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k12+/Virtual Schools Fall 2010 - Page 9

post #161 of 179
Thank you for all the input, Cat.
I just got the Leapfrog Letter Factory dvd in the mail from amazon!
We're in Phonics K, Unit 2, but I didn't feel like she understood much of anything so far.
DD know's the alphabet, recognizes and writes each letter, but she doesn't really seem to hear the differences between letter sounds. The "which word has the sound at the beginning/end" games have been pure guesswork for her. The teacher recommended doing more of the finger stretching exercises, but DD just looked at me like I had 3 heads.
I think these letter sounds may be our missing link. I've been worried that it could be a speech issue we had missed, and it could still be, but this gives me something to work on.
She could already associate words with certain letters (B is for Ball) and I think we assumed that meant she understood the sound, but I think it may have been pure memorization from her preschool alphabet exercises.
I'm going to take your advice and spend some intense time concentrating on the sounds, then go back and do some of the exercises she had trouble with. Hopefully the phonological awareness will catch up and it will be smoother afterwards.
I'ld love to hear about any other resources anyone has liked in these early pre-reading days. Once upon a time, I was very anti-tv, but my DD didn't really start talking until I turned on Dora while I was sick, so I'm very open to any learning medium now.
post #162 of 179
Well, how I'm doing it with my speech-delayed 4yo dd is............

We did Letter Factory to learn letter names and sounds. Now she's got that down, so I'm now working with her on finger stretching cvc words and building them with the letter tiles. I also have her do time regularly on starfall.com with her 7yo sister. I also have a copy of "Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons" and I am doing a lesson each week with her of that to get her started on reading cvc words, for her saying it slow and then fast both like that program does clicks a little better than finger stretching does for her. We also take opportunities every day to work on words as they come up. She helps with a meal and we will look at all our packaging and labels to identify different letters and their sounds and read the words on more familiar items. As she gets older, we'll add in having her read recipes with me while we cook in addition to just reading labels.

I obviously do a LOT more than just what's in the curriculum for 4yo dd. I also completely skip the first half of phonics K because its mostly letter sounds, and just catch them up to speed over a couple weeks with other methods.

Oh, one thing 4yo dd is REALLY liking that I'm doing in addition to k12 phonics K (yes I know, just one more thing I add). She loves crafty things and activities, so I took components of Sonlight lang. arts K (specifically the letter sheets that are done each week, I own this program level, you print the letter on a sheet of paper and then find pictures in magazines, catalogs, online, etc of things that start with that letter and you paste them on the page ) and the alphabet lap-n-tote binder from homeschool share to make a binder for her of the different letters. It is totally below her level since she knows all the sounds and is starting to sound out cvc words (which my phonics approach to reading actually has improved her verbal frequency and improved her confidence a lot, she is signing less every week as her reading gets better) but it really is fun and helps her with her fine motor development and helps her practice her skills.
post #163 of 179
Thread Starter 
At this point last year, I was really worried and frustrated with Phonics. Ina hated it, and I hated trying to get her through it. The beginning/ending sounds games you mentioned, frustrated her and she seemed not to 'get' them. There were really basic things she didn't seem to grasp. I wondered whether it was truly over her head, or maybe it was too easy and she was trying to make it more difficult than it was ....

We talked it out with her teacher and came up with several different strategies to try. We worked through those (using more manipulatives, trying just doing the unit assessments, etc.) and none seemed that effective. Finally, teacher recommended that we do Starfall (free phonics program Cat mentioned). She said - don't do Phonics for a month or so. Just have her spend her Phonics time on Starfall. So we did - we didn't even really supervise it, we just let her loose in it. Once she seemed to be doing the sorts of things we'd been working on in Phonics, we got back into the k12 Phonics program and she just flew along. I skipped some of the games and things and ended up doing her Phonics in unit blocks (all one day) much of the time last year (or two blocks during the week, 3 lessons and then the 4th and the unit assessment). We kept letting her play with Starfall and she in fact still uses it sometimes for fun even now.

At this point, Ina is reading very well - having had her around other first graders, she reads better than any of the ones I've seen her around. She's enjoying K12 phonics and loves the worksheets especially. We do the things she needs to learn - we don't waste time on stuff she already knows well. So, we do quite a bit of the writing etc. for sight words, not so much of the "let's think of words that rhyme" exercises that she already is very proficient in.


So my update - we have Ina enrolled in the local Y's art class that's for homeschooling families. I'd thought it would be a good way to scope out the local homeschooling groups and decide which one to become involved with. Welllll..... the other moms drop their kids off and leave to run errands. The only other mom who sticks around is a local mom who's also using k12 and whose two older kids are the same age as my girls. This has worked out well actually - it's like a long playdate for the girls, we spend from 11:45 to 2pm hanging out with their family. I think it will be a regular Wednesday playdate even after the art class ends (we are doing that week's phonics unit assessment game for the two first graders too, which is awesome for both of them).

BUT - tonight while I was at CCD (religious ed) for Ina - I recognized some of the kids from her art class, and their mom. So I asked her if her kids were in the homeschool art class too, and she said, "Yes!" And we visited a little. Apparently there is a brand-new Catholic homeschooling group here this year and she's invited me to join it (not really talking much about why we're homeschooling or etc.). They meet biweekly. So - careful what you ask for, eh? Hmmm..... Obviously, using k12, I'm teaching with a secular curriculum, and prefer that actually; I don't know whether I'd be a good fit in the group, or not. Fortunately, we're off on our two week fall trip next week, so I have a two week hiatus from having to think about it and/or make any sort of decision about whether to accept the invitation.
post #164 of 179
OK I had a teleconference with dd1's Title 1 math teacher a couple hours ago, and got that all set up. I signed the form in her classroom (ya know, signatures are really hard on a laptop with a touchpad LOL) and she set up dd1 and I with an Odyssey account to work on math. The teacher chose to back her all the way up to counting to 100 if that tells you anything about dd1's level, she felt it would be better to build her confidence since she's got anxiety on top of everything else. I checked out the site a couple minutes, then called dd1 over to look at it and try it. She was really hesitant but was ok with it once I hooked her up with earbuds so nobody could hear her doing the activity. While she did that I did preschool with the little two, and just as I finished reading to them she came bounding over saying she was done and that she got a 5/5 on the quiz for that lesson. She was that excited over doing so good, and she had FUN doing it too.

Now I just need to hear from the at-risk department about the testing for an IEP............. but I'm feeling really positive right now on things with dd1.
post #165 of 179
Well, I decided today to k-mail dd1's teacher this afternoon to see if she objected to us moving on to the next unit in math because dd1 is beyond fed up with the one we've been working on. I told her that my plan was to spend 5-10 minutes a day of math working with dd1 on the material in unit 1 that she was struggling with (and that we hadn't covered yet) while we covered unit 2. Her teacher approved of the moving on like that since dd1 was actually excited about learning more about telling time and working with money, and just asked that I be sure we do review unit 1 with her daily and that we keep up with Study Island and the Title 1 stuff. So, we have that going on happily, we are working on math in a different unit starting today and dd1 couldn't be happier. She is obsessed with clocks and money right now, so dh is going to bust his butt working with her and her little sister both on this topic (coincidentally, dd1 is doing time and money in her math as well so he's going to teach them both the objectives in dd1's and dd2's units together). I made flashcards for him to do with dd1 of number words (the basic ones like numbers up to 20, then the rest of the tens to 90 and the word hundred, they can build numbers with those cards also) and he's going to do that with her first for her unit 1 reviewing.

Otherwise, I'm just keeping at it. DD1 decided yesterday that she no longer wants to take karate, so now I have to come up with something else for them both to do as PE now (dd2 dropped out less than 15 minutes into the first lesson). I think we'll try ice skating one weekend with them to see how they take to it, if nothing else dh or I can take them to the ice arena every Saturday to work on ice skating and then maybe later get the girls signed up for the arena's homeschool skating class. Or I don't really know yet what we'll do for their PE this year, but I need to come up with something and soon.
post #166 of 179
Wow, ressurecting......... lol

Today dd1 had her first Elluminate session this morning for her Title 1 math. It was just an info session to tell us about how to work with the sessions and what they are hoping this year and such, but I feel a LOT better today now that we've done that session. Here in a few hours she has a session with her GenEd teacher for reading, and tomorrow we have testing with the psychologist to get an IEP in place. Its a busy BUSY week for me but I feel much better than I have in a while about the program and school. We're also starting to get into the groove of things here with lessons for the kids.
post #167 of 179
I think we will be quitting Connections Academy in the next week or so. Its just too much. I don't like the constant portfolios or study island. I also don't like how it rushes through certain things. Sometimes we can get it done quick and other times it takes forever. I just need something simpler without big brother watching over us.
post #168 of 179
Stephanie, I can totally relate to you on that feeling. I'm having that issue myself right now with k12, although the class connect sessions today with dd1 went really well. DH wants me to hang on until we get dd1's IEP done so I'm doing the best I can to do it. There's just so much to do with them, it doesn't feel like a practical way to spend my day schooling. DD2 is going to be coming out for sure, but I'm not entirely sure yet on dd1.
post #169 of 179
OK I'm about to say the scariest thing I've ever said in my life. Today I'm going to be mailing in my notification to our home district, and withdrawing from k12. I really did try to wait for the testing to be done, but I just can't take it much longer. I know the girls will be happy to know it because it has just been awful for us trying to stay organized and get everything done each day, and we're behind in hours and they just feel stressed over it because the school dictates that I can only use 7 hours a week logged for supplemental hours (total change from last year). I just can't take this any more, I'm calling it quits. The paperwork is all filled out so I just need to mail it in to them, so I'm going to do that today while I have the guts and then I'm going to notify teachers and the ohva psychologist that I no longer wish to do testing. I know how dd1 learns to an extent now, and I think I can work with her on it pretty well to allow her to learn and grow while not squashing her interests in history and science. So I'm doing that today.

I have really loved working with k12 and OHVA, the program is just awesome. It just isn't right for our family at this point in time, although I plan on bringing them back to k12 when they are older (probably sometime in middle school or a little later than that, we'll see) after we've gotten a solid foundation in math and reading.
post #170 of 179
Thread Starter 
Wow, hadn't checked in for awhile!

I hope things are going well for Cat and LilMammiBella, that the new curriculums are working well for you and that the withdrawal process went well.

....We are still plugging along. We caught up with the work we were behind in last week - then, at the end of the week, spent two days trying to figure out whether/how/if we were going to go to my great-aunt's funeral (she'd been in hospice care for months, so it wasn't unexpected). So we didn't do school those days at all, and are behind again.

Anyway - it won't take long to catch up again. I hope. I have several boxes of apples to make into apple butter and apple sauce (those posting on this thread last year will remember I was in a similar spot last year too! ). I've got to try to get those finished this week, some are starting to wrinkle....

I had a very interesting conversation with our CSA owners .... went out to help put their gardens to bed for the winter, and they started asking about our decision to homeschool, how it worked, etc. They have friends whose grandchildren were apparently several grades behind in school after being homeschooled .... their impression was that homeschooled kids were probably mostly uber-religious parents, and not very well educated. I told them it depends a lot on the parents, there are public school kids with uber-religious parents who are not very well-educated, too. It was a good conversation though, I think they learned more about why some people would make the choice dh and I have made.

We have been doing the homeschool art class at our local Y to meet other homeschooling families (scope out the homeschool groups this way). It's an abysmal failure - the other moms drop their kids off and go run errands during the 1 hour lesson. BUT, another mom from the area whose ds is in k12 too (same grade as dd1) is there - so, we have an extended play/phonics day that day. Our PreK kids have their art class, we do phonics games or flashcards during that; then all the kids play together for an hour; then we have the 'big kids' in their art class while the PreK kids play for an hour. The kids all get along GREAT (I'm not surprised, my best friend in grade school was a little boy) .... It's been very nice. And the mom still breastfeeds her 15 month old, confidently in public, which is *awesome.* So I've ended up meeting a bit of a kindred spirit, I think.

I suppose I do need to take the plunge with one of the homeschool groups at some point ... but right now this is good. Maybe after Christmas. With our k12 work, then the 3 hour art playfest, swim lessons all week, story time with friends at the library once a week, CCD (religious ed) once a week, and piano lessons, I think dd1 is getting plenty of socialization opportunities! We are certainly hopping most days, anyway.
post #171 of 179

We are doing k12 (ohva) this year after a year of unschooling.  We've been doing it since mid-sept and we like it a lot.  The structure helps me and DS likes doing his schoolwork in the evening.

post #172 of 179

Elanorh our withdrawal went really well.  I got the e-mails last week with return shipping labels and everything is all boxed up, but now i'm waiting til payday so I can buy some printer ink LOL  That's the only thing holding up my returning stuff.


We're actually still decompressing from k12 right now, dd1 is giving me grief still whenever I mention schoolwork so we've just kind of backed off.  I have all our new supplies set up and ready to go though, and I think Monday we're going to start up with it all.  I've caught dd1 staring at the shelves with the new books like she wants me to read to her but then I'll get caught watching her and she'll give me a dirty look and stalk off.  She's just in a mood lately. lol

post #173 of 179

Cat, how do you withdraw? k12 just doesn't work for our family. Ds HATES it. Dd1 isn't doing as well as she usually does in school. Dd2 is so bored and they won't really let her go ahead. I love the program, it's just not a good fit for our family. I finally decided what I want our homeschooling to be like and I'm super excited about it.

post #174 of 179
Originally Posted by seren View Post

Cat, how do you withdraw? k12 just doesn't work for our family. Ds HATES it. Dd1 isn't doing as well as she usually does in school. Dd2 is so bored and they won't really let her go ahead. I love the program, it's just not a good fit for our family. I finally decided what I want our homeschooling to be like and I'm super excited about it.

I sent a k-mail to each girl's teacher.  They are the ones who have to fill out all the paperwork, and dd1's teacher asked me send her a scan of our homeschool approval letter to complete the paperwork but dd2's teacher (both girls had her last school year so she knew us, we follow each other's blogs even) just asked me what our home district was and a couple other questions to finish the paperwork and said she didn't need the approval letter k-mailed to her.  It took about 2 weeks for everything to be processed after our stated date of withdrawal, but it was real simple considering.  I had to contact the psychologist to cancel testing on dd1, notify 3 different teachers for her, and a bunch of other people needed notified because dd1 was a title 1 kid and receiving additional LD services but honestly it wasn't too difficult.  I'd start with a k-mail to the homeroom teachers that you want to withdraw (but I'd also get in any notification that you need to first, my district's hs department lady advised me that if I pulled my girls to go independent that it would be best to have all the paperwork in order first to avoid any truancy claims that could happen, and she got mine approved and called me to let me know it was approved and the letters were being printed up so I could submit an official withdrawal date to the teachers).


When I sent the k-mails to our teachers, I made sure to thank them for the wonderful experience that we had this school year and tell them how much I enjoyed working with them.  DD2's teacher knew from last school year how much dd1 struggled, so she wasn't a all surprised when she got the k-mail from me.  She even moved up the teleconference we had scheduled so that I could discuss with her where dd2 was at and how she did on AimsWeb testing and where her strong and weak areas were so I could tweak our materials a bit as needed to accomodate those areas better.  DD1's GenEd teacher was also helpful and gave me some tips in k-mail before our account was dactivated, but she wasn't as helpful as dd2's teacher was since she had only worked with us this school year where dd2's had both girls last school year also and knew where we were struggling. 

post #175 of 179

Thanks for the info.


I sent a kmail to a lady, gah, can't remember her title. She's right under the director of the school. She called me yesterday and we talked about my reasons for wanting to leave. She offered to just take out my son who is struggling so much, but I explained that I want to go back to how I did this summer, group lessons for Science and History, individual for math and grammar stuff. DD1's teacher had sent a news article yesterday morning about ARVA and how they have a thousand kids on the waiting list. I said I felt bad taking spots I wasn't sure I wanted when those people are waiting for the call. I love the program, it just isn't a fit for us this year. I had to talk tot he admissions director today, I stated the same thing. So they are sending us return labels and I send it all back. Last Friday I put my letter of intent to homeschool in to our local district. They don't have to approve it, I just have to file it. We have to wait two weeks, but I knew it would take time. Plus school is out for most of next week, so we don't have to worry about the full two weeks. I haven't kmailed their teachers yet, but I'm assuming they probably already know. I will write them tomorrow.

post #176 of 179

i like read your whole post on k12 ....how's it going for you ? i just joined any advice or tips ? My daughter is in 1st grade treehugger.gif

post #177 of 179

My DS is enrolled in Connections Academy Kindergarten and so far we like it. Honestly some of it has been too easy for him but I am a bit nervous about asking to increase the workload because there is already a considerable amount of busy work. I just try to add to the lesson plans but the math is pretty easy for him. 

Having to attend the live lessons have been a bit tricky and I have missed a few. We plan on doing this again next year. There are some things I don't like about it but for the most part it is a good fit for us right now.


I would love to hear from others and what their impressions are of the program and how they supplement it. Also I would love to learn more about what you do to incorportate religion into your learning. I would like to start doing daily activities that incorporate the Bible in some way.

post #178 of 179

2 months in and we love it (well, except for third grade music-yawn....)


Had a great conference with their teacher yesterday.


So happy to have more control over our time!

post #179 of 179
Thread Starter 

Glad to hear you're enjoying it, Mata!  

XNWife, I do k12 so don't know if Connections works the same - but we were able to move through a subject more swiftly (even "assess out" if the student already understood and could apply the concept).  So we were doing 1st grade math during K.  You may want to consider seeing if you can do this with your ds.  It also allows my family to keep doing a little school over the summer, which builds in a cushion during the school year as well .... 

In terms of religion, my dd does her church classes weekly.  We work on prayers and read books which have moral/religious backgrounds in them, but I don't worry too much about it myself.  I know there are curriculums out there; I'm Catholic, and have friends who use a Catholic religious ed curriculum (stand-alone, just about religion/faith, not integrated into other coursework).  I'd imagine something similar is out there from many different perspectives. 

I'm linking to the Fall 2011 thread for this, so you both can visit that thread and meet this year's moms.  smile.gif 


ETA:  I bumped this year's thread up, I'm not sure why but for some reason, when I double-check the link I posted, it tells me that the link won't work.  Hope it works for you though?!

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