K12: My Experience and Review
Watching my daughter near expulsion for simple things such as forgetting a book in her locker and trying to switch seats because nothing was done about the bully that sat next to her was hard enough. Trying to figure out where to send her to school after that was even harder. She attended a private catholic school, and her home school was simply not an option. Other schools were also not an option. In order to place her in another school via open enrollment, I would have had to begin the process months before the first day of school. The only options left to me were online school and home school. So, online school it was. We began the process of enrollment at Ohio Virtual Academy.
Enrollment was a tedious process. I had to scan multiple documents and send them in, including: her grade card, test scores, official transcript, birth certificate, two proofs of address (an ID was not accepted as one), disciplinary documents, etc. It then took approximately one day for them to determine if the document was acceptable. If the document was not (her grade card looked like the right part of the page was slightly cut off) I then had to scan the item again and wait another day.
The multiple people I spoke to during this process were very helpful and more than courteous. Over all, it was tedious and I sat on hold a lot. It took a total of about two weeks.
I received different answers to a couple of my questions, and was misinformed about a few things. For example, I was told my daughter had to pick a language to take. She chose French, but apparently is not going to be taking French this year. I was also told she could not complete school early, which is not the case. It depends on if she has all of her hours in. This varies depending on the school, and is really something that should be discussed with the homeroom teacher.
I was informed my child had to log about 6 hours a day. Once again, this does vary depending on the school, but they are all in the 5-6 hour range. Children can also do supplemental hours. For example, if a family goes hiking for five hours, that could be five hours that could count as gym. You have to remember that every minute counts. If an hour is spent reading a book, that's an hour for literature. Packing things into the beginning of the day is key so your little one is not doing this on and off all day. For example, my little one would not get out of bed until eleven. Then, she chose to stop doing her lessons while I was gone running errands. It's now six o clock in the evening and she still needs two hours for the day. I am so not happy with this. Don't do this type of stuff. Force them out of bed, and do SOMETHING. Trust me, this is the first day this has happened and will be the last day.
I can log in supplemental hours every week, as I mentioned before, for any subject. There is also a little spot on her attendance for gym. I think physical education is important for children. It will help them develop healthy habits that will last them a lifetime. Doing phys ed in the living room can get really boring though. We can do jumping jacks, run, and play Wii fit but she needs to get out of this house. Some other great ideas for gym are: going to the park, going for a walk anywhere, hiking, bike riding, playing games such as tag and having races.
Another little spot on the attendance chart is for technology. I know I can simply put in class connect sessions as technology or even her doing her homework due to it being online. The thing is, children in a brick and mortar school are learning more than that. I feel like I'm cutting my daughter short if I just hurry up and throw something down without teaching her anything. So here's what I'm doing for technology: basic uses of the computer (saving pictures and files, etc.) keyboarding, internet safety (she already knows that, but it never hurts to review), and Microsoft Word.
The last little spot on her attendance log that she doesn't have a class for is Health. Health can be a variety of things. In school we all learned about the birds and the bees, and our periods and STD's. The thing is: my daughter is very curious and I am pretty open, so she already knows all of this. Once again though, I felt like I was cutting her short by not teaching her something relevant. So I researched great health topics, and came up with some great ideas for what we can do. Here are my great ideas for health class: interpersonal communication, stress and stress management, healthy eating and cooking (we're going to cook together), and unhealthy habits (drugs, smoking, etc.)
My dear daughter began her online school on Monday. It was far from what I expected. I was told she would have a teacher for every class, would not be in front of a computer all day, and would have multiple opportunities to socialize with other children. I was told that I would not have to be the teacher, she has teachers for that. It was not the case.
On the first day, the server was down. They have been experiencing a large amount of technical issues this particular year, but this has not been an issue in the past so hopefully it will be resolved soon. She has started school at the beginning of the curriculum, so she is no longer required to attend class connect sessions (online classes). Unfortunately, this leaves me to be the teacher. As a single mother, I was not prepared for this, and am searching for online jobs and ways to make extra money so my daughter can be properly educated. (The more self motivated a child is, the less of an issue this is.)
Lessons so far consist of an online powerpoint, some interactive practice, some workbooks, and the unit assessment. Making this fun for my wonderfully active and sociable adhd child is going to be a challenge, but I'm definitely up for it.
By day four, I have my daughter's homeroom teacher's phone number, and we have already had a long conversation regarding a plan for my daughter to be caught up with the other students. She is nice, friendly, and my daughter adores her!
Week two has gotten off to a rocky start. My daughter does not seem to want to roll out of bed in the morning because she doesn't have to go anywhere. This is more of a parenting issue than a k12 issue though. The website has not been down so far this week, and all of that is running smoothly. I think once we get the hang of doing this on a schedule we'll be good to go!
We're Going To Get Through It
It was a vary chaotic beginning to this new experience, but I know we're going to get through it. the keys to this are knowing what you have to do, time management, and planning ahead. Make sure you have your day planned out the day before so you can make the most of it. Make it fun for your kids. You can find great ideas for things like gym and health online, as well as cool art projects. Pinterest has some great ideas for art projects and DIY home projects your kids can help with. So, if you're just enrolling in online school and it's rough, maybe give it a chance to work out. If you're considering it, brace yourself for the first week or two while you adjust, and know that it'll all even out!
At this point, my dear daughter has come a very long way. We have established goals for getting her caught up with the rest of the school, and she works a lot on her own. She will start every day by logging into study island, and continue on with her daily plan. She will honestly log in her attendance hours every day (I double check, just to make sure), and will even spend hours on her math and history (two of her hardest subjects) so that she can pass the assessment. To be honest, I haven't seen this much effort out of her in years! I'm ecstatic with this!
Check out these videos I found on YouTube of other students that attend k12 before you read my final review!
I just wanted to note that I am not a huge fan of the cuss word at the beginning of the video, but I love how she talked about her issues with public school and how k12 was a better option for her.
After three weeks, I've decided this is what will have to work for my child, but she will be returning to school next year. She's doing wonderful, and I'm so proud of the work that she's doing, but it's just not right for her. She misses her friends still. She wants to play with other kids at recess, and she wants to eat lunch with her clique. Yes, I know, children still are socialized and attend birthday parties and such, but, to her, it's not the same as spending all day with them and learning with them. We're going to enjoy this experience, and have fun playing in the snow for gym, but she will no longer be doing it after this year. That's my child though. I know not every child will feel that way, so, while reading this review, remember that only you know what's best for your child and what they need.