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I am looking for any advice from those who have tried parts of the K-12 curriculum, either on their own, or through a virtual school. We are entering official middle school for one kid, and middle school level work for another, and as I sit longingly staring at all my classical resources, I am embarking on part time on-line K-12 (through the local public school district, which is offering homeschoolers a part time option - very few strings attached at this point...) due to scheduling issues.

 

My oldest is playing with the local adult symphony, as well as a weekly quartet and practices his violin about 3-4 hours a day, PLUS isn't ready to quit competitive gym (mostly for friendships - but as the music is almost all with adults, being around some boys his age is important), and my middle has her eyes set on being an elite gymnast (like about 2 million girls right now after the Olympics...) - she's already practicing 20 hours a week and doing ballet as well, and moving 2 levels a year in gym....I have to work part time, and their brother is only in 3rd grade - so these 2 need to have more independent work - and schedule! I figure as long as they are making good progress with academics (which to me means staying college preppish), stay involved at Church and do their chores at home, this is the time in life for them to pursue these dreams, before they have to "grow up". Plus I think music will be the older ones career in some manner...

 

Soooo....I am not looking to hear that on-line school is the bee's knees, I would love to teach them differently if we all had 48 hours a day! I am just looking to hear if there are any hints, pitfalls to avoid, etc. We are trying K-12 LA, math at a year ahead of grade level (based on placement), Advanced Middle School Life Science for both kids, and French for "fun" (which we can drop if we can't keep up). We are doing history, Bible, Art and Music our way at home. They are not requiring any testing this year, and we are not doing the "test prep" class that comes with k-12. If we don't finish in 9 months (my biggest fear - as winter gets very hairy with gym travel and concerto contests...) there's no penalty...from the school district at least....

 

Thanks for reading this far!

Erin

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I'm probably not much help, but we used K12 through a cyber school here in PA 3 years ago. It was for grades 4 and 6. I liked the K12 curriculum and thought it was challenging enough (I have one "gifted" and one average student). My oldest worked ahead quite a bit grade level wise. We were attached to the cyber school so there were quite a few strings attached for us.

It sounds like you have a lot on your plate already. The things I liked most about K12: everything was provided for you and all the lessons were laid out so my girls knew exactly what they needed to do each day. I think that will be a huge benefit for you. You can always back out if it isn't working.

Good luck!

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I work, so I used K12 for a 3rd and 9th grader last year through a charter school.

 

Using K12 through the charter there is a relentlessness to keeping up progress. This may not be an issue for you. We were also required to go through Study Island modules. We actually like these.

 

LA is strong, but their grammar is weak. I supplement with Shurley English. Writing is so-so.

Math I like and dislike. I don't think there is enough practice or paper and pencil work. I supplement with Singapore and use Horizons for spiral review.

Science I like this, but we fell short of completion.

History, very good.

 

IMO--Online learning, like K12, at the lower grades needs reinforcement with discussion and paper and pencil work otherwise it can be a passive experience with students having little recall of what the learned. My 9th grade daughter did school with zero parent involvement. I could not do that with my 3rd, now 4th grader, she needs more parent involvement. I do like that everything is planned and easy to follow.

Hint: Strive to make the greatest amount of progress in core subjects before mid-winter.

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Definitely keep an eye on the math. It isn't always laid out in a way I like. I am supplementing a lot with MM and lots of manipulatives.

 

I really like K12, though, and think it is a great alternative to a pure homeschooling curriculum.

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I have to say that my daughter did 5th grade last year and complete all of the 5th grade math and LA and 1/2 of the 6th grade math and LA. I have to say her teacher said she has never seen math scores just so much in the course of a year! I am just saying that to say it is a solid math program IMHO. So for pointers, DO NOT attempt to do all of the work....they would be doing stuff forever. Pick what you feel they need in a lesson. Did they grasp the math lesson? Only do the problems that they need to enter for the assessment. To much writing in other subjects, skip the writing assignment in language arts. Have them do what you feel they need to do to grasp the concepts presented in the lesson.

 

The middle school level work is written to the student, so I really did not need to help very much. I thought the Literature part of the Language Arts taught good skills, however it was a bit easy for Elizabeth. The grammar was TOUGH though....a lot of new concepts for her to learn, which I loved and she hated :). We just did extra practice in this area.

 

Hope this helps!!

Kris

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We did K12 as an online public school option and so I am not sure that my experience will be a good one. My boys were in 3, 5, and 8 at the time. My 8th grader worked from 8 in the morning until late afternoon and still did not get it all done. I had to be sitting with my 3 and 5 graders so that I could log them in for certain assignments or tests. I also had to help with some of their work that was done online also. It seemed like overkill to me to have them do stuff online and then turn around and do the same darn thing in a workbook. The work required was a bit much if you ask me; lots of busy work. I had to turn in a lot of the workbook pages from each week and they had to make sure all of their online stuff got done also. Logging into classes was horrible; we could sometimes not get in or we would get booted out alot.

 

I did not like that there was no creation taught in the science at all; but it is ps curriculum so I shouldn't have been surprised. The history was mediocre, math was not up to par and needed a lot of supplementing, language arts was ok, and with science I was having to add so much because of the evolutionistic material presented.

 

I was warned that a K12 online public charter school was a lot of work to complete. I had three friends who tried it and didn't last as long as I did, but I just had to see for myself. I have heard that K12 curriculum is really good but imo it was average at best and sub-par in some subjects. I would go with Connections Academy if I had to do something like this for time, work, or personal reasons. Have you looked into it?

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Thanks for all the input. We have looked at Connections, however, we aren't doing this "full time", just for a few subjects, and can't do that with connections here - also I did Calvert with the olders in K and 1st and it wasn't my cup of tea....I'm hoping to be able to get around the busy work by only doing that which they need to meet the assessment goals...and the older 2 are doing middle school level course work, so hopefully there will be less repetition. I do have to say I am nervous about math, as all three kids are a year ahead and I am a stickler about math curriculums! We shall see how it goes....I have everything already to do a more classical curriculum if this fails - but I hope it frees up some of my time and gives the older 2 some accountability beyond mom....

Erin

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We have used most of the science levels up through Earth Science. It works for us. Just don't try to do it all, because there can be a lot of busy work. We skipped many of the labs when the purpose and outcome were fairly obvious. We did the writing assignments, though.

 

I like the literature aspect of the language arts at the middle school level, but was not impressed with the writing and grammar. Too bad it's not sold separately.

 

Really didn't like the foreign language. We did 2 years of Spanish, but the kids didn't really get much out of it. We switched to Rosetta Stone French and it has been *much* better.

 

Lisa

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I just wanted to add a little about busy work. This was a good reminder for me. Worksheets are not necessarily busy work if the child is learning or practicing a skill. "Busy work" is different for each child. Giving my oldest a page of math problems she already knows how to solve to keep "busy" is busy work. Giving her math problems to reinforce a skill she is learning or needs help with is not. Sometimes I feel (and it may or may not be true) that people assume worksheet means busy work, and this is not always the case. :)

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I totally agree about the difference between true "busy work" and skill review/practice - and all three of my kids hate even "review and practice" - a little busy-ish work with clear goals will do them good - especially if its not MOM telling them to do 5 more long division problems because they missed 2....I'm not against worksheets at all - just don't want to be buried in them!

Erin

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We spend about 2 hours a day doing work at 5-6th grade, I agree, don't make them do everything. Teach to the objective, if you can cover the same material in a 2 minute Brainpop episode and they understand the material take the quiz and move on. Its ridiclious to be doing work for 8+ hours a day and its usually parents who are new to the program and are still figuring out what to do. Its simple, TEACH TO THE OBJECTIVE and use what you need to to do it. If your child is really struggling and still spending hours doing it then consider doing it orally and if its still a problem take a placement test, chances are your in the wrong level.

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