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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can we have a conversation about the abundance of virtual academies and charter school programs? I am looking for long term effects of these new programs being considered homeschooling.
I am aware that each state has several different programs, which multiplies into many many options, but how can these public school programs effect legislation for homeschooling?
For example I am recently hearing a lot about Columbia Virtual Academy, in my state of Washington. For enrolled families the deal is a teacher-partner who gets weekly email or phone updates of what the family did that week, and the family writes a monthly log of activities. The testing/assessment portion is essentially the same as required by wa hs laws. The big draw is funding. Kindy students get roughly $600, 1-8 grades $1200, and 9-12 get $800 for the year. Students receiving that degree of funding are considered public school students, but part time enrollment is only a few $ less, and maintains homeschooler status, with all the rights and privileges intact. The funding can be used for currics, ed materials and even extra curric lessons like dance, music and such.
I have been doing some research into this, really trying to find a reason *I* may not want to enroll my family. I can live with some accountability to a teacher-partner, and keeping a monthly log. I haven't been told I can't to the assessment privately as planned, and when I inquired about a student being behind, the response was that was what the teacher-partner was for, to help come up with ideas for problem areas. Also, enrolled families can leave at anytime.
So, basically I am having a hard time coming up with good reasons for me not to give this a try- I have in the past been steady in my dislike in any program that wants to interfere in homeschooling families business.
So lay it on me- what are programs like this going to do to our hs laws?
Talk me out of considering this program. Or should I give it a try?
 

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virtual academies are in the process of being voted into my state SC...and if all goes well they will be approved for fall 2008. i probably won't use one, but i love the comfort of having them as an option. the only thing i have read negative from other virtual homeschool users is that you don't have the flexibility that most homeschoolers enjoy. you have to do "X" amount of work and some families and students find it very difficult to keep up and they feel very rushed. you can look at www.homeschoolreviews.com and search other moms that have used K12 (a virtual academy). this may give you an idea of some of the challenges and complaints they had, as well as things they really like. there may be other virtual school reviews there too...but i only know this one by name. but as you stated, there are SO many types of virtual schools, so these reviews may be null and void in your situation. you can always try it for a year - and if it doesn't work for your family or child- change it
)
 

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People often argue the "slippery slope" theory... that such arrangements suck homeschooling families in with their funding, encourage families to become dependent on that funding, decimate the ranks of "regular", non-enrolled homeschoolers, thus creating conditions that are ideal for a quick rewriting of legislation to remove the provision for 'regular' homeschooling, since there are so few families left in the 'regular' homeschooling option that they won't be able to effectively protest.

I don't buy this argument. I live in BC Canada where publically-funded virtual home-based schooling options have been around for over ten years. Our right to no-strings-attached homeschooling is as secure as ever, and parents, even those who like myself are for now taking advantage of such programs and their funding, are as passionate as ever about the continued enshrinement of the right to no-strings-attached homeschooling.

My only cautionary advice would be to make sure that the program you choose does not require you to change your homeschooling approach at all. The program I'm with changes what I do as a parent (I have to log hours and report anecdotally on meaningful-to-them learning that my kids have engaged in) but the program does not require that my kids do anything differently at all. So we're happy campers.

Miranda
 

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One of the reasons I stopped reading HEM was the way they kept hammering on cyber charters. Yes, the are public schools. Yes, your child is a public school student. But to me, they are just one more option for parents to choose from in deciding how to educate their children. I also don't buy the slippery slope idea. Public schools are public schools and I think that everyone who looks into the issue understands the difference.

I know several homeschooling families who use cyber charters very successfully and adapt them to their kids' own needs. I think it makes keeping kids at home an easier option for many families, and I am all for that.

Working independently with my daughter was not working out for us. I put her in school. However, I still want her to be home and will be seriously considering a cyber charter next year.

Namaste!
 

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I think the more education options available the better. We've done both and for us independent homeschooling has worked out better. I liked many aspects of the virtual school, and I think many shortcomings were limited to this particular school. It actually got me more confident about homeschooling on my own, so I guess it didn't deplete the ranks of homeschoolers in my case!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I spoke again this afternoon with one of the people in the virtual academy I am considering. And I am still no closer to making a decision.
I think really, this type of schooling option is more likely to effect public schools. My reasoning is that homeschooling grows more popular and accepted each year and families have come to see public education as only one option- not the only option. With the quick growth of charter online schools, it would be easy to assume attendance in ps is shrinking while hs and ps at home is growing. Maybe these types of online programs are the result.
Now I am rambling a bit, but I appreciate every one's input.
I am feeling really torn, part of me says go ahead and give it at try- there only a few months left to June when the program will end for this school year. I can take advantage of that and get some funding. Another quiet voice inside me says I don't want anyone to interfere with our homeschooling, don't be drawn in by the promise of $$. I feel like I should be cautious and wary of any program like this.
I want to be a homeschooling family. I want to support and protect our hs rights. I want to do the right thing. But what is it?
 

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I recently enrolled my daughter in an online charter school for the 07/08 school year. It's a fabulous charter school that gives my daughter a $1200/year allotment and I can choose any curriculum I want (non-religious), and use up to 50% of the allotment for guided instruction (dance, ice skating, piano etc.).

Without this option I would be unable to homeschool my daughter, and I would be unable to provide more then just ballet class, now she can also take another class of her choice, plus I get to use the curriculum I know my dd will thrive with, and they are going to pay for it!!!

Sure, we have to have monthly contact with a teacher (email, phone, whatever!), and my dd will have to take state tests, but so what? the testing doesn't give us permission to educate dd at home, we will home educate no matter what the test results say (though I am sure dd will meet or exceed them!).
 

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lisa, i'm so glad your program is working for you. it really sounds like it offers a lot for your family. how wonderful!!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lisashepp View Post
I recently enrolled my daughter in an online charter school for the 07/08 school year. It's a fabulous charter school that gives my daughter a $1200/year allotment and I can choose any curriculum I want (non-religious), and use up to 50% of the allotment for guided instruction (dance, ice skating, piano etc.).

Without this option I would be unable to homeschool my daughter, and I would be unable to provide more then just ballet class, now she can also take another class of her choice, plus I get to use the curriculum I know my dd will thrive with, and they are going to pay for it!!!

Sure, we have to have monthly contact with a teacher (email, phone, whatever!), and my dd will have to take state tests, but so what? the testing doesn't give us permission to educate dd at home, we will home educate no matter what the test results say (though I am sure dd will meet or exceed them!).
 
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