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Seeking input on cyberschools

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:53 pm
by twiggybumble
I am currently tossing the idea of cyberschool around, and I'm seeking input and opinions on it in general.

Background- I homeschooled my son last year in the more traditional fashion, i.e. no "curriculum" and very relaxed learning atmosphere. I know he did well and learned a lot, but I am having issues with the school district in my area, and I am frustrated, frazzled, and generally unamused. They want a copy of my diploma, my evaluator's credentials, etc. Everytime I try to explain the law to them, they refuse to make a note of it.

At any rate, I am considering the cyberschool thing because of the simple fact that I would no longer have to deal with the system. However, I do have my concerns.

I am seeking thoughts from people who use cyberschools, and likewise thoughts from people who would not. I am also trying to define the difference between a "set curriculum" from a cyberschool, and one from a "school in a box" curriculum which one could purchase to homeschool their child on their own.

I hope this makes sense. Please do not think that I am just tossing this around lightly.. I have had it with this district and everywhere I turn I hit a brick wall.

Re: Seeking input on cyberschools

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:39 pm
by elliemaejune
It would help if we knew what state you're in :-)

Before enrolling your dc in a cyber school, my recommendation would be to join HSLDA and go from there.

There are "cyberschools" which are publicly funded public schools where the students learn at home. This is legally not homeschooling; it's public school. This is not a choice I normally recommend, as I encourage private home education.

There are "cyberschools" where you sign up for computer-based distance learning, either where your dc are actually enrolled with a school or where you just sign up for the classes.

I'm assuming that what you're considering is a goverrnment-funded public school program. As I said, this isn't something I normally recommend. You'll still be dealing with the public school, you know; it's just a different department.

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:56 pm
by twiggybumble
Sorry I didn't mention my state.. I'm in PA.

Those are some of my thoughts.. I don't want to switch from one bureaucratic pain to another.. and I would prefer to direct my son's education myself. Last year was.. interesting.. as our first year. This year, he has really opened up and is enjoying our learning process much more.

I'm sure my post sounds rather rash.. I am just so frustrated! While I can see some of the more "enticing" aspects to cyberschools, and appreciate how they would be right for some families, I don't think that's my answer.

I contacted the hs liason in my state (again) today about this issue, hopefully she will have some answers. I'll also look into HSLDA. The only thing that would concern me there would be membership fees.

Thank you for your reply. :)

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:34 pm
by elliemaejune
Well, PA does have very restrictive laws (it's one of HSLDA's "red" states), but there are many hsers there who manage to get through it.

You can make payments to HSLDA. You see that option once you begin the on-line process.

Virtual Schools

Posted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 11:33 am
by silkweaver
I just found these forums today, but thought I might could provide some insight. :)

My son has been using one of the government-funded virtual schools. He did all of 5th grade last year and started in 6th this year. I am however withdrawing him now.

I don't really have a major "problem" with the VS, but you really don't have the freedom that I want with him. You have to follow their curriculum, and you have to keep up with your attendance. My son has medical issues and learning challenges, and I am now ready to try some different methods with him. If we take the time to do "extras", he falls behind in the online curriculum. We don't really have time for field trips or much hands-on activities. The VS curriculum is quite intense, IMO. Also, we can cover a unit and I feel he knows the material pretty well, and he'll make a 60 on the Unit Test. :( Not very good for his self-esteem.

I'm also withdrawing his twin brother from public school to start homeschooling him as well! :) An adventure awaits!

Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:54 am
by Activities_Director
Cyber schools are okay. I used one to get my bachelors degree. But I have to be honest and say that they don't offer the interaction that most people would like to have. And when dealing with children, it is really important to have them involved with other peers building relationships. On the other side of the coin, it is often less expensive to go through these online schools, which is part of the hook to draw you in.

Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:33 pm
by Blessings4all
The Pros: Cyber schools are a viable option for some families. The public school funded academies are good for families who can't afford to purchase homeschool curriculum. The teacher support is also helpful for those who don't feel confident with homeschooling by themselves. The curricula offered by some of these schools is outstanding. We found K12 to be exceptional. Their high school offers courses in web design, digital arts, and computer science. Those are topics that aren't readily available currently in the homeschool world.
The Cons: You're usually required to do state testing. There is less freedom of choice with regards to curriculum.
Hope this helps you.

Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:07 pm
by Theodore
I used online schools and distance learning for a lot of high school and college. Personally, I hated distance learning, since you don't get feedback fast enough for it to make any significant difference, and a lot of the online courses had minimal feedback as well. The good ones I took were from Scholar's Online, PA Homeschoolers, and Regis University: (high school) (high school) (college)

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:27 pm
by MainStreetSchool
We're in Indiana, which is one of those most lenient states in which to HS (as far as I know, Texas is another). We run our homeschool as a private school. There are no requirements whatsoever , only that "attendance" be kept. No one will ever ask for that attendance, however. We do not have to register with our State as a homeschool, as it is "voluntary".

Our family Homeschool, since 2006, but our children have attended public school and charter schools (brick and mortar.). None worked. HS is the lifestyle we love, and I can imagine learning no other way.

In IN, we have several homeschool optoins. Indiana Connections Academy is one. (CA is national). K12 is another, but I think they just merged with our state's Virtual Academy ( I dont' know name). Regardless, we enrolled in INCA this past summer and thought we'd give it a shot. I thought it would "free up" some teaching time for me during the day (ha!) with our 10, 12 and 14 year old.

It was public school intruding into my home. We tried it or one day and it was laughable. Everything was dictated down to the text (provided for free, with a computer). Most work had to be completed online, however, in the form of 2-3 M/C questions. The kids said they had never felt so unsatisfied in their lives!

We are relaxed homeschoolers somedays, unschoolers on others. We have textbooks, but I bought those from Goodwill. My 14 year old daughter is a paid writer for a local magazine and this month she wrote about homeschooling and how, since she doesnt' particularly "like" Math, she chooses not to "do" it. Rather, she learns math naturally in everyday life.
She has her own debit card, plans menus, shopping trips, etc.

Our boys are much the same. The kids swim, attend a HS coop I started here years ago, host Nerf Club here, have friends over, have sleepovers during the week, babysit, write, and basically have fun learning in life.

For us, the bottom line was that we left public school because we didn't want our children's education mandated for them. We want to do a Bible Study in the morning, which is our moral/character education. We aren't overly "relgious" folks but you can't have time for that in most public charter online schools. You'd have to do it on your own time.

I don't know your state laws, but if they are flagged as Red state by HSLDA (we don't belong), I'd join HSDLA and then contact some local HS group leaders to find out how they work with your State laws.

Best of luck.