Tuesday, February 24, 2009

K12 for Homeschoolers

We recently signed up for K12 for my oldest. He's in first grade and we've been "doing school" since before August. A lot of my time was spent organizing, researching and planning out what we were going to do and when. Honestly, just doing this for one child was taking up a lot of time! I couldn't imagine what doing it for 5 would be like but I knew that it wouldn't work well for us.

For the past oh, 18 months or so, I have gone back and forth with a company called K12 (you can find them at http://www.k12.com/). My public virtual school uses this program. We've been debating signing Alex up for this but really have little love for the public school system here. So, with this years tax return we signed him up for 4 classes using the consumer direct program and the monthly subscription. We chose Math, Language Arts, Science and History. The latter two we neglected quite often in our homeschool.

I have to say that I am extremely impressed with the program. Being a Military family on active duty orders we received 15% off the materials price. They will also have sales periodically for 10% off for everyone. Additional students receive a discount on the monthly subscription.

Alex did the math and language arts placements tests and scored higher than I anticipated. This really spurred me to get him involved in something more than what I was doing. Age-wise he's in first grade but he scored third grade for LA and 2nd grade for Math. The program is flexible enough that I could order the grade level he needed and still offer him Science and History at the first grade level.

I was really impressed with the customer service at K12. A few times my cell carrier dropped my call and K12 actually called me back to continue our talks. They were nice and friendly and when they didn't know an answer they got it for me. I spoke with numerous people there and they were all sportinig the same attitude. I recommend giving them a call and signing up through the customer service line instead of the internet ordering. They can help guide you much better and offer suggestions or products that you wouldn't be aware of doing the online version.

Once we got all signed up we waited 2 weeks to receive our materials. Whatever day you decide to start the online program will be your billing date, so we chose a date closer to the middle of the month to coincide with payday.

The online "school" is amazing. Everything is layed out so you can see exactly what you need to do for each day and each week. You can keep attendance and mark days off. If you miss a day the entire schedule is rewritten to show the day you missed and each lesson is moved forward automatically. I also liked that I could give the login and password to my hubby overseas so he could log in and get a feel of what we were doing and how he was doing in the classes. You can go ahead and do other lessons for the week and it will move them to the day you are on and move other lessons back to accomodate the changes. The program is very through so if there's a day that hubby or someone else will be giving a lesson everything is layed out and marked so they'd do exactly what they needed to for that day.

Right now he's doing things that are more teacher led, but starting in fourth grade he'll be doing more independent work through the online school.

Overall, this is a great program. My olny peeve is that you cannot add other things to the schedule. For instance, we have piano lessons and practice each week. It would be nice to be able to add that to the days lesson online to keep track of everything all together instead of having to do this seperately. Otherwise, it's a great program and I've already signed up my five year old for the same 4 classes and my four year old for LA and Math.

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