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Topic: Question - Home School vs Virtual School

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Subject: Question - Home School vs Virtual School
Date Posted: 8/13/2008 11:06 AM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2008
Posts: 2,783
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This is more of an opinion poll I guess.  I was told that some home school parents DON'T believe in (aka agree with/like) virtual school(er)s.  I am curious if this is true and what peoples thoughts are on both.



Date Posted: 8/13/2008 11:19 AM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2005
Posts: 5,499
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Personally it's not that I don't believe in or agree with virtual schools, but rather that it's not a good fit for our family.  One of the reasons that we homeschool is so that we can modify our son's education plan to fit him personally and that wouldn't be possible with virtual school.  Another reason we would never consider virtual school is the oversight by public schools. 

That said, I think it's a wonderful option to have available.  It fits the needs of many, many families!

Date Posted: 8/13/2008 5:00 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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I've never used one, but that's because I lived in a state that didn't have any...until we moved.  Now I'm in IL and the only one for K-8 is in the Chicago school district.  The other virtual public school is a high school only.

I worked for two K12 virtual school programs as a parent-school liaison.  It was soooo much fun, and I was able to see what a wonderful blessing a virtual public school can be for families - two of my good friends' families included.

A virtual school would not work for my son due to the public school restrictions involved.  Most will only let a student advance 1 or 2 grade levels.  They also are stricter about progression and schedules.  I like our year-round, relaxed schedule.

A virtual school would be a wonderful option for my daughter (she's in B&M PS now).  She has an IEP and receives four therapies at school.  That alone makes HS'ing her out of the question, as she has to have the in-class, and pull-out, therapy.  But if we had a virtual option, it'd be much better.

Many *pure*, "old timer", traditional HS'ers disagree with virtual schools because of the government controlling it like a public school.  BUT it can be a great bridge between PS and HS.  Many parent use a virtual school for a year or so, then find out they really can teach their child.  Many like the "backup" of a certified teacher.  Families where one spouse agrees with HS'ing and one doesn't, can find common ground in a "public school at home".

The K12 virtual schools are so great, IMO, because it gives families a chance to have the awesome curriculum without the cost (~$1500/yr per child K-8 and at least $4500 for high school).  Also, it's a great way to "get back" some of the public school funds from your taxes.  You get to use those taxes, and you get to teach your child in their learning method, and away from bullies, bad attitudes, etc.

It's really sad to me when those who use a public virtual school option are treated like they have the plague by othe HS'ers.  The fact that certain HS groups won't let VS'ers into a group because they "aren't HS'ing" also drives me nuts.  Even worse, I get livid at the HS'ing community when HSLDA, HS groups, HS state associations, etc., act rabid about K12.  K12 is a curriculum.  They supply curriculum, and sometimes management, to virtual schools.  But yet if you use K12 as an independent HS'er, like I have for six years, you're a horrible person.  The same groups and people never seem to "go after" Calvert, which supplies the Connections Academy with curriculum.  K12 is not allowed to have booths at most HS'ing conventions since they supply not only *pure* HS'ers, but also virtual schools.  HSLDA reps have said, in convention sessions, "do not go to the K12 booth".  I worked HS conventions where HSLDA presented, and some people would completely avoid walking past our booth - as if we had cooties.  It's just plain sad.

I think it's soooo wonderful that there are so many options for our children.  To me if you school at home, you school at home.  It doesn't matter if a PS district supplies the curriculum, or you purchase it and do all the planning yourself, or you unschool.  As long as your child is getting the best education *for them* with what works *for your family*, then no one should judge another for their choices.  When HS'ers get so anti-virtual school, it's just sad.

The very interesting thing to me is that both teachers' unions and "classic/traditional" HS'ers hate the same thing - virtual public schools.  How can two groups, on a totally different end of the educational spectrum both be so opposed to the same thing?

Date Posted: 8/14/2008 12:15 PM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2008
Posts: 2,783
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Thanks for your comments.  Anyone else care to share?