Charter school or independent? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 20 Old 01-09-2010, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
CParker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 69
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
DH has finally agreed to officially HS next fall, when our oldest will be kindergarten-age. Now the decision is to use one of the public charter school options available or go independent.

We live in California, so filing as an independent private school is very easy and requires minimal (almost laughable) documentation. There are no testing requirements, portfolios, etc.

We also have two public homeschool charters available. One has a reputation of being very flexible and open to various styles of learning, the other slightly less so. Documentation sounds fairly minimal, but kids would be subject to state standardized testing starting in second grade. The perk: $1,800 per year to spend on materials, classes, etc.

What are some of the pro's and con's of each? What have you chosen to do?
CParker is offline  
#2 of 20 Old 01-09-2010, 08:33 PM
 
MamaMonica's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: lalalala life goes on
Posts: 13,000
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We've both been independent and done different public school programs (like charters) for homeschoolers. It just depends on what will work for your family. And that often changes year by year.

Do you want some structured classes with other kids that you don't have to seek out? If so, you might like the PS program. Since there won't be standarized testing at K, and generally they are pretty laid back at that level, it just depends on how independent you want to be. If you want more freedom, then independent is the way to go.

You can also change your mind if it doesn't work. Good luck with your decision!

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
MamaMonica is offline  
#3 of 20 Old 01-09-2010, 10:29 PM
 
Momma Aimee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: deep in South Texas and ready to go home
Posts: 9,439
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CParker View Post
DH has finally agreed to officially HS next fall, when our oldest will be kindergarten-age. Now the decision is to use one of the public charter school options available or go independent.

We live in California, so filing as an independent private school is very easy and requires minimal (almost laughable) documentation. There are no testing requirements, portfolios, etc.

We also have two public homeschool charters available. One has a reputation of being very flexible and open to various styles of learning, the other slightly less so. Documentation sounds fairly minimal, but kids would be subject to state standardized testing starting in second grade. The perk: $1,800 per year to spend on materials, classes, etc.

What are some of the pro's and con's of each? What have you chosen to do?
IMO

if the only con is the testing in 2nd (and on) I would totally go with the Chart and get the $$ ...if nothing else you can go that K, 1 and 2 .. if the testing is a bad thing -- you change then and have had 3 years of the money to buy good quality stuff ...

i would at least start out with it

JMO

Aimee + Scott = Theodore Roosevelt (11/05) and 23 months later Charles Abraham (10/07)....praying for a little sister; the search starts May 2014
Momma Aimee is offline  
#4 of 20 Old 01-09-2010, 10:51 PM
 
theretohere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would not do the charter school, personally. I don't consider it homeschooling- it's an extension of public school, with the accountability and strings attached. Part of the reason I homeschool is to do it my way within the bounds of the law.

To my husband I am wife, to my kids I am mother, but for myself I am just me.
we're : with and : and
theretohere is offline  
#5 of 20 Old 01-09-2010, 11:43 PM
 
ChristaN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Colorado
Posts: 3,229
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Although I have friends who have used an online charter school longer term, I guess that my perspective is that it is a good intermediary step when moving from ps to hs. The first year can be nerve wracking in terms of feeling like you are covering all of the bases. Having someone provide you all of the curriculum or buying a boxed curriculum gives that added reassurance that you are hitting on everything. However, much like a boxed curriculum, it also provides constraints on what you do. In the long-run, I'd rather do it independently.
ChristaN is offline  
#6 of 20 Old 01-10-2010, 01:15 PM
 
ocelotmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: "I drove through there once!", NV
Posts: 1,712
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
A lot of families in my homeschool group use charters for financial reasons. They're simply able to offer so many more opportunities with that extra dedicated school money. The vast majority of them feel that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks... even the dedicated unschoolers, who continue with their unschooling without significant change on the child's end of things and just figure out how to document it appropriately.

DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
ocelotmom is offline  
#7 of 20 Old 01-10-2010, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
CParker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 69
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for everyone's feedback. At this point we're leaning towards the more flexible of the charter schools. They do seem fairly hands-off, do not provide curriculum (although will pay for it if you choose) and do not hold any classes of their own.

We can try it out for Kindergarten and if it doesn't work out we can always pull the plug. I might feel better with a little hand-holding my first year too.
CParker is offline  
#8 of 20 Old 01-11-2010, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
CParker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 69
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by theretohere View Post
I would not do the charter school, personally. I don't consider it homeschooling- it's an extension of public school, with the accountability and strings attached. Part of the reason I homeschool is to do it my way within the bounds of the law.
I've been thinking about this lately, and this: http://westandforhomeschooling.org/res/index.php

I understand all the struggles families have undergone to make independent homeschooling legal, and I truly appreciate that. We absolutely should be vigilant about keeping it that way. But I also think if homeschool/independent studies charters encourage public schools to break out of their assembly line model and provide some alternatives, that's great too.
CParker is offline  
#9 of 20 Old 01-11-2010, 01:50 PM
 
yippityskippity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 159
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ocelotmom View Post
A lot of families in my homeschool group use charters for financial reasons. They're simply able to offer so many more opportunities with that extra dedicated school money. The vast majority of them feel that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks... even the dedicated unschoolers, who continue with their unschooling without significant change on the child's end of things and just figure out how to document it appropriately.
We're with a charter. Actually, just switched to a different one. It is strictly for financial reasons at this point. I would LOVE to homeschool independently. Maybe someday

If you do go with a charter ask VERY specific questions about funding, reporting, portfolios, testing, etc. and insist on straightforward answers. We just left a charter that was evasive in their answers and it turns out that what I *thought* they'd provide was very different from reality.
yippityskippity is offline  
#10 of 20 Old 01-11-2010, 02:02 PM
 
yippityskippity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 159
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CParker View Post
I've been thinking about this lately, and this: http://westandforhomeschooling.org/res/index.php

I understand all the struggles families have undergone to make independent homeschooling legal, and I truly appreciate that. We absolutely should be vigilant about keeping it that way. But I also think if homeschool/independent studies charters encourage public schools to break out of their assembly line model and provide some alternatives, that's great too.
I agree with you 100%.

One comment about something I read on the linked site: "WHEREAS the biggest difference between homeschools and publicly-funded school programs is that homeschoolers take direct responsibility by choosing a curriculum, an approach to learning, and the principles and values on which these are based while publicly-funded school program parents accept and follow detailed instructions about what to learn and how to learn it, using a curriculum designed to comply with state requirements and values;"

What they wrote is an inaccurate generalization. Certainly some charters have more specific expectations than others, but that hasn't been my experience AT ALL.

I'm with a charter and I have direct responsibility for choosing the curriculum, I can use sectarian materials if I want (the charter won't buy them, but I'm free to use them), I decide on the "approach to learning" (we're heavily influenced by Charlotte Mason) and tailor things to DD's learning style.

Just wanted to address that bit of information.
yippityskippity is offline  
#11 of 20 Old 01-11-2010, 04:14 PM
 
theretohere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CParker View Post
I've been thinking about this lately, and this: http://westandforhomeschooling.org/res/index.php

I understand all the struggles families have undergone to make independent homeschooling legal, and I truly appreciate that. We absolutely should be vigilant about keeping it that way. But I also think if homeschool/independent studies charters encourage public schools to break out of their assembly line model and provide some alternatives, that's great too.
It may encourage that, but there's also concern for some people on whether or not it will make independent homeschooling more difficult. And the available charter here has a LOT of oversight.

To my husband I am wife, to my kids I am mother, but for myself I am just me.
we're : with and : and
theretohere is offline  
#12 of 20 Old 01-11-2010, 05:21 PM
 
skueppers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Takoma Park, MD
Posts: 1,750
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If there were a totally awesome charter program here, I might consider it. I have a friend who lives in a place where her kids can take interesting classes at their homeschool charter program and they'll buy whatever curriculum she wants to use. I don't object to testing -- I object to what testing does to the TEACHING that precedes it.

As it is, I live in a state with a monolithic public school system. Our charter laws essentially prevent the creation and success of charter schools. So I'm not likely to have such a choice anytime soon!

I do understand the issues involved, and I certainly believe that we should have the right to go our own way in educating our kids!

Sonja , 40, married to DH (42) since 5-29-93, DD born 11-3-2004, DS born 1-18-2007.
skueppers is offline  
#13 of 20 Old 01-11-2010, 05:25 PM
 
rainbowmoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 11,138
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by theretohere View Post
I would not do the charter school, personally. I don't consider it homeschooling- it's an extension of public school, with the accountability and strings attached. Part of the reason I homeschool is to do it my way within the bounds of the law.


my thoughts exactly.

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
rainbowmoon is offline  
#14 of 20 Old 01-11-2010, 06:03 PM
 
craft_media_hero's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: I'm diggin for fire!
Posts: 1,863
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, I had another post written, and right when I submitted, my internet connection went out

We are in a charter.

My take is that unless you really need the money to buy supplies (and an issue I have is that really NO homeschool kid needs that much money for materials every year, it is kind of over the top), then the red tape is not worth it.

Negatives-
have to meet IRL w/ "resource consultant" monthly-definitely feels like the state is keeping tabs on us; and tho she's really kind, I just think it's a PITA
have to log hours on a system that doesn't recognize how kids really learn
have to stick to learning plan for the year even when needs/desires change (ie our plan was for Spanish/Sign Language; well dd has been BEGGING to do Greek and Latin, none of our funds will cover any Greek/Latin materials, and we can't count those hours, lame)
they can pressure/require you to do testing that is unnecessary and innacurate--dd has to do reading entrance/exit, and the tester was WAY off (kept getting her name wrong and only sat with her for maybe 5 min) IMO, leveled her at the lowest level for 1st grade, even tho she's reading classical texts with more complex that are not DRA leveled.

Positives-
the money BUT this is a PITA too unless you have a grand laying around to front for all your materials at once, otherwise reimbursement process is slow, ridiculous, and our charter can't buy upfront unless you prove "extenuating" circumstances--you basically have to plead about how poor you are and that's demeaning to the lower income families IMO
having a community? but our community is a lot older, everyone has way more kids, and is predominately Christian. So the community factor we have had to find elsewhere anyways as we don't really click with our charter group.

Looking back now, I wish I had winged it. DD wasn't even required to have her intent to homeschool in for K until 7yo; now she is one grade level further in "the system" and I wish that I would have waited and bought us more time to just relax. I do stress the testing and stuff.

Happy and in love with my family!
craft_media_hero is offline  
#15 of 20 Old 01-11-2010, 07:59 PM
Banned
 
sha_lyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 895
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by theretohere View Post
I would not do the charter school, personally. I don't consider it homeschooling- it's an extension of public school, with the accountability and strings attached. Part of the reason I homeschool is to do it my way within the bounds of the law.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theretohere View Post
It may encourage that, but there's also concern for some people on whether or not it will make independent homeschooling more difficult. And the available charter here has a LOT of oversight.



I realize that in some states such as CA and AK that there is a lot of flexability with public "homeschool" charters. However I live in GA where the VCS is very much "public school at home" and that seems to be the trend in states that are in the process of legalizing VCSs. Most of the homeschoolers I know that tried out GVA dropped it within a few months.
sha_lyn is offline  
#16 of 20 Old 01-11-2010, 08:12 PM
 
porque's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 31
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am in CA and the charter school we are in is very flexible as to what we can use, and we have switched things up frequently. Furthermore, in CA, (don't know about other states) the school is required to provide special ed services that are needed. So if your child needs speech therapy, or whatever, the school is mandated to provide it. This might be beneficial to some homeschoolers.
porque is offline  
#17 of 20 Old 01-13-2010, 02:03 AM
 
theretohere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by sha_lyn View Post



I realize that in some states such as CA and AK that there is a lot of flexability with public "homeschool" charters. However I live in GA where the VCS is very much "public school at home" and that seems to be the trend in states that are in the process of legalizing VCSs. Most of the homeschoolers I know that tried out GVA dropped it within a few months.
I know a lot of people who really liked the charter for the help offered and especially the money- and then found it to be really limiting and stifling. I just want people to realize that if you are part of a charter- you aren't homeschooling really- you are part of a school program at home. And that changes things, sometimes in ways that you don't see right away.

To my husband I am wife, to my kids I am mother, but for myself I am just me.
we're : with and : and
theretohere is offline  
#18 of 20 Old 01-13-2010, 06:36 AM
 
kittie313's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ohio
Posts: 663
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Not in Cali but I do have a K'er in a state-funded virtual academy (online charter school) I have no issues with it for this grade, but my oldest was in ps last school year so the structure is much needed here this year to help us be successful. While it may be "public school at home" as some others have said, it is extremely beneficial to some of us for the structure. And my dh and I don't see standardized testing as a bad thing either, we see it as another tool to help us teach our children by identifying the weak areas so that we can work on them. (pardon, I have eternal PMS and am a tad touchy at the moment, especially since I have 3 of my 4 kids awake already at 4:30am)

Cat- FT ministry student and Sonlight hsing momma to a wild crew of girls
Melissa 4/03, Lydia 5/04, Kimberly 1/06, and Jordan 9/07

And waiting impatiently on baby Isaiah ******* to appear around 3/12

kittie313 is offline  
#19 of 20 Old 01-13-2010, 11:12 AM
 
rainbowmoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 11,138
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Your school district is required to provided services whether your kid goes to public school or not. (this is one of the things tax dollars pay for). You don't have to put your kid in public school to get services such as speech therapy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by porque View Post
I am in CA and the charter school we are in is very flexible as to what we can use, and we have switched things up frequently. Furthermore, in CA, (don't know about other states) the school is required to provide special ed services that are needed. So if your child needs speech therapy, or whatever, the school is mandated to provide it. This might be beneficial to some homeschoolers.

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
rainbowmoon is offline  
#20 of 20 Old 01-13-2010, 11:16 AM
Banned
 
sha_lyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 895
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by porque View Post
I am in CA and the charter school we are in is very flexible as to what we can use, and we have switched things up frequently. Furthermore, in CA, (don't know about other states) the school is required to provide special ed services that are needed. So if your child needs speech therapy, or whatever, the school is mandated to provide it. This might be beneficial to some homeschoolers.
I believe that it is Federal law that that a local PS system must provide special ed services (when requested) for all children in its district whether they are enrolled in the school system or not.
sha_lyn is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off