March 7, 2011

Homeschooling: School Choices



{What are my options?}



Well.....I am nervous about writing this post...very nervous because it seems like there is always tension and conflict when it comes to" school choice".....

Over the past few weeks, our newspaper has been running a lot of articles about charter schools....particularly online cyber charter schools....

There's a lot of conflict associated with them because cyber schools pull funding away from public school systems.....the articles keep criticizing the cyber schools for taking budgeted money away from public school students.....but no one yet has taken the time to ask the question "WHY are so many students flooding away from the public school system into these cyber schools?"






My children are and have been cyber school students....(my older boys are not for the time being but we may return for middle school)....we get a free computer....free printer.....free curriculum....and some other wonderful "perks".....(I know that probably makes some mad already!)






So why did we "run away" from our local district?

We live close to our district line....truthfully, we live closer to our neighboring district elementary school than our own.....a few years ago, that neighboring district was scoring about 20% higher on our state standardized test than our home district....20% is ALOT!  Our district was seeing math and reading scores in the low 60%'s.......we were the third lowest scoring district in the county....


So what does that mean for the student who is excelling.....a lot of trips to the library!  Our older son would quickly finish his work and then make 5-10 trips to the library per day to read books....As we compared the academic progress of our boys with kids in comparable grades in other districts, we saw that our boys were lagging behind and we were very concerned....but bring them home again?


We had tried homeschooling....and I failed!

It was when I had a 1st grader, a K-4 and a 15 month old daughter.  During the 2 months that I lasted homeschooling she "washed" her Barbie's hair in the toilet, "painted" herself and the wall with lipstick (while wearing a pair of my underwear around her neck!) and painted her toes red on my white carpet...and that was in ONE day!!!  (And I am a strict mom!)




So what do you do when you don't have the financial stability to afford private school and your district is lagging academically.....



........one option is an online cyber charter school.




An online charter school has a certified elementary school teacher assisting you, grading your child's work and a rigorous curriculum that your child can follow at his OWN pace!  That means that if your child is moving quickly through their work they can move to the next grade and they do not have to wait for other students to catch up with them.....it also means that the struggling student can take time and actually learn the material and not have to move on with the rest of the class "just because"!


When I first started cyber school, the hardest part about it was that we didn't fit with any community.  True homeschoolers didn't want us because we were still "tied" to the public school system......public school parents were annoyed because we were funneling money and "homeschooling."

It was a very lonely first year having both boys home....until I got involved into a co-op....met the most amazing women....and found friends and a home..... filled with support!

As I read the newspaper articles I realize that it's easy to point a finger and judge and critize and decide what's "best".....but for us, it's personal....it's wanting the very best for the children that God has entrusted us with....and for now that's a mixture of homeschooling and charter schooling.....we may change our mind down that road...

but for now.....we do.......what we think.......is best........for her....


....and yes, she made the shirt herself.....she wants to be a "crafter" and scientist when she grows up!

If you live in Pennsylvania, there are SO many cyber charter schools....here are a few:


If you live another state, I would encourage you to look at the K-12 Schools.  Here is a MAP LINK that shows you if your state is participating for free online education.

The biggest thing to remember about your child's education is that there are A LOT of options these days and what is right for one child doesn't always "fit" another!


Linking up with:
Hip Homeschool Moms Button

11 comments:

Lisa said...

Nikki, I think it's great! You took the time to find out what was right for your family. High five to you for sticking it out, and the courage to tell others who could benefit!

Rachel said...

Thanks for sharing. My son is in first grade and is excelling. He has told me many times that he is bored at school and hates it. I have contemplated homeschooling but just wasn't sure how organized I was to be able to do it well. I didn't realize that there were state sponsored cyber schools - I have another option now. Thanks for the info! :)

Anne said...

Great post, Nikki. I laughed at your description of your homeschooling experience because it was so familiar. I homeschooled for one horrendous year (3rd gr, 1st gr, K and baby) and was so thankful to find a Christian school for the next year! I continued to homeschool the younger ones for a while, but now all three older kids are at the Christian school.
Anyway...I shy away from the controversy, too, and wish that more folks could look at it as a decision for each individual family. In what other country would we have so many choices?! Let's use those choices and enjoy the freedom! :)

Lisa said...

I would love that option. Here, children can do open access, which is internet and phone based schooling. From state to state the criteria for this schooling is differnet. In our state, it's based on things like health and location, and it's very difficult to be approved. Good for you for making the choice that's best for your children.

Cheers,
Lisa x

Nancy said...

Hey, Nicole! The big political debate over here in Indiana is allowing parents to take some of their county taxes as a voucher and put it towards a private school education. Can you imagine the hoopla with that?! I am sure it is the same hoopla with cyber schools. I hear in Florida public schools are thinking about giving parents report cards. Very interesting...
P.S. M likes K's shirt :)

5ennie said...

Great post. Glad you found something that works! Here from HHH :)

Amie said...

I so loved your post. I work for a local charter school where families, including myself can order from many vendors to select curriculum and activities for our kids. Yes, they are still public school students but I can choose what math, science, language, and history curricula I want and what pace they work at. There is even funding left over for all 3 of my kids to take gymnastics, music and dance lessons. In my area there are a lot of parents divided between this charter option and privately homeschooling their children. It can sometimes be a hot button issue. But the bottom line is what is the best academic, emotional and spiritual route for each student in each homeschooling family? God leaves that choice to us.

Amie said...

PS Im from the HHH.

Suzanna said...

Thanks for writing that. I also use a cyber charter school and know what you mean about being alone in that decision - you aren't a "real homeschooler" to some and not a real public school student either. It is nice to read about others who have made the same decision we did.

musicalmary said...

Nicole, I think the important thing is that you are doing what is right for YOUR child -- let all of the naysayers say what they want. I applaud your decision, and I'm glad to find your blog today.

~Mary
http://www.homegrownlearners.com

kaycar said...

you go....:)I'm your friend no matter how you school!:)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...