Over the summer, I’ll be working with my daughter on a bit of home schooling. It’s at her request, as she wants to be home schooled next fall. Given my busy schedule and her highly social nature, I told her that we could test it over the summer to be sure that we both like it at least a little before committing to it for the upcoming school year.
The program I’m interested in for her is California Virtual Academy, through K12.com. It looks like a great program. It goes through the California Public School system, and is free for California residents living in qualifying counties. You get a teacher who helps you guide your child through their schooling. And the K12 curriculum strikes me as really impressive. It’s available in other states through their public schools or private schools too. Just check the website for your area.
Our basic reason for this is frustration with the local school. It really doesn’t meet my daughter’s needs, for a variety of reasons. Some may be pure personality mismatch with her current teacher, but other issues are with a system that is too focused on getting the right test scores so the school looks good, rather than on overall quality of education.
The K12 program offers courses in the usual subject, such as math, English, science and history. But there are also courses in art, music and foreign languages available. You just don’t get that so much at most public schools around here these days, at least at the elementary level. That frustrates me as a parent who wants the best for her kids.
The Virtual Academy model has a lot of advantages for parents concerned about socialization, which is what every person I talk to who isn’t enthused about home schooling immediately brings up. Yes, current home schoolers, I know that’s not really a problem when you do it right.
My husband worries because the only kids he knew in college who were home schooled were definitely socially awkward. He’s going by his experience. Of course, he may well have known other home schooled kids who just weren’t so obvious as the ones he remembers.
The Virtual Academy includes time with fellow students, in the form of field trips, and local message boards and ways to communicate with the other families in your area who are also in the program. Seems to be a good way to get to know the other kids and ensure social time.
The one thing I’m dreading is the time commitment. That’s going to be hard for me with a home business and a toddler. I’m not going to pretend that it will be easy on me. That’s a big part of why I want to test things out over the summer. I need to know how I will cope or if it’s just going to be too much for me.
On the plus side, I often end up more productive when I have a lack of time to work. The lack of time means that I know I can’t goof off at all.