There are pros and cons for us like crazy. We did Calvert K this year and I have to say, it was pretty freaking boring.
I live in an area where our schools are really struggling. The hippy in me wants to help all kids locally by enrolling in Connections. But the other hippy in me is worried about more governmental involvement into our lives.
So we've got some pondering to do before September...
I have to say that I would love just a little bit of the money I pay in taxes for public schools to come back to me. Perhaps as a tax credit? Or a small stipend each year to help with the cost of books. I also understand that some of my tax money needs to go to the ps as some of those children will one day be our doctors and lawyers and even cashiers. Here in VA, if you are in the ps high school you can take cc courses for free through the dual enrollment program. However, if you are a homeschooler, you have to pay. To me that is ludicrous. Why should my child have to pay for the same opportunities? And of course, no one in the cc can answer that for me!
From what I am understanding about the 'govt. funding,' it's pretty much our tax dollars that we've paid to provide free public schooling for our kids, so when you're telling the govt. that you're homeschooling, you're basically just asking for that tax money back.
I am not opposed to this. There's still a lot for me to learn, but that's where good research comes into play.
Interesting thread to revive. I have my own strong opinions, but I'm off to waste time perusing this over the day.
"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
We've used two charters in CA. One was very much public school at home (UGH!) but the current one is fabulous. We get around $1,000/yr per child for secular curriculum and activities. In exchange we meet with someone from the school once a month for about 15 min. Every semester we hand in one work sample per subject (language arts, math, social studies, science) for a portfolio.
While at our current charter we've basically unschooled DD and encountered NO interference or problems from the charter.
Legally, she's a public school student. Socially she's a homeschooler.
Actually, in California - from a legal standpoint - I don't think homeschooling exists. You're either a private school student (file the PSA), tutored by a credentialed teacher or go through a public charter. (I'm sure someone will correct me if I've missed something )
We did the same thing when we lived in NorCal. The first one was pretty much considered public school (it was through the local office of education), and there were way too many limitations as to what curriculum we could use. For certain subjects you pretty much had to use what they gave (the same as what was used in the public schools in that district). This was our first year of homeschooling. There was no money either, they just provided a big portion of the curriculum, and had some classes (art, music etc). My oldest DD was in K then, officially, but doing 1st grade mostly. My youngest, DS was officially still a preschooler, but insisted on starting K too then, and the teacher who came to our house (weekly) was really nice and brought books and curriculum for him too (at K level), although some of it I didn't like and I ended up buying some of my own for him, since he wasn't officially enrolled and I could do whatever I wanted for him.
We switched to a charter school for homeschoolers the next year, and liked it much better. We got $1700 per kid per year, for curriculum (had to choose from their selection, tried to get them to order something else once, but didn't get it approved), materials (such as writing utensils, printing paper, art supplies etc, they even bought a violin for my daughter to use as long as she was enrolled!), and extracurricular classes and activities (such as music lessons, gymnastics etc). While a ES ("education specialist") came to our house once a month for nearly 2 hours each time, to record what we had done, the reality of the situation was that we really did have quite a bit of freedom. In theory we had to follow school hours, but we really didn't do that all the time. Some weeks we took a few days off during the school week, or other times we'd do a bit of school during the weekend, or a school break, but nobody had to know. When the ES came, I just checked off attendance on the official school days and all was good. LOL
Now, about the testing, my kids weren't old enough yet at that point (doesn't start until 2nd grade) to do the tests, but apparently in CA at least as a parent you can sign some kind of waiver and not let your kid do the tests! They don't advertise that of course, as they want everyone to do them, but legally you seem to have that right, unless that changed since we moved in Sept. 2011.
While there were for sure some limitations that I often disliked quite a bit, I have to say that $1700 per kid per year really does make a huge difference, at least for us it did. We really feel the difference here in AZ. Let's just say that if there suddenly was the same option in AZ, I would most likely sign up with them for my DS. There are enough ways around the limitations. The curriculum choices in the last charter were really extensive enough to find good ones for all subjects, and the few that I really wanted and couldn't get approved I could always buy myself.