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k12+/Virtual Schools Fall 2010

post #1 of 179
Thread Starter 
Hi all!

I suppose it's time to start our K12/Virtual School thread again for the fall. Our boxes o'materials arrived a couple weeks ago and I've yet to unpack them. The plan is to get the desk all cleaned up and organized before I unpack - start the year well on track! So that's my goal this week (among many other goals of course ).

So - here it is! The support thread for those families who are doing a virtual academy/school (k12 or otherwise) this year - newbies and old-timers are all welcome, we look forward to hearing from everyone! It would probably be nice if we all introduce ourselves a little so everyone knows "who" everyone is.

This is my family's second year of k12. Dd1 will be a first grader this year. We liked kindergarten quite a bit, other than the music program -- really liked our teacher, and liked the flexibility combined with forced accountability for me (I tend to procrastinate, so needing to do attendance etc. really kept me on track!). Initially we thought we'd just do k12 for a year or so, mostly because I was overwhelmed by trying to figure out what the 'right' curriculum to follow would be, for homeschooling independently and k12 was to give me a year to research while still homeschooling; but we are back this year. We do k12 because we travel a lot, which wouldn't be possible if dd1 were in school; and also because she has an egg allergy which the school didn't seem very receptive about when we discussed it with them, and of course, concerns about overall academic theory/focus in the public schools. We very much appreciate that most days, Ina's school takes around 2 hours (sometimes less, sometimes more).

Our WYVA doesn't really start 'til the 24th, but we are thinking about starting to ramp up next week - I'd like to get ahead because dh's Grandma (94) is coming for a two week visit the last week of August and we'd like to spend as much time as we can with her. Also, if I can start ahead and stay ahead, that would mean that we might be able to end 2-3 weeks 'ahead' in the spring - which would allow me (and dd1) to really enjoy getting the garden in and basically do a garden "unit study."

This summer we did a little schoolish work - we did a unit study on butterflies, with a butterfly kit, which was a lot of fun, and we did random math from the first grade math curriculum, since we'd worked ahead far enough that we got that before the end of the K year. Also, we read books from the library all summer, so I think dd1's reading skills are well maintained/improved over the summer. I haven't worked on handwriting at all, and plan to actually do a little review on that this coming week ... Ina wrote a backwards "a" last week signing a birthday card (of course, one that was going to a skeptical family member ).

We are planning to do music lessons (still undecided whether violin or piano) this year instead of the k12 music; we were told that would be an option for us this year. We will either need to rent a scaled violin, or purchase an electric keyboard if we do piano, so either way it's an investment. Ina would like to do both. So my Big Project tomorrow is to go to the local music store and ask them what they charge to rent scale violins (if they do), check out their keyboards, see what teachers they have on list and recommend - I hope to know what we're doing for music by tomorrow evening.

My other big goal this year, is to check out the two local homeschooling groups. We have some friends that the girls play with - but they're younger than Ina, and although she does Cloverbuds and swim lessons/art class, those are more sporadic, less interactive - and the swim lessons are with older kids at this point, too. Ina told me the other day that she really would like to have more friends her own age. SO -- I'll check out the homeschooling groups and see what they're like. I dread it a little since most of the homeschoolers here chose to homeschool because of their religious beliefs, and that's not at all our concern.

I got a lecture from my aunt about when Ina will go to "real" school, this summer. Ugh. I knew she was opposed to homeschooling, but it still stunk to have the conversation with her.

Our K12 'teacher' emailed today to say that we will be working with a different teacher this fall - she's been assigned to do only 2nd graders this year (last year they assigned teachers to various grade levels so she worked with k-5 I think). This must mean they have more students this year?! Maybe our local gatherings will actually have a few more people in attendance, but we will miss our teacher, who was very flexible and supportive of how we were working with Ina (and didn't make us do any online class time with her other than during her phone calls).

Looking forward to hearing from everyone else - how was your summer, what are your plans/goals?
post #2 of 179
Well, we're back for another year of k12 with OHVA here! I'm doing grades 2 and 1, and we got our materials at the very start of July. We weren't expecting them to come until the end of July or beginning of August, we were a bit shocked at how prompt OHVA was at getting materials out. So, all our stuff is unpacked and organized for the most part. Our OLS won't be loaded with our course materials until Monday, and we start logging attendance on the 25th. However, today I saw that we got our teacher assignments for the school year. DD2 has the same teacher we had last year for both kids, and DD1 has a new teacher (which I knew would happen, as our teacher last year only does grades K and 1). DD1 is having a massive meltdown now about the new teacher, I told her about this back in May and she apparently didn't believe me. So I sent off a k-mail to her teacher and explained the situation, and she replied saying that she'll put us at the top of the contact list for calls in a few days to introduce herself and that she'll take a little time to talk to Melissa specifically to help her transition, and that she'll try to do at least one additional call before we start the school year officially. *sigh* I have a feeling we're going to have a VERY rough start to this school year because of the teacher change for Melissa. But it appears that her teacher is willing and supportive, so I think it'll go just fine.

But other than that, I'm anticipating a pretty good start to schooling again. We're going to begin easing into lessons as soon as the OLS has our courses fully loaded, as that is my week off between college classes. I also have an added kink thrown into the mix, as I will begin babysitting for a friend of mine on Monday. She's a single mom and homeschools, and needed someone who was willing to help out so that she doesn't have to put him in this horrible public school district we live in just so she can work. She wants to pay me, but I'm not sure I am ok taking payment for this because its only a couple days a week for 4-5 hours, and her ds is right in the age ranges of the two I'm teaching so chances are he'll just join in on some of the lessons we do here. I'll probably schedule it so we're doing art and music and science or history when he's here, and leave the phonics and math for when he's with his mom. She's bringing him over this weekend to see how he does with the girls and to work out all the details with me.

Anyway, my big goal for this month and next is to get into the swing of schooling the girls, babysitting an adorable little man, and keeping up my 4.0 in college while the man I'm married to works 15 hour shifts all week and a full shift (6-12hrs) most Saturdays. That last bit means that I get 100% of the household stuff on me, hopefully I can keep up with it all.......... lol

Now we all know why we decided to stay with k12 instead of independently homeschooling.................. I need the forced accountability to keep up with their lessons while my world is turned upside down for the next couple years.
post #3 of 179
We have been dong a relaxed/unschooling/ no schooling for the last year. I just signed them up for Connections Academy and they want me to send a report card and I also need to get a religious exemption. I'm not sure what dhec will ask for to get one.
post #4 of 179
So happy to see this thread!! Checking in for the first time. I have three sons ages 5, 3 and almost 2. The 5 yo will be enrolled this year. Our district has 4K & 5K, so we can open enroll into a virtual school that also offers those grade levels. We are trying virtual schooling this year before he hits the compulsary schooling age. So, if we find virtual schooling isn't for us, we don't have to go through the dpi to revert to traditional homeschooling. We are getting started with our first year with WIVA. Our school gave us several curriculum options, and K12 seemed to fit well with where ds is right now. We got him a student desk via craigslist, and his curriculum and technology came over the past two weeks. He is so excited to get started, but WI doesn't start until Sept. 1. I am anxious about getting started.

First, ds did an assesment test online with K12. They put him in LA 1 and Math 1 second semester. They reported to our school that he is to be in LA K, which is so far below his skill and interest level. He was able to read most of the 9th reader that came in the LA K phonics basics kit. He struggled with a few sight words that we haven't covered yet (i.e. too). Our teacher is out of the office for a few weeks because of a family emergency, and K12 didn't keep the records of his online test. Frustrating.

Second, the school hasn't been clear about how the whole process works. I have been able to go through the whole K12 site, so I know how our day-to-day will go. But, I am still unclear about how having a middleman or school involved will change or affect us. We have an orientation next week, so I suppose I will learn more then. Still, the unknown just makes me uneasy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elanorh View Post
We are planning to do music lessons (still undecided whether violin or piano) this year instead of the k12 music; we were told that would be an option for us this year. We will either need to rent a scaled violin, or purchase an electric keyboard if we do piano, so either way it's an investment. Ina would like to do both. So my Big Project tomorrow is to go to the local music store and ask them what they charge to rent scale violins (if they do), check out their keyboards, see what teachers they have on list and recommend - I hope to know what we're doing for music by tomorrow evening.

My other big goal this year, is to check out the two local homeschooling groups. We have some friends that the girls play with - but they're younger than Ina, and although she does Cloverbuds and swim lessons/art class, those are more sporadic, less interactive - and the swim lessons are with older kids at this point, too. Ina told me the other day that she really would like to have more friends her own age. SO -- I'll check out the homeschooling groups and see what they're like. I dread it a little since most of the homeschoolers here chose to homeschool because of their religious beliefs, and that's not at all our concern.
We got our piano off freecycle. It is a wonderful addition to our family! Don't forget to post a request on craigslist and freecycle. You would be amazed at what musicians will pass on in order to help teach the next generation.

It took us some time to find a relaxed, inclusive homeschooling group. We finally found a few other families who have different schooling methods and motives (some Christian, but most not). Stick in there. It is great once you find a few families that you click with. My sons now have friends of all ages that they love to play and learn with.

I am glad to hear that she likes Cloverbuds. We have been considering 4H! My 5 yo is pretty busy already between dance (ballroom, tap and ballet), piano and friends. So, we may wait a year before joining.
post #5 of 179
Hi! New to this group as well. This is our second year with PA Cyber. It's a free, public cyber school. We LOVE it. DD already started K-5 in the spring since we finished with K-4 early. We are about three weeks "ahead" on K-5. We took the summer off from official schooling. We will be starting our new year on August 30. They offer many classes (art, music, dance, acting) at their learning centers. It's a bit of a drive, but it's free and DD is excited about taking ballet and jazz. She will also be taking violin lessons this year as well. We are excited about getting started although sad to see the summer coming to an end. This year when I see the other kids her age heading to Kindergarden, I am so happy that we have made the decision to do this. I couldn't bear to send her to school. She loves the program that we do. The most challenging part is have a two-year old that wants to do "cool" too! We are happy because some other families that we know are also starting to HS this year so we can still do play dates during the week, outings, etc. with them. Should be a fun year!
post #6 of 179
Hi. I'm also new and very glad to see this thread. I have a 15 yr old son with Asperger's who will be homeschooling for the first time with National Connections Academy. (we don't have the public option in our state ) Public High School was a nightmare last year. We are both excited about virtual schooling. I'm nervous about it too of course. It will be a big adjustment. And we haven't been contacted yet by an advisor to set up classes, teachers, ect. Anyone know how long that usually takes?
post #7 of 179
Hi..I have a 7 yr old dd and a toddler. We are trying K12 through Georgia Cyber Academy for the first time , for my older dd. So far, we got our material. My dd's teacher is yet to contact us. So far, heard great things about the k12 from experienced users in this area.
post #8 of 179
We are doing our second year of k12. DS is in first grade but almost done with Math 2 and through science and History 1. Phonics is going a bit slower but we will get there. We do K-12 privately so we continued through the summer. We did not do as much as normal but this past week we have gone back to almost every day. I also have a 4yo and 2yo at home who like to get into trouble while we do school so that has been interesting but we are making it work.
post #9 of 179
My 13 year old Aspie will be trying Connections (TCAH) for the first time. 8th grade. He's been homeschooled his whole life but needs some outside motivation. I would NEVER put him in public school, that would be a disaster. The rest of my kids will still be homeschooled but not using virtual academy.

Ian's books and computer should arrive any minute (literally, we're waiting for UPS) but he has yet to be assigned a teacher or schedule.
post #10 of 179
How long did it take between sending in applications to receiving books in the mail?
post #11 of 179
I'm doing OHVA with my 'to be' 2nd grader this fall--2nd year for us. LOVED it last year, but really did NOT like the music program. Repetitive (I know, I know--it's how they learn) and NOT exciting in the least. We will also be doing piano--didn't know we could sub our own lessons for the curriculum tho--LOVE that idea!
We got lazy at the end of the year last year...actually, we had only started in Jan (mid year) and they 'tested' her out of the 1st half of Math/LA/Phonics...BUT she had to go from DAY ONE to the end with the other courses...so we have doubled up over the weekends and still have a bit left to go with the Science/History/Music/Art courses. We should be done by 1 Sept and then roll with 2nd grade stuff. Course, we'll have to wait for them in the mail I suppose.
post #12 of 179
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilMamiBella View Post
How long did it take between sending in applications to receiving books in the mail?
It will vary by the state I suspect -- last year was the first year that k12 was a statewide program in WY, and we applied the first week of August - our application took a couple weeks to process, and then our books arrived in early September. I think we started school a couple weeks later than we were "supposed" to but they adjusted our school year's end date to reflect that. I think there was probably a processing/learning curve on the state level; and, there are a LOT more applications in late July/August, which slows everything down! Our books actually arrived pretty quickly, once we knew we'd been accepted.

Welcome to all our newbies! Mediumcrunch and Dairy2dogs, there were two Aspberger families that I was aware of, in our state's k12 program last year - I talked with the mothers at a meeting near the end of the year and they were very happy with the program and how their kids had progressed.

Mrs. Hos - check with your teacher about subbing piano lessons; I think the ability to do this varies state-by-state. Of course, some parents do sub in their own curriculum for the k12 curriculum for a subject (phonics, music, whatever) ... several families in last year's thread were doing this. You just need to make sure you're comfortable with that, and still doing attendance and so on for it.... I *hated* the music lessons last year - so we ended up doing our own thing for music mid-year. I was afraid that my lack of music background, combined with what I found to be confusing instructions/descriptions for music terms I was supposed to be teaching - would end up doing more harm than good. So I'm very glad we can do outside music lessons this year!!

Cat - it's good to see you here again this year! You're going to have a busy busy year!! Hope settling into the new routine goes well.

For those awaiting teachers/schedules, I think those are typically assigned pretty close to when school begins. And for those who are brand-new to the process, k12 has it set up so that you (the 'learning coach') go through a series of orientation sessions to learn about the various courses you'll be teaching, and adding 1 set of courses at a time into your child's rotation. So, for instance, your first week of school would look like this:
Monday: Orientation for parent, math; child, 1 math lesson
Tuesday: Orientation for parent, phonics; child, 1 math, 1 phonics
Wednesday: Orientation for parent, language; child, math, phonics, language
Thursday: Parent, science; child, math, phonics, language, science
Friday: Parent, history; child, math, phonics, language, history

Monday: Parent, art; child, math, phonics, language, art
Tuesday: Parent, music; child, math, phonics, language, music, science

(and from that point, you'd be on the 'regular' schedule; math/language/phonics daily, and 2 art/science/history/music per week -- YOU DON'T have to do it this way, you can do it as unit studies or whatever, but that's how they 'plan' for you to do them).

Hope that helps those who are worrying about what the first few weeks are like! I know I was worrying about it last fall!

The first few weeks are an adjustment, but after awhile you have the hang of it and life starts to settle down to a manageable roar again.

ETA: The music shop was helpful; Ina doesn't like holding the violin much (she got to try one) and says she'd like to wait 'til next year to learn violin. SOO -- we're looking for a good electronic keyboard. It would be lovely to get a piano but we're in a small house and remodeling -- there's nowhere for a piano 'til we get that done (at the rate we're going, sometime in the next 3 years ). The music store had an area where people had posted instruments they wanted to sell, and two upright pianos were posted there, so I'm hoping when we're ready and have space, we can go that route.
post #13 of 179
Yep I am definitely in for a busy year. So much so in fact that I'm considering withdrawing dd3 from Head Start and not enrolling dd4 at all. I just don't know........... lol But as long as I can keep an A average in college like I have so far I'll be happy. I'm thinking of block scheduling history, science, art, and music though to be done in the mornings while the littles are at HS. I don't know how well it'll work out, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Especially since we're supposed to actually DO the full time worth on lessons that day, and each of those subjects only took me 20min each normally instead of the 45 the OLS said to spend. So yeah, I think this year we're just going to book it through our materials and see what happens.

ETA: we did violin last school year and dd1 really enjoyed it but just wasn't really ready I think for that kind of lessons. So if she wants to hold off on violin, I think that's actually a great idea. I'd do a year of piano, or maybe another year of the k12 music as horrible as it is lol Although its terrible to me, it really is good for teaching the basics of rhythm and developing the musical ear.
post #14 of 179
We are doing WAVA Kinder with our 5 year old son. He loves learning, but hates sitting still and would be a teachers worst nightmare. I also have 3 children in the local public school and one in the local Catholic Prep School. I would really love my 6 year old to be at home to but she desperately wants to be at school.
post #15 of 179
Hi! My dd will be 5 in Oct. and is doing K-12 this year through Agora. She is doing Kidny level this year. She is really excited! The process to enroll has been pretty painless. We registered 3 weeks ago, and we already got the boxes of stuff and the computer. We got her a table from staples and painted it pink for her, and she picked out a pink office chair and pink mouse. She is enjoying decorating her school room. She can't wait to start already! She has been spending a lot of time in there just drawing and doing worksheets on her own lately. I guess it is a good think she is so excited and willing to work for long intervals. Orientation starts next week.

I also have a 2.5 year old boy/will be 3 in early Dec. He is quite the handful when it comes to letting me do work with my girl. I know there is NO WAY he will allow me to sit for the 5 hours a day with my daughter. I will utilize nap times to the fullest. He is also going to pre-school 3 times a week for 3 hours each time. It is an awesome pre-school, my dd just graduated from there. So it should buy me a chunk of time 3 times a week to get stuff done. I am hoping my dh can take him out a little in the evening if I still need more time with dd. (or me take him out and dh work with dd, whatever he prefers)

I also have a baby due in December! I am a little worried about that, how everything will fit into place. I guess there won't be much of a baby moon this time. I will probably have to hire a tutor for a few days while in the hospital so she doesn't get behind.

I am a bit worried about social stuff. We live in the boonies, so we won't be going to any of the monthly outings. Everything is HOURS away. I can't do that also having other kids. She will be going to Sunday school for an hour on Sundays, doing maybe Library story time, and I have to come up with something else to get her around other kids more. I did join a home schoolers group, but I have yet to see if that works out. I am hoping to find some sort of activity locally for her. We did a year of swim class which was great, but there wasn't a chance to really interact with other kids, so I don't want to do that again.

She really is an excellent behaved kid, bright, and loves learning. She is pretty much a teachers dream. I am not really ready to let her go to public or private school yet though.


I look forward to getting to know all of you!
post #16 of 179
Wava's program does not contain art or music for Kinder. DS will be doing Math, Phonics, language arts, science and handwriting without tears.
post #17 of 179
Thread Starter 
Does WAVA do History, too, Marcee? We have liked their history program quite a bit so far .... There are some art-ish projects with some of the other K coursework, and you can always have some 'fun art time' anyway on your own if your ds wants to do it (Ina loves art, she could do it all day every day - I realize some kids don't like doing that sort of thing).

GooeyRN - my dd2 was barely three last year (turned early in the school year). She was very interested in what we were doing, as you expect your 2 1/2 year old to be. We found that she could actually listen/participate pretty well in the history, science, art, and music (she would join in and wander off if it was boring). She LOVED phonics (all those little magnets etc., UGH), I tried to do it while she was napping because otherwise it was a total zoo. Language arts works pretty well with a 2-3 year old too - at least, SJ liked to listen to the stories with Ina. We did get some 'learning' toys that SJ could *only* use during school time - we got some of those "FUNtastic frogs" with pattern cards that are like early-early premath/shape/color recognition, and she loves playing with them. And ... completely unintentionally, by the end of the year, SJ had learned the sounds each letter makes and occasionally sounds out words (!!eek). It was really important for her to feel like she was "doing school" too.

Depending on where you live, maybe Cloverbuds (4-H) would be an option? They only meet once a month here, for about 1-1.5 hours. Ina enjoys it.
post #18 of 179
Nope no history for WAVA Kinder. It is pretty bare bones. But I am quite happy with the math and phonics. They seem really solid.
post #19 of 179
Hiya!

We're doing PA Cyber too. Second year.

Ds1 is going in to third grade, and going to be doing the online classes this year. I'm interested to see how that works out, and actually a little hopeful that it will give me more time to focus on the little ones. Ds2 is finishing up K5 and will probably start first grade in November

I have to say, I have *loooooved* the flexibility of PA Cyber, and we have an awesome lady who is the kids educational facilitator (or whatever they call her position).

I was a little worried about my oldest doing 3rd grade this year, especially for math. But they opened up the e-textbooks and online supplements this week, and from what I've seen, he'll do fine.
post #20 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
Hiya!

We're doing PA Cyber too. Second year.

Ds1 is going in to third grade, and going to be doing the online classes this year. I'm interested to see how that works out, and actually a little hopeful that it will give me more time to focus on the little ones. Ds2 is finishing up K5 and will probably start first grade in November

I have to say, I have *loooooved* the flexibility of PA Cyber, and we have an awesome lady who is the kids educational facilitator (or whatever they call her position).

I was a little worried about my oldest doing 3rd grade this year, especially for math. But they opened up the e-textbooks and online supplements this week, and from what I've seen, he'll do fine.
Please be honest, do kids really spend 5 hours a day doing the work? That seems like so much for kindy. My dd is very cooperative and will do what I say for the most part, just wow that sounds like a lot.
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