I would like some feedback from those of you who are using virtual learning schools, i.e. cyber charters or whatever other name they go by, such as Connections Academy or K12.<br><br>
What do you like about it? Positives/negatives? Etc.<br><br>
I've looked into them but have no experience going that route. I don't like the idea of a structured curriculum and having my kids go online to take exams and all that. I think the only positive from the programs I looked into was the reimburstment of or use of a computer and ISP. But to me it's not worth it to have someone else dictate how and what my child will learn. That being said I think many parents find it to be a great alternative to sending their children to school so it might be something to consider and possibly try for a while. I'm also guessing that there are a variety of options and some may be more lenient than others. I found ones that cost money and other's that were free thru local school districts and charter schools so it all varies.
I'm not planning to use a virtual school with my kids, and this is why:<br><br>
They are, technically speaking, public schools. In PA, they exist for the sole purpose of recruiting homeschoolers. The kids are registered as students in their home districts, and the districts get money for them. That's why they're willing to give you the books and the computer and the ISP; they still make money just by having the kids on their rosters. Well, if anyone's going to be getting money for my kids being taught, I think it should be me. Especially if I'm the one keeping them at home and feeding them and such. There are advantages; if you are homeschooling primarily because you live in a rural area and getting your child to school would cause problems, or because your child has interests that they'd like to pursue during regular school hours, this might be an option for you. If your child is often ill and can't attend classes on a regular basis, something like this might be in order.<br><br>
If, on the other hand, you are keeping your children out of school in order to avoid the major pitfalls of public school education (i.e. testing, strict age grouping, etc) then a virtual school will probably be out of the question. A virtual school is still a school, it still has mandatory attendance (anytime you want, but you still have to put in x hours/days) and mandatory classes and testing requirements. There are no walls, and you can do it at 3 a.m. if you want to, but it's still school.
Our Virtual School doesn't require attendance. It's all based on academic progression. Each child takes a placement exam in math and language arts. they are placed according to ability, so there are 7th graders that are in 5th grade math, but 8th grade language arts. Students are required to participate in state assessments. I find that the families that are in the program like the accountability or the support of the teachers that they talk to a couple times a month. It's definitely not for everyone. But it's a choice for some families. We have a lot of families that have been in the public schools, but are afraid to take the leap home by themselves. But then there are also families that have always homeschooled. It's an interesting mix. But like I said - it's not for everyone. It's just another option.
Connections Academy came to my town last night and did a presentation on their school. Currently, there are few virtual school options in our state and elementary school is only available in Las Vegas.<br><br>
I am hoping to get more feedback from people here who have used this type of program - I thought I saw people post on other threads about using Connections and K12.<br><br>
Anyway, I really liked what I saw. It seems like a very flexible program. I threw every question I could think of at them and got very satisfactory answers. However, the one big negative of course is that since they fall under the public school domain, the children enrolled in the program do the same standardized testing.<br><br>
My son and I are both special needs and are struggling with homeschooling ourselves. I like that there's the structure in place but still a lot of flexibility within that structure.<br><br>
Anyway, I hope I get more feedback from those of you experienced cyber charter users!<br><br>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>woo27ks</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Our Virtual School doesn't require attendance. It's all based on academic progression.</div>
That's interesting. I've never heard of one that *didn't* have an attendance requirement of some sort, regardless of academic progression or lack thereof.
The principal of the school had to work with our state legislature to get that passed. Right now he's working to get homeschoolers allowed to compete in high school sports.<br><br>
In the brick and mortar schools they have to log in a certain amount of hours, so last year that was a big focus. It was ridiculous because what matter is the academic progression not how many hours. So now families have to complete 90% of Language Arts and Math lessons - 85% of History and Science lessons before they can order the next level of curriculum.
We use Connections Academy. It is technically public school. I really like it. They use Calvert. We do take attendance every day but we are not required to do a certain amount of hours.(That will depend on the state) They give me all the books and teachers manuals for free and even a computer, printer, ink, all school supplies like paper and pencils and an internet allowance.<br>
The teacher calls us every 2 weeks to check up on us and answer any questions we have. Every 5 or so lessons in each subject is something we need to hand in to be graded.And most testing is done online. It is super flexible in that we can do the lessons in any order we want. For example we do 10 science lessons every other Thursday and thats fine. Our teacher also encourages field trips and tells me to write everything down for credit. My son is in 1st grade and he has 7 required classes and 5 electives and our average day is 2 hours of sit down work. But that is because we started late in a year and trying to do the whole year in 5 months. So I would guess it to be less time if we had the year to do it. We could have skipped ahead but i pulled my son out of BM kindergarten and put him in 1st grade so I didn't want to miss anything.<br>
That being said It is a public school and we are required to do the state testing. That really is the only negative i have about it.<br>
Thanks for your input!<br><br>
I have been doing extensive research (negatives and positives).<br><br>
I have been disheartened by conversations I have had with other homeschooling friends. I have also heard stories about homeschoolers who begin using these virtual programs and are shunned by the hs community (not allowed to participate in co-ops, for example).<br><br>
I know I really shouldn't worry about others' opinions regarding my very personal educational choice, however when one is told that you cannot call yourself a homeschooler or expect to be welcome in the hs community if you do this, it is a little saddening.<br><br>
For now, I am moving forward with trying to get this program here in my area.