As you are looking at the various educational options you have this coming year. There is one option being touted on television and at many homeschooling conventions. K-12
There is so much misinformation about whether this is homeschooling or public schooling at home. It’s simple. K-12 public school option is Public School at home. You are placing your child’s learning under the authority of the public school system and it’s educational material yet again. This is not a homeschooling option.
The closest thing I would equate this to is home bound status. Where a public school teacher comes to your home once or twice a week because your child has a sickness or significant need. Except in this case there is a online teacher that is there everyday teaching your child.
I imagine that I will upset some of you. That is not my purpose. My purpose is to let you know what you are getting into BEFORE you start K-12. After reading through their glowing self praise page there were a couple of things that jumped out to me. They list using K-12 as a private school or homeschool. You would then be paying for K-12. I looked through some of their al a carte classes and for accredited courses you could spend $650.00!
Does this strike you as crazy? You pay taxes right? So you would be paying for public schooling and then paying again for K-12 if you wanted to use it as a private or homeschooling al a carte. I am not paying twice for an education that I am deliberately choosing NOT to use. I am a homeschooler.
What do you need to know about K-12?
1) It is a PUBLIC SCHOOL option. Meaning you are not homeschooling. You are public schooling at home with the public school’s material and a public school teacher to guide your child. Not you. Defined that way by the law and the company not me.
2) All that free stuff, laptop included is not yours. It’s the public school’s. Some have tracking software on it to be sure you child ‘attends’ school everyday on time and makes progress they feel is approriate.
*I do hope you remember what happened in Pennsylvania, School for spies- the Pennsylvania scandal gets bigger, where the laptop camera was misused to watch teens in their bedrooms. Even if you are promised they won’t. By having the laptop in your home you leave open the opportunity for an unscrupulous person to misuse that camera in YOUR home.*
3) You are obligated to attend school when the school says you should. There is some leeway but not nearly as much as the commercials make it out to be. You will get a phone call from the school system if your child should not attend or appear to not attend school (the computer) for long enough.
4) If your child needs lots of assistance or adjustments then you get to go through the lovely IEP process again.
5) If you were hoping that your child would have a more intense academic structure you will only still be held within the structure of what K-12 curricula can handle.
6) If you were hoping to provide your child with religious based material, such as a creation based science curriculum. You are going to have to look elsewhere. If you want to fit in Bible time then like regularly attending kids you will need to carve that time out of ‘family time’.
7) If things don’t go well and you decide K-12 is not for your child. You need to find out exactly how you would withdrawal from K-12. Will you get your money back? Will your child’s work up to that point be counted? I have heard very mixed results from around the country as to how easy or extremely hard it was to remove their child from K-12.
I realize that some of you maybe upset at me for calling out K-12. Why would I stir the pot? It’s simple. Some of our special kids cannot tolerate the public school curriculum speed and rigid schedule. I would hate to see you start what you have been told is homeschooling to find you are not homeschooling. Instead you are strapped to a computer Monday through Friday with a teacher watching your child’s attendance and progress on the other end. All the enjoyment of homeschooling draining away. The flexibility of homeschooling gone. Your family beliefs not being incorporated into your child’s learning like you were hoping.
K-12 is not homeschooling.
UPDATE: Because of the multitude of comments both here and on FB I continued to look into virtual schools, not just K12. Please see my follow up post for more details. Virtual Schools Multiple Options
I also would like to point out that each state has it’s own educational system and laws. Thus each state will be different. What you have that works great in California is not what a family in Illinois is using.
Another blogger’s look at online schooling: Homeschool vs Virtual School at Home~They are not the same.