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k12/Virtual Academy Spring 2010 - Page 3

post #41 of 54
The k12 curriculum in and of itself is not the problem. I love the history program, for the most part, the math is good, I have a love hate relationship with Language Arts, and we've liked most of science (except 5th grade - ds loves science, but he's not interested in this year at all). Music is awful, just awful. The foreign language is pretty bad, too. DS loves the art history part of art, but not the projects, and dd doesn't like the art program either. All in all, if I had all the money in the world, I would purchase parts of it independantly. My bigger problem has been dealing with the virtual academy piling on requirements and trying to strong arm their suggestions. I'd like to have the freedom to take a week off the official curriculum and focus on other things without hearing about us "not making progress in the curriculum," even though both of my kids are one half to over a full grade level in all of their curriculum. So, it's not k12 so much as it is CAVA that I've been having issues with. It was a great start to home schooling for us, though, and if my kids still wanted to do it, we'd be sticking with it.


ETA: I also don't think there's too much work unless you're trying to do every little thing that is in each lesson. I would say, though, that I think it would be tough if a child doesn't pick things up quickly in one or more subject - the VAs are under a lot of pressure to show progress.
post #42 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
My bigger problem has been dealing with the virtual academy piling on requirements and trying to strong arm their suggestions. I'd like to have the freedom to take a week off the official curriculum and focus on other things without hearing about us "not making progress in the curriculum," even though both of my kids are one half to over a full grade level in all of their curriculum. So, it's not k12 so much as it is CAVA that I've been having issues with. It was a great start to home schooling for us, though, and if my kids still wanted to do it, we'd be sticking with it.
ITA


Quote:
ETA: I also don't think there's too much work unless you're trying to do every little thing that is in each lesson. I would say, though, that I think it would be tough if a child doesn't pick things up quickly in one or more subject - the VAs are under a lot of pressure to show progress.
Thats true, I just have a child who can take a 5 minute lesson and turn it in an hour long battle to just sit still and listen. Way back when we first started in 1st grade we were trying to do every little thing assigned and literally it was taking over 8 HOURS A DAY (thats not including LA and those flippin tiles). That is ridiculous and I finally disenrolled her, the teacher was a very bad fit and demanded to see every assignment worksheet assigned done and in front of her at the F2F meetings so she could pick and choose what to submit. Thankfully after we moved we learned it was just a really bad fit and so we reenrolled and have had the same teacher the past 2 years who is a good match but she's also having to deal with CAVA and its getting a little ridiculous, especially since our charter or what ever of CAVA has been put in whats it called P something which gets them title 1 funds where the state is up there butt for not meeting standards so their trying to meet them when there's not much they can do because its the new kids coming in because there behind and its dragging down the scores. Not that they list the scores correctly in the kids files Teacher tried telling me dd scored basic on math because that's what it says in her file, umm no, I have the STAR report right here and NO she did not score basic. She's a year ahead in math, something would have to be really wrong for her to score basic. CAVA is really jumping on the teaching to the test thing and its just grating in me, I mean between study island (which does not teach a thing imo) the test prep stuff its getting silly. I mean the teacher is even spelling out in plain english where the test is focusing on so we can really focus in that area too rather then a rounded education those specific areas are being pushed.
post #43 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by magnolia_mama View Post
I am a little surprised to hear that so many are disappointed with k12. Is there anyone who is satisfied with the curriculum?
We are very pleased with our experience with our k12 public charter. I am an unschooler at heart but have classical learners. I think the program is sufficiently challenging while allowing children to move at their own pace and I find it to be incredibly flexible. We can choose to either do the guided lessons or I can look at the objectives and teach concepts on my own. We have all liked it so much for our K/1st child that our older child has chosen to leave her private school and do k12 next year. Her reasons are that she feels it will allow her to focus more on her favorite subjects and be more independent with her learning. We are all really excited to get started with her next year.

It would seem though that there are different requirements from charter to charter and even teacher to teacher. I have only spoken with our teacher 4 times this school year on the phone for scheduled p/t conferences which is just fine by me. She is accessible and we do exchange kmails but she is very supportive of us just doing what we are doing. We do not have to do class connects and our DD has only been assessed by k12 twice. Once at the start of the school year which was a state requirement and once in a private online class with the teacher. We only do lessons 4 days a week, with one day dedicated to other things for which we log supplemental hours.

Our younger DD will have the same teacher next year and I'm just hoping we get another great teacher for our eldest!
post #44 of 54
We do k12 independently so we do not have the problems others have. My oldest sone is 6 so should be in K. He is in 2nd grade math, 1st grade science and history, and K phonics. She would be done with K phonics but I am keeping him in it for a bit longer just for more pratice with spelling out some things. We do music on our own and art too. We like it enough but I am wondering if we should keep going. I imagine we will because DH likes having it all done for us. Truth be told that has been VERY helpful to us this year with all the stuff I have had to deal with with DS#2.
post #45 of 54
Oh don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the materials. The only reason we're leaving OHVA is because we want both the oldest kids in the same science and history, and OHVA isn't allowing that unless I go double-speed with dd2 on those two subjects while I go AT speed with dd1 on them. I just can't handle doing that right now, with 2 in FT enrollment. We're thinking that we'll come back with each girl probably around middle school? I don't know yet really, I just know that for us, these early grades aren't working for us with our spacing (4 kids in 4 1/2 years, I'll have kids in grades K, 1, 3, and 4 in just a couple years and that's a little too close for my liking)

Our VA used to allow families to combine history and science with close spacings like mine, but they changed it a couple years ago because of testing or something like that. I wish they still allowed it though, it would make my life so much easier.

But anyway, this week I'm doing our writing samples for portfolios and getting them mailed in to our teacher. Then I can relax and just finish up our school year.
post #46 of 54
Does anyone know what the STI Elluminate's are? Trying to figure out why dd was assigned to one, I have no clue what it is and she's not below grade level so I don't think its the title I program.
post #47 of 54
This is my first and last year using Cava. I personally really enjoy the curriculum, as do the kids, it's the admin side of it I can't deal with.

I have 3 kids enrolled, and even with streamlining the lessons, doing study island, elluminates, etc...it is just too much, period. We recently moved and just keeping up with their school load, packing and moving and unpacking....it was so incredibly stressful...I finally gave up, took 2 weeks off but just marked them as doing the work. They are caught back up, but our teacher was pretty upset that we missed study island and elluminate lessons. Never mind that we didn't have internet for 4 days because of a wiring problem in our new house...it didn't matter, I should have gone to the library or gone to a neighbor/friends house to get it done.

I do enjoy having the structure for myself, telling me what the lesson is for each subject, each day, though. The kids don't mind it either, they just honestly dislike the elluminate classes and sometimes study island. We don't do the music or art lessons...our teacher gave us permission to completely skip them when I complained many many times to her in the beginning about how it was too much for them and much we disliked them.

If it isn't too late, I will be mailing out the forms for Sky Mountain this week
post #48 of 54
We're signed up to do 1st grade through CAVA next year.

Since we'll need to accelerate DS through math (unless we can convince them to allow him to take the scantron tests to place him) is it easy to access end of semester/year tests?
post #49 of 54
Thread Starter 
Yes, you will receive all the materials at once for K, and you should be able to just whiz through assessments if that's the route they want you to take (that is, if they don't want to assess him into a higher level immediately). We just whizzed through the K math assessments, most of them. There were some random things we needed to cover with her, and then the last month or two of lessons were actually 'newer' learning for her.

I think, from reading descriptions, that the state impacts the flexibility of K12 experiences for people; and then that is magnified (or minimized) by the teacher. Our teacher has been strong on pushing moving to the assessments if the kiddo has it figured out, alternative methods or substituting coursework etc. For instance, we do have it worked out so that Ina can do music lessons privately and cancel out the K12 music lessons, next year. She knows that we travel and some days we are just going to mark hours and attendance, but won't have done any of the coursework; and that other days, we may really load up -- and that sometimes we'll work on the weekend, or etc. This is WY's first year, and so far there isn't a lot of state micromanaging, and she is effusive in complimenting us on how we're doing and etc. So -- we actually really love our teacher; she was very helpful when Ina was struggling with Phonics, too. She gave us good advice.

I honestly think one reason we're staying in k12 is because I don't want to let her down.

We do like having a 'canned' curriculum. I like not having to think about it, and being able to just expand it if I want to (we expanding things on slavery, for instance, recently). From what I've heard about the local schools, I am certain that K12 has Ina ahead of her peers in math, science, history, and probably even reading/phonics. Her handwriting is still a little wonky but I think that's normal too. And we'll work on it this summer. Our local schools are actually supposedly well ranked for our state ....

I do think that it will become more complex when dd2 starts school, too. Certainly more time on the computer!!

And, I still think we will likely pull out once the state tests start (3rd grade). We might go ahead and do it one year, just to see if it's as awfully focused on the tests as I fear -- but if it is, we'll be outta there for sure.

I feel like the science, history, and math curriculum are really good. A lot of the science was stuff Ina already knew (heck, most of it) - she could easily have worked a level or two up. But I think most K kids would enjoy it and do well with it. I am not a huge fan of the Phonics (too dry, difficult for Ina to connect to it). The Language has been _OK_ (some really fun stories/books, I loved Ox Cart Man) but some were more scary than Ina could handle, and I didn't like all the princessy stories at the beginning of the year .... I abhor the music program and we are, indeed, just marking attendance for that We do try to find music to enjoy otherwise, but just couldn't get through the music lessons. Maybe they improve when kiddos are older, or when the parent has a teaspoon of musical talent herself, I don't know. I am divided about the Art section, I rather feel like sometimes it's too heavy-handed about telling kids how to draw things (like, how to draw a NOSE?!) -- I am artistically talented, and I figured that sort of thing out on my own. But, then again, maybe this level of direction would have been even better for me? (Rather than stifling?) -- or, maybe this level of direction is good for kids who are needing to practice and learn technique?? I don't know .....

So, basically, I like most of the materials, and the support (and lack thereof) that I've received. And I feel now like I know enough about how to balance this, and personalize it, that I'm looking forward to next year. Dh and I were talking the other day (about this thread/discussion, in part) -- and he and I agree, that I need the structured deadlines to keep on track with what dd1 should be learning. I guess we're neither of us really "unschoolers" at heart, and Ina is responding well to this program .... I think I could probably fudge in my own curriculum for science, history, art, and follow a curriculum for math; but I don't know if I could make myself work through challenges with phonics/reading like we had this year. The timeline definitely kept me working through that situation. Maybe in a few more years, I'll feel more confident about being 100% ME for the curriculum. From the beginning, the thing that intimidated me the most was the idea of teaching phonics/reading.
post #50 of 54
Our kids are required to take placement tests prior to the new school year. I am not sure if this varies state by state (we are in PA), but I think it would make sense for each student to be assessed. I have a ds that is reading 3-4 years ahead of his grade, so I am glad we will be having placement tests.
post #51 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by magnolia_mama View Post
Our kids are required to take placement tests prior to the new school year. I am not sure if this varies state by state (we are in PA), but I think it would make sense for each student to be assessed. I have a ds that is reading 3-4 years ahead of his grade, so I am glad we will be having placement tests.

They only do scantron tests for 2nd grade and above here. I've been arguing with them about this since my current K student is already doing 3rd grade math. I've been told to request they test him(once he is assigned a teacher) so he can be placed in a more appropriate level since 1st grade math (and reading) is obviously not the correct lvl. But I've been told worst case he should be able to just take the end of semester tests to pass out of the 1st and 2nd (and who knows maybe 3rd) stuff when we start.

Acceleration is the main reason we're going this route. His school doesn't really seem interested in providing him with any sort of a challenge even though they did a full eval including cognitive (iq) testing and achievment testing. He is in K and his lowest achivement was 1.8 with most being mid 2nd-mid 3rd but they are content to leave him in his classroom in K without even allowing him to go to a higher grade for math or reading.
post #52 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbyrum View Post
They only do scantron tests for 2nd grade and above here. I've been arguing with them about this since my current K student is already doing 3rd grade math. I've been told to request they test him(once he is assigned a teacher) so he can be placed in a more appropriate level since 1st grade math (and reading) is obviously not the correct lvl. But I've been told worst case he should be able to just take the end of semester tests to pass out of the 1st and 2nd (and who knows maybe 3rd) stuff when we start.
Some of this might depend on what his current school did for him as far as acceleration. If he is in a 3rd grade math class this year that should transfer over with him to the K12 school. You might request they do the 3rd grade math testing for him. If his current school had not really made accommodations then your k12 school might want him to go through a loose ability verification process (my description, not their phraseology).

We have a 5 year old in the K program through our state charter for the current school year. This was the first year our state had stopped placement testing and I was initially concerned for reasons similar to yours. Honestly it has worked out great for her. We were told like you to just have DD do the assessments. At first I was leery but DD felt like these were just fun worksheets and she would just sit down and crank them out as she wished. I went through the books, tore them out and put then in folders for her and she did them whenever she wanted. It actually allowed for a very nice and relaxing start to the schooling at home year which was new to both of us. In the process it gave us the opportunity to see if she had any knowledge gaps within their curriculum, which she did. We ended up doing a handful of the K lessons covering concepts she wasn't exposed to before.

The assessments combined with her state mandated K readiness test score were enough for her teacher to move her up to 1st in Math, LA and Phonics. She is done with 1st math now but we slowed down a bit on that intentionally because we want the new math curriculum next year. We would not have gotten it for 2nd if she advanced again this year.

Personally I find the overall curriculum model a much better match for our kids. The subjects are mastery based, and especially for math that's what my kids need. Our rising 4th grader is switching to the k12 charter from a private in the fall. FWIW I'm actually thankful she will go through the process of assessing out of things she already knows. I know the k12 curriculum is ahead on some areas of both our local public and private schools. I'm certain ODD may have gaps within the k12 curriculum and I'd like to find those before really getting started. The slow transition that assessing out will bring to the start of the school will be welcome as we're going in knowing she will get ahead. It will relieve pressure to keep up and maintain schedule. I believe she needs that time to be recognized for where she is as well. She's been fighting to prove her smarts at her current school and is done with it. The whole process of 'you don't have to do the lessons if you already know the material' might be healthy for her self esteem as well as her motivation.

All of that aside since YDD has always been ahead we have not felt any pressure from DD's teacher. We get along really well and she 100% supports DD going at her own pace, no matter how fast it is. We actually take at least one day off from K12 school per week to follow her interests, do 'unschooly' types of things, etc.. I find it to be very flexible and relaxing. I'm assuming I might not feel that way if someone were expecting me to have kept my 5 year old up to a 2nd grade math schedule.

HTH!
post #53 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satori View Post
Does anyone know what the STI Elluminate's are? Trying to figure out why dd was assigned to one, I have no clue what it is and she's not below grade level so I don't think its the title I program.
Did you ever get this figured out? I have not heard of it before.
post #54 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by EXOLAX View Post
Did you ever get this figured out? I have not heard of it before.
Nope. Haven't gotten around to asking the teacher either.
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