Why We Chose it
A few years ago, when my oldest was in the 5th grade we were overwhelmed with school related complications. My son was struggling to complete his work on time and even when he would complete it, somehow it just wasn’t making it all the way to school. He had a major lack of focus and motivation, not to mention the bullies and plethora of other daily struggles involved in his daily school routine.
Enough was enough.
Sometime towards the end of his 5th grade year, my son looked me straight in the eye and asked if I would homeschool him. Honestly, it was something I had played around with in the deep dark corners of my mind, but not something I ever truly considered.
We sat down and had a real conversation, I looked into the options, and we made a decision.
I’ve never been entirely confident in my ability to teach, so online school seemed like a promising option for us. I talked with some friends who had their own children enrolled, looked into the school, and we jumped in head first.
What Worked – What Didn’t
We did online schooling through the K12 program for 2 full years.
The first year I only had my oldest enrolled, adding on my younger son the second year. There were things we loved about the program, but also a handful of things that simply didn’t work for us.
Something I found wonderful about the K12 program: the price.
It didn’t cost too much and all the materials were shipped straight to our home! I didn’t have to go out and purchase a bunch of extras – huge win! The school provided both my children with laptops, which enabled them to participate in daily lectures and write their essays. It was great!
Something I found hard about the K12 program: the time.
It was extremely difficult for me to figure out a schedule that would function with this program. Not only did we have to fit in core lessons and assignments, but we also had to make room for class connect sessions and some how manage to include breaks or field trips in along the way.
It took me a really long time to get there, but I eventually figured out a decent routine that worked for us. However, it was still hard work.
My Kid’s Experience
My middle son thrives on schedule and was able to make K12 work. However, he still found himself getting stressed or overwhelmed from the course load on occasion.
My oldest never could find the perfect flow with K12. Having online lectures for a child that can’t focus, simply doesn’t work.
I would catch him reading or playing games instead. He also had a really difficult time keeping up with the work load and was being pushed through in certain subjects – even when he wasn’t understanding the material.
With that said, my oldest has always had focus (and workload) issues. This was not a new problem that arose with the K12 program.
Workload and time aside, we truly loved the teacher involvement parts. Having another big person to communicate with from time to time became extremely helpful when we would get stuck on something!
Both my boys ended up getting wonderful teachers that worked with me and communicated wonderfully the first 2 years. Unfortunately though, that took a bad turn in the first half of our 3rd year – which ultimately lead to our decision to leave the K12 program.
Why We Stopped
After 2 solid years of having wonderful teacher experiences in the K12 program, my younger son got assigned a new teacher. His previous teacher had left the school to teach elsewhere and she was going to be missed – we just didn’t realize just how much at first.
My son’s new teacher had majors communication issues.
She was extremely kind, but unfortunately she did some things that held my son back and caused him to no longer look have a love for learning.
As a mom, this broke my heart.
She completely reset all of my son’s first semester scores (without addressing any issue with me first), essentially making him start his 5th grade year over – right before Christmas break! Tears were shed and I immediately had this huge realization that even though we were “homeschooling” – we weren’t doing it on our terms.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think k12 can be a wonderful program. However, I know without a doubt that it isn’t the right program for us.
I want to have a say in what my children learn, how they learn it, when, and where! With k12 – yes you can sometimes choose when and where, but the what and how get chosen for you. You have to attend classes, use the materials they send, and do things in a similar fashion to a regular brick and mortar school.
We chose to leave because it wasn’t for us. I had this huge light-bulb moment – I realized I wanted something totally different for my kids. Something more. Did it mean more involvement in my part? Of course! Did I have to increase my curriculum budget? Heck yes! Was it worth it? Totally!
Our New Path
I always encourage anyone that is interested in trying the K12 program to ask themselves why they are homeschooling in the first place.
If you are looking for a program that has teacher led classes, all materials included, and a similar learning style to traditional public school – this could be a great option for you!
If you want to homeschool because you want to have a say in what your children are learning or you want flexibility – this program might not be the best option.
Online schooling was a step we needed to take on our journey. It got us where we are today and I’m incredibly thankful for the things we learned along the way.
Our new path however, has lead us to some amazing new curriculum choices and I am incredibly excited to touch more on the specifics in the near future.
If you are a home school mom, always on the look out for new and exciting curriculum solutions, I highly encourage you to sign up for my newsletter below!
Finding Your Path
It’s important that as a homeschool family, you do what is best for you!!
If your family needs a change, I encourage you to do some research. Figure out your options and find your perfect fit.
For us, the perfect fit is a semi scheduled (in between homeschooling and unschooling) approach. We mix it up often – learning through conversation, nature, baking, and text books alike!
When someone is overwhelmed, we simply stop and restart another time.
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