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I've "met up" with several other K12 curriculum users (virtual school or independent) on PBS. I'd love to know if there are more so I could add you to my buddy list.
We just became eligilble for K12 program here in Georgia. I'm interested in learning more about it. Is it an expensive venture? My dd is too old for it, but my ds is 3rd grade this year.
Re: Georgia Program
I will say that I have some 5th grade k12 materials and they looked good. None of it was anything my son wanted to learn though. lol I don't think it would work for us, jeez, at 3 am last night we were laying in my dad's driveway watching the meteor shower. We love astronomy but find we end up with strange hours because of our hobby! So I'm not sure how the schedule would work for us unless we get a 3rd shift teacher?
Here is the website - http://www.k12.com/ga/
.. this program is as if your child is in public school, but it is done at home. Your child is assigned a teacher, they take attendance, and your child has the normal testing as if in public school. There's contact with the teacher through email and online. There's supposed to be organized social activities.
The parent is considered a 'learning coach' with this program. To me, it looked like public school, just at home.
There's a lot of info on the site, and sample lessons.
We have one friend doing it, but she has said if it doesn't jive with them, they are dropping it and going back to homeschooling. She's in a situation where she wants to homeschool, and her husband wants 'structure' and public school, so it might just be the perfect compromise for them.
Do keep us informed please. I want to know how it is going as a lot of people contact me about various options here locally.
There are two options with K12 - the virtual public charter schools and using it as an independent homeschooler - just like anyone would purchase a HS curriculum. We've always been independent users, and we're starting our fifth year. There were two statewide virtual school options in our former state, and in our current state, only one school district has it as an option. Even if it goes statewide, we'll remain independents (K12 now calls it "Consumer Direct").
It's a wonderful program with a lot of depth and breadth.
If you use the homeschool option, it can *seem* expensive, but to me, the cost is well worth it! The ease of planning, the great progress tools, the awesome scope and sequence, you just can't find better out there!
If you use it through a virtual school, then it will only cost the "typical" public school fees.
**Added for Kristi G...
My son, who is 9, got up on his own to watch the meteors, too. He's going to do it again tonight.
I think you misunderstand how K12 works. The "teacher" that is assigned does NOT do the teaching, the parent does, just like I do as an independent HS user. The certified teacher is just there for support and oversight. Even in a VA, you can do K12 at any hour of the day, any day of the week.
The K12 VA's are a wonderful opportunity for what you describe with your friend. More often than not, it gives parents the confidence they need to do independent homeschooling (with K12 or any other curriculum).
Last Edited on: 8/13/07 9:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
OK, I'll jump in as a virtual charter school mom. = )
We use k12 through the California Virtual Academy (CAVA). What Julie says is perfectly true. The 'teachers' are there to SUPPORT the teaching parent, not to DO the actual teaching.
We are beginning our 6th year with CAVA, and we have never felt like the public school is in our home. We school when and where we want to: at the park, at Grandma's house, at another CAVA family's house, at the library, at night when Daddy's home, on Saturday if someone gave Mommy a hard time on something during the week ; P... We are simply required to 'keep attendance' because it is a public school. At the end of each day (or at the end of the week, if the days were not 'normal'!), I enter the amount of time spent on each subject.
The 'structure' comes into play in the organization of everything. It's WONDERFUL! You set up your own schedule--what subjects you want to teach on what days, whether you want to teach all the week's science (or any subject) lessons on one day, or spread them out over the week, whatever. After you've saved your schedule, the online school will just deliver those lessons that you have scheduled for that day. No lesson-planning. No hassle. No frustration. If you decide to deviate from your own schedule, you can access any of your student's lessons at any time. Out of order. Work ahead. Slow down a bit to really enjoy a lesson for a few days. It's SO flexible, yet organized. We love it!
We have a quarterly face-to-face meeting with our 'teacher' to turn in samples of the kids' work, but it's mostly just a fun visit! We really get to know other families and CAVA teachers on field trips and at workshops and testing days. Our schedule is very free to include extra-curricular activities.
Although what Julie said about the cost is true (it's worth it), I'm so glad that it's free to me through the public charter school! Best of both worlds!
Please PM me with any questions you may have about virtual academies and k12.
When we first talked about home school, K12 was the obvious choice. It's simple...they put everyhting in one convenient package for you, and if you go with the traditional virtual school, they loan you the computer, printer, and pay you back for your internet access. We didn't end up going with k12, for the following reasons. I'm listing them here for anyone considering k12. My reasons for NOT doing it could be someone else's reasons for going with them.
1. In the traditional k12, your child is STILL in public school. You have no control as the parent. (Some folks might like this, because they feel like it keeps them accountable. I don't need that for me.)
2. (At least in my state) they require a full four hours in front of the computer. My eyse hurt after 30 minutes, and my daughter hates computer work unless it's a game. (Some kids might do well with workbook-style learning. Mine do not. I see it as a lot of unnecessary busy-work)
3. The standards are the same as public school standards, which are too low in my opinion. Sure, you get to move up a level, but I found that none were as in-depth as I like. Going in-depth after the required four hours would be too much school work, too, so that wouldn't be an option.
4. (Some may disagree here, and that's fine) God tells us that it is our job as the parents to educate our children. I felt like K12 was no different than helping out with homework.
Again, just my opinion here, but thought I'd share it as the reverse side of the coin. :D I do believe we ALL do what's best for our own families.
In reference to my post - I was referring about the Georgia Virtual Academy only and how it works as stated at the top of my post. It clearly says on the site that the parent is considered the 'learning coach.'
From the site:
"Working closely with the teacher, the parent (or other responsible adult) serves as a "learning coach" to the child, helping facilitate progress through the daily lessons and working to modify the pace and schedule according to the child's needs. A suggested lesson plan is provided for the parent each week, and updates automatically as the child progresses."
Last Edited on: 8/13/07 11:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
WOW..SIX hours a day in front of the computer? Don't they realize that a child that is learning one-on-one needs MUCH less time than a class of 30 kids with 5 goof-offs in it? Sheesh!
(I really mean no offense by my posts, and I hope no one takes it as such!)
I don't think (I hope not!) that all 6 hours will be spent in front of the computer. In Georgia they are supposed to send manipulatives and stuff - so I imagine a big chunk will be spent working in the books and on projects?
In any event, for attendance - the child is supposed to do 6 or 6.5 hours per day. Georgia homeschooling law is great - do a yearly intent, do one standardized test every 3 years, monthly attendance turned in - 4.5 hours 180 days of the year - on whatever schedule/time you want, teach the very basics. Now I don't think that homeschoolers should give up ANY freedoms they don't have to - but for some that have the 'homeschooling is school at home' mindset, this is going to be the best option. I'm not knocking that mindset - it just didn't work for me.
I've got an 11 year old taking Japanese, Latin, and Spanish and doing professional level computer studies. Somedays he might spend 14 hours just working on a computer program or animating a cartoon he's making. I know that sounds harsh, but I also know that kind of uninterrupted time is what it takes to succeed at the things he is doing.
Everyone has to look at their own situation, and their own kids, and do what is best.
Now my friend has a child that struggles with the basics, and her husband doesn't have confidence in her. Yet, her son was miserable in public school - mainly for social reasons. He loves computers and doing interactive stuff. I think the K12 Ga. Virtual Academy is probably going to be great for them.
From the site - Role of the teacher:
"Parents of GVA students are never alone in the education process. Teachers are constantly involved to help with teaching techniques, pacing issues, comprehension challenges, positive reinforcement techniques, and other facets of the instruction experience.
You can be sure of receiving a lot of attention on a weekly and monthly basis. In fact, you're certain to interact with your teacher on a regular basis during:
Last Edited on: 8/13/07 11:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Wow, it sounds like GVA has much more stringent rules than we have here in CAVA. But I wonder... How are they going to know how many hours your kid is actually sitting in front of the computer? How are they going to know how many hours are actually spent studying?
I think it still remains in the hands of the parents to educate their children as they (the parents) see fit. = ) Yes, we are enrolled in a public virtual charter school, but my husband and I make every decision that affects our kids' education. We have completed 5 years with CAVA, and not once has any CAVA employee told me that my kids weren't at the computer enough, or that we weren't spending enough time with the curriculum on a daily basis. If I choose to skip a lesson, or teach a concept using different or additional materials, our kids are still getting the education my husband and I want for them.
I agree that public charter schools are not the answer for everyone, but I think the k12 curriculum is the best there is!
One of the issues with *new* virtual academies in states where they are just allowed, is the confusion of the hours commitment. I helped two K12 virtual schools get started when I lived in Kansas. The KS law, for public schools (which the virtual schools were), was 6 hrs/day. One of the virtual school principals worked hard to get the state board of education to see that virtual school curriculums do NOT need that amount of time. So much time the brick and mortar kids are in school is *wasted*: attendance, waiting in line, waiting for kids to calm down, recess, walking to and from other rooms, etc. So he convinced the board of ed that the only critical thing was that students were making adequate progression in the curriculum, NOT that they were counting X hours per day. The first year, he told his parents that if the default time for a math lesson was 60 minutes, but it took the child 15 minutes, to count 60 minutes. He'd been a teacher and knew that if the same child was in a classroom, they might still take the 15 minutes to do the work, but they'd have to sit there for another 45 minutes waiting on everyone else. So the second year, when the board of ed changed the rules, it was great - no timekeeping.
The important thing to note, and most VA's do this, as far as I've heard, is that if it's six hours per day of teaching, that doesn't mean your child has to be "in school" tied to the curriculum those six hours. They may take two hours on lesson, but in most HS families, you can bet more unstructured "life" teaching is going on the other four. Or the kids are having "recess", or out in the community learning "social studies", etc.
K12 is not sitting at the computer all day. The time does go up as the grades progress, but there is a LOT of offline work. My son maybe spends one hour out of two or three online. He's doing a 4th-8th grade mix.
FWIW, while we use K12 as our spine, we do a LOT of unstructured learning. It's like a mix of "school in a box (pc in this case)" and "unschooling". It works well for us, and we're starting our fifth year with K12.
Thanks for the clarification, Julie. That 6 hours was sounding pretty brutal. I'm glad to hear that the in-charge knew it, too. When I was looking into COVA, the attendance rule mandated that the child be plugged in to the system for four hours per day. I'm sure things may have changed since then, too.