K12 Home School
by Russ Albright
K12 home school is an option that several states now offer for elementary and secondary computer-based school at home. K12 home school and Connections Academy seem to be two of the biggest companies that are functioning as charter schools in many states.
If you are willing to work with the curriculum provided by K12 or Connections Academy, you can be involved in educating your child at home for almost no cost. This school at home option can lead to a home school diploma. The student is sent a complete set of textbooks, workbooks, science lab equipment for traditional courses as well as additional supplies for electives such as art or foreign language. Also, some families will also qualify for a computer and printer that will be provided to you while your student is enrolled.
My experience was with K12 home school curriculum for the 7th grade. K12 produces almost all of their own textbooks. These are paperback volumes of average quality for math, science, English, etc. In addition to the textbooks, online learning occurs mainly through PowerPoint like slides that the student progresses through on their computer. Over the course of the year, this one style of learning can become very repetitive and difficult for your child to stay on task.
Progress is recorded online with computer based assessments after each section. If the child fails the assessment, she may retake it until a satisfactory level is achieved. The online assessments are true and false, multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank type of questions. Sometimes written responses are required in paragraph form. When this occurs, the parent is asked to evaluate the writing based on a set of criteria that K12 home school says to base your judgment on.
Students are assigned a "teacher," but the "teacher" functions more as a monitor seeing that the student is progressing through the material. Once or twice a week there is a live session that the student can log on to with other students across the state. The session is run by one of these teachers and allows the students to interact by typing in questions. The topics are generally more auxiliary rather than in step with where your child currently is in the curriculum.
There are two major differences between home schooling and one of these virtual academies. The first involves the curriculum. You really don’t have a choice but to follow their curriculum. All assessments are measuring the content from their curriculum. I think many home school parents may be frustrated by this. I thought it was a small price to pay to have everything provided at no cost.
The second difference involves the accountability imposed on you and your child. You will be required to log hours that are roughly equal to the amount of time your child would spend in a normal classroom. This requires more school time each day than I think most home school families do. It was very difficult for us to stay on task for that long each day. Field trips and physical activity are encouraged and can be applied to your time requirement.
If you can live with the fixed curriculum and can provide some variety during the day for your child K12 home school can be a nice alternative for home schoolers.
Visit K12 Home School.