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FREE Virtual Public School sounds really nice today.....


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Our state offers it. The curriculum looks like it comes from Calvert. I did a year of Calvert when I was a kid. It's the only year of elementary school I remember. So I have no problem there.

 

It's because I'm tired. I'm tired of being the motivation for all things school. I'm tired of being the meanie. Yes, it's February. I'm tired of being cold too. Always cold, always bundled up so tight in warm clothing that I feel even my brain is wrapped in wool. :tongue_smilie:

 

And it's FREE. Yup, the budget's tight and not having to debate the $$$ for school supplies sounds lovely.

 

It's called Wisconsin Connection Academy. The free enrollment period is until the 24th. I suppose I could always enroll them all and then change my mind if things ever defrost and start moving on their own a bit.

 

If you have done this, are doing it, what are the cons & pros?

 

Thanks

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We used the virtual academy for 7th and half of 8th. It was k12 though. It was a very good thing for us and made a huge difference in my son in a lot of ways. Of course, it was ONE kid and you have several. Personally, the virtual academies (we have a few available here) ARE an option in the future (my kids are 3, 4, and 6). We'll just see :)

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my daughter used connections academy in SC when she was in grade 1. we only used it for a few months. it was nice enough though. my daughter enjoyed the live classes (not sure if that's national or just specific to SC). we liked having access to brainpop and other type games and videos. overall, we liked the curriculum. there was a lot of busywork with the program; i remember that. it wasn't difficult though, just unnecessary assignments imho. anyway, it wasn't a bad experience at all. we left though because i prefer homeschooling. i'd definitely say try it and just withdraw if you don't like it. that's what we did:)

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We used the virtual academy for 7th and half of 8th. It was k12 though. It was a very good thing for us and made a huge difference in my son in a lot of ways. Of course, it was ONE kid and you have several. Personally, the virtual academies (we have a few available here) ARE an option in the future (my kids are 3, 4, and 6). We'll just see :)

 

What huge differences did you see in your son? What good things?

 

I don't mind busy work. I think my kids wouldn't mind either if it wasn't hard busy work.

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my daughter used connections academy in SC when she was in grade 1. we only used it for a few months. it was nice enough though. my daughter enjoyed the live classes (not sure if that's national or just specific to SC). we liked having access to brainpop and other type games and videos. overall, we liked the curriculum. there was a lot of busywork with the program; i remember that. it wasn't difficult though, just unnecessary assignments imho. anyway, it wasn't a bad experience at all. we left though because i prefer homeschooling. i'd definitely say try it and just withdraw if you don't like it. that's what we did:)

 

Yes they have live classes here too.

 

The computer games would be a huge hit!

 

Did she get her own lap top for school provided by the district or was it something you had to buy?

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Yes they have live classes here too.

 

The computer games would be a huge hit!

 

Did she get her own lap top for school provided by the district or was it something you had to buy?

 

we had a computer. they did not provide one. however, SC did not have the option of computers offered, so for us, a prerequisite was to have one already with the internet... at least when we were enrolled that was the case.

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Our state offers it. The curriculum looks like it comes from Calvert. I did a year of Calvert when I was a kid. It's the only year of elementary school I remember. So I have no problem there.

 

It's because I'm tired. I'm tired of being the motivation for all things school. I'm tired of being the meanie. Yes, it's February. I'm tired of being cold too. Always cold, always bundled up so tight in warm clothing that I feel even my brain is wrapped in wool. :tongue_smilie:

 

And it's FREE. Yup, the budget's tight and not having to debate the $$$ for school supplies sounds lovely.

 

It's called Wisconsin Connection Academy. The free enrollment period is until the 24th. I suppose I could always enroll them all and then change my mind if things ever defrost and start moving on their own a bit.

 

If you have done this, are doing it, what are the cons & pros?

 

Thanks

 

 

Treading lightly. We have not done it, but some view it as a Trojan Horse. When you allow the state into your house in any form you also allow their supervision. As long as you don't mind that or are in a state that already requires supervision then it is probably a good option. For our family living in a pretty easy state to hs in, it would not be my first choice. I prefer the freedom of picking my own curricula and not having to have outside accountability. I know people that use it (ps at home) and love it. It is not for us at this point in our hs journey.

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I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you will still be the motivater, the meanie, and it'll still be cold.

 

:iagree:

 

Treading lightly. We have not done it, but some view it as a Trojan Horse. When you allow the state into your house in any form you also allow their supervision. As long as you don't mind that or are in a state that already requires supervision then it is probably a good option. For our family living in a pretty easy state to hs in, it would not be my first choice. I prefer the freedom of picking my own curricula and not having to have outside accountability. I know people that use it (ps at home) and love it. It is not for us at this point in our hs journey.

 

:iagree:

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My 7th grader is doing IN connections academy. It has on balance been a good experience. She's old enough and responsible enough I don't have to do much more than proofread papers for her. If I had to be on her to get stuff done it wouldn't be so nice. We get brain pop and discovery education for free with it which is nice. She can go to live lessons but she generally doesn't. She can't stand a slow pace and chit chat though. That was her complaint with brick and mortar school. I would prefer her be home schooled but she prefers not to have me in charge of assignments. INCA uses mainstream textbooks. Her history has been surprisingly good with ancient cultures of the mideast, Egypt, Greece and China a focus with a pass at Africa. It does still leave plenty of time for her acting, basketball and soccer. There are assignment times but you can do the lesson for the day at 6am or 9pm.

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We're on our second year with k12 through a state. Last year in KS was fantastic. Yes, I still teach my kids. I'm still the motivator - but for my kids having to be anwerable to someone else was a huge benefit. They would still whine and complain, but school *HAD* to be done for their teacher. It worked.

 

In my dream world I'm the mom who has a perfectly planned curriculum for each child that encourages them and helps them become the dream adult that everyone loves on sight.

 

The reality is that my kids weren't getting the best curriculum because I wasn't sure what that was. Having it laid out, planned for every day - with GOOD materials is a Godsend for me and getting it free is a giagantic bonus.

 

I say try it. If you hate it - you can always drop it.

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We're on our second year with k12 through a state. Last year in KS was fantastic. Yes, I still teach my kids. I'm still the motivator - but for my kids having to be anwerable to someone else was a huge benefit. They would still whine and complain, but school *HAD* to be done for their teacher. It worked.

 

In my dream world I'm the mom who has a perfectly planned curriculum for each child that encourages them and helps them become the dream adult that everyone loves on sight.

 

The reality is that my kids weren't getting the best curriculum because I wasn't sure what that was. Having it laid out, planned for every day - with GOOD materials is a Godsend for me and getting it free is a giagantic bonus.

 

I say try it. If you hate it - you can always drop it.

 

Thank you for your encouragement.

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Treading lightly. We have not done it, but some view it as a Trojan Horse. When you allow the state into your house in any form you also allow their supervision. As long as you don't mind that or are in a state that already requires supervision then it is probably a good option.

 

This is a key point. It's a public school---period. Your child becomes a public school student, just like all the kids in the brick and mortar schools, only the location differs. The governmental oversight and requirements should not come as a surprise to anyone. The only way I can see that it would be a Trojan horse is if people do not realize this and think they are just going to get no-strings-attached funding for a homeschool. Unfortunately, I have seen this misconception about virtual charters.

 

That said, I've been excited to hear that our state may finally be getting our first public virtual charter soon. I'd love to have that option, especially for high school, whether we use it or not. Options for secular homeschooling group activities at a reasonable cost are few and far between here, and the thought of the cost of things like AP classes is daunting. It would definitely be a trade-off in autonomy and flexibility, but I can see that it might be worth it for our family. It will require folks in our state to re-examine what "homeschool support" means and if they are ready to extend that to those using the virtual charters just as they do to those using distance learning through things like Calvert, Keystone, etc. I have already decided that, if the virtual charter becomes a reality, I will definitely put my daughter in the lottery and then make a decision if she gets in.

Edited by KarenNC
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We did a year with our state's virtual K12 program a few years ago. Honestly, yes, your kids are public school students and you are subjected to the same testing requirements, etc, I rarely had any "oversight" because we didn't need it. My kids were doing well, our attendance was entered on time so the teachers spent their time working with the students that needed them. We did have a required phone call to check in monthly. At that time, the teacher would talk to me and to my student and go over a few things with them to make sure they were learning. It was minimal. I almost registered with Ohio Connections Academy last summer but decided not too at the last minute. My kids prefer having me as their main oversight. I know many people locally though that have long term associations with these schools and have been very happy. You just have to remember that your students are public school students. Many people do choose to overlook that fact and they are not successful with the programs.

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We did a year with our state's virtual K12 program a few years ago. Honestly, yes, your kids are public school students and you are subjected to the same testing requirements, etc, I rarely had any "oversight" because we didn't need it. My kids were doing well, our attendance was entered on time so the teachers spent their time working with the students that needed them. We did have a required phone call to check in monthly. At that time, the teacher would talk to me and to my student and go over a few things with them to make sure they were learning. It was minimal. I almost registered with Ohio Connections Academy last summer but decided not too at the last minute. My kids prefer having me as their main oversight. I know many people locally though that have long term associations with these schools and have been very happy. You just have to remember that your students are public school students. Many people do choose to overlook that fact and they are not successful with the programs.

 

As I have never had my kids in public school, please spell it out for me. How is a virtual public school student different from a homeschool student?

 

Deadlines come to mind. No more flexing for kids who are struggling? No more pushing the assignment to tomorrow.

 

What else is my discouraged mind glossing over in lieu of the attractiveness of having someone else the oversight.

 

I'm so incredibly discouraged tonight with homeschooling. In the end, I'll probably be blamed for every thing they feel they're behind in, didn't get to do, and didn't succeed in.

 

If I bail now, half way through, I can say their failure is their own. Anything they (my children and their critics) want to blame on me it's a 50/50 whether it was because I chose to homeschool for part of their education or not.

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Overall, my life was not that different as a virtual school parent than as a traditional homeschooling parent. However, as a public charter family, there was oversight that I don't have when I am on my own. I had to log attendance every day, testing is required, etc. As far as the pace of the curriculum, we had a lot of leeway to move at our pace. If she got a concept quickly, we moved on. If not, we could spend more time there. Those that I mentioned in the previous email that did not do well with the program just did not want to accept that they could no longer do things completely on their own. So many hours were expected per week, etc. A lot of people would complain about the testing/test prep activities. That was a big one but there is just no way around that.

 

If you accept the limitations, I think they can be great programs. You can take advantage of the best of both worlds by using the ps system but still having your kids home with you.

 

I also wanted to mention that I used this program the year my Dad died. I had no motivation for homeschool and this was just what I needed to keep us going. When I recovered and snapped out of my haze, I was able to take back over myself. I felt recharged. It was truly a blessing to me at that time. I do not rule out returning there in the future if need be.

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As I have never had my kids in public school, please spell it out for me. How is a virtual public school student different from a homeschool student?

 

Deadlines come to mind. No more flexing for kids who are struggling? No more pushing the assignment to tomorrow.

 

What else is my discouraged mind glossing over in lieu of the attractiveness of having someone else the oversight.

 

Well, choice of curricula springs immediately to mind. You use the curricula that the school picks and it is going to be secular because it's publicly funded. You will also be only able to access the subjects that are offered, which may be an issue if you or your child wants to go farther outside the box than is allowed.

 

I would imagine the schedule is also tied to the regular school year, where our family goes year round and takes our vacations in the off seasons.

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We just started using our state virtual school, which uses K12 curriculum, for DS13/8th grade, because he is likely going to school for 9th,and I thought this would be a good transition.

 

For us, it's not been a huge change. We're pretty scheduled type of homeschoolers anyway. School comes first each day, we've followed a pretty good WTM schedule with him.

 

So each day, we check his schedule and it shows what he has to do. Sometimes he has to a online class (which is optional to attend). I do have the flexibility of rearranging the his schedule. Meaning, I can schedule that is he does science 3 days a week, and art two days a week.

 

We've not had a whole lot of "oversight". As long as my son is moving a long at a certain progress each week, and getting the grades, we've not been bothered. He's supposed to do 30 hours of work a week, which is not hard....he usually does more. 30 hours is 6 hours of work, 5 days a week, not unreasonable for an 8th grader. The thing is, I put in how much time it took him. So there' a bit of "freedom" shal we say, in that time. Perhaps math only took him 30 minutes, but it's okay to put 60. AND guess what, they even encourage off-line "extras"...for example, watch a History channel show about the weeks' history topic? That counts for schoolwork and is perfectly acceptable!!! Not to different from homeschooling, hmmm???

 

My son is in 8th, so there's very little on my end. I check his work, sometimes decide for him that the assignment is not necessary, answer questions, etc. But for the most part, it's all him. I wouldn't even say that he has to answer to his homeroom teacher...I mean, we've heard from her twice since we started, in a month and a half. Now he is doing Honors Algebra, which is high school, so he does hear from that teacher more often.

BTW, when we registered we had the option of choosing different level of math, different level of LA, and different level of Science, meaning he could do 8th grade or could have taken high school classes for credit. So there is some leeway for different levels.

 

My understanding is that the younger grades will have much more parental involvement. You do actually teach to the student. So it's not as if you will be hands-off, with them sitting in front of the computer while you go off and eat bon-bons, lol.

 

There are those cons, of having to take annual tests...but frankly, though they don't mean much too me so if he has to take them, so be it. It's not a big deal. Standardized tests are the norm if you want to get into college, so you are going to have to take them at some point. I don't make it a big deal to him and he's not pressured or stressed out them.

 

As far as the schedule, yes, you are on a public school calendar, but you do have lee-way. If the school schedules spring break for this week in April, you can just continue to work through it ,and then mark your child "off" a different week, and then no work is scheduled. As long as you don't take extra days, then it's no big deal. Yes, you do have to explain days that work was scheduled and your child did not log in...ie a sick day. Simple email to your homeroom teacher and it's no big deal.

 

For me, it turned out not to be the scary beast that so many homeschoolers have perpetuated. Sure, my son has a label of "public school student"....but ya know, that label isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be...cuz he's still home doing work with me and our life has changed very little in our day to day. I've always like K12 curriculum, we even used it as independents one year, for him, several years ago, so the fact that we are getting K12 for free is a bonus for me.

 

The thing is, homeschooling is morphing. No longer is it the B&M world against the purist Homeschooling world. The line is getting blurry and I know some will immediately say that we should be up in arms and alert that our homeschooling freedoms will be taken away. I feel that the movement to offer virtual schooling as a viable option only shows that the B&M world is realizing that their "one size fits all classroom" is not the only or best option, and that perhaps homeschooling, in any form, does have legs to stand on.

 

p.s. Just wanted to note just HOW flexible our virtual school is: We just started and signed up in early January. We've had a family vacation planned for several months for one particular week in early May. Turns out, that is the EXACT week that the annual standardarized testing to take place, we found out last week. We are not willing to reschedule the vacation. Contacted our homeroom teacher, and no problem, my son will just take the standardized test a few weeks later on the make-up dates. We'll work through the school's spring break they have in April (just add those days into my son's schedule so lessons are scheduled for him) and then take our week off in May so the actual number of days off is the same.

Edited by Samiam
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As I have never had my kids in public school, please spell it out for me. How is a virtual public school student different from a homeschool student?

 

Deadlines come to mind. No more flexing for kids who are struggling? No more pushing the assignment to tomorrow.

 

What else is my discouraged mind glossing over in lieu of the attractiveness of having someone else the oversight.

 

t.

 

Differences compared to homeschool:

-no curriculum choice

-no skipping assignments

-my dd will take the ISTEP ( state test)

-she has to check her schedule, if we're going for a field trip/etc she has to do her work before or after (there is some leeway on due dates)

-1x semester contact with teacher via phone call or live lesson chat

 

None of that is a deal breaker here. We tend to be structured in our homeschool. (Not a relaxed homeschooler).My biggest concern seems to be the praise they give dd for what I consider givens-cited work, timely assignments, outside activity success. It makes me wonder what the other kids are doing, KWIM?

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Well, choice of curricula springs immediately to mind. You use the curricula that the school picks and it is going to be secular because it's publicly funded. You will also be only able to access the subjects that are offered, which may be an issue if you or your child wants to go farther outside the box than is allowed.

 

The above really depends on the specific charter. Some charters require the use of their curriculum (the various K12.com schools are examples of this). Others provide a stipend that can be spent on the curriculum of the parent's choice so long as it's secular. Religious materials can be used if the parent pays out of pocket for them, but all work samples submitted for the portfolio have to be secular.

 

At this point, I wouldn't want to use a charter that required use of their curriculum because I like the flexibility of making my own choices.

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Our state says they will be offering it soon. It isn't an option for us because we are in some activities that specify homeschool only, meaning that if you aren't registered with the state as an actual homeschooler (you go to private school classes from an accredited school OR you do a charter, even virtual, school at home.)

 

However, it can be a good option for many.

 

Dawn

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Our state says they will be offering it soon. It isn't an option for us because we are in some activities that specify homeschool only, meaning that if you aren't registered with the state as an actual homeschooler (you go to private school classes from an accredited school OR you do a charter, even virtual, school at home.)

 

However, it can be a good option for many.

 

Dawn

 

Hmmm, this is an interesting sentiment. I've never run into it before or seen it.

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I SO wish this were available in our state!!! We are required to keep attendance, test yearly ( or every other year with an evaluation on off years, we just test) send in quarterly and year end reports etc. It's a pain! I would LOVE to have free curricula, lessons, online classes etc. Especially for my older kids...and IF they are considered public school kids MAYBE, JUST MAYBE they would allow them to play sports or do band.....Now THAT would be a miracle.

 

Not in my lifetime.....sigh...NY is run by the Teacher's Union....sigh.

 

Faithe

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Let me preface this by saying I have not done virtual public school. However, I did look at a friend's curriculum that she's using for K through Connections Academy. My concerns about it were this, and I am relating them to my dd, who is also in K. It appears that everyone gets the same curriculum for K, and I would assume, other grades, although I don't know. So my dd, who went into K reading well, would have had to sit through letter sounds. She doesn't write well, but there is heavy emphasis on writing, which would have frustrated her. I would just suggest that you find out how much curriculum could be customized to meet the needs of your child, and if you need a break from hs, try it, and if you hate it, you can stop :)

 

Connections Academy, at least in Ohio, offers placement tests and will work with homeschoolers to put the kids in the proper grade for their abilities. Also, if there is stuff that your child knows how to do, you can speak to the teacher and there are ways to just skip that stuff. They do want the kids working at the appropriate level. It is more easily adapted to fit your needs than many believe.

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It isn't really a sentiment.

 

The problem is that some groups (like our scout troop) registers with the council as a homeschool only pack/troop. If we take in ANY students enrolled in a public or private school, we have to take them all. We cannot be homeschool only unless we only take those registered as actual homeschoolers with the state.

 

The same is true for many groups that registers as homeschool only.....Lego League, Science Olympiad, and several other groups where you have to register with an organization. At least that is what OUR groups have been told by the leadership (if you take any non-homeschoolers you have to open it up to all.)

 

Virtual school doesn't qualify you with the state to register as a home schooler nor does a private school.

 

Dawn

 

Hmmm, this is an interesting sentiment. I've never run into it before or seen it.
Edited by DawnM
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Interesting, but I have to wonder about it. Who is the authority in charge checking or verifying the student’s status? It sounds more like a don't rock the boat understood policy vs. an actual law/regulation.

 

Locally, my kids have participated in activities designated as homeschool groups, but when pressed or challenged...all admitted other students.

 

It isn't really a sentiment.

 

The problem is that some groups (like our scout troop) registers with the council as a homeschool only pack/troop. If we take in ANY students enrolled in a public or private school, we have to take them all. We cannot be homeschool only unless we only take those registered as actual homeschoolers with the state.

 

The same is true for many groups that registers as homeschool only.....Lego League, Science Olympiad, and several other groups where you have to register with an organization. At least that is what OUR groups have been told by the leadership (if you take any non-homeschoolers you have to open it up to all.)

 

Virtual school doesn't qualify you with the state to register as a home schooler nor does a private school.

 

Dawn

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No, in NC, if you homeschool you are required to register with the state. You are then considered a homeschooler.

 

Who has the authority? The state does. Individuals who wish to have a homeschool only group must make it actually homeschool verified.

 

When we allow "some" public schoolers and not others or "some" private schoolers and not others the rules get fuzzy and hard and fast rules are difficult to make and implement.

 

We even had to disallow those attending a local private University model school's enrollees because the state considers them NOT to be homeschoolers.

 

Many don't like it and question it, but those are the hard and fast rules. No exceptions allowed or it opens a floodgate of needing to let everyone in.

 

Dawn

 

Interesting, but I have to wonder about it. Who is the authority in charge checking or verifying the student’s status? It sounds more like a don't rock the boat understood policy vs. an actual law/regulation.

 

Locally, my kids have participated in activities designated as homeschool groups, but when pressed or challenged...all admitted other students.

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There are a few homeschool groups around here that will not allow public charter students to participate in their program. Others do.

 

Our girl scout troops are homeschool troops although we have a mixture of traditional homeschoolers, public charter students and public school students. However, it is mentioned in our orientation stuff that as we began as a homeschool troop, some events may take place during the day so any ps students enter the groups with that understanding.

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Differences compared to homeschool:

-no curriculum choice

-no skipping assignments

-my dd will take the ISTEP ( state test)

-she has to check her schedule, if we're going for a field trip/etc she has to do her work before or after (there is some leeway on due dates)

-1x semester contact with teacher via phone call or live lesson chat

 

None of that is a deal breaker here. We tend to be structured in our homeschool. (Not a relaxed homeschooler).My biggest concern seems to be the praise they give dd for what I consider givens-cited work, timely assignments, outside activity success. It makes me wonder what the other kids are doing, KWIM?

 

No deal breakers in that list either. The extra praise might actually be a point for the pro column.

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We just started in January, for us the pros have been

 

 

  • Free K12 curriculum
  • Not having to do a lot of planning/choosing of curriculum
  • Better field trips than I or our local homeschooling groups had arranged, and they have all been free
  • We stick to a plan now, instead of me changing my mind all the time (of course, this is my problem, others may not have it)
  • My kids are really learning a lot of things and they like it better than what we were doing before
  • They are allowed to move ahead in Math and Language Arts

 

 

Cons

 

  • We have to do state testing and there is a lot of studying and prep for the test
  • It is nearly impossible (for me, at this point) to combine subjects, so I spend more time on things I would have previously combined and taught at one time - basically more work for me in actual teaching. I feel pulled from one child to the other quite often, but it has only been six weeks and seems to be getting better.
  • I think it was harder to start in the middle of the year than it would have been at the beginning.
  • I don't like the live class sessions, they seem out of control, but they are optional for us, so we just don't attend. Sometimes we watch the recordings and skip through to what we need.

 

 

Obviously, the cons aren't deal breakers for us and I really like having to be accountable with their progress in the school, it keeps me on track. We do light schooling in the summer, and I plan to continue that this summer with the things I really liked from our homeschool.

 

My daughter loves it because she can move ahead and spend hours on history when she wants to, or do several science lessons, or whatever. My son had a harder time adjusting than my daughter, he has ADD and is unmedicated. After a few weeks, though, it got easier for him and he really gets a sense of accomplishment when he completes his assignments. He keeps telling me "I'm smart!" when he gets something. I am SOOO happy to hear him say it, because I knew he was smart, ;) but it can be a struggle for him sometimes.

 

This is only for my two youngest, my DS 9 and DD 8. My oldest is in college and my 16 yo will be starting college classes at our local tech school in the summer.

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No, in NC, if you homeschool you are required to register with the state. You are then considered a homeschooler.

 

Who has the authority? The state does. Individuals who wish to have a homeschool only group must make it actually homeschool verified.

 

When we allow "some" public schoolers and not others or "some" private schoolers and not others the rules get fuzzy and hard and fast rules are difficult to make and implement.

 

We even had to disallow those attending a local private University model school's enrollees because the state considers them NOT to be homeschoolers.

 

Many don't like it and question it, but those are the hard and fast rules. No exceptions allowed or it opens a floodgate of needing to let everyone in.

 

Dawn

 

NC is different than some other states in that there is a strict wall of separation between homeschoolers (who fall under the same state department that oversees private schools) and public schools in terms of services available. We can't access any classes or services, really, through the public schools, as can happen in other states. So no taking a few classes, participating in extracurriculars, etc through the public schools. There's also no state funding or tax benefits for homeschoolers. Realize that virtual charters are, well, uncharted territory for NC (for the public schools and homeschool community alike) since we haven't had any yet. There is the possibility of one now, but it has to be approved by the state board of education and there are serious questions about how the current policies will work with that. The policies are all written to cover brick and mortar schools only.

 

Participation rules vary with the different organizations. I would say it is more that groups like FIRST Lego League, Science Olympiad, spelling bee, etc set the participation guidelines for their own events than that the state does. I'm am pretty sure that the NC Dept of Nonpublic Education doesn't really care about who participates in a Science Olympiad team or a scout troop.;) The biggest reason I see for those it to prevent "cherry-picking" the best students from large groups for competitions (something that has led to stricter geographic rules even among homeschoolers in things like Science Olympiad nationwide). The Girl Scout council doesn't really care whether you are homeschooled or public schooled or a mix. There are mixed scout troops (BSA and GSA) in the area, but then they aren't "homeschool-only." Our GS troop is mixed but we meet during school hours, which limits non-homeschooler participation (our one public-schooler participates during the summer and in other special activities by her family's choice). BSA is run very differently, so there may be things I am not aware of that create issues.

 

For things like support groups, no, the state doesn't require that the group verify status. We put in our group bylaws that members who are homeschooling are expected to follow all laws related to homeschooling in NC, but we don't check registrations, etc. In fact, we recently revised our bylaws to include anyone who is interested in homeschooling and supports the mission of the group (inclusion and a focus on academics) so that we can potentially bring in community volunteers and to be open to folks who may afterschool, do home summer school or, in future, attend a virtual charter. There are definitely homeschool groups that choose to make more definitive lines for participants, just as there are ones that make definitive lines regarding religious affiliation or homeschooling style.

 

The homeschool community here hasn't had to adjust to the situation of virtual charter students who may be looking for the same kinds of networking and social support that homeschoolers want. There isn't, AFAIK, any differentiation in the hs community here between folks who may be enrolled in a correspondence school or on-line school, like Calvert or k12, independently and more "typical" homeschoolers (who will be very similar to virtual charter students, I believe), so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Edited by KarenNC
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If it were an option in my state, I would enroll. But it isn't. So I have no personal experience to offer. I do have a friend in another state who has used both Calvert and Connections Academy through charter schools in her state. She likes Connections, but LOVED Calvert. She would have stayed with that if she could have, but there were reasons which had nothing to do with academics that made her feel she had to use this other charter school, which only uses Connections. Anyway, she really felt that the Calvert curriculum was worth its weight in gold, and had nothing but good things to say about it. This is, however, someone who had her children enrolled in ps before, and not someone who had homeschooled before. Someone coming from a homeschooling background may have a different impression of it.

 

We're planning to use Calvert next year even though we'll have to pay for it out of pocket (and we'll use the ATS to get the additional teacher support and the transcript). I really feel that we need some externally imposed structure, and some outside help and accountability. I know that's not for everyone, but I feel it's going to be a big help to us.

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If it were an option in my state, I would enroll. But it isn't. So I have no personal experience to offer. I do have a friend in another state who has used both Calvert and Connections Academy through charter schools in her state. She likes Connections, but LOVED Calvert. She would have stayed with that if she could have, but there were reasons which had nothing to do with academics that made her feel she had to use this other charter school, which only uses Connections. Anyway, she really felt that the Calvert curriculum was worth its weight in gold, and had nothing but good things to say about it. This is, however, someone who had her children enrolled in ps before, and not someone who had homeschooled before. Someone coming from a homeschooling background may have a different impression of it.

 

We're planning to use Calvert next year even though we'll have to pay for it out of pocket (and we'll use the ATS to get the additional teacher support and the transcript). I really feel that we need some externally imposed structure, and some outside help and accountability. I know that's not for everyone, but I feel it's going to be a big help to us.

 

Yes the Connections Academy in my state does use the Calvert curriculum for the lower grades.

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We have the option to use either K12 or Calvert in our state.... A few things to consider:

*"free" in our state comes with a "technology fee" of about $100/child

*"free" in our state still means you're buying a lot of science supplies that are considered "household items" and are therefore not provided

 

School materials are provided, generally, but you have no freedom to substitute other materials. If a writing assignment is completely inappropriate for the age of the student, tough luck. You are welcome to add materials to the school day....but getting through the basic curricula here in a 6-7 hour day, every day.

 

You have reporting requirements, generally: marking daily assignments into the log, submitting material occasionally, regular teacher interaction time online, and a lot of test prep hoops to jump through (putting time into ixl or study island and doing the paper materials that are provided).... You generally also have to do all of the state required assessments for public school students.

 

If your problem is getting materials purchased and planned, virtual public school is great. If your problem is dealing with your students, those challenges remain.

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I'm in WI. Definitely open enroll before the deadline. It's easy and it's all done online now (search for WI Department of Education). If you don't open enroll by the 24th, but you decided in a few months that you do want to do this....too bad; you're out. If you enroll and then later decide not to...no big deal. Here are a few other options for WI (there are more if you do a search):

 

Wisconsin Virtual Learning (WVL)

They have a choice of Little Lincoln or Calvert in the younger grades. Then it goes to Lincoln interactive or Calvert and for higher grades it's a mix of Florida Virtual and Aventa.

 

Wisconsin Virtual Academy (WIVA)

Uses k12.

 

Cameron Academy of Virtual Education (CAVE)

There website is horrible. You'll need to call them. They basically give you an allotment per child (should be $1,500 for elementary) and you buy what you want (there may be some restrictions, I'm not sure).

 

There's nothing wrong with Connections. I used it several years ago, when only part of the curriculum was Calvert. It's nice to live in a state that has so many options.

 

We are using a homebased program from our own school district, which works very similarly to CAVE. It's a long shot that you are in my school district....but pm and tell me where in WI you live.

 

ETA: curious if you are the same person that used a virtual school in the past?? Your name sounds familiar....like we may have discussed this a year ago.

Edited by ~AprilMay~
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Calvert is offered free through one of the school districts here in TX, and I switched my son (5thgrade) in November after him hating our homeschool so much. It's been a blessing. He has his own schedule, online teacher who is now videoing with them, and his own way of checking his work. He loves the autonomy. I jump in for discussion questions and some guidance. We like it.

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Calvert is offered free through one of the school districts here in TX, and I switched my son (5thgrade) in November after him hating our homeschool so much. It's been a blessing. He has his own schedule, online teacher who is now videoing with them, and his own way of checking his work. He loves the autonomy. I jump in for discussion questions and some guidance. We like it.

 

What area of TX is this, if you don't mind me asking? We are in San Antonio, and was told the only option was k12 through TXVA.

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I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you will still be the motivater, the meanie, and it'll still be cold.

 

I have a little more time to elaborate on what I wrote above, so I will do that now. We did K12 via WAVA for 2 and 1/2 years. We switched over in February of my oldest's 4th grade year. My next oldest was in K and I had a 4yo and a baby when we switched over. I was at my wits end with planning and implementing. I had flip flopped on several curricula choices earlier that year, and nothing seemed to be "working." I put that in quotes, because as I look back in hindsight, the problem wasn't the curricula I was choosing, it was just a difficult time in my homeschooling journey. The switch to K12/WAVA was a good one for us, at the time. However, it didn't relieve any of the need to be motivator, meanie, and it didn't change the weather, (LOL!) but it did bring about some positive results. Here are the positive results:

 

- Financial pressure was significantly lifted, and instead of my day-care business money going to homeschooling curricula, it went to debt reduction. That was an excellent overall decision.

 

- Planning pressure was significantly reduced. The K12 curriculum is excellent and rigorous. So, I knew that if I just did the lessons, that my children were getting a good education. It was true. My 4th grader began advancing in math and LA more than with any other curricula we used in the past, and my Ker and the following year my next oldest both got excellent starts in math & language arts.

 

After 2 and a half years, I was ready to do my own thing again. I'm happy to be back to independent homeschooling now, but I'm not sorry I switched to K12 & the virtual academy for those years.

 

I wish you all the best in your decision.

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We did it our first year out of traditional public school for 5th grade.

 

Why we didn't like it:

 

-No flexibility in the work or general schedule You could work different times of the day, etc., but you still couldn't really take a week off without some serious issues. Also, if your kid already "got" something, you couldn't just skip certain assignments so you could focus on others. You have to do the assignments specified instead of what your kid needs most. You don't have freedom to adjust the cirric to suit better.

 

-In our state the virtual public school is still subject to state testing. So I had the same environment as in the public school of "she needs to know this for the test" repeated everytime I asked about something.

 

-As the mom, I still had to be the helper, organizer, etc. Yes there was teacher support, but REALLY you are still the one with the main responsibility.

 

My conclusion was that I was doing all the WORK of a homeschool mom without any of the benefits. The environment was just like public schooling but I was doing all the work. No thanks!

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I have a little more time to elaborate on what I wrote above, so I will do that now. We did K12 via WAVA for 2 and 1/2 years. We switched over in February of my oldest's 4th grade year. My next oldest was in K and I had a 4yo and a baby when we switched over. I was at my wits end with planning and implementing. I had flip flopped on several curricula choices earlier that year, and nothing seemed to be "working." I put that in quotes, because as I look back in hindsight, the problem wasn't the curricula I was choosing, it was just a difficult time in my homeschooling journey. The switch to K12/WAVA was a good one for us, at the time. However, it didn't relieve any of the need to be motivator, meanie, and it didn't change the weather, (LOL!) but it did bring about some positive results. Here are the positive results:

 

- Financial pressure was significantly lifted, and instead of my day-care business money going to homeschooling curricula, it went to debt reduction. That was an excellent overall decision.

 

- Planning pressure was significantly reduced. The K12 curriculum is excellent and rigorous. So, I knew that if I just did the lessons, that my children were getting a good education. It was true. My 4th grader began advancing in math and LA more than with any other curricula we used in the past, and my Ker and the following year my next oldest both got excellent starts in math & language arts.

 

After 2 and a half years, I was ready to do my own thing again. I'm happy to be back to independent homeschooling now, but I'm not sorry I switched to K12 & the virtual academy for those years.

 

I wish you all the best in your decision.

 

Thank you for your added information.

 

No the weather won't change with my schooling plans.

 

I think that if for no other reason not having to plan for 5 grades make virtual school is a good choice for me. Perhaps it's just for a time. Maybe just for the younger crew. Or perhaps just for the most difficult of my students.

 

I'm not exactly sure. I did fill out enrollment applications. Keeping my options open until the weather warms up a bit. :D

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What area of TX is this, if you don't mind me asking? We are in San Antonio, and was told the only option was k12 through TXVA.

Yeah, it's through Texarkana ISD. http://texarkanaisdvirtualacademy.com/

 

We had to go through the enrollment process, filling out papers, immunization records and such. Proof that you live in TX. They will have it again next year, so you can go ahead and ask about getting enrolled if you want to. Calvert sends all the materials, and then you get assigned a teacher at Texarkana ISD. You email with her/him, and she is the one taking grades and keeping track of enrollment of the child. The tests go to Calvert, and then the grades are averaged in with attendance and some daily work from the TxkISD.

 

We've recently started having video classes b/c the students will have to take the STAAR test since they're enrolled in a PS. She's guiding them on some sample problems, but there is not a stress on it like we saw when we were enrolled in our local public elementary school. DS does his Calvert stuff, and only last week did the teacher start giving that online session to get them on track in math and reading.

 

I don't mind that he's taking the STAAR. For us, we needed something other than following TWTM. He was hating our days, and then this popped up and it's free. Bingo.

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