K12/Virtual Academy Fall 2009 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 279 Old 08-24-2009, 11:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all -
Just thought, as an absolute newbie to k12/virtual academies, that it would be nice to have a thread for those of us who are doing k12/virtual academies this year? This way, if we are struggling with technology or curriculum or guidelines or whatever, we can bounce some ideas off each other here.

Our Virtual Academy starts officially tomorrow (Tuesday the 25th); our boxes o' stuff don't arrive 'til Friday sometime. Had a nice talk with the 'teacher' this evening .... We are basically starting this week out by doing the orientation bits and that's it.

Still nervous and conflicted a bit about it ... we are choosing k12 because it's free, it's 'still public school' (transition bit to full-on homeschooling next year we hope, but appeases family a bit). We're hoping that the structure of it helps me get into a groove in terms of managing homeschooling, too. And this way I don't have to worry about curriculum this year. But I'd rather not have Big Brother watching our attendance and checking up on us all the time ....

I basically feel like a butterfly about 1 week into its chrysallis time. Pretty nervous about how this will all turn out!

(I should mention, dd1 is 5 and just starting kindergarten; dd2 is nearly 3 and will probably be trying to learn right alongside her sister!)

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#2 of 279 Old 08-24-2009, 11:28 PM
 
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My ds James started K this past week with the South Carolina K12 public school. My elder dd is 3. (Hey, we're kid-spacing twins!)

We have a lot of the same stuff going on - it was free, it's our first year of homeschooling (plus a new baby in the house!) and I wanted to ease into it a bit, etc. I do not plan to continue next year, as I prefer the classical approach, but for this year I think it's going to be a good choice.
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#3 of 279 Old 08-25-2009, 02:44 AM
 
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Were going into our 2nd year with a K12 school. It doesn't start for us until Sept 8th but they loaded the courses on the OLS today so people can get a feel for the system or get a jump start which we will be doing since last year we had a lot of days where no work was being done then had to cram about 75% of the school year into 3 months or so. Not fun, dd did fine with that pace but it would have been nice to gone at a slower pace.

Seriously?
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#4 of 279 Old 08-25-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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We're starting our third year with Agora (PA's Virtual Academy). Bean (6.5) is a 'second grader' and BooBah (5) is starting kindergarten. Bella (3) has been working with BooBah and Bear (18 months) has been shouting "Book! BOOK!" and nibbling pencil erasers. Our official start date is 1 September, but we've been working for the past week.

I chose Agora for Bean largely because we're dirt poor. If we weren't, I'd probably still use K12 for at least part of Bean's education. He moves very very quickly through curriculum, thrives on structure and organization, and has been doing very well with K12. Agora was the only school in the state that was truly willing to allow him to progress at his own pace, and this is the only way I could afford anything like a classical education for a child who moves through curriculum as quickly as he does.

BooBah is starting with Agora because she wants to do what her brother does. I know that she'll be all right with the program, but I think that BooBah is really an unschooler at heart and I expect that she'll change her mind at some point. There are other cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania, so she may end up trying one of those or withdrawing to homeschool independently. For now she wants to do Agora with her brother, and that's fine-- I know it won't hurt her, and if she gets antsy I'll pull her out.

Bella is working with BooBah because they're at the same level. She actually has a much longer attention span than her sister when it comes to schoolwork, and is more demanding (she wants to work on more projects, and for longer periods) but at the same time she's three and can become overwhelmed and exhausted. She's entirely too young for a full-day kindergarten in a traditional school (not that it would suit her at all), but working at home we can essentially do a half-day program and still cover all of the materials. She might enroll in Agora next year, or she might not... we'll see. A year is a long time.

Bear is a baby, and he enjoys eating things. He was recently diagnosed with food allergies, so finding fun snacky things that he can actually eat has been... entertaining.

And now, Bean is accosting me with a clipboard. This is his way of saying, "I think it's time to do some schoolwork." I'll oblige him after lunch.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#5 of 279 Old 08-25-2009, 01:20 PM
 
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My dd is going to try k-12 through the Oklahoma virtual academy this year. She will be in second grade.
I've been having the worst time getting her enrolled because the paperwork I send seems to go strait to oblivion. I've sent this stuff almost a dozen times in half a dozen different formats and it either disappears or isn't in the right format, it's been incredibly frustrating. The "Personal Admissions Liaison" has finally got the last piece of paperwork needed this morning: I'm so glad not to have to deal with that any more.
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#6 of 279 Old 08-25-2009, 02:41 PM
 
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im the "coach" for my brother and sister this year, and we started yesterday here in texas. they are in 6th and 7th grade and so far so good...still trying to get used to everything and get my bro and sis out of the typical brick and mortar mind frame of school is from 8-3 kwim? as far as day 2 is concerned everything is going well nice to have a group of us doing this together :

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#7 of 279 Old 08-25-2009, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everybody!

I did my first day's attendance today - just the first 'lesson' of the online information lessons. Our teacher/coordinator told me to just do those 'til our boxes o'stuff arrive, and then once they do arrive, to just add one lesson group per day to our schedule - so we'd do a lesson plan from Math next Monday; then Math and Phonics on Tuesday, and so on ... this makes good sense to me, and was how I wanted to gradually ease into it anyway, so as long as it works for attendance purposes from the state's perspective here in WY -- then I'm good with it!

The teacher told me I'd need to 'translate' what I was learning about the online orientation to Ina -- so I had her sit next to me while I went through it. I couldn't see any part of it which really applied to her at all yet though (it was all what I needed to do as the coach).

SJ sat right next to us, wanted to nurse, etc. - I can tell that perhaps our largest challenge is going to be figuring out how to do the school without her disrupting things, and yet give her the attention she needs too. Once the boxes arrive and we're all set up, will try to come up with some ideas to keep her busy while we're learning ....

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#8 of 279 Old 08-25-2009, 08:23 PM
 
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It really depends on the ages of the kids. I've never had a problem with a teeny person, they just curl up beside you and nurse and listen to stories and such. Last year Bella was two and she just wanted to have projects of her own, but she's a very easy child that way. She "read" a lot of books, and we did a lot of work during her nap time. This year, Bella's doing kindergarten with us.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#9 of 279 Old 08-26-2009, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a wonderful conversation with our 'virtual teacher' today. She checks in with us weekly 'til the end of September, then biweekly after that. We have a set time for her call, and can let her know when we're going to be traveling so she can call our cell phones or make other arrangements.

Anyway, she was a brick-and-mortar teacher for 18 years, but has been a virtual teacher for five years now. This is the first year that k-12 has been a state-wide option through a virtual academy system here. She's really passionate about it, especially as an option for so many of the rural families whose kids spend 2-4 hours on the bus every day. She said that the legislature has taken longer to be interested and still doesn't have much support for it. The topic came up because the public kindergarten called to tell us to attend their Open House this Thursday, I had to call them and the district and tell them we're not attending after all. The MOUA letter I dropped off wasn't sufficient, apparently, to get that all cleared up with them.

Anyway - good conversation. We talked about what we're doing beyond k12 with Ina, in terms of social activities, PE, etc. The importance of kids getting to just be kids and not have to do lots of makework or busywork, etc. etc.

Have not done my next online orientation session yet today - I may try to get two of them in, just to get them over with. Our packages are still due to arrive on Friday sometime, so Monday will be when the nitty gritty of schooling really begins to kick in. Virtual Teacher asked if Ina is excited about school, how she feels about it - and in all honesty, I don't think she really cares one way or the other. Life hasn't changed that much, and it doesn't sound like it will change that much [to her] other than getting to take Art Class at the Y and learning to read, which she is excited about. But frankly her major goal this year is to start jumping rope.

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#10 of 279 Old 08-26-2009, 04:38 PM
 
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Oh neat, I missed this earlier!!! Excellent! We are a Georgia Virtual Academy family, my son is in the 2nd grade. I do have some problem helping my almost 4 yr old find things to do that aren't highly distracting for her brother.

Today was a short day, we started last Monday (17th) but had been doing a lesson each day since August 3rd (when our OLS was opened to us, but attendence started on the 17th)

We only did Math and Language Arts today, and we'll review our science lesson from Monday later.

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#11 of 279 Old 08-26-2009, 08:00 PM
 
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We're just starting up our second year with CAVA. I have 8 yo ds who is working on finishing up his 4th grade curriculum (he's officially a 4th grader, having skipped 2nd on the way into CAVA last year, and will be moving on to 5th grade curriculum soon) and 6yo dd (officially a 1st grader, but doing all 2nd grade except Art and left over Science 1from last year). School doesn't officially start until 9/8, but dd has been chomping at the bit, so we got started yesterday. Ds is taking his vacation very seriously, and doesn't want to start yet. We're still waiting to hear from our "teacher" (seriously? I HATE that the VA's call them the teacher and the parents the "learning coach!") about, well, anything. We have had our materials for weeks now, but we need the teacher to order History 2 for dd, since she finished His1 over the summer.
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#12 of 279 Old 08-26-2009, 09:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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WOW.

So, the computer stuff arrived today. Two days sooner than expected. So maybe the rest of the boxes will arrive tomorrow instead of Friday? Ina is soooo excited.

I just did the second lesson of the online learning orientation ... to be honest, I have been stressing out about how I'll fit the time necessary to do kindergarten with Ina into the rest of my day. I don't know that this lesson helped at all. If you could see my house, it's definitely not flylady or Martha Stewart standards .... housekeeping is pretty low on my list! My daily priorities (have to's) are:
3 meals
2 snacks
make bread if we're out [girls have allergies, meals etc. are mostly from scratch]
walk/shower for me
Get dressed/teeth brushed (girls and me)
Get ready for bed/teeth brushed (girls and me)

My 'need to' list is basically to try to keep up on housework - no giant piles of laundry, be able to keep using the clothesline to hang laundry in the morning, maybe keep the floor clean a bit, you know - the bare minimum (which is about what gets done right now anyway! ). I've got a big garden to maintain, things like that ....

And my 'want to' list is to make sure the girls still get lots of play time, SJ gets attention from me, that we start branching out and meeting more people in the community for the socialization for Ina, and that I de-clutter my home (a gargantuan task). And maybe get a little reading time in for myself, and sewing. I honestly don't think I'll be able to do as much of that, once we're really going full swing.

Anyway - I looked at their 'proposed' schedule and frankly - wow, it looks like a LOT of time devoted to school. IIRC, basically 9 to 5 with a break for lunch and a half hour of running errands? Yikes.

How's everyone feeling with this?

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#13 of 279 Old 08-26-2009, 10:33 PM
 
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We've never, ever had a schedule resembling the ones in the samples, and have only rarely spent five and a half hours on *lessons* in a day. With Bean, a more typical day went like this:

Our days began earlyish (between 7:30 and 8:30). I'd get up and have a shower. Kids would start waking up and/or I start on breakfast. The kids would then eat, be changed & bathed and Bean and I would sit down to do some math work (avg time: 30 minutes). Bean would take a break to run around and do whatever while I attended to the siblings for 5-20 minutes. Then he'd come back and we'd do phonics and/or language arts (avg time: 20 minutes). Outdoor playtime if the weather permits (this would be the vast majority of days) and the kids are interested; Indoor playtime otherwise until lunch (around 10:45/11:00-- getting up that early, the kids are hungry early).

After lunch the smaller kiddos like to nap. Bear will almost certainly be taking an afternoon nap for most/all of this coming school year; Bella will probably have naps some days but not on others, as needed. Bean and I would sit down to do more schoolwork, either history or science. We might spend fifteen to fifty minutes on lesson work if it was very interesting. After that, we'd do something else for which we could count hours. Bean might read quietly for half an hour, or he might watch a documentary relating to the lessons covered that day, or he might play a math game on the computer. All told, time spent on lessons probably accounted for 1/4 of our total school hours-- all the rest were accrued in enrichment activities. In general, we were finished with lesson work before 2:00. I would run errands with the kids once the smaller folk had awakened, and when we got home they'd play outside until dinner, then indoors until bed.

Last year we did a block schedule and finished even earlier on most days, but I don't think that will work as well for BooBah & Bella as it did for her brother.

Oh-- I'm a horrible housekeeper. : That said, the house is cleaner than it's ever been-- it's more a function of the kids' ages than anything else. I'd often find lesson time compatible with things like collecting & folding laundry, cooking meals, etc.

Off-topic: I'm totally in awe of people who bake their own bread. It's something I'm certainly interested in now that the baby's been diagnosed with food allergies, but I dislike cooking and I dislike baking even more. Given the choice, I'd happily trade home-baked allergy friendly goodness for tutoring time. I'm seriously considering working out an agreement with one of my son's classmate's parents this year. She's completely tone deaf and doesn't understand the music curriculum at all ("How can I tell if she's singing the right thing? We do the hand signals but I haven't got a clue about anything else, I can't hear it at all")... but she bakes, and her own daughter has food allergies too (more severe than Bear's, but Bear has more of them).

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#14 of 279 Old 08-26-2009, 10:37 PM
 
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Honestly, we don't spend nearly as much time as they suggest, and I have two kids doing k12. I found that a lot of the K stuff was things dd already knew or learned very easily. We don't do every activity included with every lesson. The most important thing to remember is to read the lesson objectives - what they want your dd to learn from the lesson. You might find that she already knows it - and then you can mark it off without doing any of it. Or it might be something that you know you can teach with only one activity, so only do that one with her. We didn't do music at all because we both hated it - so I just marked those lessons off (and signed her up for Spanish this year instead!) Language Arts often uses the same book over several lessons - we would usually do all of those lessons in one sitting, and just count read aloud time as LA for the next few days. For k and 1st, we rarely spent more than 2 hours total with the curriculum, unless DD really wanted to dig into something. DS spent more time, but he was more self directed and required less help from me.
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#15 of 279 Old 08-26-2009, 10:51 PM
 
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Honestly, we don't spend nearly as much time as they suggest, and I have two kids doing k12. I found that a lot of the K stuff was things dd already knew or learned very easily. We don't do every activity included with every lesson. The most important thing to remember is to read the lesson objectives - what they want your dd to learn from the lesson. You might find that she already knows it - and then you can mark it off without doing any of it. Or it might be something that you know you can teach with only one activity, so only do that one with her. We didn't do music at all because we both hated it - so I just marked those lessons off (and signed her up for Spanish this year instead!) Language Arts often uses the same book over several lessons - we would usually do all of those lessons in one sitting, and just count read aloud time as LA for the next few days. For k and 1st, we rarely spent more than 2 hours total with the curriculum, unless DD really wanted to dig into something. DS spent more time, but he was more self directed and required less help from me.
Ditto this, we do the same exact thing as Eclipse except had tried Spanish last year (it sucks, really) and will just be doing the marking the music lessons as done because we don't want to do that period.

Seriously?
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#16 of 279 Old 08-27-2009, 01:31 AM
 
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#17 of 279 Old 08-27-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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Subbing!

We started K12 last week for Kindergarten. I think I have the hang of it. YDD was sick Mon and Tues with a respiratory virus and didn't do any lessons. Our teacher said to go ahead and count time anyway since we did math with the thermometer, watched some ed. tv and read a lot. It seems much more lax then I expected actually.

History has been great, and our only issue is the possibility of getting completely derailed. We spent hours on the first lesson simply because it talked about space briefly but DD wanted to go wider there.

Math: we were told to run through the assessments until she hit a wall. It's already a little tedious just doing the assessments but we're working with it.

LA/phonics is a different story. The teacher told us just to assess there as well, but there are not many assessments. I couldn't get dd to sit down and do some of the simple activities within LA if I tried. She likes the stories though and automatically role plays many of them anyway. Phonics is another issue. I'm trying to figure out where she is but I'm having a difficult time as she's not engaged in those assessments at all.
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#18 of 279 Old 08-27-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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Welcome, Exolax! Kindergarten Language Arts has few assessments, but phonics should have one assessment for every five lessons. Concentrate on those, especially if your daughter isn't reading fluently. If she *is* reading fluently, I'd ask her teacher if they'd be willing to evaluate her for a skip into LA1 or LA2.

When I was burning through math assessments with Bean, we only did the *unit* assessments unless he got a problem wrong; Then I'd go back and pull the lesson assessment. (I don't remember that happening much in his first year, but there have been soooo many assessments in the interim.) It made things a little less tedious. His teacher didn't like it, but by then we already had a referral for testing. After she had the results, she never forced us to do drudgework again. It made things much easier for us.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#19 of 279 Old 08-27-2009, 03:31 PM
 
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Welcome, Exolax! Kindergarten Language Arts has few assessments, but phonics should have one assessment for every five lessons. Concentrate on those, especially if your daughter isn't reading fluently. If she *is* reading fluently, I'd ask her teacher if they'd be willing to evaluate her for a skip into LA1 or LA2.

When I was burning through math assessments with Bean, we only did the *unit* assessments unless he got a problem wrong; Then I'd go back and pull the lesson assessment. (I don't remember that happening much in his first year, but there have been soooo many assessments in the interim.) It made things a little less tedious. His teacher didn't like it, but by then we already had a referral for testing. After she had the results, she never forced us to do drudgework again. It made things much easier for us.
Rynna, I have to say info I've heard from you helped us make the decision to do K12 for YDD. So, thanks!

It seems like we might have a good teacher. She was the one who told me to skip the lessons and just do the assessments for math and LA/phonics while she researched other options. Originally she said she may jump YDD to half way through K but to try this out for the first couple of weeks. We may get there at least for math before I even hear back from her. It helps that DD enjoys work sheets and sees the assessments as such so she just sits down and cranks them out until she's bored.

YDD isn't reading fluently yet. I have no idea where she is though. She's just past pre-readers but has phonics down. It's like she has a switch in her brain and right now she's strict phonics. She phonetically reads words she used to have memorized. She's been teaching herself to read in the car with one of those "teach your child to read books" and she's a little over half way through it. No idea what it all means though. We'll just keep testing out of the phonics for now.

Thanks!
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#20 of 279 Old 08-27-2009, 05:27 PM
 
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We tested out of almost all of k phonics and math with dd. With the math, I didn't even have her do a lot of the assessments for the first half of the lessons - so many were things she clearly knew how to do (like 1st, next, last and top, middle, and, bottom, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd etc). I did the unit and/or lesson assessments only when I had a question about whether she knew how to do something. For K phonics, we skipped to about half way through the year before I even started doing assessments (because as I started doing lessons with her I realized, "Hey! She knows how to read!" ) Then I would do the weekly assessments and go back to reinforce anything she had trouble with. I used the assessments more to focus on her writing than anything (as you get further into phonics they have sentance dictation, etc). For LA, we didn't do many of the little projects - like I know there was a color book, etc. We also didn't do any of the coloring pages for LA (or History or Science) because DD likes to draw, but not color. We did do the passport/suitcase folder thing when we got deeper into K history, because she thought that was fun. Anyhow, dd was on to 1st grade Math and LA by Christmas, if not sooner. For math, especially, some of it seemed so basic that it was more like preschool. She probably would have been placed in 1st grade math to start with, but she refused to cooperate with the placement assessment and told me "I don't know" for every question on it. As it was, she finished 1st grade math in about March of last year (her k year) and we decided not to order 2nd grade math until this school year because I didn't want to be starting 3rd grade math this school year with a 6 year old who doesn't like to write - it was hard enough last year doing it with my 7 year old. (There's a lot more writing in 3rd grade math, because there's no work book provided.)

Oh, also, for the kLA (not the phonics) - like Rynna said, there aren't too many assessments. I suggest just reading the stories and talking about them. If she doesn't want to do the activities suggested with the stories (and I think some of them are really awful. My dd was not into coloring and cutting out pre-made puppets to reenact a story), suggest things like acting the story out with costumes, retelling the story to her sister or you, drawing a picture to go along with it, or (if she's writing yet or when she starts to write more) writing a sentence (or even dictating to you) about what you read.
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#21 of 279 Old 08-27-2009, 06:37 PM
 
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Rynna, I have to say info I've heard from you helped us make the decision to do K12 for YDD. So, thanks!
Thank you!

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For LA, we didn't do many of the little projects - like I know there was a color book, etc.
Yeah, this is my second time not doing those.

Quote:
As it was, she finished 1st grade math in about March of last year (her k year) and we decided not to order 2nd grade math until this school year because I didn't want to be starting 3rd grade math this school year with a 6 year old who doesn't like to write - it was hard enough last year doing it with my 7 year old. (There's a lot more writing in 3rd grade math, because there's no work book provided.)
I can respect that; I'm doing math 4 this year with a six year old who doesn't like to write. Fun times, fun times. That said, he's starting OT this year and hopefully if handwriting is less painful and more productive, he'll be more willing to do it. :

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#22 of 279 Old 08-27-2009, 07:23 PM
 
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I think I will ask our teacher if we can just do the assessments instead of drudging through the math work and phonics work. James doesn't mind, but it is driving me bonkers. Thanks for the idea, Rynna!

And best of luck to Bean with OT! James has been helped hugely by OT, and I swear it gets even more effective as they get older. Certainly their patience levels and attention span improve!
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#23 of 279 Old 08-27-2009, 07:42 PM
 
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She probably would have been placed in 1st grade math to start with, but she refused to cooperate with the placement assessment and told me "I don't know" for every question on it.
I thought they did placement testing and was told by k12 that it would be initiated by the teacher. I first spoke with the teacher the 2nd day of school last week and she asked if k12 had initiated one. It would seem in our state with this teacher it is not standard practice. The only thing they do is a standard readiness test which is a state requirement for all schools and she said it was the first course in testing. Her concern is that because we don't know exactly where DD is that she will have some gaps in her learning so it was her suggestion just to do the assessments and test out of lessons while she researchers options. In the meantime we are actually doing the assessments and I did learn that they cover some things in K which DD had not done before (tallying and graphing so far) so I'm going along with it.

This teacher said she had someone start K immediately with 1st grade LA and math last year and it didn't go well because they discovered he was missing some basics which wasn't included in the testing.

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As it was, she finished 1st grade math in about March of last year (her k year) and we decided not to order 2nd grade math until this school year because I didn't want to be starting 3rd grade math this school year with a 6 year old who doesn't like to write - it was hard enough last year doing it with my 7 year old. (There's a lot more writing in 3rd grade math, because there's no work book provided.)
It would seem DD will move quickly and I'm glad to hear you can progress through K and 1st still in one year. I was concerned that she might get through K and start 1st and not finish it before the school year was out. I did just look and she is 40% complete with math and 23% complete with phonics and we've only been in school for 7 full days.

I thought we had to turn in physical copies of the assessments. I know DD knows the sounds to all UC/LC letters, common blends, vowels, and basic rules (silent e, vowel combination's etc.). I have been running her through the actual phonics assessments assuming someone would ask me to produce them. She really does not like them though so it's slower going.

Thanks for the BTDT sharing! It's been very helpful. I'm pleased I happened upon this thread.
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#24 of 279 Old 08-27-2009, 08:11 PM
 
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I'm not sure what state you're with, but with CAVA, we have only had to turn in one assigned piece of work per subject per quarter (or however often they do the face to face meetings). Sometimes my teacher has asked for extra assessments or assignments just to see how they're doing on certain things, and before moving up to the next class the teacher has to do an assessment. When dd was done with K math, we turned in the second semester assessment and the teached just chatted with her and asked a few questions to let her know that dd really got it.

As for assessment test, when we started with CAVA last year, they did online assessments for placement in Math and LA. Since then, CAVA (and maybe other VAs) stopped doing those placement tests and decided that every child would start at grade level and the teachers would assess any placement changes. My teacher seemed really annoyed by this, and pointed out how much time some kids would have lost to this system.
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#25 of 279 Old 08-27-2009, 08:44 PM
 
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Can someone tell me how the kindergarten works? I've been tempted to do this with DD1 for alot of the same reasons others have posted (free and transitioning into homeschooling). When I looked into it before it seemed my state (Idaho) required end of year testing for ALL grades. I don't want to do it if there is going to be an emphasis on testing. If I decide I don't like this system/set up can I just stop or am I required to finish out the year? Do I have to have contact with a teacher? I prefer not to and if I have to I'd prefer to do it through email. I DO NOT want to have to talk to someone over the phone if I don't have to. I guess what I'm asking is, is it easy to use this without having to interact with the school system much? Can I be as independant with it as I want?

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#26 of 279 Old 08-27-2009, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Marlet,

This is just my first year, and I'm learning on the fly here - but I think that the teacher contact varies from state to state, in terms of how frequently, whether it's face-to-face, or etc. Here in WY, we apparently have to talk to her once a week (on her dime, not mine ). She scheduled a time with me. Then in October, we go to every other week for our phone calls. So far I've had two calls (one 'get to know you' call, and then another two days later on our scheduled call time). She wanted to talk to Ina too - it sounded like she and Ina had a good conversation, and she wasn't weird about how softly Ina talks on the phone. Wanted to know if our boxes had arrived yet, urged me to work ahead on the online orientation course, asked what we were doing for PE, etc. We ended up having a very pleasant conversation and she seems to be pretty much in the mindset that this program is so kids can do less make-work and progess at their own speed, have more time outside or etc. rather than having to be "in school" all the time. That attitude may vary with other teachers though!

I think all Virtual Academies, since it's 'public school,' are required to take the same standardized tests as the brick and mortar students. So, if ID starts testing in K, then your child would need to do the tests too. They require the standardized tests here .... We just take her in to a school that they've arranged for Ina to test at.

You may want to look into (if you can afford it) getting their non-affiliated program. We looked into it, because we thought the teacher etc. was more intrusive than we wanted [before we talked to her, she seems OK so far to us]. But the cost is nearly $5,000/year. We decided we could make this work for this year. I don't know, but I suspect that families who have done this for multiple years probably don't have to be 'checked in on' as much by the teacher?? Maybe that's wishful thinking on my part.

ETA:
I didn't ask about what happens if we stop out of it midyear. I would assume, if you put a child into public or private school, you'd be able to just 'transfer records' to that school. I think when I was first researching k12 here, there was a mom who said she'd pulled her kid out of k12 midyear and just done her own curriculum. I don't know what was involved.

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#27 of 279 Old 08-27-2009, 11:19 PM
 
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This teacher said she had someone start K immediately with 1st grade LA and math last year and it didn't go well because they discovered he was missing some basics which wasn't included in the testing.
I know a lot of kids who started with first grade math and/or LA and only one of them was unhappy about the placement. I do know of other kids who placed higher in their initial assessments (they used to be standard but now they aren't anymore) but their parents decided to hold them back and enroll them in the grade-appropriate courses; Most were happy with that decision as well.

As for me, Bean started kindergarten with Math 1 and looking at the kindergarten curriculum, I'm so glad he did. The only thing that they cover in the kindergarten math curriculum of which Bean was not capable (and truth be told, he's barely capable of it now) was actually writing the numbers and number words. He recognized the number words, but he had/has a very hard time with the physical act of writing by hand.


Quote:
I thought we had to turn in physical copies of the assessments.
This will vary not only with your VA but occasionally with your situation. Because of the rate at which Bean devoured curriculum, we had to send more work samples and hard copies of all kinds of things. I chose to mail work samples to the teacher rather than scanning & sending them as attachments to kmail, because kmail only allowed(s?) one attachment per message and I had 30 pages or so of work samples each month. This year our VA will be collecting work samples differently; Instead of each month they'll be quarterly, and kindergarten samples will be collected when the kids have AIMSWeb screenings. I'm not sure how this will work with Bean, though. We'll see!

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I don't want to do it if there is going to be an emphasis on testing.
Unless Idaho starts testing students in kindergarten, there won't be an 'emphasis on testing.' In Pennsylvania, students in grades three, five, eight and eleven are required to take standardized tests. Most students in kindergarten and first grade (at least) in public schools have some kind of screening for basic literacy and numeracy. Agora does AIMSWeb for students in grades K-2.

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If I decide I don't like this system/set up can I just stop or am I required to finish out the year?
The process you'd go through would be just like withdrawing from any public school. I'm not familiar with the procedure for Idaho, but another homeschooler from your state should be able to tell you.

Quote:
Do I have to have contact with a teacher? I prefer not to and if I have to I'd prefer to do it through email. I DO NOT want to have to talk to someone over the phone if I don't have to. I guess what I'm asking is, is it easy to use this without having to interact with the school system much?
It will depend on your VA, but regular contact with the teacher will probably be required; At least weekly via Kmail, probably monthly or so by phone and they'll probably want some kind of face-to-face contact once or twice a year.

Quote:
Can I be as independant with it as I want?
You can purchase K12 independently, but if you work through a VA your child will be a public school student who works at home, rather than a homeschooler.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#28 of 279 Old 08-28-2009, 03:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Did anyone have to 'attend' (virtually) a "Welcome Session"? I have one scheduled for tomorrow at 9am. Just wondering what to expect ... it sounds like an online presentation followed by a Q&A.

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#29 of 279 Old 08-28-2009, 05:14 AM
 
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I've been through at least five of them. After the second, I just minimized the window and listened to the audio. K12 has them and I'd be willing to bet that all of the virtual academies have them too.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#30 of 279 Old 08-28-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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Wow! Lots of posts.

Today is going well so far we are on our 'lunch break' though I have yet to make lunch. They're having a snack and watching something on PBS until 12:30 then it's time for Language Arts.

I was told before signing him up that we'd have to do the Scantron testing to see where he would be placed in his subjects, and that they would tailor the system to him. Apparently in Georgia they're only doing this for 3rd grade and up. Which really sucks, my son is bored with the math. He got a perfect score on the CRCT in the Math section. We are skipping any 'extras' and just going along. We just finished Unit 1 today, I think.

I am not loving these Elluminate sessions. Though I have also MISSED each of them and had to listen to the recording. I don' tknow which is worse, sitting through one live, or pausing one and knowing I have to come back to it. :yawn:

And my questions NEVER get answered. So, anyone doing 2nd grade with GVA, WHEN did you start handwriting? Our L.A. lessons (the last 3) have had a page that says "pick up with handwriting where you left off" but we've never had a "get started" lesson, so it's annoying. For now, we're skipping it. He can write. I also bough 'regular' paper, not the 'learning' paper he had for the last 2 years. So he's getting aquainted with that and learning to write smaller and neater out of necessity. I'm thinking that's probably good enough for us.

We're enjoying History, and made a memory box. It was supposed to be like a 10 minute lesson (ok so the OLS says 60) and we spent like 3 hours going through all these old pictures and things. It was great. I logged attendance for 3 hours for that class. hahaha.

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