How We Do School: A Guest Post from Linds

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As I get ready for homeschool reentry with my own children, I am reminded of why we chose to do school the way we do. Likewise, it’s been fun to hear your stories about how you came to make that all important decision for your own children.

Each family has unique personalities, needs, resources, and goals. What a blessing it is to live where we have freedom to go with our convictions about what’s best for each of our families.

Here’s Linds’ story about how they do school at her house:

— Describe your family (# of children, boys, girls, ages, grades) 4 boys- 7, 5, 2.5, and almost 1.

— What state do you live in? Hawaii- we were both raised here and now raising our kids here too!

— What’s your educational background (yours and spouse)?

My husband and I both went to high school together- from there he went on to get his contractor’s license and I finished my BA in International Cultural Studies (Communications emphasis).

— How did you research your decision?

Before my oldest started Kindergarten (at public school), I was looking for a curriculum to supplement with at home since we disagree on homeschooling. This is when I found out about the K12 curriculum (based on “What your __ grader needs to know” books, but more in depth), but it was WAY out of my budget.

Not until school started, did I learn about the charter school using that curriculum. It is what I call a hybrid-model school, because you do most of the learning at home, but they also go in to a Learning Center once a week to meet in a classroom of up to 12 students per teacher for one of the core subjects. All materials plus computer and printer are provided and sent to our home. There is also a quarterly conference for the child, parent and teacher to make sure everyone is on task. If we homeschooled, we would have to do a write up and testing every year, so this is what we do in place of that. We also turn in work samples that they keep on file for us to show what we covered.

— How did you come to that conclusion?

We went in to Kindergarten thinking it would be fine at the public school with supplementing at home. He was already reading since preschool, but at the same level as most Kindergartners for everything else. I asked that he go to the 1st grade class during the reading period but was told, “we don’t do that”. When I spoke to a 1st grade teacher at the end of the year, she told me this was incorrect and had another K child coming to her class all year. He was bored to tears all year and is a good kid and just dealt with it, I was fed up – so we decided to try something new.

— What are “must haves” for your children’s education?

A “must have” for us is our co-op. There are other families doing the same program nearby, so we give our kids some time to learn together in subjects like history, science and art while we do language arts and math separately. It also gives the kids time to learn and play together.

My other “must have” is my car- since we have to drive an hour each way to his school once a week, but we carpool so another mom and I take turns and we alternate which week to drive.

— What benefits are you now reaping from your decision?

I don’t have the fight about school like we did last year- he likes his teacher and class and he’s loving that we do history and science- things that the public school had cut due to budget. Art also follows some of our history lessons, so we can do all three subjects in our co-op sessions. I also like that we can work at his pace and his level and know after each lesson whether he is ready to move on to the next lesson with a quick assessment- 80% or higher is mastery. Having a more flexible schedule- traveling and taking school with us, or having a baby a month into school and taking a week off.

— What advice would you give to families considering or reconsidering this decision?

This is a great introduction to homeschooling if you aren’t sure whether you can do it on your own or not. The teacher we had was very supportive and got back to us whenever we had questions. The curriculum keeps track of your progress and attendance and lets you know if you are on schedule. We finished a month ahead!

After this year, I feel more confident that we could do homeschool alone, but this isn’t something my husband is on board with, so I’m staying with the charter school next year. Not all charter schools doing require the Learning Center classes, but they are all over the U.S., you just need to find out what the one in your area requires. Hawaii is the first state to do this type of model, but other ones are following and changing to this program.

— Linds is a dancing, travel-loving mom to 4 boys and wife to her high school sweetheart, John. She loves learning and seeing her kids learn. She does travel planning to anywhere but specializes in Hawaii and Disney vacations and also runs a Hawaii-based frugal blog, Aloha Deals.

Have you found a happy compromise for your child’s schooling?

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  1. WE currently live in Hawaii and are doing a similar Charter school program. This one is called Myron B. Thompson Academy
    It’s been amazing for us! I was in a similar position with my Son being advanced and ready for Kindergarten at age 4. With MBTA you can choose your own curriculum from a list of providers (either Christian or Secular) and are given up to $1500 for that AND lessons (non-competitive like music, Karate, Dance, etc). You are also given an unlimited amount of money for consumable items like paper, paints, etc. Additionally there are “Face to Face” classes the child can attend at the Academy once a week as well as webcam classes, plus field trips for the kids! You always have the help and support of a real teacher AND you get to homeschool at your choice and pace! It’s a great and affordable way to get the best of both worlds!

    1. I am homeschooling my son and plan on homeschooling my daughter when she gets older. I would like to know how I get started on applying for money for home school purchases such as curriculum books.

  2. We live in Ohio and are also using the K12 curriculum through a state charter school. Our curriculum is 100% free, which is a blessing. Our oldest is only 5 and entering Kindergarten, so this is obviously our first year of an organized school year.

    I am excited to see how we all like the curriculum. Thanks for sharing about this type of schooling at home!


  3. We also homeschool with PA Cyber charter school. We tried public school and did not like the atmospere that our girls were already being put in at such a young age. We did Christian School but there was less and less students which meant less teachers. They were going to switch to a self taught curriculum. Why would I pay someone to do that.The charter school has virtual classes with real time teachers and other students in the classroom. The school supplies laptops, printers, wireless router. They also reimburse our sports and internet to a certain dollar amount. My youngest has a lot of learning needs and I am able to use the traditional Calvert with her which the school also supplies. For my family, this works.

  4. It’s such a relief to read posts of parents who are actively involved in their child’s education.
    I am so glad charter schools are still helping parents by monitoring the progress of their students. As a former public school teacher of many years, I would hear the homeschooling parents say “if only someone had been there to keep us on track my child would not have fallen so far behind.” Many of the “benchmarks” were set by the parents. Together we worked hard to accomplish our common goals for each individual child.

    1. @heidi, I agree, Heidi, that it’s wonderful to see parents who are so actively involved. That’s what I’ve loved so much about this whole series… getting to see a variety of parents who have made different educational choices for their children, but who share that common denominator: a passion for ensuring their children learn and thrive. It’s wonderful to see the different ways that active involvement can manifest itself!

  5. I hadn’t heard about this program,, our son is entering the 1st grade this year with dread! The principal at his school is horrible!!! And he was so far ahead in Kindergarten he was always bored, thank goodness his teacher recognized that and made an effort to help us. I was really happy wih her so that’s why we kept at it!

  6. I’ve seriously considered k12 for my 9yo son. I’ve been so frustrated with teachers that are unwilling to challenge him. He has ADD, so he struggles to finish assignments because of lack of attention, not lack of ability. The only problem – sign ups here in OK are April 1st. It’s almost impossible for me to figure out what the next year will be like in March! It depends so much on the teacher. That said, I am more than prepared to pull him out this year if things don’t improve.