Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Homeschooling with the k12 curriculum

Pin It Now! Although I do want to write up a post about our decision process to decide to homeschool our daughter, right now I'm more excited to share the curriculum program we have decided to use. The program we have decided to use is from www.k12.com. I am so exited and happy to have found this program. I have spent many hours on their website going through every sample lesson, the catalog, FAQ's and all the videos they have available. The best way to describe it I think is that it's like online college classes, but for kids k-12. It's very customizable. You can purchase individual courses, semesters (part time) or enroll full-time. If you do enroll full-time you have access to individualized learning plans, a teacher and tutors.

Since we live overseas we have to pay for the tuition cost (thankfully my husband's job pays for it) which for full-time is about $5k/year. They do offer a military discount as well as payment plans. Though this price seems hefty, it includes all the materials required for the year except for common household items. But textbooks, science materials, art materials, manipulatives, etc are all included and shipped out. It is considered a private school and is fully accredited. I know one concern I had about homeschooling was whether our daughter could get a diploma versus a GED. Through this program she can get a diploma. They keep track of all her credits and transcripts as well.

If you are physically living in the U.S, then depending on your state, there is no tuition! For example Colorado and Hawaii (the only two states I looked up) are state funded. How cool is that? Not only that, but there are co-op groups that meet for all kinds of groups like a cooking group and an aspiring music artist/actress club. In the U.S kids are able to join extracurricular activities and sports at the schools in their community, so there's no missing out on that. Another neat thing is kids can do show and tell via skype.

Even though a teacher is assigned for full-time students, the parent is still heavily involved, so I would still consider it homeschool. I think that once kids get older, like middle school or high school, they can be more independent. But especially in elementary school the caregiver has to be willing to still teach their child. The classes themselves aren't done online. The lessons plans are provided online and some activities are done online, but most lessons are done like in a typical classroom. Here's a sample lesson for kindergarten science I took from their site:

This particular lesson is for Kindergarten science and the field of study is the human body. This is what a lesson for one day would be like. The lesson starts with a recap of the previous lesson, brief intro to the next lesson and a fun fact.

 I love how the lesson gives me clear objectives and also shows me what supplies will be needed.

I really like how they provide ideas to present the information in an interesting and fun way. I also like the structure of the lesson. Giving background knowledge and preparing the child for what will be taught.

The next part is to investigate. This provides an opportunity for the child to think about some of the facts they learned and to put the information to use. I also like the opportunity to incorporate a craft/project related to the topic. It makes it more fun for a 5 year old to learn about bones :)

Having the child reinforce the information is awesome! They get an opportunity to show they understood and processed what was being taught.

This is one of the interactive online lessons. I went through it and it's really fun! I like that it not only reinforces the lesson material, but your child is also learning computer skills. If you click here, you can go through this sample lesson online and see the Dr.Jones online activity.

This lesson provides an optional learning activity to help reinforce the information and also have a little fun.

After each lesson is an assessment to ensure the that the information taught was understood and retained.

According to the course catalog each science lesson is about 45min and you could teach science just twice a week and get through the 32 week course on time. There are 70 science lesson plans. I'm working on our schedule for the fall and trying to decide which days we will do which subjects. We will most likely do a 4 day a week school week. That's the cool thing about homeschooling! And no homework either, woohoo!

I really, really love this curriculum and hope that by sharing this with other people they will see and understand the opportunities that  are available through education.

BTW I feel like I should mention I am in NO WAY affiliated with k12.com. I simply am a parent who is very excited about the product they offer.

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