K 12 Homeschooling Program
by Shari Robinson
(Richmond, VA, USA)
K 12 Homeschooling Review
We have begun using the K 12 homeschooling curriculum this July, and we love it!
My son is dyslexic, so I wanted to offer him the homeschool alternative to allow him the flexibility to learn they way he needs to learn, and at his own pace.
He is 13, and on the 7th/8th grade level. I had a difficult time figuring out how to set up my own learning program and schedule. Then I stumbled across the K 12 homeschooling program on the internet. I checked them out for a while before I purchased the program, and I saw varying mixed reviews of the program. Still, it looked interesting enough for me to try it myself.
I first attempted the free public school online option with them; however, we missed the deadline with some outstanding paperwork (which really ticked me off). The homeschool online option is a great way to use the free resources of the public school system from home, using the K 12 homeschooling program. It is a program run, ostensibly by the public school system, so you must still adhere to their rules.
I then looked into their private school online program. This also seemed to be a great option, because it is a teacher-led program, which would really free me up to act only in the capacity of a coach. It is less expensive than most private schools, but with money being tight for us right now, I chose, instead, to use the independent studies programs.
Using this last option, I could choose the classes I wanted to purchase. The options are given for you to purchase the programs outright, or pay for them over time. There is also, the option, to include a teacher in your programs. I choose to teach the programs myself.
I chose the majority of my son's programs with K12; however, I opted to use Touchmath for math, and I chose my own Japanse program (K12 also offers foreign languages, which is a huge plus; but my son was set on learning Japanese, which they don't offer).
I paid for the startup materials for each class, and chose to spread the access charges out over the course of the year. The classes are administered via online learning modules, and may either by student-led or teacher-led, depending on the grade level and subject matter of the courses you enroll in.
While I'm certain that what I got as independent learning is much less that I would have gotten with the teacher-led options, I found that I was more than pleased with what I got. I work during the day, and my mother picks up the slack with a couple of courses while I'm gone. I set up a schedule of classes (I used the recommended schedule that was provided for me, which is all administered online). This generates a lesson plan for each day/week, which I can change as often as I need to. It also does not schedule lessons on days I designate as off days, such as weekends or holidays. All I have to do is login, and the classes for that day are listed, and accessible via a simple click.
The modules are online, and there is a list of learning resources, as well as the offline materials that you will need to use for that lesson. If the lesson is student-led, the lesson will be online, with supporting offline activities; if it is teacher-led, then the lesson is entirely offline. For each course, there is a student guide, as well as a corresponding teacher guide. My guide tells me what to discuss, what he is learning, and what activities we need to be doing to reinforce the lesson. There are loads of books that come with the programs, as well as a ton of other stuff (for Life Science, we even get a microscope and materials so that we can complete labs for the lessons).
Once we have completed a lesson, there is a learning assessment (for many, but not all of the lessons) for the subject we have just finished. This may take the form of a lesson assessment or a unit assessment. The assessment is scored based on the number of correct answers. If the child passes, it is marked as successful; however, if he does not get the majority correct (which is relative to the particular assessment), the assessment is marked as "Not Mastered." In the latter case, the lesson is marked complete, but the lesson remains in the "Started" section of our progress module (which is also included), as opposed to the completed section. This shows me that we need to review the subject matter, and retake the assessment in order to eliminate that lesson.
I mentioned the Progress module; the progress module allows you to see how well you are moving through the courses, and what your anticipated completion date is, based on your current rate of progress. I can also see a list of the lessons completed, as well as those yet to come. Each lesson is available via a click, as is the assessment that corresponds to the lesson. Additionally, I have an attendance monitor, which allows me to check off the subjects we have participated in that day, as well as the amount of time we have taken on each subject. This allows me to adjust our days accordingly if we have subjects (i.e. History) that take us longer than is planned (there is a suggested length of class time for each subject).
Overall, I have to say that the K 12 homeschooling program has really helped me to keep organized, which is not one of my strong suits (especially given that the classes are not always administered by me). The program has really kept us on course, and provided a simple means of helping me teach my son.
The one drawback I can say that I have experienced is that the different departments of the company do not seem to communicate well with each other, so one may have information that the other doesn't have, which makes calling them sometimes frustrating.
What I CAN say is that they at least try. The other recommendation I have is to call them when ordering. They have online ordering, which allows you discounts for multiple items purchase; but the discount I received from the rep on the phone was much better than that! My only suggestion is to select your courses online, so that you can see what you are looking at, and then call.
I had a rep who signed my son up for the wrong art class, and it took a week for me to figure it out. I DID get them to credit me for that week, as I pay monthly. I also learned that it was better to buy the class for the year, as opposed to buying it on a month-to-month basis, because you can move on the another class if you finish the one you purchased earlier than the year, while keeping the discount that you initially received in place. You will have to by the new startup materials for that class, but it seems to be worth it.
My son takes the following K 12 homeschooling classes:
Language Arts 5
Intermediate World History A
Music Concepts A
Intermediate World Art IOkay, Shari – you have officially earned the award for posting the longest and most informative homeschool curriculum review on my website. What a thorough review of the K 12 homeschooling program! Thanks so much and enjoy the rest of your homeschool year, Heather :)
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