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K12/Virtual Academy Fall 2009 - Page 3

post #41 of 279
we are enrolled in ohva this is our second year. we have three times a year to send portfolios to our teacher, we move at our own rate. we have to have four face to face meetings a year that can be met at the state required testing in the spring or at fun activites like the zoo or science center or holiday partys.
the best thing about our teacher is she is a home schooler at heart she home schooled all of her own kids and will give you all the assistance you need or let you more alone but is ready to help at any time. she hosts on line classes weekly and gets to know her students and parents, this is our second year with the same teacher, i actually talk with her more than my ds brick and morter classroom teachers
we stasted school officaly aug 17
post #42 of 279
Our first official day is tomorrow. The kids have been working anyway, so that's all good... but tomorrow there will be Elluminates. I'm hoping to get some rest tonight and put this crapalacious day behind me.
post #43 of 279
I missed another Principals office Elluminate today.

We have one at 10 am with his teacher though.
post #44 of 279
Thread Starter 
Well - today was our first 'lesson' day. We did a series of pictures that the teacher needs for assessment purposes. Need to scan them and Kmail them to her tomorrow.

And, Ina wanted to do more - so we did a math lesson, which turned into two math lessons. It was really simple stuff (too simple, if you ask me, simple enough to confuse her!). But we'll probably keep going slowly through those lessons for awhile rather than sprinting through assessments - just to get her feet 'wet.' Also, because dh, who works at home in the same room we have Ina's 'school' set up in, thinks it would be best to start slow in this too.

We've got a ton of family coming from out-of-state at the end of this week, some staying with us, and a house absolutely trashed. So I think the slower we go (minimal as possible) then the better - next week we'll really hit the books, so to speak. But this week, there's just too much going on. Next week, we can start really tweaking out our 'system' and get to the level in Math that I think Ina is really at. She did enjoy these easy lessons today though....

SJ was not easy to manage at all. She wanted to sit in my lap, she wanted to manipulate the counting cubes/chips etc., etc. I know for certain that we will need to figure out what we can do to keep her more occupied. She's not ready to do preK workbooks yet so I will have to get creative. She wants to do exactly what her sister is doing (this afternoon, when Ina and I were going to do more school and I suggested that SJ 'cook' us something in her kitchen -- SJ told Ina, "No, you cook! I school!")
post #45 of 279
We've been on the waiting list, so I am just reading these (along with my DH) to get ideas of what to expect. Our daughter will be 2 next month and I know that will be quite a challenge, keeping her occupied...

I suppose getting toddler arts & crafts for little ones to do might help? Simple things like coloring, play dough, painting, etc might keep them busy.
post #46 of 279
We have our first Elluminate with our teacher in about 8 minutes. I also got a PDF for our Portfolio.

We have to do the math pre-test on Study Island by October 2nd, and we have to write an essay using some Graphic Organizer from his teacher and turn in the G.O. the rough draft and a final copy. Shoot me now. Writing a story is NOT my son's strong point, and having to follow some g.o is not going to help him.

I think I'm going to have him TELL me a story and record it, then we'll use the G.O. then write the thing.

OH! I was looking at our 'progress' chart, and our projected end date for Almost everything is April 28th Over a month before school ends we'll be done.

I am hoping to maybe move closer to the 3rd grade stuff.
post #47 of 279
Aaargh. Our teacher is a newbie and can't figure out the attendance and logging requirements. First it was "30 hours lessons and synch activities" and we keep a separate synch log to email in monthly. Now she seems to want us to log 30 hours IN the various K12 curriculum categories, but not 30 hours of their lessons - so we need to assign all our synch activities into the categories? I can do that, but I wish she'd been more clear on it herself before she tried to explain it. I'm still not exactly sure what she wants. Hopefully her next email will clear it up.

Regardless of what the final procedure turns out to be, this whole system is based around ridiculously inflating instructional time. That's the state's fault, I think, not K12 - 30 hours/weeks for a K5 kid is just stupid. It totally fails to take into account the hours that institutionally schooled kids spend eating, standing in line, and just generally hanging out between lessons.

But on the plus side, it looks like James is not going to incur any absences. I asked to go back and fix his attendance to reflect all my carefully logged synch activities - hopefully she will, since I'd like to keep track of future attendance by doing even multiples of 30 in my head.
post #48 of 279
I think we had a decent official first day. It was kind of crazy for me, but the kids did well and had a blast. I had to kick Bean out of the OLS once he got started on geography (it's been a favorite of his... oh, since he could talk ). All three of the smaller ones had a good time with phonics, and the two bigger ones went to the library tonight where BooBah got her very first library card. : Too cute. All right, I've got to get some rest-- this is a crazy *week* for me. It's exhausting... but I did sign up for this.
post #49 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Breeze View Post
We have our first Elluminate with our teacher in about 8 minutes. I also got a PDF for our Portfolio.

We have to do the math pre-test on Study Island by October 2nd, and we have to write an essay using some Graphic Organizer from his teacher and turn in the G.O. the rough draft and a final copy. Shoot me now. Writing a story is NOT my son's strong point, and having to follow some g.o is not going to help him.

I think I'm going to have him TELL me a story and record it, then we'll use the G.O. then write the thing.

OH! I was looking at our 'progress' chart, and our projected end date for Almost everything is April 28th Over a month before school ends we'll be done.

I am hoping to maybe move closer to the 3rd grade stuff.
Gosh, I don't think I could handle a teacher actually assigning something LOL.

I was getting nervous because I haven't heard from a teacher yet, so I tracked someone down. I guess our new teacher is on maternity leave, so a sub is slogging though calling everyone. Thankfully, they've changed things so we need even less face to face time this year, so i won't need to meet anyone in the early days of school - I just need to print and sign an agreement and send it in. They're also ordering history 2 for DD, as she finished up History 1 last week. she'll be thrilled once it gets here. Our official first day isn't until 9/8, so we've still got some time.
post #50 of 279
Thread Starter 
I'm just overwhelmed here, and it has nothing to do with school and everything to do with my poor housekeeping motivation.

We've got company coming this weekend - dh's cousin and her family. I had to move all our storage boxes upstairs into the guest room last week while the plumber was here, and now have to transfer them all back DOWN the stairs (two flights) to the basement again. And get the rest of the house ready - sweep, mop, clean .... It's a mess anyway because we've been in the middle of the Home Renovation Project Which Never Ends, for years now.

And then I decided that tomorrow would be a good day to coordinate a meeting for Momsrising.org members with one of our Senator's staff members.

Company arrives Thursday afternoon. Did I mention we've got swim lessons in full swing right now too? At least SJ hasn't decided this is the week to potty train. I think that would send me over the edge!

Tomorrow our k12 teacher calls to check in on us. I'm tempted to tell her that we're going to just do a lesson/day the rest of this week, because of company coming - and then not take Labor Day off, since they'll be gone that day, and catch up then. Or should I just log in and log attendance but do no assessments on the next three days?

I was thinking I'd probably do one lesson (maybe math, she loves it) each day for the rest of the week, just because she is already loving school so much.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
post #51 of 279
I'd let the teacher know about it in advance, but it will probably be fine.
post #52 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
I'd let the teacher know about it in advance, but it will probably be fine.
I agree, you'll be fine.


We don't even officially start for another week but wanted to get a head start. I was wondering, so far we've been done in less then an hour every day. Should I set a time, say 2 hours of lessons a day at least no matter how much she gets done? Last year it took a lot longer to do her work but this years so far just seems so much easier then last year.
post #53 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by elanorh View Post
I'm just overwhelmed here, and it has nothing to do with school and everything to do with my poor housekeeping motivation.

We've got company coming this weekend - dh's cousin and her family. I had to move all our storage boxes upstairs into the guest room last week while the plumber was here, and now have to transfer them all back DOWN the stairs (two flights) to the basement again. And get the rest of the house ready - sweep, mop, clean .... It's a mess anyway because we've been in the middle of the Home Renovation Project Which Never Ends, for years now.

And then I decided that tomorrow would be a good day to coordinate a meeting for Momsrising.org members with one of our Senator's staff members.

Company arrives Thursday afternoon. Did I mention we've got swim lessons in full swing right now too? At least SJ hasn't decided this is the week to potty train. I think that would send me over the edge!

Tomorrow our k12 teacher calls to check in on us. I'm tempted to tell her that we're going to just do a lesson/day the rest of this week, because of company coming - and then not take Labor Day off, since they'll be gone that day, and catch up then. Or should I just log in and log attendance but do no assessments on the next three days?

I was thinking I'd probably do one lesson (maybe math, she loves it) each day for the rest of the week, just because she is already loving school so much.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

I've always been told that if life interferes with school, to do what lessons you can, if you can, and log attendance for those, even if it isn't the full amount they want for the day. If you don't do any lessons, but do other things that fit into the subjects, log that time even if no lessons are marked complete for the day. so even if you don't do any k12 curriculum, you can mark off time in LA if you read a book to your child, or she helps you write a shopping list. You can log time for math if she helps you cook or you count the number of red cars that pass by your house. You can mark off science if she watches Sid the Science kid, art if she sits down and draws a picture, music if you put on a CD and she listens to it, etc.
post #54 of 279
Thread Starter 
Welllll.... dh just called and told me to look up an article in the paper, his father had mentioned to him. Have I mentioned that FIL's wife is a school teacher in the public schools here, and part of the reason we felt more comfortable doing a Virtual Academy to start out, since we knew she would take a decision to homeschool personally? She's been very quiet and hasn't said anything to us other than how great the schools are, and how sure she is that they would work with us, and we could always travel less so we wouldn't miss so many days of school .....

Anyway, FIL read this article:
http://billingsgazette.com/news/stat...cc4c002e0.html

I did a google search and didn't find any article other than this one (in a quick search) which mentioned anything but students performing *higher* than their brick-and-mortar peers in other states. Last year was the first year of Virtual Academy anywhere in the state (k12 anyway) - I guess I'd like to see whether the individual students' overall scores improved over what they were in the brick-and-mortar schools the year before.

So far I haven't seen any reason to suspect that k12 isn't a really good curriculum and program. Ina already knows most of what we've covered thus far in lessons, but we know she's ahead of the curve anyway; are planning to start moving through materials more quickly in the next few weeks, 'til we get her where she's actually starting to learn more, as opposed to applying things she already knew.

I am just not looking forward to conversations about this; I guess I thought by picking k12, we were going to at least be avoiding THIS critique.
post #55 of 279
One thing to consider when looking at test scores for virtual schools is that many of the students are ones who were failed by public schools. As well, students in the virtual environment have less overall experience with testing - so they might score lower just because they have less practice. Also? Many of them have parents like me who tell them that they really don't care how they do. My son scored very well on the STAR test, but that's by virtue of his perfectionist personality, and not me impressing upon him the importance of the test. Lower test scores, to me, don't reflect the quality of the education - it does show me that less emphasis is probably place on teaching to the test.
post #56 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satori View Post
We don't even officially start for another week but wanted to get a head start. I was wondering, so far we've been done in less then an hour every day. Should I set a time, say 2 hours of lessons a day at least no matter how much she gets done? Last year it took a lot longer to do her work but this years so far just seems so much easier then last year.
My son often finishes his work in about an hour. As long as you're making appropriate progress, you can fill up the rest of your time with related activities. If you feel that your daughter's placement is inappropriate, you could definitely bring that up with her teacher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elanorh View Post
So far I haven't seen any reason to suspect that k12 isn't a really good curriculum and program. Ina already knows most of what we've covered thus far in lessons, but we know she's ahead of the curve anyway; are planning to start moving through materials more quickly in the next few weeks, 'til we get her where she's actually starting to learn more, as opposed to applying things she already knew.

I am just not looking forward to conversations about this; I guess I thought by picking k12, we were going to at least be avoiding THIS critique.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
One thing to consider when looking at test scores for virtual schools is that many of the students are ones who were failed by public schools. As well, students in the virtual environment have less overall experience with testing - so they might score lower just because they have less practice. Also? Many of them have parents like me who tell them that they really don't care how they do. My son scored very well on the STAR test, but that's by virtue of his perfectionist personality, and not me impressing upon him the importance of the test. Lower test scores, to me, don't reflect the quality of the education - it does show me that less emphasis is probably place on teaching to the test.
: AYP is a very, VERY limited means of evaluating schools, and it's rather inappropriate for cyber schools. We have had similar articles published in Pennsylvania, but they say absolutely nothing about the schools.

First: Cyberschool students are more likely than b&m students to come from failing districts. A typical student beginning third grade after three years in b&m school is a full year behind at the beginning of the school year. They'd have to make two years of progress before attaining a 'proficient' score on a standardized test. After two years using the K12 curriculum they're very likely to be back up to grade level, but that first year? Unlikely.

Secondly: AYP has a list of standards which a school must attain in order to pass. In a typical school district, there are several schools involved but a cyberschool pulls students from all over the state and from all grade levels. Agora did not make AYP last year-- they missed *one* of 23 targets. If Agora was treated as a school district rather than as a single school, one subset of students in one middle school would have missed a target, and that individual school would have failed to make AYP; The elementary and high school students in all categories would have passed. The fact that only a single target was missed speaks volumes, especially in light of...

Thirdly: Cyberschools are growing at exponential rates all over the country. Agora, for example, went from just over 1,000 students to more than 4,400 students in one year. Most of the new students were transferring from failing school districts, and were coming in behind grade level. Thus, PSSA (Pennsylvania State School Assessment) scores for Agora last year are not reflective of Agora or K12, but of the schools from whence students transferred. The fact that Agora only missed one target with all of those difficulties to overcome tells me that K12 must be a superior curriculum.

Fourth: K12 has actually done a fair amount of research on this topic, and has documentation supporting the notion that children who use the K12 curriculum have higher test scores than children in b&m schools. The longer a child is with K12, the higher the scores.

Fifth: While the IQ scores of students in b&m school tend to reflect the standard bell curve, the scores of students in cyber schools tend to form an upside-down bell curve. That is, they tend to attract students performing at the far ends of the intellectual spectrum. Yes, there are more highly gifted students, but there are also more students who need a lot of help and instruction to function at grade level. The students who are just shy of average can certainly achieve at grade level, but it requires a lot more work not only of them but of their parents and teachers. In b&m schools, such children often fall through the cracks (which is why their parents seek alternatives like cyber schools) or are just held back and/or written off as "discipline problems". Cyber schools won't allow that to happen, but again it takes longer for them to come up to grade level than it might take a more typical student.
post #57 of 279
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the good points! Dh and I just read them together. I don't know if we'll be questioned too much on this, we'll see .... The big concern from everyone, until today, was the "How will she get socialized [without being put in a classroom of 20 other kids her age and one adult to manage them]?"

I talked with our k12 teacher today (scheduled call) - she said that the virtual school in question, while a "k12" program, is not affiliated with this state-wide program; she doesn't know whether that school did placement tests etc. but that's why they are emphasizing those with all the Virtual Academy students, so that students who need extra help in an area will get it immediately. And she thanked me for giving her a heads-up in case other parents ask her about it.

Told her we're going to do a couple lessons/day for the next few days, because of company coming and she said - that's what K12 is for, no problem, you can catch up again next week. I also asked her about the fact that we read about half an hour every night before bed (a few board books, and then a chapter from a chapter book, we're doing Heidi right now) - and asked whether I should add that time to her attendance for Language, and she said absolutely, and that it's especially good that we're doing Language, then doing it again (more or less) by reading the evening stories.

....I survived our meeting today, and it's time to hit the housework with a vengeance. Plus make rolls and dessert for the evening meal tomorrow when all the company is in town. And supper. Whew.
post #58 of 279
I'm glad your teacher is giving you appropriate flexibility with the schedule!

James had a DIBELS assessment today, which he passed. Now we're going to be left alone for another month. :
post #59 of 279
: Yay for James! Bean had his first Scantron test today and really enjoyed it. He'll (hopefully) complete the reading when he goes back next week.

We're going out of town tomorrow morning. I'm stoked. I need to get a bit of schoolwork done with BooBah and then to finish (okay, start : ) packing.
post #60 of 279
I am so happy i found this thread. we are in Ma, so my kindergartener is doing k12 international acadamy in a couple weeks. I am excited, but frustrated too. i have three others in public and a toddler at home. the k12 acadamy is our only option here, and I can barely afford it. and i have another that needs to come out of public school about two years ago .

we are trying to win a goverment contract out in colorado for our defense company. hopefully, we can move this year. then, everyone can do k12.

I hate Massachusetts.

our school district is failing horribly. my childrens school has cut lunch time this year to 15 min.....no morning snack time.....and 15 min recess. they are coming home starving every day so far. that is not going to make our MCAS scores any better. My kids don't participate in that craziness anyways, we go on our vacation.




Rachael
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