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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I started a thread about if anyone has ever started homeschooling after a few years. DD is 8.5 and in third grade and I am really sick of public school...anyway, I am considering homeschooling her starting next year but then my mom looked up cyberschools and thought maybe that would be better as I don't know if I am up for teaching her this stuff on my own..the cyberschool is free and provides a free computer and internet service...also, unschooling sounds interesting too but I don't really understand how it works...there are pros and cons to all three...how do i choose?
 

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I replied to your other thread - we're actually doing a virtual school with the K12 curriculum. I know there's a mom here who uses one of the virtual academies in PA, so hopefully she will come along and answer any questions.<br><br>
We're doing k12 virtual academy because that's what my son chose to do, and I like having a curriculum, it's free, etc. Your child would still be considered a public school student, and there will still be some hoops to jump through. We have to meet with a teacher every six weeks or so to hand in work samples (but it doesn't really matter what they are - they just need to have something on file), keep a PE log, take daily attendance (on line), participate in standardized testing, etc. Having the teacher can be helpful, though, if he or she is a good fit with your family. I really like our teacher and she's been able to give us some good ideas for things to try and has emailed me links to things she thinks the kids might be interested in, etc. I suppose having a bad fit with a teacher could be problematic. Another problem is that you have to use their curriculum. It's worked fine for us, but it isn't very flexible and I coudl see that being difficult if your child didn't mesh with the curriculum well. I'm not sure if you have these in PA, but we also have a different sort of homeschool charter here in California that actually provides funds for you to use your own curriculum, as well as funds for extracurricular activities like sport, music, art classes, etc. that's the direction we'll go if k12 is ever not working for us. My preference would be to homeschool without being hooked up with a school, but finances dictate that we do it this way for now, and I'm okay with it.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">...there are pros and cons to all three...how do i choose?</div>
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Read. Books, magazines, websites, forums, groups. Then read some more.<br><br>
Read first about deschooling, about your child's learning style, about finding creative ways to teach things.<br><br>
Breathe. Deeply. And remember that no one person can teach a child everything but that you can teach her quite a bit and find sources for everything else. Also remember that you can learn with her.<br><br>
When it comes to unschooling, read start with John Holt's <i>How Children Fail</i>, then go onto <i>How Children Learn</i> and <i>Learning All The Time</i>. Then go onto anything else by him. Naturalchild.org has a great book <i>The Unschooling UnManual</i> too.<br><br>
Also in regards to unschooling, the best mode of learning is to question unschoolers. You can do that here on the unschooling forum or on the many, many unschooling Yahoo groups.<br><br>
But regardless of which way you decide to go, look into deschooling first. Taking a break, finding the fun in learning again, reestablishing your relationship if needed. After a good long while at that, just try things on and see how they fit. (Keep in mind that unschooling doesn't give instant feedback on how well it works. Other ways may not either.)<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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if it were me, I would take a year "off"....read, enjoy, go places, visit the library a LOT. Take brief notes each day about what you do, talk about. Allow their curiosity to naturally resurface, if it's been put into remission at all. Time is on your side.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>OrganicSister</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12404181"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Read. Books, magazines, websites, forums, groups. Then read some more.<br><br>
Read first about deschooling, about your child's learning style, about finding creative ways to teach things.<br><br>
Breathe. Deeply. And remember that no one person can teach a child everything but that you can teach her quite a bit and find sources for everything else. Also remember that you can learn with her.</div>
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ditto all of that.<br><br>
I have a 13 yo and he uses Switched on Schoolhouse for his core subjects. We use other things for the electives right now. I chose not to use online for him because it just didn't sound like the best thing for us. However, I know I also can't teach him a lot of what he needs to know because I'm not a teacher and as he gets older it gets tougher. I learn a lot along with him as well. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> The main thing is that he is learning and he is in a nice, comfortable, warm, loving environment to do so.
 

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pennsylvania does have a lot of cyber schools to choose from. remember, if you decide to try it & your child hates it, you can always quit mid-year and go to traditional homeschooling. good luck in your decision <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wave.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wave"><br><br>
Pennsylvania has, I believe, twelve cyber charter schools (not all of them are K-12, though). BeanBean is enrolled in <a href="http://www.k12.com/agora" target="_blank">Agora</a>, which is a K12 school like the one eclipse is using. I chose Agora because the curriculum is fairly rigorous, and because the administration seemed willing to work with me to address Bean's needs as an individual student. It is a public school, as mentioned, and there are hoops to jump through, but for our family it is well worthwhile as we receive free curriculum as well as a computer (borrowed) and even an internet subsidy ($33/month, three times a year).<br><br>
There is one other cyber charter in PA which uses the K12 curriculum, but their administration is somewhat different. The other schools use different curricula; I know that at least one uses Calvert for K-8, for example. In any case, the big drawback is that they are public schools with the public school hoops to jump through (things like standardized tests, required attendance, and regular interactions with teachers). On the up side, at least with Agora, you get a lot of curriculum for free (as well as extras!) and you never have to worry about things like, "What if I have to put my child back in public school?! What kind of information will they need, will my kid be able to keep up?" You also have a lot of the freedom of homeschooling without the same set of requirements. Knowing the law in PA is an absolute *imperative* if you plan to homeschool independantly, and while the workarounds are fairly simple you do need to be constantly aware of it when interacting with official sorts of people.<br><br>
Homeschooling in Pennsylvania is one of those things that seems more difficult than it is. I spent a year homeschooling my niece, so I sat down and read all the regulations involved. There are TONS! They're ridiculously involved. Easy to work around, in many cases, but you have to *work around* them. The greatest benefit to being in PA is that children are not legally required to attend school until they are eight years old, and they're only required to attend through the eighth grade. (Note: If your child has attended first grade or beyond in the state of PA, you're required to register as a homeschooler regardless of your child's age.)<br><br>
According to the law, homeschoolers are required to provide proof of progress via standardized testing in grades 3, 5, and 8; You'd be amazed how many PA homeschoolers are never in those grades. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"> Medical documentation is required; You can submit a religious or philosophical exemption instead, if you choose. Evaluation is required every year, and this is a place where things can get tricky. Some evaluators will ask for more than is required by law in terms of a portfolio; Some disctricts will as well. This is why you MUST be informed as to your actual obligations, so that you are not compelled or coerced into doing more than the bare minimum. The laws are so overwhelming already that doing *more* than is required is not only unfair for you, but it sets a bad precedent for everyone else. It can be a real pain in the neck, but you should know that many people choose to homeschool in PA, and be legally compliant, and do it very well. Even unschooling is possible. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
As to unschooling, that will depend on your individual child and on your family; It's more of a lifestyle choice than anything else, the way I see it. The benefits to unschooling will vary wildly with your family structure, as will the drawbacks. I can say that for BeanBean, unschooling has never seemed to be the right choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you guys sooo much!! You have given me a lot of really great and helpful information! What is nuts is..my mother and I were discussing all of this and I was on here asking you all for help...and that day we went to school to get dd and that day dd's friend's grandmother said she is homeschooling dd's friend, too...she also has had enough of public school..this family has also been put through the wringer...he has adhd and they are now trying to put him in a special needs class, saying he can't talk in complete sentences. I have known this kid since Kindergarten and he might have a lot of energy but he definitely talks in complete sentences!!!! When she said she was homeschooling, the counselor said "what about socialization?" and grandmother said, "last week you said the problem was he was TOO socialized!" Then she says, "well, I don't think the team will like it" and Grandmother said, "It's not the team's decison, it's mine."<br><br>
So we talked and I told her how my mom and I have also been wanting to pull her out and now we are researching together...it is great and I am so glad that her friend since Kindergarten will be with her.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">:
 
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