Thursday, September 4, 2008

In Love With School?

Well, my sister put up a new background on her blog, inspiring me to do so also. She has a cute school themed one, so I searched our favorite site for blogs The Cutest Blog on the Block. I found this one, and so decided to write a post about our school year this year.

For those who don’t know I home-school Carter. Even though I was informed quite rudely by another home-schooling mother that I don’t in fact “home-school” because we are technically a charter school in Idaho, the way I think of it is I teach Carter (who affectionately wants to be referred to as C.J. now) and we are at HOME... Making us a home-school, right?

Last year Carter entered the 4th grade. I couldn’t believe it! I went to the same grade school Carter was, at the moment, in. He was now in the upstairs classrooms, and for those who remember, that’s where the ‘big kids’ were. Carter was now a big kid!

I was excited too. I, after a busy summer (Jarrod moving to Atlanta, us moving into my parent’s home, searching for an apartment, then us moving into our apartment, and then Jarrod moving back from Atlanta) was ready to have Carter back in school, and getting my free time back. (as free as a mom with an infant can expect) Free to bake and shop, and clean.

Then came the homework... Carter would spend the day at school, where he was being taken out of class for “Title One” (it used to be “chapter one” when I was a kid) five times a day. I know that sounds like quite a lot, but the teachers, as well as the special education teachers, were telling me he needed it. I, thinking they knew their craft better than I, succumbed to their suggestions.

So after five hours of school and a 45 min. bus ride (to be dropped off 6 blocks away from school) Carter would get home... home to another 3 hours of home work and not going to bed until 9:00- late when he would have to be up and ready for the bus at 7:30. “What are they doing at school, that he needs to bring home 3 hours of home work” I would ask myself.

After about a month of this hellish schedule,I felt something lacking with public school, and started wondering about alternatives. I had looked at charter schools in our area, but there aren’t a lot of options in our town, sadly enough, and the waiting lists are a nightmare. Private schools were out of the question, based on our limited income. I had looked at home-schooling before earlier in the year, but soon became overwhelmed with all the information, and not knowing where to start.
Then my mom told me of a home-school that she had heard a politician talk about called K12. I thought the name was weird, but I was desperate. I went on-line and found all the information I needed, and Carter was enrolled by the next Monday. His school is actually the Idaho Virtual Academy, and they use the K12 curriculum.

First of all, it is all COMPLETELY 100% FREE. As if that wasn’t enough, they sent us a computer and printer, they pay for our internet, and they send us all the books and materials we need for every lesson. It’s all mapped out for me, I simply give Carter a little instruction, and the rest is taken care of.

The school has all sorts of outings for the IDVA families all year long, so the kids and families can get to know each other. The only down side that I have found is that there isn’t a big community in our town for home-schooling either. Up north about 40 minutes away there is a HUGE community, but with gas and our car in the state they are in, it’s not possible for us to get up there often.

I’ll admit the first year was a struggle. We came in over a month late, and were playing catch up all year, but I absolutely LOVE the curriculum. Every lesson is so well organized. You have the flexibility to adapt for your child. If Carter isn’t too interested in a particular subject as long as he can pass his lesson assessment with an 80% or higher, he can move on. If he enjoyed a different lesson, and wanted to learn more he was given more information to get more in-depth. Carter started Spanish this year, and he loves it. He sat down an did almost a weeks worth of lessons in a few hours, and with this school that’s o.k.! If you want to do math for a whole week, (I don’t know why you would, but kids do funny things) you can do math for the whole week.

Another up side would be the absolute FREEDOM that we have that we didn’t before. When Carter was in public school I knew he would get home around 3:40, and I would have to plan my daily activities accordingly. Now, if we all want to go to a movie during the middle of the day we can. If we need to go out of town we can. If Carter is sick we can still do work, but concentrate on the more laid back stuff.

This year has just been such a smooth transition for us. I have been able to put Belle down for her nap, and we get all- if not almost all- of his school work done in that 2-2 ½ hours and then we are done for the day! Carter was able to advance into the 5th grade almost 6 months sooner than other kids his age, and if we continue on this path he could be at an 8th grade level by the time he is ready to enter middle school.

I just love this school. I could go on and on about it!!


Anonymous said...

I do love your background! I had to change mine up today too. I get bored of the same old thing. I think it's awesome that you home school Carter. It sounds really interesting and very appealing when it comes to your flexible schedule. My hat goes off to you!

Amanda MmmBop Hansen said...

Sounds like a pretty sweet set up. I love how you said that Carter wants to go by C.J. at the beginning of this post and then called him Carter for the rest of it. Awesome.

PS I looked up Freud's explaination of my dream. What a sick-o twisted man.

Peay Family said...

I want to, I want to , I want to!! (pout!)

Mike & Kristen said...

Sounds great! My neighbor is one of the teachers, my pre-school teacher/sitter was going to do this too but looked at other options. I have been thinking about what I am going to do with London and Mason when they start, but that is 3-4 years away. where do you live again??

Mariam said...

Lizzy and mom used this program a few years ago. I think they really liked it. I was wondering what the story was behind homeschooling, I was just about to ask you. I am so glad that things have worked out.
I hate the "title one" stuff. How is a kid supposed to catch up when they keep taking the kid out.
Here's one for a good laugh. I was in "resource" and "gifted and talented" at the same time. Someone want to tell me how that happens.
As soon as I was in Jr. High, and left alone, I started to excel in school. They take you out of the class and slap a "dumb kid" label on you. I am not and was not a dumb kid.
After leaving the program, and the label I did great. I graduated valedictorian of the College of Secondary Education. I don't say that to brag, just to prove a point.
Some kids need extra help, but that is not the answer. Okay, I'll get off my soap box now.

Alida Bowles said...

We looked into K12 when we were in Vegas but they weren't actively offering was a pay thing. Here in Kansas however they do have k12 and it is absolutely free just like in Idaho. I have really really been thinking about it for my little boy cause we've been having some issues and I think he'd do well with it. Now that I've read this I have a bagillion more questions but I'm really excited :)

BTW, whatever to that homeschooling mom who told you that ou aren't "HS" cause its a charter school...POO POO POO on her and her self righteous granola-y self. :) (just kidding)