...this is our 3rd year with the home-based program and I couldn't be happier with it.  I just don't want people to read this and think that I've just now been posting about wanting to join a virtual school.

 

 

This might be long...and I just need to talk (I have no one else to even talk to about this stuff but you ladies). I've had this on my mind for awhile now. I couldn't even sleep last night. I finally went to the Connections Academy website this afternoon, and I think I'm going to enroll my 7 year old for this coming fall; she's already excited. Thank goodness I didn't miss the open enrollment, which begins next week.

Please no flames. I know most homeschoolers seem to be against virtual schools. I know all about it...I know it's not homeschooling. About 5 years ago we did one year of CA. I would have continued it with oldest, but the state we were in (WI), they didn't continue with CA after 8th grade, which was the grade she was in that year. I decided not to continue with my son, since he really struggled (I often regret that decision).

Anyway, I have a lot of mixed emotions about this, mostly because I love to pick and choose what my kids do. I love McRuffy and Purposeful Design Science... But..the main reason we might do this with my youngest is the expense. Virtual school is FREE. We are having such troubles financially. We actually are going through bankruptcy right now. I really worry that I won't even be able to afford curriculum for next school year.

Another worry, though, is that we start our school year in January. So, dd just started 1st grade. I don't know if she'll be ready for 2nd grade CA in September. I e-mailed CA about this, so I'll wait to see what they say.

I know there is also WIVA in our state that uses K12. But, I'm afraid to go outside my comfort zone too much. I know CA. I remember the LMS, how it all works...ya' know? Funny (not really) that when my dd was 4 or 5 I thought I'd enroll her in CA right from the beginning...then I would know she wouldn't ever end up getting behind (like her brother). But, I didn't do it...I wanted to do it on our own. But...now I feel that she did end up getting behind, which was my fear all along.

Anyway....does anyone have positive experiences with either CA or WIVA?? I don't need discouraging thoughts right now. I just need someone to say this is a good decision and that I'm doing the right thing. Even though it's not "homeschooling"...my dd will still be home and I'll be with her.
:crying:

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I don't know why it wouldn't be considered homeschooling. I've heard that before, but it always puzzles me. Homeschooling is doing school at home, right? Well with those online or virtual schools you are doing just that -schooling at home.

I liked the way someone once described it as - that there are many types of homeschooling now. Traditional homeschooling is where you are the sole teacher of your child and solely in charge of curriculum and so on. However now we have all these programs. The face of homeschooling is changing. It's not just all traditional now.

 

By definition, some may not consider me homeschooling because my children are still registered as public school students. They go to a program that the school district funds, an ALE program (Alternative Learning Environment). I belive this is what the virtual schools fall under also.

I still am 100% in charge of what curriculum I choose for my children. I am also reponsible for buying it myself although the ALE program does reimburse for non-relgious texts. Basically all it means is that my kids take a few hours a week of classes (like electives) and once a month I go online and submit a report of what we did that month, and once every three months we have a face-to-face meeting reviewing what we've been doing. The kids don't even have to take the state required testing if I enroll them anything less then 100%.

 

Anyway, that is very similiar to a virutal school. I did CVA (Columbia Virtual Academy) for my 8 yr old when we took him out of school last year. There was a lot more freedom in curriculum choice. I didn't feel that they interered too much at all with my choices at home or telling me what to to do. The only thing I didn't like about it was not having the face-to-face aspect because I was so new at homeschooling and it was confusing to me! Lol

 

I do have a family member who's doing WAVA (Washington's State's virutal school that uses K-12). She hasn't nothing but GREAT things to say about it. She's been using it K-3rd grade now and started Kindergarten with her second child on it last year.

I've heard a lot of good things about K12 also. All the supplies you need come in the box, from science experiments to other supplies.

Its still up to YOU to choose how you teach it though. There is no one standing over you giving you lesson plans and telling you what to teach.

They seem very willing to work with you and leave all the schooling choices up to YOU. They are mostly there to help answer any questions you have, guide you if needed, and report back to the state. So you'll probably need to submit some sort of report or email as "attendnace" once a week (at least that's what CVA had us do) and a progress report like thing once a month or so? I'm not sure what the requirements are where you live.

 

But the best part, if you don't like it - just drop out. It was very easy to quit the program when we were done last year. I did have to return the books that they purchased for me, but it wasn't a big deal. ;)

 

HTH!

 

(Spelling warning - I was typing quickly and my spell check isn't working , so please forgive any horrible spelling/grammar mistakes! lol)

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You need to do what is right for your family...PERIOD. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty for any choices that you make for your family. I am dealing with this right now with the HSing thing. Some people seem to think that HSing my kids will ruin them somehow. As a community, HSers especially should be considerate of the choices others make.

 

Even though it isn't as great for you as choosing your own curriculum, if it works for you (especially during a time of financial pressure), then it is the right decision!!!! You will still be active in teaching your child. You can supplement with library books, etc where appropriate! Your child still won't be exposed to terrible influences at PS. There are lots of other reason for HSing than just the curriculum!!!!

 

I hope that things work out great for you and that everything gets settled. BTW, I just ordered McRuffy Math based on your suggestion (seriously...like 5 min ago). :001_smile: I am super excited about it!

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I don't have any personal experience with a virtual school, but I certainlly wouldn't look down on anyone for using one or consider it not "real" homeschooling. As long as you are comfortable using the materials they provide, I can't see any problem. If you have a decent library nearby you could always supplement with books on various topics. It sounds like you are going through a stressful time, and this decision would simplify one area for you. As mentioned above you can always change plans if the situation changes. Best of luck!

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Well honey I don't think you have ANYTHING to feel guilty about! You are doing the right thing by your children to make sure they will have everything they need to succeed next year. I have no idea about CA particularly, and we don't have free access to ANY virtual academy in AL, but we are using K12's LA program independently this year (materials only) and have thoroughly enjoyed the program. It's a peace of mind thing for me, because I am NOT a fan of the LA, but the fact that this meets state standards (and far exceeds Alabama's state standards) is what made me look into the k12 materials for ds.

 

Be confident in your choice, mama! You don't have to explain yourself to ANYONE here!!!! :grouphug:

 

(excuse typos and bad grammar--I'm eating taco salad and typing with cheesy dorito fingers ;))

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I don't know anything about virtual schools but I do know about the stresses that come with a bankruptcy so here is a big :grouphug:. Do whatever you feel you need to do to provide your dc with a good education. Period, end of discussion. It shouldn't matter what your reasons are for wanting to pursue this path in my opinion, and you certainly shouldn't feel this is something you have to "admit" to anyone.

 

If after you have tried it for awhile and decide that it isn't a good fit for your dc, but you don't have the $ for curriculum, don't discount all of the free curriculum you can get. I am absolutely amazed at the amount of free resources their are out there.

 

But, having it all handed to you, already organized and laid out...um, that sounds very appealing, especially if you are having lots of stress from other things in your life.

 

I hope you find peace in your decision!

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You shouldn't feel bad, they're your children, it's your life, so it's your choice. I plan on using an online school for High School at least, if not Jr High also. Does that mean I'm not still my childs teacher? No, I'm still the one who would have to explain concepts and problems he doesn't get. I'm the one who would be his study buddy, discussion group, lab partner, .... hey this is starting to sound more like fun, and less like work. Good Luck, I hope things start looking better for you soon.

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It sounds great to me! I don't want to stress you further with another option, but we are in a charter that gives us money for curriculum and classes so we get to pick. I don't know what is available in your area but it might be a happy medium. However if you have already ruled that option out please don't feel bad. I still say you are homeschooling if that helps! We also really need the financial help and I don't feel one bit of guilt about it.

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I am thinking about a virtual school this year. I just don't know if it would decrease my stress, or increase it. I'm not good at planning and I definitely like having an outside structure, such as pre-prepared lesson plans. There are a few curricula I've looked at, but they're so darn expensive. On the other hand, I've heard that some virtual schools are much stricter and much less flexible than others, I've had friends with both good and bad experiences. I'm not sure if I want to try it, or not.

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I don't know why it wouldn't be considered homeschooling. I've heard that before, but it always puzzles me. Homeschooling is doing school at home, right? Well with those online or virtual schools you are doing just that -schooling at home.

 

 

The rational I've seen for "virtual schools aren't homeschools" is politically based, based on a desire to maintain the highest level of homeschool freedom in the face of a consistent tendency toward governmental encroachment. The folks saying that want to use a different name for these virtual charter schools (or homeschools), so that they don't become a means of adding regulatory hoops for us to jump through, or the only definition of homeschooling.

 

Whatever you call them, if it's what's right for your family, go for it! Financial troubles are the pits. Hopefully you guys can see the end of them soon!

:grouphug:

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We are using CA for my 8th grader. I consider it homeschooling :) They involve the parents a LOT. We have had mostly positive experiences with it. The teachers stay in close contact with me and listen to my opinions. I don't think it is a bad decision at all!

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I'm fighting off some of the same ambivalence.

 

I've always taken a sort of creative pride in putting together our own curriculum plans. I'm an academic sort right down to my bones and truly love sourcing materials and writing lesson plans . . .

 

And it worked great for my daughter. She finished her high school work with just a few outside courses scattered on her resume. It was mostly math (which is not my area of strength) and foreign language. But the bulk of her transcript was a long list of lovely, personalized, sometimes slightly quirky courses that I made up for her.

 

We had our battles at the time, but she must have come to appreciate it. She's graduating from college this year and is very happily spending all of her spare time researching books and materials and planning her own specialized one-year self-study graduate course. She gets giddy talking about writing out her schedule and plans.

 

But now I have this son, who doesn't especially enjoy having Mom as his only (or even his primary) teacher. He is most distinctly NOT an academic and generally thinks of school as something to get done so he can go do something fun. Every one of the last several years, I've put so much energy into finding and putting together the "right" materials for him, carefully typing up my lovely plans and weekly goals . . . and then he doesn't love it. He complains about it. He does a slap-dash job just to get through it. He doesn't do it at all. He stalls. He whines. He doesn't enjoy the books I was so looking forward to discussing.

 

I've tried involving him in the planning. I've tried outright asking him to pick curricula he likes. Nothing works. I have to stay right behind him every minute poking and prodding and threatening . . .

 

And we end up not liking each other very much.

 

He had been taking a class or so a year (usually math, for the reason I listed above) through the Florida Virtual School. And, miraculously, that work always got done. He's almost always liked his teachers.

 

This year, after all the usual stuff started happening, we ended up trashing all of my plans for what we consider his four core subjects: math, history, English, science. We signed him up for FLVS courses in all of those subjects. It made me very sad to see all those books I had lovingly collected sit on the shelf unread and unloved. I hated the idea of him being tied down to the computer for all the hours necessary to do four courses. I resented being accountable to someone else for our schedule. I mourned all those wonderful book conversations we would never have (even though we weren't having them, anyway).

 

I almost hoped it would be a disaster, that he would hate it, so that I could prove how much better my way was all along.

 

But, honestly, several months in now, it's good. He's happy, happier than when we were doing what I wanted. He's learning at least as much (I think). We're getting along. He still stalls and does half-hearted work sometimes, but now I don't take it personally.

 

It is a little irritating not being able to make our own schedule or decide to road trip with required reading along to "do school." But we're adjusting. And we still have so much more flexibility than we would if he were in school.

 

At this point, it's going well enough that we plan to continue for next year and the foreseeable future.

 

Our compromise is that we plan on having him do no more than four FLVS classes at a time. That way, he's not on the computer 100% of his day, so that we retain a little more scheduling flexibility. (This is important to us, because he does a lot of theatre and his rehearsal and performance schedule changes from week to week sometimes.) He gets all or most of his core subjects covered, and I get a couple of classes to play with and plan.

 

It's working very well for him and for us.

 

I hope it works for you, too.

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Hi. We're currently living in PA and are using PA Cyber, the largest cyber charter school in the state. Since I haven't used CA, I can't speak to that program in particular. But I can talk about some of the pros and cons of cyber schools.

 

First off, if you like homeschooling, but your only real choices are to use a cyber school or to send your kids to a public school, you will almost definitely be happier using a cyber school. While I realize that it isn't "pure" homeschooling (for lack of a better term), in most elementary grades you are still the one doing the teaching and oversight. You are right in saying that you don't get to choose the materials (which is the primary reason why we are leaving the cyber school and doing pure homeschooling next year), but you are also right in saying that it is free (which is why we have done cyber school so far!).

 

As for our experience, we enrolled our oldest in PA Cyber when he was four years old for their Pre-K program. He was a bright boy, and I felt that he could use some structured learning, but I definitely did not want to put him into school early for various reasons (social immaturity and a poor school district were the primary ones). I looked at different options, but PA Cyber offered Calvert's Homeschooling program, which I loved at the time. (Currently you can choose between Calvert and an online curriculum at the elementary level.) We have been using Calvert for my son and my daughter (2nd grade and K, respectively) through PA Cyber ever since. In our case, the primary differences between homeschooling with the Calvert curriculum and using PA Cyber have been who the tests go to and the lack of a ($1000+) price tag.

 

Even the online curriculum at our school is primarily book-based at the elementary level. From what I understand, there are short online lessons each day (roughly 15 minutes or so), but then there are books to read and assignments to do. From briefly looking at the CA website, I suspect that this is similar. If you are currently teaching from a Charlotte Mason perspective, I'm sure it would be maddening, but so would any other homeschooling approach that use worksheets, tests, texts, etc.

 

I will also say that using a cyber school has some other possible advantages as well as cost. First, it keeps the state away. In some states, this is very desirable. I had heard terrible things about PA's homeschooling laws/requirements, which kept me from homeschooling initially (as it turns out, the bark seems to be worse than the bite). But there are states where I can imagine the process to be very stressful.

 

Second, for those parents who require it, the children may have an easier time if they need to enter/exit the public school system for some reason. Your child will also likely receive a GPA and a paper diploma, which some parents feel is important.

 

Third, if it is technically a public school, if your child is gifted or is in need of special education services, the school is required to provide them. This alone can be compelling for some parents. In our case, my son's speech therapy (thus far) would have cost us well over $1200, and that's with a good insurance plan. Because it is a public school, both gifted testing/GIEPs and speech therapy have been cost-free. (Well, our tax dollars at work -- you get my idea.)

 

Finally, I think a cyber school can be an excellent fit for a parent who is unsure of or insecure about homeschooling. The good ones provide structure, guidance, and support to parents who might otherwise feel unable or unwilling to homeschool. Ours even provides a constant stream of excellent field trips and free high-quality music/art/drama classes (like Kindermusik).

 

I can say with confidence, after working as a private tutor through college and getting a teaching degree, that pretty much any student will do better with individualized instruction than he/she will as one of thirty students in a class. Even though you may not feel like you are "really" homeschooling, you still will be the person responsible for your child's education in your home.

 

Obviously I am not anti-homeschooling, or I would not be pursuing it for the next school year. We are changing because I would like a curriculum tailored to each child's abilities in a particular subject matter, rather than the integrated one provided by Calvert (which fits no one perfectly). Also, it's a financial possibility now, and it wasn't been three years ago. And I will also admit that while I was never afraid of homeschooling, I now have a much better picture of what I want my kids to learn, how I want them to learn it, and when. So for us, a cyber school was sort of the "gateway drug" to homeschooling.

 

Nonetheless, you must do what works best for your family right now. There's no law saying that if you use a cyber school this year, you must keep on using it. You are free to come and go as you please, so if you don't like the current situation, just remember that you can always go back to regular homeschooling later.

 

Good luck!

--Pamela

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Thank you everyone for your responses. I appreciate each of you for what you've said. I really did have tears in my eyes reading all of these responses. I know it's silly, but I was kinda feeling like a failure in deciding this. But you all have made me feel so much better.

 

I don't know why it wouldn't be considered homeschooling. I've heard that before, but it always puzzles me. Homeschooling is doing school at home, right? Well with those online or virtual schools you are doing just that -schooling at home.

I liked the way someone once described it as - that there are many types of homeschooling now. Traditional homeschooling is where you are the sole teacher of your child and solely in charge of curriculum and so on. However now we have all these programs. The face of homeschooling is changing. It's not just all traditional now. I think it's strange too, because to me it still is homeschooling too...they are at home. But, it's considered a "public school at home". To me....that doesn't even matter to me. Some people don't want to have anything to do with public school, and that's fine. I'm not totally anti-school, or anti-teachers....I just want to be home with my kids.

I've heard a lot of good things about K12 also. All the supplies you need come in the box, from science experiments to other supplies.

Its still up to YOU to choose how you teach it though. There is no one standing over you giving you lesson plans and telling you what to teach.

They seem very willing to work with you and leave all the schooling choices up to YOU. They are mostly there to help answer any questions you have, guide you if needed, and report back to the state. So you'll probably need to submit some sort of report or email as "attendnace" once a week (at least that's what CVA had us do) and a progress report like thing once a month or so? I'm not sure what the requirements are where you live. This sounds very good. I'm happy to hear you've heard good things about K12. WCA (Connections) doesn't use K12, but WIVA does...which is also a consideration of mine.

 

 

You need to do what is right for your family...PERIOD. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty for any choices that you make for your family. I am dealing with this right now with the HSing thing. Some people seem to think that HSing my kids will ruin them somehow. As a community, HSers especially should be considerate of the choices others make. Thank you! You are right. And you are making a great choice for your kids.

Even though it isn't as great for you as choosing your own curriculum, if it works for you (especially during a time of financial pressure), then it is the right decision!!!! You will still be active in teaching your child. You can supplement with library books, etc where appropriate! Your child still won't be exposed to terrible influences at PS. There are lots of other reason for HSing than just the curriculum!!!! Again, so right. Thank you for this. It isn't as great as choosing my own curriculum. But, I'm trying to change my thinking to the fact that I just might not be able to school the way *I* want....but it's possible that this alternative way might be better for my kids in the long run anyway.

I hope that things work out great for you and that everything gets settled. BTW, I just ordered McRuffy Math based on your suggestion (seriously...like 5 min ago). I am super excited about it! Oh, this is wonderful and warms my heart! Thank you so much for telling me. I truly hope that you'll love McRuffy. Have fun with it!

 

If you have a decent library nearby you could always supplement with books on various topics. It sounds like you are going through a stressful time, and this decision would simplify one area for you. As mentioned above you can always change plans if the situation changes. Best of luck! Yes, I would like to do that...add in extras from the library or from our shelves at home...to make it a little more personalized. I think this would simplify things for us and help a great deal. Thank you for your well wishes!

 

Well honey I don't think you have ANYTHING to feel guilty about! You are doing the right thing by your children to make sure they will have everything they need to succeed next year. Thank you so much for your encouragement; it means a lot to me. I have no idea about CA particularly, and we don't have free access to ANY virtual academy in AL, but we are using K12's LA program independently this year (materials only) and have thoroughly enjoyed the program. I'm happy to hear you are liking K12. It's a peace of mind thing for me, because I am NOT a fan of the LA, but the fact that this meets state standards (and far exceeds Alabama's state standards) is what made me look into the k12 materials for ds.

 

Be confident in your choice, mama! You don't have to explain yourself to ANYONE here!!!! :grouphug: Thank you. I do have confidence now!

 

(excuse typos and bad grammar--I'm eating taco salad and typing with cheesy dorito fingers ;)) :lol::lol:

 

I don't know anything about virtual schools but I do know about the stresses that come with a bankruptcy so here is a big :grouphug:. Thank you so much! :grouphug: to you too! Do whatever you feel you need to do to provide your dc with a good education. Period, end of discussion. It shouldn't matter what your reasons are for wanting to pursue this path in my opinion, and you certainly shouldn't feel this is something you have to "admit" to anyone.

 

If after you have tried it for awhile and decide that it isn't a good fit for your dc, but you don't have the $ for curriculum, don't discount all of the free curriculum you can get. I am absolutely amazed at the amount of free resources their are out there. True.

 

But, having it all handed to you, already organized and laid out...um, that sounds very appealing, especially if you are having lots of stress from other things in your life. Yes...this appeals to me too!

 

I hope you find peace in your decision! Thank you!

 

I don't think there's a thing to feel bad about either! I'm also considering a virtual charter for next year. Thank you for sharing.

 

You shouldn't feel bad, they're your children, it's your life, so it's your choice. I plan on using an online school for High School at least, if not Jr High also. Does that mean I'm not still my childs teacher? No, I'm still the one who would have to explain concepts and problems he doesn't get. I'm the one who would be his study buddy, discussion group, lab partner, .... hey this is starting to sound more like fun, and less like work. It does sound good! Good Luck, I hope things start looking better for you soon. Thank you!

 

It sounds great to me! I don't want to stress you further with another option, but we are in a charter that gives us money for curriculum and classes so we get to pick. I don't know what is available in your area but it might be a happy medium. However if you have already ruled that option out please don't feel bad. I haven't even thought of it let alone ruled it out. I'll look into it, but I don't know what's available. I still say you are homeschooling if that helps! Yes, it does. :001_smile: We also really need the financial help and I don't feel one bit of guilt about it. It's hard. :grouphug:
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I am thinking about a virtual school this year. I just don't know if it would decrease my stress, or increase it. I'm not good at planning and I definitely like having an outside structure, such as pre-prepared lesson plans. There are a few curricula I've looked at, but they're so darn expensive. On the other hand, I've heard that some virtual schools are much stricter and much less flexible than others, I've had friends with both good and bad experiences. I'm not sure if I want to try it, or not. Well, as others have also pointed out...you can try it, and if it doesn't work you can quit at any time (you don't have to finish the year out). I'm not sure how the laws are from state to state...but in our state you must fill out the open enrollment form this month. If you don't, you can't get in the school for next fall. Even if you fill out the form and submit it, you can decide later whether or not to accept. The form is your foot in the door though. I'm so glad I decided on this now and and not next month or we'd be out.
The rational I've seen for "virtual schools aren't homeschools" is politically based, based on a desire to maintain the highest level of homeschool freedom in the face of a consistent tendency toward governmental encroachment. The folks saying that want to use a different name for these virtual charter schools (or homeschools), so that they don't become a means of adding regulatory hoops for us to jump through, or the only definition of homeschooling. Yes...and the virtual schools get funding for each and every student. Of course, with that money they are providing the service, books, teachers, computer, tests, etc. I kinda think (or maybe heard years ago) that homeschooling was becoming popular and the schools were losing funding for each of those children. Virtual schools began to kind of curb the number of children leaving the school system (even though they still left) and the school losing the money. I don't know...whatever.

 

Whatever you call them, if it's what's right for your family, go for it! Financial troubles are the pits. Hopefully you guys can see the end of them soon! Thank you!

:grouphug:

 

We are using CA for my 8th grader. I consider it homeschooling :) They involve the parents a LOT. We have had mostly positive experiences with it. The teachers stay in close contact with me and listen to my opinions. I don't think it is a bad decision at all! This is great to hear; thank you!

 

I'm fighting off some of the same ambivalence.

 

But now I have this son, who doesn't especially enjoy having Mom as his only (or even his primary) teacher. He is most distinctly NOT an academic and generally thinks of school as something to get done so he can go do something fun. Every one of the last several years, I've put so much energy into finding and putting together the "right" materials for him, carefully typing up my lovely plans and weekly goals . . . and then he doesn't love it. He complains about it. He does a slap-dash job just to get through it. He doesn't do it at all. He stalls. He whines. He doesn't enjoy the books I was so looking forward to discussing. Oh my! Sounds exactly like my son!

 

I've tried involving him in the planning. I've tried outright asking him to pick curricula he likes. Nothing works. I have to stay right behind him every minute poking and prodding and threatening . . . Mmmm-hmmm..

 

But, honestly, several months in now, it's good. He's happy, happier than when we were doing what I wanted. He's learning at least as much (I think). We're getting along. He still stalls and does half-hearted work sometimes, but now I don't take it personally. This is encouraging to hear.

I hope it works for you, too. Thank you for sharing your story. You are a good writer!

:001_smile:

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First off, if you like homeschooling, but your only real choices are to use a cyber school or to send your kids to a public school, you will almost definitely be happier using a cyber school. While I realize that it isn't "pure" homeschooling (for lack of a better term), in most elementary grades you are still the one doing the teaching and oversight. You are right in saying that you don't get to choose the materials (which is the primary reason why we are leaving the cyber school and doing pure homeschooling next year), but you are also right in saying that it is free (which is why we have done cyber school so far!). Yes, it is better than sending them to the public school, which isn't an option for us because of health problems. And...even though I don't get to choose the curriculum, it is free...which is the big lure for me right now.

 

Even the online curriculum at our school is primarily book-based at the elementary level. From what I understand, there are short online lessons each day (roughly 15 minutes or so), but then there are books to read and assignments to do. From briefly looking at the CA website, I suspect that this is similar. Yes, CA is not all on-line, which I like. I'm not sure about WIVA...I can't really get a lot of info off their website for some reason. If you are currently teaching from a Charlotte Mason perspective, I'm sure it would be maddening, but so would any other homeschooling approach that use worksheets, tests, texts, etc. I'm not schooling the CM way. My kids and I actually like worksheets and texts. I don't usually test much, but my youngest loves tests. She is super excited about her placement test for the school.

 

I will also say that using a cyber school has some other possible advantages as well as cost. First, it keeps the state away. In some states, this is very desirable. I had heard terrible things about PA's homeschooling laws/requirements, which kept me from homeschooling initially (as it turns out, the bark seems to be worse than the bite). But there are states where I can imagine the process to be very stressful. Thankfully we have always lived in a state that is very good with the homeschooling laws. There is actually more requirements in the virtual school....when we did it that one year we had to drive over an hour to get to a testing site. But it's not a real big deal, I guess.

 

Second, for those parents who require it, the children may have an easier time if they need to enter/exit the public school system for some reason. Your child will also likely receive a GPA and a paper diploma, which some parents feel is important. This is a nice plus.

 

Third, if it is technically a public school, if your child is gifted or is in need of special education services, the school is required to provide them. This alone can be compelling for some parents. In our case, my son's speech therapy (thus far) would have cost us well over $1200, and that's with a good insurance plan. Because it is a public school, both gifted testing/GIEPs and speech therapy have been cost-free. (Well, our tax dollars at work -- you get my idea.) I would be very interested in finding out more about this. My son is behind because of reading, spelling, writing struggles. The public school here just ignored me when I asked for help in getting him tested. Because we homeschool we were out, I guess. I've contacted WIVA to see if they give any help with a struggling teen. CA doesn't go beyond 8th in our state, so I wouldn't be considering CA for son. But, WIVA goes through 12th.

 

Finally, I think a cyber school can be an excellent fit for a parent who is unsure of or insecure about homeschooling. The good ones provide structure, guidance, and support to parents who might otherwise feel unable or unwilling to homeschool. Ours even provides a constant stream of excellent field trips and free high-quality music/art/drama classes (like Kindermusik). That's wonderful that you can partake in those things. Unfortunately, we are way up in the northern part of the state. The one year we did CA there was never one field trip near us. :sad:

 

I can say with confidence, after working as a private tutor through college and getting a teaching degree, that pretty much any student will do better with individualized instruction than he/she will as one of thirty students in a class. Even though you may not feel like you are "really" homeschooling, you still will be the person responsible for your child's education in your home. This in encouragement.

 

Nonetheless, you must do what works best for your family right now. There's no law saying that if you use a cyber school this year, you must keep on using it. You are free to come and go as you please, so if you don't like the current situation, just remember that you can always go back to regular homeschooling later. Good luck! Thank you!

 

 

Thanks again everyone. Now it's a matter of deciding which school. If I put my son in, he would need to do WIVA (since WCA doesn't go past 8th grade). It would seem to be easier to put dd in the same school. But, I am familiar with CA. OK...I'm rambling. If anyone else would like to comment, please feel free.

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Third, if it is technically a public school, if your child is gifted or is in need of special education services, the school is required to provide them. This alone can be compelling for some parents. In our case, my son's speech therapy (thus far) would have cost us well over $1200, and that's with a good insurance plan. Because it is a public school, both gifted testing/GIEPs and speech therapy have been cost-free. (Well, our tax dollars at work -- you get my idea.)

 

 

I just wanted to clarify that this isn't the case in all states. It is not the case in Michigan. I have children who are both GT and have IEP's and none of those needs would be addressed by the public charters here. We looked into the possibility of this when it was announced that they were available for this school year and went so far as to enroll one of my DC and go through the process to see what they woud provided, in the end no therapies and no GT accomodations. It depends on your state laws and is something that would have to be looked into for each state.

 

My DC do receive therapies from the PS while I homeschool independently.

 

:grouphug: to the OP, we struggled the beginning of this school year with these choices. In the end, as many have already said, you need to do what is best for your family.

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Definitely be content that you are making the best choice for your family right now. It doesn't have to be forever if you don't want it to be. I know many families that have great success with the virtual school programs. Last year, after my Dad died, I felt that I had nothing in me to plan, put together etc. We did OHVA (K12) for the year until I got my feet back under me again. We are back on our own now but I have not ruled out the virtual charters for the future particularly when we get to high school. If you still feel the need to pick some stuff for yourself, you can always supplement. We still used our library extensively while using the virtual school.

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If virtual schools were allowed in NY I would find them tempting esp for high school. I think it is nice you can try it out. It is a shame that some schools don't offer such a thing. I guess I can be thankful that there are several to choose from here.

 

I just wanted to clarify that this isn't the case in all states. It is not the case in Michigan. I have children who are both GT and have IEP's and none of those needs would be addressed by the public charters here. We looked into the possibility of this when it was announced that they were available for this school year and went so far as to enroll one of my DC and go through the process to see what they woud provided, in the end no therapies and no GT accomodations. It depends on your state laws and is something that would have to be looked into for each state. I think you are right. It seems that when we looked into this 5 years ago, they didn't have too much help to offer. But..I will say that CA did place my son at a certain grade level (a little behind his age) and then had him in an even lower math to accomodate him. So, at least there was a little tweaking there. Not sure how he could have gotten caught up though in the long run. So, I will just have to see what happens with his placement test.

 

My DC do receive therapies from the PS while I homeschool independently.

 

:grouphug: to the OP, we struggled the beginning of this school year with these choices. In the end, as many have already said, you need to do what is best for your family. Thank you!

 

Definitely be content that you are making the best choice for your family right now. It doesn't have to be forever if you don't want it to be. I know many families that have great success with the virtual school programs. Last year, after my Dad died, I felt that I had nothing in me to plan, put together etc. We did OHVA (K12) for the year until I got my feet back under me again. We are back on our own now but I have not ruled out the virtual charters for the future particularly when we get to high school. If you still feel the need to pick some stuff for yourself, you can always supplement. We still used our library extensively while using the virtual school. Thank you for sharing and for your encouragement!

 

:001_smile:

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I just wanted to clarify that this isn't the case in all states. It is not the case in Michigan. I have children who are both GT and have IEP's and none of those needs would be addressed by the public charters here. We looked into the possibility of this when it was announced that they were available for this school year and went so far as to enroll one of my DC and go through the process to see what they woud provided, in the end no therapies and no GT accomodations. It depends on your state laws and is something that would have to be looked into for each state.

 

You're right. I said "if it's technically a public school," but I suppose I should have said "if the charter school is held to public school standards." Where we live, I believe that the charter cyber schools are required to provide assistance, although the quality of the assistance provided can vary (just like in public schools). But if you are able to find a cyber school that will provide special education services, that can be a big help to the family. We have been well-served, as has a friend of mine whose daughter has CP (and used a different cyber charter school in PA).

 

I will also add that GT is a whole different kettle of fish from other special education programs. In our state, schools must offer "something," but the state doesn't specify what, and they don't necessarily provide funding, either, I believe. Nice, huh? For GT, our cyber school has encouraged us to skip whatever material the kids know and to go at their pace. They've also advanced my son a grade in reading. They do have some nifty things for upper-elementary grades, but not much for right now.

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We went ahead and enrolled DD in a K12 public charter in our state, primarily to get our hands on all the materials for FREE. I just love it. I also like the tracking and planning abilities in their online school software. We will probably be enrolling the rest soon, heck it is our tax dollars we are paying into the system with anyway. At least this way we get something positive back.

And no, we don't find the requirements of reporting to the charter school too much of a burden.

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We're using Time4Learning in addition to our co-op classes. If I could afford to do a virtual academy, I would. We don't have access to a free option here in AL. My boys do better with work on the computer than they do with pen/paper/book. We're working on it, but for right now, if they'll do their computer-based work willingly, I'm all too pleased to allow it.

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We went ahead and enrolled DD in a K12 public charter in our state, primarily to get our hands on all the materials for FREE. I just love it. I also like the tracking and planning abilities in their online school software. We will probably be enrolling the rest soon, heck it is our tax dollars we are paying into the system with anyway. At least this way we get something positive back.

And no, we don't find the requirements of reporting to the charter school too much of a burden.

 

I think you are right about this (about the tax dollars). And, they really do provide a lot of things at no cost. Especially when you have so many children I would think it would be a great idea to enroll them all.

 

 

We're using Time4Learning in addition to our co-op classes. If I could afford to do a virtual academy, I would. We don't have access to a free option here in AL. My boys do better with work on the computer than they do with pen/paper/book. We're working on it, but for right now, if they'll do their computer-based work willingly, I'm all too pleased to allow it.

 

That's too bad that your state doesn't have anything free available. Today I searched at our states department of education website and found a list of virtual charter schools in our state. There are 14!

 

To anyone else in WI who is thinking of a virtual school, this morning I discovered one I am super excited about. For the younger years (k4-3rd) they use Little Lincoln. I had never heard of it before but it looks wonderful. Now I'm kickin' myself that I didn't know about this several years ago! I can't seem to find a price at the Little Lincoln website; but I bet it's a hefty price tag. Through the virtual school it's free plus you get a lap top. My daughter would flip over the boxes of stuff that come with it.

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I think you are right about this (about the tax dollars). And, they really do provide a lot of things at no cost. Especially when you have so many children I would think it would be a great idea to enroll them all.

 

 

 

 

That's too bad that your state doesn't have anything free available. Today I searched at our states department of education website and found a list of virtual charter schools in our state. There are 14!

 

To anyone else in WI who is thinking of a virtual school, this morning I discovered one I am super excited about. For the younger years (k4-3rd) they use Little Lincoln. I had never heard of it before but it looks wonderful. Now I'm kickin' myself that I didn't know about this several years ago! I can't seem to find a price at the Little Lincoln website; but I bet it's a hefty price tag. Through the virtual school it's free plus you get a lap top. My daughter would flip over the boxes of stuff that come with it.

 

I saw this, too! Here is my question: if you are schooling through a virtual academy and they have multiple curriculum options, who makes the final decision on which one your child uses? Because Little Lincoln appealed to me also, but the VA also uses Calvert. I am sure when you speak with the placement person/counselor they take into account your feelings, but can you, the parent make the choice?

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I saw this, too! Here is my question: if you are schooling through a virtual academy and they have multiple curriculum options, who makes the final decision on which one your child uses? Because Little Lincoln appealed to me also, but the VA also uses Calvert. I am sure when you speak with the placement person/counselor they take into account your feelings, but can you, the parent make the choice?

 

I'm not sure and I am wondering this too. I certainly hope the decision is ours. I will definitely be asking them this. I showed my dd the sample of Little Lincoln and you can imagine how excited she is. It seems to go through 3rd, so maybe she'll get 2 years of it. Then, after that, I would think we'd choose between their other curriculum choices, like Calvert or Lincoln Interactive.

 

I did a google search for Wisconsin Virtual Learning and one of the sites that came up was wikipedia. It says that WIVA changed it's name to WVL. This is confusing to me because they both have websites that look different. WIVA uses K12 curriculum, WVL has choices (Little Lincoln, Lincoln Interactive, Calvert, Adventa, Florida Virtual, and I thought I saw somewhere that K12 was a choice too??). So, I am e-mailing them about that too.

 

I know you told me that you might consider open-enrolling. I can't remember if I told you this, but OE starts next week and is only for 3 weeks. Also, if I remember correctly, you have up to 3 school choices to write in on the form...and then you decide later which one you want to go with.

Edited by ~AprilMay~
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I just wanted to clarify that this isn't the case in all states. It is not the case in Michigan. I have children who are both GT and have IEP's and none of those needs would be addressed by the public charters here. We looked into the possibility of this when it was announced that they were available for this school year and went so far as to enroll one of my DC and go through the process to see what they woud provided, in the end no therapies and no GT accomodations. It depends on your state laws and is something that would have to be looked into for each state.

 

 

 

Hmm... So if you use the MVCA in MI, they don't have to provide ST? I was considering signing my DS up for MVCA next year specifically so he could get free ST. I will have to talk to them. I know they ask if you have an active IEP in the registration so I just assumed they'd provide it.

 

I am considering using the virtual school for next year mostly because a lot of it is online. My children love anything to do with the computer. And while my DS and I do well with HSing, my DD and I do not. She is currently in PS for K, but next year we are going to HS her. I am already dreading it. I was hoping that by having most of her work be online and not involving me teaching her, that it would cut down on the battles over school work.

 

ETA: I just looked up CA and realized there is one in MI. Plus, they have gifted and talented programs for most subjects from 3rd grade up! I am thrilled with this idea for my DS. I think he would really like it. Not so thrilled about the mandatory 6.1 hrs/day of class time, so I will have to really think about it. We currently only do about 3 hours a day so that is a big jump.

Edited by lisamarie
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We tried Little Lincoln through Pa Cyber. Honestly, it was 'education lite'. Absolutely no meat to it, all fluff. It does look great but it does NOT follow through. A 'day' was four five minute videos and four to six worksheets. That was it. Some days it took all of about thirty minutes to complete. This is actually what led me to TWTM, dissatisfaction with the poor academics in Little Lincoln.

 

Midlandia is not a place that the kids can interact in, it is just a backdrop. The 'radio shows' are just tedious. The videos are more 'edutainment' than educational, and really how much teaching do you think they manage to get done in five minutes while also trying to be entertaining?

 

I have no experience with Lincoln Interactive for the older elementary and middle school kids so hopefully that is better.

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I'm not sure and I am wondering this too. I certainly hope the decision is ours. I will definitely be asking them this. I showed my dd the sample of Little Lincoln and you can imagine how excited she is. It seems to go through 3rd, so maybe she'll get 2 years of it. Then, after that, I would think we'd choose between their other curriculum choices, like Calvert or Lincoln Interactive.

 

I did a google search for Wisconsin Virtual Learning and one of the sites that came up was wikipedia. It says that WIVA changed it's name to WVL. This is confusing to me because they both have websites that look different. WIVA uses K12 curriculum, WVL has choices (Little Lincoln, Lincoln Interactive, Calvert, Adventa, Florida Virtual, and I thought I saw somewhere that K12 was a choice too??). So, I am e-mailing them about that too.

 

I know you told me that you might consider open-enrolling. I can't remember if I told you this, but OE starts next week and is only for 3 weeks. Also, if I remember correctly, you have up to 3 school choices to write in on the form...and then you decide later which one you want to go with.

 

Well, for my area, I am going to do CA (Appleton), WVL (Northern Ozaukee), and WIVA (McFarland). The WVL is the one who does Calvert & Little Lincoln, WIVA uses K12-2 totally different school districts. One of my friends does CA & the other uses WIVA. I would be leaning towards the 2 they are in, because at least I will be able to get the scoop from them on how intrusive (or not) each school is. That's my biggest issue/worry; we like going at our own pace. Of course, it can also be our biggest downfall!:D I figure I will open enroll in them, and have a few months to research, soul-search, and make our decision.

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FWIW, I use K12 for a couple of subjects, although our rustic state doesn't do anything so I have to pay for it, but for the most part I am very satisfied.

 

Shame on anybody who would judge you. You will still be able to provide one-on-one support, which is one of the best things about homeschooling, and you all can still do fun little asides as time allows, like reading, experiments, or whatever.

 

Good luck!

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Seems to me that homeschooling is more about the relationships between you and your children and the family/community socialization than about how you get the academics done.

 

Do what works for your family, love each other well and be at peace!

 

:grouphug::grouphug:

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Hmm... So if you use the MVCA in MI, they don't have to provide ST? I was considering signing my DS up for MVCA next year specifically so he could get free ST. I will have to talk to them. I know they ask if you have an active IEP in the registration so I just assumed they'd provide it.

 

I am considering using the virtual school for next year mostly because a lot of it is online. My children love anything to do with the computer. And while my DS and I do well with HSing, my DD and I do not. She is currently in PS for K, but next year we are going to HS her. I am already dreading it. I was hoping that by having most of her work be online and not involving me teaching her, that it would cut down on the battles over school work. Sounds like a virtual school would be a good fit for you both. She won't have to answer to mom as much. Sometimes it helps to say, "your teacher wants you to do this" instead of "I want you to do this".

ETA: I just looked up CA and realized there is one in MI. Plus, they have gifted and talented programs for most subjects from 3rd grade up! I am thrilled with this idea for my DS. I think he would really like it. Not so thrilled about the mandatory 6.1 hrs/day of class time, so I will have to really think about it. We currently only do about 3 hours a day so that is a big jump. Does it really say that there's a mandatory 6.1 hours a day? Seems like the one year we did CA we just got done each day when we got done. I believe they prefactored in the time typically spent on each lesson. If a particular lesson took an average of 30 minutes, it was counted as 30 minutes....regardless of whether it actually took you 60 minutes or 20 minutes.

 

We tried Little Lincoln through Pa Cyber. Honestly, it was 'education lite'. Absolutely no meat to it, all fluff. It does look great but it does NOT follow through. A 'day' was four five minute videos and four to six worksheets. That was it. Some days it took all of about thirty minutes to complete. This is actually what led me to TWTM, dissatisfaction with the poor academics in Little Lincoln.

 

Midlandia is not a place that the kids can interact in, it is just a backdrop. The 'radio shows' are just tedious. The videos are more 'edutainment' than educational, and really how much teaching do you think they manage to get done in five minutes while also trying to be entertaining?

 

I have no experience with Lincoln Interactive for the older elementary and middle school kids so hopefully that is better. I really appreciate you giving your review of LL. This definitely is swaying me to just go with CA or WIVA. I talked to my dd about what you said (I even read your post and explained things so she could understand). She is a little disappointed (and really wanted a lap top instead of a desk top) but she says she wants to learn. She doesn't think she should do LL if it won't teach her enough. I was kind of concerned, myself, thinking how does this Midlandia teach *everything*...math, reading, science, social studies, and something else they said, but I forgot what. I had assumed that it was interactive. The sample game was of finding dinosaur bones and the game just did it itself, which I thought was just for demo purposes....maybe the child doesn't move the mouse and pick up the bones themselves; if so that wouldn't be very fun. It's great to hear from somone who has actually used this.

 

Well, for my area, I am going to do CA (Appleton), WVL (Northern Ozaukee), and WIVA (McFarland). Good to know that they are indeed different. Wikipedia should revise that information. The WVL is the one who does Calvert & Little Lincoln, WIVA uses K12-2 totally different school districts. One of my friends does CA & the other uses WIVA. I would be leaning towards the 2 they are in, because at least I will be able to get the scoop from them on how intrusive (or not) each school is. That's my biggest issue/worry; we like going at our own pace. Of course, it can also be our biggest downfall!:D I figure I will open enroll in them, and have a few months to research, soul-search, and make our decision. It's really nice that you have friends in both. Are you close enough that you can stop over and look at the curriculum? That's my biggest thing right now...which has the curriculum that I would like better...CA or WIVA. :confused: I wish I could go to the info sessions and look at the books, but I don't think I can travel that far this year.[/QUOTE]

 

FWIW, I use K12 for a couple of subjects, although our rustic state doesn't do anything so I have to pay for it, but for the most part I am very satisfied. Can you tell me anything more about the k12 curriculum? I just have no idea what it's even like.

 

Shame on anybody who would judge you. You will still be able to provide one-on-one support, which is one of the best things about homeschooling, and you all can still do fun little asides as time allows, like reading, experiments, or whatever.

 

Good luck! Thank you!

 

Seems to me that homeschooling is more about the relationships between you and your children and the family/community socialization than about how you get the academics done.

 

Do what works for your family, love each other well and be at peace!

 

:grouphug::grouphug: Great advice. Thank you!

 

:001_smile:

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I am in WI, as well, and have been looking at the K12 program. I love that everything just comes to you, without paying. :001_smile: But I am still undecided. I will probably go ahead and enroll and then make up my mind later for sure. We have a baby due in June, and I am just thinking it would be so much easier to have the older 3 in something structured. They will be 8, 7, and 5.

Anyway, all of these replies have been great for me to see, as well! I just wish I knew someone around here that did it so I could see everything in person!

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Oh no! I just took a look at the Connections Academy now....how does a person decide this????:confused: K12 and CA both look like they could be really good!

 

I am in WI, as well, and have been looking at the K12 program. I love that everything just comes to you, without paying. :001_smile: But I am still undecided. I will probably go ahead and enroll and then make up my mind later for sure. We have a baby due in June, and I am just thinking it would be so much easier to have the older 3 in something structured. They will be 8, 7, and 5.

Anyway, all of these replies have been great for me to see, as well! I just wish I knew someone around here that did it so I could see everything in person!

 

I know what you mean. It is very hard to know which one to try. I just attended (well, I didn't go anywhere....just sat at my computer) the online info session for WVL (Wisconsin Virtual Learning) this morning. All three schools (WIVA, WCA, and WVL) have online info sessions going on this month.

 

The director of admissions of WVL (really sweet gal) called me last week and we taked a lot. I told her about the somewhat negative comment made here about Little Lincoln. She seemed surprised at that and said that the parents seem to really like LL. She said she will give me some contacts of people who are using it so I can talk to them about it. So, I don't want to throw another school into your decision, but I would really consider looking at WVL also. They told me that they used to use K12 (like WIVA does), but they decided to branch away so they could offer more choices and what they felt is even better curriculum. What I like is that it's K4-12 (WIVA is K-12), but WCA is only through 8th. Anyway, I had gotten a really good feeling about WVL after talking on the phone with them. I hope to talk to those Little Lincoln contacts this week. And, they don't just offer LL but also Calvert (which WCA uses a lot of also)...which also looks good! So, I am torn about what curriculum to choose. But, it's so nice that there is a school available where you actually have a choice in curriculum.

 

ETA: one good thing, if you haven't already submitted your open enrollment form, is that you do have space on there to choose up to 3 schools. Then you decide later which one you want.

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Please let me know what you find out from the LL users! And I haven't enrolled yet (haven't even thrown all of this at my husband!) but I know the open enrollment ends in a couple weeks. I'll definitely keep my options open by listing more than one school (but do you get to make the ultimate decision on that, or does someone else?).

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Please let me know what you find out from the LL users! And I haven't enrolled yet (haven't even thrown all of this at my husband!) but I know the open enrollment ends in a couple weeks. I'll definitely keep my options open by listing more than one school (but do you get to make the ultimate decision on that, or does someone else?).

 

You make the decision. How it worked when we did that one year of WCA a few years ago was that I wrote in WCA and WIVA on the open enrollment form (this was before you can do it online, and I am quite sure there was no WVL at the time). I got something in the mail from both schools that said we were accepted (in May, I think). There is a space on that form that you basically mark 'yes, we want to attend' or 'no, we don't'. Then you mail that back before a certain date in June.

 

Well, until you talk to dh and before you decide...I would request any info you can get from all those schools. Make a list of any questions you might have and e-mail them or ask for them to call you. Attend any online info sessions....or much better yet, attend in person if you are close enough. We are too far away.

 

And, might I suggest that when you talk to your dh about this...even if he is uncertain, suggest to him that you open enroll anyway. Because, if you don't and if he decides...say, in a few months from now...that it would be a good idea, if you didn't open enroll in February then you are out. The open enrollment rules are very strict.

 

Once I get some more info about Little Lincoln I will either post it here or PM you here about it.

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While we're in California not WI I thought I'd post a bit. I currently have children in CAVA, which uses k12, in K and 1st grade. I love it and they love it.

 

DS6 started at the beginning of the year and was immediately able to be placed up a few levels on math so he was close to learning something new (he loves math and is already almost done with the 3rd grade math). Since then he has finished and moved up in LA as well as almost done with History and Science. He loves the history and so do I :)

 

DD5 started in November and loves everything about it as well. She begged to do k12 after seeing what her brother was doing - even though she mostly enjoyed her K classroom at school. She's already moved up in math and will be moving up in LA as well.

 

I love that they can go at their pace. When it's easy they can do multiple lessons in a day, when it's harder or new we can take a few days to do a lesson.

 

State specifics - these vary depending on state regs.

We are supposed to log 4-6 hrs of work a day. Each lesson has a default time and we can just mark that down or put the actual amount we did. It depends on how easy the lesson is, my DD would do 3-5 lessons a day in math and still not hit the 45 mins for K math that it defaulted to. Now my DS can usually do his 3rd grade math in less than an hour but couldn't do 2 in the hour so we usually just mark an hour.

We meet in person with their teacher once a quarter and have to turn in 1 work sample from each subject each quarter.

There are quite a few outings available to us and we can go to ones in other counties not just our county (each county or group of counties is it's own 'school', so technically we are in CAVA-SJ).

 

Oh and they LOVE their teacher. At the 2nd meeting with her (we met with her right before school started to assess DS in math) he spent 15 mins quizzing HER on spelling :)

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We tried Little Lincoln through Pa Cyber. Honestly, it was 'education lite'. Absolutely no meat to it, all fluff. It does look great but it does NOT follow through. A 'day' was four five minute videos and four to six worksheets. That was it. Some days it took all of about thirty minutes to complete. This is actually what led me to TWTM, dissatisfaction with the poor academics in Little Lincoln.

 

Midlandia is not a place that the kids can interact in, it is just a backdrop. The 'radio shows' are just tedious. The videos are more 'edutainment' than educational, and really how much teaching do you think they manage to get done in five minutes while also trying to be entertaining?

 

I have no experience with Lincoln Interactive for the older elementary and middle school kids so hopefully that is better.

 

:iagree: I have heard that Lincoln curricula is light as well. I have never used it though.

 

I have used K12 though for K-3 and it is a great curricula. You need to ask specific questions about the school to be sure that it meets your needs.

 

Check out my post on the first page of this thread to give you an idea of what to ask:

 

http://welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161828

 

I would ask very specific questions to be certain it is for you. I hope to homeschool next and not do public school at home for more flexibility but it is still a consideration. I also felt I was a little stressed out having to answer to a teacher but I think that is because I tend to worry:tongue_smilie: Really the teacher's expectations were much, much lower than mine;)

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We are in WI too and right now we use WVL. We are in the opposite boat in that I am switching back to traditional homeshooling next year. Does CA still use Calvert exclusively? Right now WVL is offering parents a choice in curriculum. For elem. they use Little Lincoln and Calvert. K12 is grandfathered in but they don't use it for new families anymore. I know that WIVA does a placement test at the beginning of the school year so your dd would be appropriately placed. In terms of curriculum I do really like K12 for the elem. grades compared to calvert. K12 is a more classical approach than calvert. I would definitely check out what all three have to offer in the next few weeks if possible.

 

I have trad. hs'ed and vs'ed and either way your kids are at home and you are their teacher so please don't feel bad about it. I know some hs'ers like to draw a line in the sand about hs'ing and vs'ing but I don't think it does anyone any favors.

 

Feel free to ask me any more questions if you want since we are in the same state. You might also want to get on the yahoo parent boards of McWIVA and WVL to see what it is really like. I don't know if CA has a yahoo board.

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You are looking out for the best interest of your family. Using the Virtual school that is free while going through a bankruptcy, makes sense to me! Rather than not have resources, now you do.

 

I am not in the US, but in Canada, and my kids are enrolled with a virtual school. DD13 is fully aligned with the province using the school curriculum, dd11 uses our choice of math and bible study but is fully aligned. DD7 is fully aligned and uses mostly handpicked curriculum. I get funding for all of them. If I use the school curriculum it leaves a lot of funding to put them in other lessons. They have taken art classes, swimming lessons, wall climbing clinic. They have gone to a ballet, orchestra. All with the funding provided by the gov't.

 

I spend more on dd7 curricula, as she is all over the board grade wise, advanced reading and math, but grade level for spelling, writing, social, science curricula. So I like hand picking. It is all covered by our funding, it just means a little less of extra things.

 

That said, the older 2 were in school until recently, so they adapted better to the school board curricula, dd6 had just started grade 1 and is now home. So she has adapted to what I am doing a lot more!

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We are in WI too and right now we use WVL. We are in the opposite boat in that I am switching back to traditional homeshooling next year. Does CA still use Calvert exclusively? Right now WVL is offering parents a choice in curriculum. For elem. they use Little Lincoln and Calvert. K12 is grandfathered in but they don't use it for new families anymore. I know that WIVA does a placement test at the beginning of the school year so your dd would be appropriately placed. In terms of curriculum I do really like K12 for the elem. grades compared to calvert. K12 is a more classical approach than calvert. I would definitely check out what all three have to offer in the next few weeks if possible.

 

I have trad. hs'ed and vs'ed and either way your kids are at home and you are their teacher so please don't feel bad about it. I know some hs'ers like to draw a line in the sand about hs'ing and vs'ing but I don't think it does anyone any favors.

 

Feel free to ask me any more questions if you want since we are in the same state. You might also want to get on the yahoo parent boards of McWIVA and WVL to see what it is really like. I don't know if CA has a yahoo board.

 

I joined the McWIVA yahoo group, but couldn't find one for either CA or WVL. :confused:

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Wow....I haven't been to the board here in a few days and just now saw all of these responses.

 

While we're in California not WI I thought I'd post a bit. I currently have children in CAVA, which uses k12, in K and 1st grade. I love it and they love it.

 

DS6 started at the beginning of the year and was immediately able to be placed up a few levels on math so he was close to learning something new (he loves math and is already almost done with the 3rd grade math). Since then he has finished and moved up in LA as well as almost done with History and Science. He loves the history and so do I :)

 

DD5 started in November and loves everything about it as well. She begged to do k12 after seeing what her brother was doing - even though she mostly enjoyed her K classroom at school. She's already moved up in math and will be moving up in LA as well.

 

I love that they can go at their pace. When it's easy they can do multiple lessons in a day, when it's harder or new we can take a few days to do a lesson.

 

State specifics - these vary depending on state regs.

We are supposed to log 4-6 hrs of work a day. Each lesson has a default time and we can just mark that down or put the actual amount we did. It depends on how easy the lesson is, my DD would do 3-5 lessons a day in math and still not hit the 45 mins for K math that it defaulted to. Now my DS can usually do his 3rd grade math in less than an hour but couldn't do 2 in the hour so we usually just mark an hour.

We meet in person with their teacher once a quarter and have to turn in 1 work sample from each subject each quarter.

There are quite a few outings available to us and we can go to ones in other counties not just our county (each county or group of counties is it's own 'school', so technically we are in CAVA-SJ).

 

Oh and they LOVE their teacher. At the 2nd meeting with her (we met with her right before school started to assess DS in math) he spent 15 mins quizzing HER on spelling :)

 

Courtney, thank you for telling me about your virtual school and how much you like K12. I appreciate you taking the time to post this. All insight into this is very helpful.

 

:iagree: I have heard that Lincoln curricula is light as well. I have never used it though.

 

I have used K12 though for K-3 and it is a great curricula. You need to ask specific questions about the school to be sure that it meets your needs.

 

Check out my post on the first page of this thread to give you an idea of what to ask:

 

http://welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161828

 

I would ask very specific questions to be certain it is for you. I hope to homeschool next and not do public school at home for more flexibility but it is still a consideration. I also felt I was a little stressed out having to answer to a teacher but I think that is because I tend to worry:tongue_smilie: Really the teacher's expectations were much, much lower than mine;)

 

Priscilla, thank you for the link. I will be looking at that either tonight (or most likely tomorrow....it's been a long day!). Today I heard from a mom using Little Lincoln and she really likes it. She actually scanned 19 pages of the guide book and that was very helpful to me. Actually, it looked like quite a bit was covered in a day (and that was for grade K). Good to hear you like K12.

 

We are in WI too and right now we use WVL. We are in the opposite boat in that I am switching back to traditional homeshooling next year. Does CA still use Calvert exclusively? Right now WVL is offering parents a choice in curriculum. For elem. they use Little Lincoln and Calvert. K12 is grandfathered in but they don't use it for new families anymore. I know that WIVA does a placement test at the beginning of the school year so your dd would be appropriately placed. In terms of curriculum I do really like K12 for the elem. grades compared to calvert. K12 is a more classical approach than calvert. I would definitely check out what all three have to offer in the next few weeks if possible.

 

I have trad. hs'ed and vs'ed and either way your kids are at home and you are their teacher so please don't feel bad about it. I know some hs'ers like to draw a line in the sand about hs'ing and vs'ing but I don't think it does anyone any favors. I like this, and I feel the same way.

 

Feel free to ask me any more questions if you want since we are in the same state. You might also want to get on the yahoo parent boards of McWIVA and WVL to see what it is really like. I don't know if CA has a yahoo board.

 

Wimseycat....hey another Wisconsinite! WCA does not use Calvert exclusively. I know for math they have switched to enVision. I attended an online session this morning for WCA and I was surprised to hear that starting next fall they are adding High School. That was good news. They told me that starting in 6th grade they switch from enVision math to Prentice Hall. I wasn't overly crazy about that idea. I decided against WCA for us, mostly because they don't seem overly willing to work with a teen who is behind....something that WVL seems very helpful with. I figured I might as well keep both kids in the same school. How do you like WVL...not just curriculum, but the teachers, the school, the computers, books/materials, etc? I really like that WVL offers some choices in curriculum, I don't know if any other virtual school in our state offers that. So, it sounds like you are using Calvert through WVL? What grades? Jessica Berish told me that the Calvert choice is a little less computer time. I'd love to hear more about it. I've attended online info sessions for WCA, WIVA, IQ, and WVL (it gets a little confusing). WIVA never really gave me much of an answer about my son who has reading struggles. I don't know if the K12 High School can be tweaked very much for those struggling. WCA told me they can help strugglers, but they still have to complete all their lessons each day, just like everyone else, and not get behind....but they can 'take more time during the day to do it' (it already takes like 6 hours for a kid who doesn't struggle!). I didn't find that very helpful. They also said that they could do an IEP sometime in the spring or summer, and that after going over the IEP they would then decide if WCA is something that would work for him or not. Well....what if it's 'not'. Then I'm stuck with nothing?? I just didn't get a good feeling about that from WCA. IQ does not do IEP's and told me to get one at the local school district. Someone else told me that then the local school will kinda have their hooks in us. I don't know if that's true or not.....but, I'd hate to risk it. The special education teacher for WVL lives an hour away from us. He said there are individualized programs for lower level reading, math, and writing but they still count as high school credit. They can do an IEP for ds if it's needed (they would prefer to not have one from the local district). He told me what they use is non-profit, because they really want to help the kids. He said K12 is for-profit. Anyway....I'm sorry, I'm rambling and probably no one even cares about all this. It's just nice to talk to someone and kind of sort all of this in my head. :001_smile:

 

You are looking out for the best interest of your family. Using the Virtual school that is free while going through a bankruptcy, makes sense to me! Rather than not have resources, now you do.

 

I am not in the US, but in Canada, and my kids are enrolled with a virtual school. DD13 is fully aligned with the province using the school curriculum, dd11 uses our choice of math and bible study but is fully aligned. DD7 is fully aligned and uses mostly handpicked curriculum. I get funding for all of them. If I use the school curriculum it leaves a lot of funding to put them in other lessons. They have taken art classes, swimming lessons, wall climbing clinic. They have gone to a ballet, orchestra. All with the funding provided by the gov't.

 

I spend more on dd7 curricula, as she is all over the board grade wise, advanced reading and math, but grade level for spelling, writing, social, science curricula. So I like hand picking. It is all covered by our funding, it just means a little less of extra things.

 

That said, the older 2 were in school until recently, so they adapted better to the school board curricula, dd6 had just started grade 1 and is now home. So she has adapted to what I am doing a lot more!

 

Mommy4ever, thank you for your words of encouragement. It sounds like you have a nice set-up for school in Canada.

 

One of the parents has created a blog for vs'ing parents to post their critiques of the different vs options available in WI. You might get some valuable insight from the postings of people who are actually using the various curr. Here is the link:

 

http://thevirtualparent.blogspot.com/

 

HTH,

 

Thank you so much for this blog link. I can't wait to look at it!!

 

I joined the McWIVA yahoo group, but couldn't find one for either CA or WVL. :confused:

 

I don't know if WCA or WVL have yahoo groups. That's another question to ask them.

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Wimseycat....hey another Wisconsinite! How do you like WVL...not just curriculum, but the teachers, the school, the computers, books/materials, etc? I really like that WVL offers some choices in curriculum, I don't know if any other virtual school in our state offers that. So, it sounds like you are using Calvert through WVL? What grades? Jessica Berish told me that the Calvert choice is a little less computer time. I'd love to hear more about it.

 

I am using the K12 curr. in WVL right now (3rd and 5th grades.) We are one of the grandfathered families so I can't speak too much to the Calvert curr. At the high school level, WVL is pretty good. However, one of the issues right now is that WVL is changing its charter and it will be run by NNDS (can't remember what this stands for) but what it means is that all the teachers will have to resign as public school teachers from NOSD and be rehired by NNDS (no more state benefits.) This is a huge question mark for all families because we won't know which teachers decided to stay until next year (yet another reason we are leaving WVL). The school is really only as good as its teachers, especially at the high school level, so while I have had good experiences with the ones my ds had last year, I don't know if they will be there next year. Keep the questions coming if you have them. I will do my best to answer them...

 

 

I don't know if WCA or WVL have yahoo groups. That's another question to ask them.

 

Try searching for WVLA_Families on yahoo groups. This is what the WVL parent group is called. If you still can't find it, pm me and I will contact the moderator so you can sign up.

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Wimseycat....hey another Wisconsinite! How do you like WVL...not just curriculum, but the teachers, the school, the computers, books/materials, etc? I really like that WVL offers some choices in curriculum, I don't know if any other virtual school in our state offers that. So, it sounds like you are using Calvert through WVL? What grades? Jessica Berish told me that the Calvert choice is a little less computer time. I'd love to hear more about it.

 

I am using the K12 curr. in WVL right now (3rd and 5th grades.) We are one of the grandfathered families so I can't speak too much to the Calvert curr. At the high school level, WVL is pretty good. However, one of the issues right now is that WVL is changing its charter and it will be run by NNDS (can't remember what this stands for) but what it means is that all the teachers will have to resign as public school teachers from NOSD and be rehired by NNDS (no more state benefits.) This is a huge question mark for all families because we won't know which teachers decided to stay until next year (yet another reason we are leaving WVL). The school is really only as good as its teachers, especially at the high school level, so while I have had good experiences with the ones my ds had last year, I don't know if they will be there next year. Keep the questions coming if you have them. I will do my best to answer them...

 

 

I don't know if WCA or WVL have yahoo groups. That's another question to ask them.

 

Try searching for WVLA_Families on yahoo groups. This is what the WVL parent group is called. If you still can't find it, pm me and I will contact the moderator so you can sign up.

 

Thanks for the yahoo group name. I joined. I can't help but feel a little apprehensive about all this change going on. I'm wondering if it would affect those already in the school more so than those just coming (kwim?). Do you know if we (new ones enrolling) have to be concerned about the cap the state had put on virutal schools (I'm not really sure what that means)? Could this mean that we might not be accepted in?

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The cap has been in place for 2-3 years now I believe. Each year the number of people who open enroll exceeds the cap. However, when it all sorts out in the summer only about 50% who open enroll choose to use a virtual school. So, there shouldn't be a problem getting in - but you will probably be put on a waiting list initially. The real issue is that sometimes you won't know until late in August whether you are in or not - and that can be a nerve wracking waiting game for everyone. Esp. for us hs'ing moms who like to have all our ducks in a row. ;)

 

I think you may be right about the changes mainly affecting those who are in the school already more than newcomers. If you didn't know what the school was like before it is harder to be disappointed in it now. Good point!

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I haven't had a chance to read all of the replies, so forgive me if I'm repeating what's already been said. First, I always felt that every child learns differently and if a virtual school works for you then that's all that matters. I just wanted to give you a quick heads-up on something that might be coming down the road. We live in PA and there is currently a bill working its way through our state House that would require anyone using a virtual charter school who's home district has their own virtual school to pay for the charter tuition. I don't know if other states have this already or are considering it, but I don't want you to get stuck with a huge tuition bill unexpectedly. Just something to be aware of--good luck with whatever you decide!

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