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How We Do Online School


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Hi all!


In some of the other threads, there were a few comments about online school. I wanted to share how that looks in our homeschool and some of the reasons that I put my high schoolers in our county virtual school.


Our county uses Connections Academy as the vendor, or curriculum provider. My oldest dd graduated from that school and in the eyes of the state she has a public school diploma, from ___ County High School.


Back when my oldest was in the 9th grade, I taught her traditionally. It was a ton of work for me, with three younger students to teach. So much work. I always felt that someone was getting the short end of the stick and there just wasn't enough of me to go around. I felt that nobody was getting the quality education I wanted them to have. So 10th grade year, I enrolled her in the virtual school. It was such a blessing. The instructor with the county was SO good with us (I told myself that if it was a pain with obnoxious teachers, and tons of hoop jumping I'd bail). We had access to many foreign languages and AP/Honors courses. She was able to take interesting classes that I'd never thought she'd be able to take. One year she took marine biology! So cool.


She got real world experience dealing with regular teachers. She found out quickly that some teachers in schools are good, some are awful and most are in the middle. Because she'd never been in a traditional classroom, she had a romaticized notion of the kind, understanding, helpful teacher. She learned that a good teacher will help you do things you never thought you could do. They won't let you settle for second best when you can do better. When I pushed her toward superior work, I was mean. :)


Now my second dd is in the virtual school. Each day she does her work. She comes downstairs and we talk about the books she's reading. She has questions almost every day, and I give her input before she emails her teacher. Many times in math, when she hits a wall, we work on the problems together and figure it out. I read essays before she turns them in and give her my thoughts on them.


I push her to go the extra mile. For instance, she was content with a high B, just 2 points below an A. I pointed out to her two or three easy, every day things she could do to get that A by looking over her past lessons and figuring out where she typically fell short. I keep track of what she's learning in which classes. I make sure she does school every day before fun. She still has to practice guitar and complete her lessons before fun happens.


We have three or four extra curricular activities every week she attends and anticipates.


I still feel like I'm homeschooling, but the virtual school gives me the handholding that our family needs to make it work for each member. IT's a different choice, but I'm far from the parent who sits their kid in front of a screen all day and ignores their academic progress.


When parents ask me about my experience, I tell them that it still takes work and effort and diligence on the parent's part. I could not work full time and my daughter do as well in the virtual school. I still have to be there to answer questions, make sure she's on task, and help her out when she gets stuck.


I know technically, I'm not "homeschooling" my dd. For us, it's the best of the homeschooling world (her being at home, enjoying the flexibility of homeschooling and participating in the vibrant homeschooling community we've been involved in for years) plus the accessibility and assistance of professional teachers helping us reach her academic goals.



There are drawbacks (technical issues, sometimes crappy teachers, poorly written questions) but we work through them together. IT's not all bad.


It's working for us. But it's not as simple as me sitting her in front of a screen and going to work each day.


Anyone else want to share your online schooling experience?


I know it's not all good for all families. The year I enrolled my two middles in the K12 program was a huge headache and hassle.

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The year I enrolled my two middles in the K12 program was a huge headache and hassle.

We had a good experience with the local K12 program teachers and we still keep in touch with them 3 years after we stopped using the K12 charter. The first teacher we got knew a student that was grade skip twice and went to Brown university so she was perfectly fine with subject acceleration and grade skipping as needed. The second and third teacher we got were great at high school math and science so they could answer any questions up to calculus and AP science level. We quit because my kids need more social activities than the school organized. We went to all the social activities that the local K12 put up for students and my kids enjoyed them, things like field trips to the Monterey bay aquarium, Tech Museum, In-N-Out kitchen tour, etc.


The local K12 admin was bureaucratic but less so than my school district office. So after dealing with the school district for three years, the local K12 office's bureaucracy was easy.


What was useful was we had well laid out goals per child with the teachers at the start of the school year whether my kids were in the public school down the road or at the K12 charter. My kids also had lots of placement tests done at the start of each school year regardless of the local assigned school or K12. Their public school education has always been partlally customized for them. The annual state testing, my oldest did each subject in less than an hour, sometimes he took 30mins only. He is a tall for age, young for grade level kid who is extremely quiet. All his teachers just work round his quirks and he gets one to one writing lessons from his teachers because I asked.


Somehow stating that my oldest is ahead in math and reading during enrollment for the local B&M school and for the local online K12 had helped in getting him the best math teachers in the house who happened to be good in language arts. We only had one inadequate math teacher for 1st grade at the assigned local B&M school. It really is YMMV.


A friend's child did the same local K12 for a year because the B&M high school did not protect her from being bullied often. Her first semester grades were bad because her dad did not supervise as agreed and her mom was recuperating from a major surgery. Her dad sat her down during Christmas break and make sure she catch up as much as she could. So it did required her dad checking that work was done every night and helping out in weak areas every weekend for a few hours. The local K12 does give the parent more info than the local B&M does for her case. Her dad was able to get more info about what she was supposed to be learning and also her weak areas in tests. In B&M school, he only saw the grades and does not get to see his child's test papers.

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Those are encouraging experiences ladies! Thank you for sharing and demystifying this for some of us who've only seen crappy K12 outcomes or 'unschooling' that is really 'non-schooling' under the excuse of online programs.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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