Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Online Schools

My husband and I are considering an online school, K12. We are fans of William Bennett's educational philosophy and we like the idea of using computer technology to enhance the homeschool experience.

So today we went to a presentation about the K12 curriculum. I had the chance to view the manipulatives, textbooks and art materials that are sent to the students as well as the online tracking and organizational spreadsheets to help parents and children keep track of educational progress.

I was impressed with the clean visual design and easy-to-use features of the online features and I liked the traditional texts that were used.

I am a new homeschooler- my son will be entering "kindergarten" in the fall. I know many veteran homeschool moms who say that a specific curriculum is not necessary for successful homeschooling and I do not doubt that. However, being a newbie (as well as a mom who tends towards disorganization), I relish the thought of some structure being associated with our family's home education.

My son too, seems to like structure and if I skip something in his homeschool preschool he will point it out. He also seems to enjoy the order of going all the way through a specific workbook (despite the fact that he has a tendency to step out of his clothes and leave them in the middle of the floor creating a constant disaster in his room) and he seems to learn better that way.

I have noticed other online schools being advertised in the homeschool magazines and I came across a press release about one of them here.

Decisions, decisions. As my husband wisely pointed out, we can start with the solution that seems best right now and switch if it disappoints or does not meet our needs.

Any homeschoolers out there using online schools of any form(Charter, parent-taught, teacher-taught)? Let me know what your experience has been.


Denise said...

We are using a virtual school environment for part of my daughter's "school". She's at the other end of the spectrum from your son - a 9th grader in her first year of home schooling.

Michelle takes Biology 1, Algebra 1, Spanish 1 and Webmasters classes via Florida Virtual School (http://www.flvs.net) and really loves all four classes.

We decided to go this route because I was very uneasy about my ability to teach Michelle the higher level math that she'll need, so Algebra was our first choice for an online class - she liked it so much, she registered for Biology and Spanish almost immediately (she's just finishing up a full 36 week Biology class in 22 weeks, with 2 weeks off in December and a week off in the spring!). She "fell into" the webmasters class when a friend of hers who enrolled in FLVS after hearing of our experience was raving about the class.

We're planning to use FLVS next year for Geometry and a Marine Biology course and Spanish 2, and the year after that I assume we'll use it for Algebra 2 and Physics!

I'm not sure I'd have chosen an online class experience for my kindergartener but it sounds like your son might really like it - and the computer skills he'll learn at an early age should only help him later in life!

Good luck!

Joy Pullmann said...

Our family used structured programs when we were just starting out homeschooling, but now, 13 years and six more children later, we are much more relaxed and eclectic. I think that having a very organized program at the outset can be a wonderful help, but after a while, it becomes monotonous and constricting.

Homeschooling is a wonderful adventure. I hope you and your son enjoy it!

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