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What is your experience with Virtual Academy Charter Schools?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I know all the arguments against them (not "really" homeschooling, have to take state tests, etc), but I'm looking for input from families who have actually tried them - both good and bad. I'm considering homeschooling next year, and my son is interested in California Virtual Academy (using the k12 curriculum).

Also, if you have used one with an academically precocious/gifted child, how were they at making sure your child was able to work at a level that was appropriate and interesting to them?
post #2 of 11
I was looking for information on this myself tonight Im in ohio and Im looking at Ohio virtual academy in my case,Im in need of a diffrent type of schooling, my DS who is in 4 th grade currently attends a actual charter school and it is a very bad fit and for a lot of reasons it is no longer an option I am at this time exploring all options from traditional home school to a virtual academy. the academy came as a reccomendation from the school he is currently in, how is was described to me was they control the content we as parents control the enviroment, I would be very intrested in hearing all comments good or bad and am willing to share anything I learn in the journey to finding the right fit for my child
I m hoping to find a way to allow him to move at his own pace and and to have him advance as he is ready.
post #3 of 11
I think it is a nice option to have.I did like getting all the free material.I did not like that we made the effort to drive to testing sites only to have the test results *lost*.No apology. I did not like that my child had 3 teachers for her K year.It did not affect my dd since I was the one doing the teaching,but I felt it LOOKED BAD. I did not like having to ask for $$ to cover things that should have been paid by the school like internet or printer ink.They get a lot of money per student and they hold on to it.

In the end I felt I was hsing my child,but the school was getting the credit for the end results.In the end it was not worth the hassle.

Many people LOVE eschools,and it works great for their child.I think it is worth a try,and to try more than one school. I don't know if we will ever try another school(we did ohdela),but I am glad we have tried many schooling options so we can honestly say we liked it or not.
post #4 of 11
I haven't read the responses...

I home schooled my gifted DD for the first time in the 4th grade using a virtual school that utilized k12. It was not a terrible experience, but we discontinued the virtual program after the first year.

I had a very long conversation with the head of school before I enrolled DD. I specifically asked if my child moved through the curriculum quickly could we receive the next years materials so that DD could work at her own pace. I was told yes, and that was a lie. A couple of months before the end of the year we had finished and was told to just take field trips and watch educational things on TV to fill out the rest of the hours.

Also, on top of the massive amounts of work that is inherent with k12 the virtual school piled on a lot more to 'ready the child' for the state tests. Certain math concepts were taught out of order so that the tested materials would be covered in time for the state tests. ie: percent was covered before long division. Umm...ok. I did refuse to do this and they were ok with that.

Some of k12's subjects are terrible and are only thrown in because states have requirements. I HATED their music class. It was the most childish program I've ever seen and my DD made fun of it. When I brought this up to the teacher repeatedly, I was eventually told to just mark it as done and go on with life. I was also told that her instrument lessons wouldn't count as 'music'. Sooo...They would much rather me not do music than do something more worthwhile.

I really loved some of k12, but the virtual school ruined the experience for me. I've also found that DD has excelled by leaps and bounds since we started homeschooling without the help of a school.
post #5 of 11
We're using a Charter, but we are allowed to pick our own material--K12 (program used by CAVA) is one option. We selected the Science, and I am mixed about it.

I don't know if it was my mistake in not selecting the right level, or if it is just the program, but this is our experience:

The experiments are not really experiments, but crafts. For every real experiment, there are five crafts. My son likes to draw and do open-ended art, but is not a big glue the feathers on this thing you cut out...

Most of his work is at least three grades ahead--and I selected grade level for science because I didn't want him to miss anything because I assumed he knew it already. But he has learned very little and we've done a lot of supplementing with additional books and resources (trips to science museum, kitchen chemistry, etc.) in a subject that I though this program would be comprehensive... So, perhaps my fault for not looking into grade level enough? But even so, I found it lacking depth...

I couldn't imagine using this for all subjects...

Is there a school just like ours near you, although I don't know if it serves San Diego County... :http://www.skymountaincs.org/
post #6 of 11
I use Columbia Virtual Academy, and I quite like it. Testing is done at home on the computer. Cuuriculum is picked by parents and parenst decide if child is meeting their hours. Sometimes hard to get a hold of. We basically do little different except for the kids having to send one email a week, and getting to do more (like getting memberships to the zoo, science center).
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post
We're using a Charter, but we are allowed to pick our own material--K12 (program used by CAVA) is one option. We selected the Science, and I am mixed about it.

I don't know if it was my mistake in not selecting the right level, or if it is just the program, but this is our experience:

The experiments are not really experiments, but crafts. For every real experiment, there are five crafts. My son likes to draw and do open-ended art, but is not a big glue the feathers on this thing you cut out...

Most of his work is at least three grades ahead--and I selected grade level for science because I didn't want him to miss anything because I assumed he knew it already. But he has learned very little and we've done a lot of supplementing with additional books and resources (trips to science museum, kitchen chemistry, etc.) in a subject that I though this program would be comprehensive... So, perhaps my fault for not looking into grade level enough? But even so, I found it lacking depth...

I couldn't imagine using this for all subjects...

Is there a school just like ours near you, although I don't know if it serves San Diego County... :http://www.skymountaincs.org/
There are other options for homeschool charters for us. One we're looking into is Julian Charter School and another is the Greater San Diego Academy .

I like the idea of those because they would give us access to a lot of field trips and extra curriculars - and our choice of curriculum. What I don't like is that there are more frequent meetings with teachers and there's something appealing to me about k12's "do this, then that" type stuff (although I suspect that could probably annoy me after awhile). Ds likes it because he suspects he can pretty much do it all by himself, only asking for help when he wants it. Oh, and he wants to get a free computer .
post #8 of 11
there are lots of reviews of k12 at www.homeschoolreviews.com

maybe they could help you too?
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
There are other options for homeschool charters for us. One we're looking into is Julian Charter School and another is the Greater San Diego Academy .

I like the idea of those because they would give us access to a lot of field trips and extra curriculars - and our choice of curriculum. What I don't like is that there are more frequent meetings with teachers and there's something appealing to me about k12's "do this, then that" type stuff (although I suspect that could probably annoy me after awhile). Ds likes it because he suspects he can pretty much do it all by himself, only asking for help when he wants it. Oh, and he wants to get a free computer .
I can totally relate to wanting a do this and then that. My guy can do it all himself--logs in, reads the instructions, does the evaluation himself. I'm usually near but he'll do it all himself.

But for a gifted/advanced child, I am not happy with it at all. We're looking at NOEO Science, http://www.noeoscience.com/physI.html for next year (well, summer actually.) There isn't enough substance (maybe if we really went up a few grades, it would be different.), but I didn't want him to think he couldn't do XYZ because he had never encountered it before, KWIM? Even though he does know it and more then what is in the K12 stuff.


If you go to the 12K website, they have sample lessons so you can get a feel for K12.

The Charter that we go through (managed by IEM) is pretty relaxed as far as what they need for the portfolio, and we can pick whatever we want to use. We can also put our funding towards classes and stuff--and if you want to do some subjects with K12 we can select them as well. But I don't think we'll use K12 again... We began with it in December, and are almost through an entire year's worth of material--in five months... yikes.
post #10 of 11
I used K12 the year that it launched in Colorado for my then Kindergartener and 1st grader. My 1st grader was typical boy (not ready to read at ALL, did horribly during testing, etc). Your experience will vary with your teacher. Ours was a mom who was still homeschooling her two older kids (at the time, K12 didn't extend to her kids' grades). She's now one of the teacher administrators with COVA. Awesome lady and never made me feel that my differently learning child was dumb.

I loved all the free stuff (TONS of materials), and we loved our teacher. I didn't love all of the reporting I had to do online (it was SLOW back then and I had more than one child to report on). Since I was teaching younger kids most things were done away from the computer so I had to go back through everything entering stuff later.

So, IME, your experience will vary tremendously with the teacher that you're assigned!

-Kristi
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by warriorprincess View Post
I use Columbia Virtual Academy, and I quite like it. Testing is done at home on the computer. Cuuriculum is picked by parents and parenst decide if child is meeting their hours. Sometimes hard to get a hold of. We basically do little different except for the kids having to send one email a week, and getting to do more (like getting memberships to the zoo, science center).
This is the first year we tried a virtual academy and we went with Columbia Virtual Academy. While I do like it okay, as they pay for what I want to pick out for kids (like dance lessons), if money were not an issue, I would go independent and not do it.
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