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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone have kids in a charter school? What are the pros and cons that you have noticed? My DD won't be in K for another 2 years, but I want to look into other options besides public school.
 

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We have enrolled my oldest ds in a charter school program that supports homeschooling. It is our first year, so I don't have a lot to go on, but here is what I have learned so far:<br>
Pro's:<br>
Our school offers a ton of support. They offer several choices for curriculum for each subject, kits for science experiments and math manipulatives, advisory teachers that offer support and ideas, and "play money" to buy anything extra that you need. They also offer classes and field trips that are optional, like art, swimming, music, karate, etc. Field trips and special events like school picnics are organized by the school, and provide a good sense of belonging to a group, if you need or want this. Also, they keep all the necessary records for you, to keep the state/truancy officer out of your life.<br><br>
Con's: Being a public school, they have to follow state standards, and, because of this, so do you. We have to write out a work record every month listing the activities we plan to do, then sign that we have done them(or most of them) at the end of the month, and turn in 3 1-page samples of work.<br><br>
I will say that this is not for everyone. Realistically, unschooling is not supported in this way, for example. But I feel that the samples are easy enough to come up with, so we are able to use a kind of eclectic approach. And, being completely new to homeschooling, I really feel the need for the support that the school offers. And, so far, it has been nothing but good for us.<br>
Hope this helps!
 

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CHarter schools are different in every state. We are technically part of a charter school up here in Alaska. Alaska has state funds set aside for homeschoolers, but you have to go through one of the state affiliated charter schools in order to get it. And we don't really have to do a whole lot. We do have to have an IEP for our kids, and periodically we meet without advisor to make sure we're where we need to be. There are classes offered at the school, often by other moms that we can take advantage of, but we don't have to. We're only doing it so we have the money to play with. It is really nice to be able to get what I really want and not have to worry about price.<br><br>
Crystal
 

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Charter schools ARE public schools. The difference between charter schools and traditional public schools is that traditional public schools are run/administered by the local school board whereas charter schools are run/administered by a board of directors and are run according to a charter. Charter schools are all different- some have a special emphasis (classical education, core knowledge, foreign language, montessori, community oriented, democratic, cyber school, etc), other charter schools are very similar to traditional public schools.<br><br>
Basically, if your child is enrolled in a charter school, your child IS a public school student. Even if you are enrolled in a cyber charter school or virtual acedemy, your child is a public school student, subject to all of the testing, attendance, vaccination, and other requirements of other public school students.<br><br>
Since schools vary so much from state to state, and even from school to school, it would be smart to find out about the offerings in your particular area. A quick google search yeilded this website, it might help you in your search for options in your area:<br><a href="http://www.schools.utah.gov/charterschools/directory.htm" target="_blank">http://www.schools.utah.gov/charters.../directory.htm</a>
 

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We are part of a charter school ,and while some may not feel it is "homeschooling", I do.<br><br>
I enjoy the budget that I have to work with each year. It enables us to order materials that I would not ordinarily be able to afford. I chose ALL of our curriculum and materials. I also really enjoy the "enrichment classes" that we have the OPTION of participating in. My girls have been taking music and art, and this year will be participating in several other classes once week, fun hands-on activity filled classes.<br><br>
We are given some direction as to what we "should" be covering each year, it is really not a big deal, more of a guideline. They want to see progression each year....and of course I do too.<br><br>
We do have to sign attendance sheets, but it is homeschool...so if they were home...they were in school! We sign a vaccine waiver, and it has never been a problem. And we do have to test, not my favorite part, but they make it tolerable. Oh, and we do meet with our "Educational Facilitator" once a month, and we submit to her our learning log for the month, and a work sample for each subject, but that can be as simple as a picture of my girls at a zoo for science.<br><br>
Hope that helps some <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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My dd, who is 16 yo has been in a charter school since 6th grade, when we became fed up with the "public school system". I agree with some of the others who have posted here....charter schools are technically still public schools. And each charter school varies from state to state...truthfully each charter is different in its own way.<br>
Some pros that we have found over the past 7 years....<br>
1. The administration cares what the children and parents think, what they need, what they want. They listen!<br>
2. Generally the schools are smaller which means more time is given to each child.<br>
3. Tho charter schools do have to follow some state guidelines, they are still free to explore other methods of teaching.<br>
4. Most allow the child to learn at his/her own pace.<br>
5. Most charter schools offer different learning styles, rather than the "traditional" style that is practiced in almost every public school, thereby, in my opinion, being able to meet the needs of more children.<br>
6. In the case of one of the schools we were affiliated with, there were two teachers who were not meeting the needs of the children and not even trying to. Many of the parents got together and talked to the administration and those two were "invited not to return" after break. That would have been almost impossible in a public school.<br>
7. In the charter high school that my dd attends now, there are many "electives" offered that would not be offered in traditional schools...video production, robotics, criminal justice, just to name a few.<br><br>
The only con that we have encountered so far is...<br>
In the Charter High School that my dd is at now the majority of the work is done at home, on line...therefore her "social life" isn't what most would consider "normal" for high schoolers.<br><br>
So all in all, I guess I am a big advocate for charter schools. I only wish they had been available when my older two dc were in school.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for all your input. This school has an art emphasis, which I like. They do a lot of poetry, plays, etc. I like the idea that it's smaller. DH and I both had bad experiences with public school and ended up in an alternative HS and loved it. We still have a while to decide, but now I have a lot more to go on.
 

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There is two types of Charter schools. They are both run by the public school system. You can attend a Charter school or you can homeschool through a charter.<br><br>
Meaning......<br>
You attend a Charter school means that you go to their campus. You have teachers, you get grades, etc.<br>
Homeschooling through a Charter means that you, the parent, is the teacher. You can pick the curriculum and other educational items. You make the lesson plans, you pick the activities. You are still a homeschooler. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
Many homeschool Charters will work with unschoolers and many other types/styles of education.<br><br>
That is how it is in California.<br><br><br>
This is my first year with a Charter. My girls are 8,6 and 4 years old.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">Homeschooling through a Charter means that you, the parent, is the teacher. You can pick the curriculum and other educational items. You make the lesson plans, you pick the activities. You are still a homeschooler. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"></div>
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My understanding is that you can only pick curriculum that the charter school approves of and the activities need to be through a vendor on the charter's list. Of course you can always pay out-of-pocket for books and activities the charter won't cover and this seems to be what many parents in my homeschooling group do.<br><br>
Interestingly enough, I know of 3 families that were hard-core charter schoolers last year, that have decided to go on their own for this year. Apparently over the summer the charter school they were using fired many of the education specialists that were pro-homeschooling and also created more strenuous requirements for off-site families. The moms I know decided the money wasn't worth the additional inconvenience.
 

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My son is in a cyber charter school this year. Thus far, it's a lot of fun but of course we're just getting started.<br><br>
Pros:<br><br>
1) Bean can work at his own speed. My kid is obsessed with history, so he ate the entire kindergarten history curriculum that they provided... and the first grade box will be on it's way tomorrow. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> It's like that for all of his classes. Suuuuweet!<br><br>
2) They send a ton of stuff. Very, very useful if your budget squeaks (as ours does). Books and materials of all sorts arrived in big boxes from UPS. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> It was absolutely brilliant. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"> The only things I've had to purchase were crayons, paper, pencils, large envelopes, and some composition books. These are all things that I would likely have purchased in any case, as I do have three small children.<br><br>
3) The teachers and administrators are so much more relaxed than any others I've ever met. Last week, BeanBean and I attended a back-to-school event. BeanBean, being himself, spent a fair amount of time before the crowd arrived running up and down the aisles and around the chairs set up in one of the main conference rooms. While some of the other parents looked on in horror, the teachers smiled and noticed wonderful, positive things about him. They saw a healthy, active child-- not a distraction, not a potential troublemaker, but a little boy who happens to love learning just as much as he loves running around making a noise like a very quiet airplane. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy"> It was so nice to talk to a teacher who looked at a child running quite literally in circles and said, "He seems like so much fun! I bet he's great to teach!" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
4) He's still at home, so scheduling is, for the most part, ours. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
5) Field trips, group activities, and all of the other fun stuff Bean might miss by not being in school? We have access to all of it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
Cons:<br><br>
1) It's a public school (as everyone else has mentioned); I live in PA, and our public schools are required to show attendance for 180 days and 900 hours. There are testing requirements for particular grades. If the school has required testing for a grade level outside of the state mandated tests, the kids are required to take them.<br><br>
2) We have to submit attendance online (rather, I do). Sometimes crap happens and your connection goes down... and that sucks. On the up side, the teachers will be looking for you. I'm sure that the first week or two of school, for example, teachers will be calling people to remind them to click submit, or to find out why attendance wasn't submitted. The attendance requirement is the biggest drawback I've encountered thus far.<br><br>
3) We have to submit things to the teacher every month. In our case, a writing assignment, a math assignment, a subject specific assignment (i.e. the first month is art-- Bean is to do a self portrait with his name), and an optional, student-selected assignment. For kindergarten, the teachers are not looking, necessarily, for creative writing (although dictated stories, actually printed by the parent, are encouraged) but for handwriting analysis. As they get older, there are subject-lesson required assignments. For language arts one, students are required to submit a particular assignment from unit two-- when they get to it, they submit it as their writing assignment for that month.<br><br>
It's not that big a deal, particularly for kindergarten, but if I was homeschooling I wouldn't be reporting yet (don't have to do that until your child is eight on 1 September, which is a long way off for us). Now, if Bean was older I'd need to keep a similar amount of work for his portfolio, but there would *never* be any required assignments (i.e. "Write an introductory letter" sorts of things). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"><br><br>
I'm lucky-- PA actually has a boatload of cyber charter schools to choose from. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> There are different curricula, different philosophies... all kinds of different things going on. This works well for us right now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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