If it helps,here are my concerns/situation:
I do want ds to get an excellent education.
We are very busy - self-employed and ds is with us for some of it.
The school system for CA is several hours away.
The school system for WIVA (k12) is maybe 1/2 hour away.
If ds gets bored he shuts off and his attention is focused elsewhere.
He gets frustrated he shuts off and his attn is focused elsewhere.
We will probably continue to enroll him in local art classes, Discovery Center classes, Burpee Museum (science) classes, etc.
Does that help at all? The more I research, the more confused I get. My impressions are that the WIVA is intimidatingly intense - but that the CA may be too "soft"..... please help!!!
regardless if you choose k12 or CA - you can always switch if it isn't working. you don't have to be locked in all year. make a list of pros and cons to help you choose. also, show your daughter samples of each curriculum. ask her opinion & then honestly, i'd choose the one she seems most drawn too.
i hope you work it out. hugs.
homeschooling mama to DD 10 & DS 7
I'm all for an excellent education, but for that age, I'd suggest whatever program is the very least intense, especially since he's on the young side of the spectrum. You mentioned that when he's either bored or frustrated, his attention is focused elsewhere. I don't know exactly what that means, but if there are lots of engaging things elsewhere that he can explore and learn from, he can have a wonderful foundation for an excellent education.
His environment could keep him pretty busy with: a variety of blocks, including larger cardboard ones; a car/and or train mat where he can create towns and country scenes with models of people, animals, and buildings - and a sand-tray or box where he can spend lots of dreamy time organizing environments and fantasy play with the same models; an organized and easily accessible supply of art & craft supplies (here's a fabulous site with ideas for craft construction projects) ; a supply of wood scraps he can glue and use simple tools with; clay; an easel and good quality tempera paint; a simple fort he can change around, and convenient costume pieces; construction toys; wonderful audio recordings of all kinds; lots of lovely picture books - and recordings of you and his dad reading some so that he can "read along" if he'd like to when he looks through them while you're busy; etc. I think what you can provide on the side for his imaginative play can be even more valuable than what any of the programs provide. Lillian
That said, I pulled dd from public school at the end of 1st quarter last year. At that point she was totally failing pretty much everything but Math and Science. I got in lectured a lot by the school because dd's lang arts scores were far below basic and they were threatening to fail her for 2nd grade and it was only 1st quarter!
2 quarters later with K12 and she's nearly on grade level in lang arts and her writing ability which was also "far below basic" (so about 0-25th percentile range) at the B&M school. When retested again this spring she scored 93rd percentile in written conventions and 75th in writing strategies and her reading ability is now on grade level. Thats a HUGE leap for a kid who was failing at a B&M school. In the B&M schools defense she only attended I think it was the last 6 weeks of 1st grade there and then the 1st quarter, so 4.5-5 months total not counting summer) but in the same amount of time at K12 she made a huge leap in progress.
I won't sugar coat it, K12 is intense and there is a lot of busy work but once you get the hang of it you learn to pick and choose which to do and I do use outside resources extensively like BrainPop and United Streaming for many lessons instead of using there lessons. It covers the same material but in a more child friendly way. I was really on the fence about switching to CA but after getting dd's test scores back I'm happy to stay with K12 for another year. I've gone though this years materials (they arrived last month) and I'm happy with them, there defiantly more advanced then CA's that I looked at in person this summer.
I'm a former home schooler and the curriculum just got too expensive. I've just started the K12 program and I think I'm gonna love it. It does take a lot of the parents time though. It's like traditional home schooling with some professional assistance. My children are a little behind in some subjects, but they bumped them up to their appropriate grade levels and let them catch up. You keep trying your lessons until you get to an 80% or better. If at first they don't succeed, try, try again. I don't know about CA, but I like the K12 program.
Update - We did go with Connections - and I love it! This will be his 3rd year. Because of his birth date, the state still considers him a 2nd grader, but right off they tested him and went ahead and gave him the next years curriculum (so he'll be in 3rd grade) (since I had already homeschooled his first year, he didn't actually skip anything) and he's been doing great. In fact this year they asked if we'd like to have him tested to see if he'd qualify for the gifted and talented program (our state requires testing for that). The teachers have been great, they have live lessons and field trips, but it's been so easy to work around our schedule - even vacations. If it continues like this, we plan on staying with it through high school! :)
We've always unschooled, but ds has been taking more and more online classes over the years because he really enjoys that format and gets a lot from it. We can't afford for him to do as much that way as he'd like so we started looking into the virtual public schools here. They run either K12 or CA programs. K12 looked really dry and boring with lots of pointless busy work. Ds had absolutely no interest in even giving it a try. CA looked incredible though. They really take advantage of every opportunity modernly available. He starts 9th grade with CA this year, and is super excited. Dd caught his excitement and asked to be enrolled too. They are such different kids with such different interests and learning styles, but CA offers just tons of content and extracurriculars for both of them.
I know in our state, the legalities surrounding what age mandatory enrollment begins will effect what grade you can put younger kids into. K and 1 students cannot be innitially enrolled into higher grades, or start at younger ages. The law is very specific. Connections Academy works around that by technically enrolling the students in the right grade, but allowing them to take more advanced classes. The school staff from state to state are more or less accommodating about this. In our state, they are happy to bump a child up in one (maybe 2 if you really push) subjects upon enrollment, based entirely on the parent's opinion of their students' abilities. If you want your student doing advanced work in multiple subjects you have two choices. 1) Let them do the regular work. After a week or two, describe how bored or frustrated with the "baby work" your student is - to the teacher. Ask for them to recommend the student into advanced work. If the student's grades are good, they will likely be happy to do so. 2) Discuss this with your school ahead of time, as some would rather you take option 1. My dd is just working through the regular work very quickly in a couple subjects. When she finishes the year of work, they will enroll her in the courses for the next grade up. They can do that up until High School. In high school, you're stuck with option 1 or 3. 3) Let your student have fun doing more than expected on the assignments so they aren't too frustrated by the simplicity. If your student has high grades, there should be an automatic option to choose advanced classes instead of standard ones for the following year.
We've finally started our year at Connections, too. I was really nervous. The parents on the national message boards have a lot of horror stories about their first few weeks. 14hr days, everyone in tears, the word "overwhelmed" is used in like every sentence! Now, I can kind of wrap my mind around it getting that bad I guess. If the parents were really unprepared (like, didn't read or watch any of the many hours worth of orientation materials available), the students were really resistant, and the family had lots of control issues and poor communication. And those criteria aren't all that uncommon, really. My kids are having a BLAST with the material though. It's very interactive and dynamic. We've had a couple rough spots but I just had the kids call their teachers for help. The teachers expressed that families don't come to them enough and were appreciative of the chance to help and very supportive.