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Old 12-04-2008, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone used the K12 homeschool curriculum? I am looking into options for ds. He's only 2.5 now, but I want to know what's out there.

There is a Colorado Virtual Academy (COVA) that uses K12 curriculum. Since it is through the public school system, everything is free including support from teachers and staff. I looked at some of the sample lessons online and they looked pretty interesting.

I would like to hear people's experiences and impressions if you have used this curriculum. And if anyone has used COVA and would like to share, that would be priceless.

TIA!
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:45 PM
 
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Has anyone used the K12 homeschool curriculum? I am looking into options for ds. He's only 2.5 now, but I want to know what's out there.

There is a Colorado Virtual Academy (COVA) that uses K12 curriculum. Since it is through the public school system, everything is free including support from teachers and staff. I looked at some of the sample lessons online and they looked pretty interesting.

I would like to hear people's experiences and impressions if you have used this curriculum. And if anyone has used COVA and would like to share, that would be priceless.

TIA!
I know that there are some mamas on here using this. My impression is that it's public school, just at home. It doesn't allow as much flexibility as actually homeschooling and there have been quite a few recent posts from people complaining about how much work they are required to turn in, about how slow new things get shipped out, ect. You also have a teacher supervise you. You may get more answers in the learning at school forum.

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Old 12-04-2008, 11:03 PM
 
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One of my dear friends tried this very program just this past September with her 5 year old and her 12 year old.

Let's just say that she stopped using it in early November.

She said it was public school at home. Useless assignments, too much testing with no need for it, lots of busywork, most things are workbook oriented and if your kids don't like workbooks, you're out of luck. The people who she had to report to were inconsistent and not very helpful. She hated it.

She tried it because money is tight and the program and supplies were free. It wasn't worth it. She's now doing a combo of Alpha-Omega and some more Waldorfy stuff.

I don't know where you are in CO but feel free to pm me if you want any more info.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:08 PM
 
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We used it for kindy with my daughter and found it to be a bit ridiculous. Definitely public school at home, too many "assessments" (every. single. step of the way) and the worksheet stuff was blechy.

If it was a case of "I have to do this or I can't homeschool" I would do it, but otherwise, no.

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Old 12-04-2008, 11:10 PM
 
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We're doing CAliforniaVA and enjoying it. If you do every bit of work for every lesson, it's a lot of extra work. We only do the things we need to do for my kids to meet the lesson objectives, along with anything extra they are interested in. We have to meet with a teacher once every month or 6 weeks and turn in work samples. We only have to turn in one sheet per child, per subject - and those samples aren't necessarily supposed to be representative of their "best" work. The teacher asks a few questions and offers adivce for areas the kids might be stuggling with or might be interested in doing for enrichment. It sounds like there might be some bad apple teachers out there that are on a power trip. If I were to encounter one of them, I'd be demanding a switch to someone who only holds us to the requirements that we signed on for.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:29 PM
 
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my state has k12 and connections academy. both are public school, but you learn at home. it is a wonderful alternative to a brick & mortar school imo and has lots of advantages in that regard. however, it doesn't really compare to homeschooling ....well, because it isn't. i would choose connections academy over k12 personally, as i think it would be a better fit for my kids - just my opinion though. maybe your state has more options than k12. your child is still a baby, so you have lots of time to investigate your options, including the advantages of homeschooling good luck.

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Old 12-05-2008, 12:34 AM
 
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Interesting coincidence - just a moment ago, I was reading Home Education Magazine's editorial, Public School Programs Are Not Homeschooling, and wishing more new homeschoolers had a way of understanding how big a difference there can be between the programs and the potential. It's one of the most volatile subjects around, unfortunately, and hard to discuss... - Lillian
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Old 12-05-2008, 01:48 AM
 
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I'm not sure where you are in CO, but you might also want to look at some of the Options programs. There is one run by the Aurora school district that is actually called Options. It's one day a week school. You can choose the courses and check out curriculum. The locations are not limited to Aurora. They have locations in Broomfield, Boulder and Longmont for sure. There's another program called Home School Connection in Westminster. They are similar, but they are more of a liberal arts program, so they don't offer any core courses or curriculum. The up side (if that appeals to you) is that also do not test or give grades.

I guess that doesn't answer you question, but it might be something you want to consider. It's very popular in our groups around here.
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Old 12-05-2008, 06:49 AM
 
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We're doing CAliforniaVA and enjoying it. If you do every bit of work for every lesson, it's a lot of extra work. We only do the things we need to do for my kids to meet the lesson objectives, along with anything extra they are interested in. We have to meet with a teacher once every month or 6 weeks and turn in work samples. We only have to turn in one sheet per child, per subject - and those samples aren't necessarily supposed to be representative of their "best" work. The teacher asks a few questions and offers adivce for areas the kids might be stuggling with or might be interested in doing for enrichment. It sounds like there might be some bad apple teachers out there that are on a power trip. If I were to encounter one of them, I'd be demanding a switch to someone who only holds us to the requirements that we signed on for.
: We also use CAVA and so far really like it. We tried it last year and got one of those nightmare teachers and dropped it after about 2 months. We moved and "I" need that level of structure and wanted to use K12 but its out of my budget so we decided to try CAVA again after talking to a lot of people. There is a lot of work but honestly I just teach to the objectives and for some things we don't even do the work and we sure as heck don't do tons of busy work. We might do a work sheet a day, the only thing I really insist on is writing practice becasue her writing is terrible. We pick and choose which worksheets and do it orally without even printing it. Those unit assessments are no big deal, there usually like 4-8 questions orally to make sure the child learned the material. Big whop. Not sure why parents would have a problem with seeing if there child learned anything, its not like your doing 20+ questions. Takes us all of a minute to do them.

As for the flexibility, yes they want you to only use there materials but ya know what? As long as your meeting the learning objectives they have no way of knowing really that your using something else if you don't tell them. I really don't like a lot of there math so far and a lot leaves me scratching my head with the wording so I just look at the actual problems and teach her my way or use the math mastery program which teaches her way faster with better retention then there stuff.

From my understanding of the delays and stuff at the beginning of the year was becasue they changed companies over the summer and the new shipper had a lot of kinks to work out which was why the delays. From the time to filling out enrollment stuff to getting our materials was 2-3 weeks.

Seriously?
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:57 PM
 
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Yes, it seems like they've ironed out the supply issues. DD was moved from K math and lanuguage arts to 1st grade, and the courses showed up on the computer almost immediately and the supplies were here within a week or so.

As far as not being able to use anything other than what they supply - well, I haven't found that to be true. Our "teacher" has recommended other resources to us, and as long as your kids meet the objectives of the lessons, they don't really care how they get there. Because of their charter, though, the only things that can be turned in as work samples have to come from the k12 curriculum. So if you've found a different way to teach your child a certain subject, you just need to have them do one worksheet or something. I also don't find it to be workbook heavy - there are workbooks included for some subjects (math in the lower grades, composition, handwriting, and grammar) but nothing that is absolutely necessary to use. There are manipluatives included for math, and if you child learns better that way, there are extensive instructions on how to use them.

I want to say that some state seem to have a harder time letting kids move at their own pace than others. Depending upon their funding, some states only allow one course to be ordered ber subject per student, per year. That isn't a problem in California - as I mentioned, DD has already moved into a second course for math and LA, and DS was "skipped" a full grade based on test results and is now moving another year ahead in math, and probably will be in history within the next month or so.

I have heard not so good things about their high school program, so that's something we'll have to evaluate if we're still with k12 when that time comes. My oldest is only 7, but I suspect by September he will be in all 5th grade classes, and probably moving into 6th grade, so that isn't as far away for us as it might sound.

You do have to participate in standardized testing, though, which is one of the only negatives for us. However, it seems more like a PITA than an affront to my philosophy, since I don't plan on paying much attention to the test results.

I know there's a lot of debate over whether homeschooling charters are "really" homeschooling, and I've decided that, frankly, I don't care what other people think about it. I consider our family to be a homeschooling family, regardless of our affiliation with a school.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:37 PM
 
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I know there's a lot of debate over whether homeschooling charters are "really" homeschooling, and I've decided that, frankly, I don't care what other people think about it. I consider our family to be a homeschooling family, regardless of our affiliation with a school.
when i said k12 isn't homeschooling, i didn't mean it to come across as a jab or anything. i only mean virtual schools aren't homeschooling because they really aren't. it is public school at home & i think people looking into it need to understand that. there are obviously many advantages in choosing a virtual school & i for one don't see them as a "trojan horse" or a threat. i think they are wonderful option personally. it's just that so often people end up complaining about their experience with this option, & i think it's because they never really understood what it was. it is an alternative to a brick & mortar school, but it is still public school.

but i agree with you, i think you are teaching your children at home & in that regard should be accepted by homeschoolers as total equals for sure. we are all experiencing the same journey & challenges.

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Old 12-05-2008, 08:16 PM
 
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when i said k12 isn't homeschooling, i didn't mean it to come across as a jab or anything. i only mean virtual schools aren't homeschooling because they really aren't. it is public school at home & i think people looking into it need to understand that. there are obviously many advantages in choosing a virtual school & i for one don't see them as a "trojan horse" or a threat. i think they are wonderful option personally. it's just that so often people end up complaining about their experience with this option, & i think it's because they never really understood what it was. it is an alternative to a brick & mortar school, but it is still public school.

but i agree with you, i think you are teaching your children at home & in that regard should be accepted by homeschoolers as total equals for sure. we are all experiencing the same journey & challenges.
Who cares where the materials come from? K12 is also sold directly to homeschoolers outside of the VA's as is Calvert which is another popular one. Were HS'ers becasue we teach the materials at home period. It really upsets me when home schoolers say were not "true" HS'ers because we happen to let the government pick up the tab for education. They have very little over sight and we pretty much do what we want but I am also a fan of formal classical education so it works for us quite well. Its allowing my dd to get a good education even though we don't have 2 nickles to rub together.

Seriously?
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:31 PM
 
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LOL, honest, i don't care. my statement isn't an opinion. the k12 website and connections academy website state that it's not homeschooling.

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Old 12-05-2008, 08:48 PM
 
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LOL, honest, i don't care. my statement isn't an opinion. the k12 website and connections academy website state that it's not homeschooling.
Because the schools wont allow them to but its designed to appeal to homeschoolers.

Seriously?
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:00 PM
 
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Legally, your child is enrolled in a charter school. For legal purposes, they are not homeschoolers. For many people, it will never make a difference. But for others, it will. For example, if the parents are divorced and there issues related to education, enrolling in a charter might solve a problem. On the other hand, if you child needs more flexiblity than the charter allows, enrolling in a charter might cause problems.

I don't have an opinion on whether charters are the "right" way to do things. Heck, I've got one kid in public school and one kid at home, so I'm the last person to say that there is one right way to educate a child! But parents should be fully informed of the issues and know what the charter will require of them before they sign up so they can make the best choice for their child.

One of my friends used K12 through a charter in Arizona and had a very bad experience. They required ALL work to be done and turned in, and when she decided to quit and enroll him in a brick and motor school, they held up her child's records and made it VERY difficult for her. Because he was not legally homeschooling but legally enrolled in school, her child was transferring schools, which is a toally different process than just enrolling as homeschooler in school (which was a piece of cake for us).

Watching her hassles left me very lary of signing up to do "school at home," whether through a charter or just paying to send work in (such as with Oak Meadow). I would have to have a really, really good reason to do so. There are good reasons for other people to use those kinds of programs, but I think that homeschooling is a heck of a lot easier *for my child* without those hassles.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 12-05-2008, 09:34 PM
 
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There are good reasons for other people to use those kinds of programs, but I think that homeschooling is a heck of a lot easier *for my child* without those hassles.
Oh yeah, it would be easier not to go through a Charter - but for some people, us included, homeschooling would be very difficult without these options. I don't know that we will stay with CAVA or move to a different HS Charter at some point (because in my district, we have lots of options that have more curriculum choices and even pay for extra curriculars - but my kids like the curriculum for now, so we're staying there), but unless our financial situation changes drastically, I won't be able to pay out of pocket for the things my kids and I want to do.

In any case, the requirements of our particular charter school don't seem any more restrictive than the homeschooling requirements in some other states that require extensive record keeping and yearly testing.

I do want to add that no one offended me in this thread, so please don't think I'm annoyed with anyone here. I do think that people need to know what they're getting into as far as requirements for work samples, meeting with "teachers," (really, that's the one thing that irks me. They call the lady I talk to once a month and meet with every six weeks my kids' teacher. She's not. I am. ) standardized testing, etc. It's just that sometimes, in some situations, in some circles of people, there is a strong implication that people who are going through a charter are somehow. . .less dedicated to homeschooling? Don't have enough "homeschooler street cred"? Are homeschooler posers? Homeschooler sell outs? Are people to be looked down on in someway? I'm not saying anyone here is doing that - just that it's out there, and sometimes the language of, "It's not really homeschooling" can lead to hurt feelings and divisions and often sounds more like, "You're not really a homeschooler." I don't see any harm in pointing out that a student going through a charter would be a public school student, that they will be subject to requirements that private homeschool students aren't, etc.
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:53 PM
 
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I do want to add that no one offended me in this thread, so please don't think I'm annoyed with anyone here. I do think that people need to know what they're getting into as far as requirements for work samples, meeting with "teachers," (really, that's the one thing that irks me. They call the lady I talk to once a month and meet with every six weeks my kids' teacher. She's not. I am. ) standardized testing, etc. It's just that sometimes, in some situations, in some circles of people, there is a strong implication that people who are going through a charter are somehow. . .less dedicated to homeschooling? Don't have enough "homeschooler street cred"? Are homeschooler posers? Homeschooler sell outs? Are people to be looked down on in someway? I'm not saying anyone here is doing that - just that it's out there, and sometimes the language of, "It's not really homeschooling" can lead to hurt feelings and divisions and often sounds more like, "You're not really a homeschooler." I don't see any harm in pointing out that a student going through a charter would be a public school student, that they will be subject to requirements that private homeschool students aren't, etc.
That, it often feels like were 2nd class citizens among homeschoolers that are tolerated but not really considered real homeschoolers.

Seriously?
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:59 PM
 
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Because the schools wont allow them to but its designed to appeal to homeschoolers.
oh agreed. ...and it does appeal to me! my objective for homeschooling though is because i want my kids home with me. i'm already structured, so using a curriculum and following a schedule would be adaptable for us. like i said, i'm not knocking this option, i was just trying to be clear for the original poster that it's indeed different from homeschooling. that's all.

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Old 12-05-2008, 11:03 PM
 
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eclipse, i totally agree with you regarding the snubbing that can take place. it's really rediculous imo, as anyone that chooses to teach their kids at home should be supportive of one another. "how" we all go about it is irrelevant imo.

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Old 12-06-2008, 12:19 AM
 
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Legally, your child is enrolled in a charter school. For legal purposes, they are not homeschoolers. For many people, it will never make a difference. But for others, it will. For example, if the parents are divorced and there issues related to education, enrolling in a charter might solve a problem. On the other hand, if you child needs more flexiblity than the charter allows, enrolling in a charter might cause problems.

I don't have an opinion on whether charters are the "right" way to do things. Heck, I've got one kid in public school and one kid at home, so I'm the last person to say that there is one right way to educate a child! But parents should be fully informed of the issues and know what the charter will require of them before they sign up so they can make the best choice for their child.

One of my friends used K12 through a charter in Arizona and had a very bad experience. They required ALL work to be done and turned in, and when she decided to quit and enroll him in a brick and motor school, they held up her child's records and made it VERY difficult for her. Because he was not legally homeschooling but legally enrolled in school, her child was transferring schools, which is a toally different process than just enrolling as homeschooler in school (which was a piece of cake for us).

Watching her hassles left me very lary of signing up to do "school at home," whether through a charter or just paying to send work in (such as with Oak Meadow). I would have to have a really, really good reason to do so. There are good reasons for other people to use those kinds of programs, but I think that homeschooling is a heck of a lot easier *for my child* without those hassles.
This. It's not anyone knocking anyone else here, it's just not homeschooling. In MN where I live for instance, virtual charters require the kids to attend a brick and mortar school for 5 hours a week. It's cheap when it comes to dollars and cents but for some people the strings are too high a cost.

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Old 12-06-2008, 12:21 AM
 
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Interesting coincidence - just a moment ago, I was reading Home Education Magazine's editorial, Public School Programs Are Not Homeschooling, and wishing more new homeschoolers had a way of understanding how big a difference there can be between the programs and the potential. It's one of the most volatile subjects around, unfortunately, and hard to discuss... - Lillian
Thanks for linking this- I was actually thinking of this article when I first posted.

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Old 12-06-2008, 12:43 AM
 
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This. It's not anyone knocking anyone else here, it's just not homeschooling.
You can feel free to believe that I'm not homeschooling. I just disagree with you. I'm not doing anything different in the day to day dealing with my kids than many other homeschoolers I know. I just get my curriculum from a different source.
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Old 12-06-2008, 12:45 AM
 
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This. It's not anyone knocking anyone else here, it's just not homeschooling. In MN where I live for instance, virtual charters require the kids to attend a brick and mortar school for 5 hours a week. It's cheap when it comes to dollars and cents but for some people the strings are too high a cost.
So what is homeschooling?

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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Old 12-06-2008, 01:02 AM
 
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So what is homeschooling?
It's not being under the control of public schools while being at home. I don't see why this is such an issue- the virtual charters themselves make it very, very clear that it is NOT homeschooling. I'm not trying to be a big meanie here.
When I initially heard about K12 and saw it was offered in my state I was very excited, until I started doing more research.
Homeschooling is being able to choose pace, materials, accountability, and activities.

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Old 12-06-2008, 01:40 AM
 
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It's not being under the control of public schools while being at home. I don't see why this is such an issue- the virtual charters themselves make it very, very clear that it is NOT homeschooling. I'm not trying to be a big meanie here.
When I initially heard about K12 and saw it was offered in my state I was very excited, until I started doing more research.
Homeschooling is being able to choose pace, materials, accountability, and activities.
This sounds like the debate over on RS about whether Jehovah's Witnesses are really really really Christians. Seriously? The was unneccessary. For reals.

In any case, Charter Homeschool programs might not officially consider themselves homeschooling, but that doesn't mean that families using curriculum from these sources are not engaged in the act of homeschooling. So, whatever.
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Old 12-06-2008, 01:43 AM
 
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So what is homeschooling?

If we're going to get all technical
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Main Entry: home·school
Pronunciation: \ˈhōm-ˌskül\
Function: verb
Date: 1980
intransitive verb
: to teach school subjects to one's children at home
transitive verb
: to teach (one's children) at home
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homeschooling
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:00 AM
 
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I used CAliforniaVA six years ago and liked it a lot. But then, my DH was dying and I was working full time, so I needed something structured and progressive like K12. It fit the bill for me at that point in time. My son did well and I enjoyed the teachers.

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Old 12-06-2008, 03:13 AM
 
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You've obviously made up your mind and you seem pretty defensive. If you think that you are homeschooling and you feel that way- more power to you. Define your educational choices in whatever way you want. I'm glad that you've found something that works for your family.

Edited to add- I'm really not trying to be snarky here, mama. I am happy that you and your little ones are happy- that's the most important thing.

To my husband I am wife, to my kids I am mother, but for myself I am just me.
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Old 12-06-2008, 03:32 AM
 
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Someone enrolled in a charter school isn't legally a homeschooler. However, for all practical purposes, they are homeschooling. The kids are learning at home and the parent is overseeing their education.

There are lots of different options for our kids' educations and, ideally, we find what is right for each of our kids and stay open and supportive of other parents' decisions.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 12-06-2008, 08:50 PM
 
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Someone enrolled in a charter school isn't legally a homeschooler. However, for all practical purposes, they are homeschooling. The kids are learning at home and the parent is overseeing their education.

There are lots of different options for our kids' educations and, ideally, we find what is right for each of our kids and stay open and supportive of other parents' decisions.


The reason schools don't refer to those enrolled with them who are learning at home as "home schoolers" is that it "home schooler" has a distinct legal meaning, and the school is still accountable for the outcomes of the child in their reporting.

We are home learning through our local school district. We meet with them once every three months and show them what we've done. They provided curriculum, and I pick the bits that are meaningful for DS and forget the rest. I've gone and found my own materials tailored to DS, and we do what works for him and as his interests lead us. An example: they provided a math program that's not our style. I produced a matrix showing the topics covered by their math program and what's in our chosen curriculum. I've made sure DS understands the basics of theirs, and use Singapore as our core. In the past three months, I've devoted probably an hour in total to their math curriculum.

I understand my relationship with the school as: they facilitate access to some good resources. I know they understand our relationship as basically having sub-contracted the work of educating my child to me (with no remuneration). I think we mutually benefit.

I think of it as a continuum - full-on school on one end and unschooling on the other. I don't feel the need to be a purist about what I'll call home schooling. I'm not prepared to judge other people's method, or what resources they call on, to educate their children. If at any time I decide that the school district program is inhibiting our ability to direct DS's learning, we'll withdraw.

Last point - I totally get the whole wanting to be a purist about what constitutes homeschooling for the purposes of being an agent of social change and bucking the dominant method of educating children. I just happen to think that people who use the various school-connected programs to school at home are part of creating that change too.

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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