Thursday, November 21, 2013

How I Chose To Homeschool: All About K12

(First and foremost, so you know, this post was not endorsed.)
How did I decide about homeschooling?
I chose to go with K12 as my (public) homeschooling option. Technically it is a public online charter school that we are going through, but to me, it is very much homeschooling. More like public homeschooling. They give me the lesson plans (just as if I had bought from them) and I teach it to them at home. 

I chose to do public homeschooling and k12 because it was accredited.

What does it mean to be accredited?
 It means that when my kids plan to go to college, they can list that they went to a public charter school online (public homeschooling). Meaning their chances to get into a school will be much higher than those that are traditionally homeschooled. I was very concerned about them getting into college if homeschooled. This was the only part of college I thought of. I don't care really what college they go to, because that is their personal choice but I did care for them to have a good chance to get in. Being accredited is super important to that. Accrediation is important for schools and it is important to do your homework to be sure it is accredited.

Can I supplement Lessons? Does going on field trips count as school? 
Yes. I supplement many lessons they do online to further the education of my kids.  I can take the kids to the zoo and count that for science or social studies. I can have them do a book report for what books they love and that counts for many lessons.

Do I have a lesson plan I have to follow? 
Yes, and no. You do have lessons to follow and as long as the child can do all their work, they are good. Meaning, your child has finished the lessons or shown proficiency. That is important to the school. They do receive money as if your child was in a seat.

Do I have to apply like a regular school?
Yes, you do. You have to go to the website for K12 and then ask them to contact you. They can tell you if you have a school in your state for k12 program. If not, you can also buy your own program. 

Is the program held to state standards? Is it challenging enough?
Yes and yes. It is based on your state and more over the schools are switching to common core. It is challenging. You can even have the child take the test and then move on to the next lesson/unit if your child can show they can pass with 80% or higher. I seriously wish I had known this before because the teacher who was overseeing me teach was hard on me about my son doing every single lesson. When I did, he would frustrate him because he knew how to read fluently. I later learned that I could have had him take the test and pass those that he did not pass.

How do the tests work? 
After certain lessons and the unit, they take an assessment test. Just like we did in school. If they fail it, which is below 80%, then they can go over the lesson and take it again. The kids do have to take the test themselves (sounds obvious but must be stated). For state testing, they have to be tested either online or by the k12 teacher.

Is it all online?
No. They have to do offline work as well.

Can I travel while doing this online homeschooling option?
Yes. I am doing it while writing this :) Makes it so fun to learn while traveling.

Do they provide materials?
Yes, they do for the very core of the materials. Rest you must supply yourself. This is better than buying your own curriculum and having to pay for all the materials. 

Is there support? Is there another teacher besides me?
Yes, You are technically known as a learning coach to them because you don't have a teaching degree. Though studies show that you are well equipped to teach your child! You have the school admin, the school teachers, and tutors. For the most part you are on your own but they do keep track of progress and check in with you. Sometimes they do field trips.

Do they have to attend school everyday? Can they have a vacation other than the school calendar?
Yes they do. Yes you can. Ours in DC runs just as if it were a public school- you have to attend everyday. If you are 'absent' for more than a certain amount of time, you have to answer for that. You can email the teacher if you have anything come up and also put it in the child's individual calendar that they are taking a vacation. The most important part is that they are on target for school. Even if I am traveling, I have them do work. Whether it be practicing word spelling in the car or math facts. You can count that.

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