K12: Arizona Virtual Academy

I figured that since I’ve been spotlighting other school-at-home options, I should include this one. This is the first one I found out about. It’s been around for a while and it’s another great option for getting a school education at home. I have a friend who uses this with her children. She says the early grades do require quite a bit of parental supervision and time, but as the child gets older and becomes more independent in their learning, she just needs to check in with them to make sure they are on task.

So, check it out!

Arizona Virtual Academy

Arizona Connections Academy

A few days ago, I received a direct mail advertisement from Arizona Connections Academy. My first thought was how much homeschooling must be growing for homeschool academies to be advertising via direct mail. My other thought was that some others might be interested in learning more about this.

They will have an in-person information meeting on Thursday, Aug 1, at 6:30 pm at Starbucks on 351 N. Montezuma St.

After a brief review of the website, it looks like it provides full public-style instruction in all core classes and many electives. There are also a couple dozen activity clubs your child can participate in. It’s basically set up as a distance-learning/online charter school. There is no cost for curriculum or activities (as far as I can tell). Your child will periodically have a review session (once every two weeks) to monitor progress and learning. Regular assessments will be taken and it will follow core curriculum guidelines. Your child can learn at his/her own pace and (possibly?) take subjects according to their own level.

Once again, another great opportunity for home-based education! Really, there are SO many options out there, it’s hard to keep track of all of them!

Sequoia Choice REACH Kick-off Meeting

Dear Prescott Area Home-Educators:

We are very pleased to invite you to attend the rescheduled:

Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning

REACH Kick-Off Meeting

This Coming Thursday, July 25th

 7:00 PM

 Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church

1202 Green Lane, Prescott

 Come meet our Prescott REACH Coordinator, Karen Norris,

learn about the exciting opportunities for the Greater Prescott Area home-educators,

and help plan the ideal REACH program you want for your children!

Please feel free to invite your home-educator friends

to come check out this magnificent program!

This is a flyer I received from a homeschool friend of mine. You can learn more about Sequoia Choice here or the REACH program here. Basically, it’s an AZDL (Arizona Distance Learning) program that gives you a teacher/mentor to help you and your child stay on top of their homeschooling. They also provide field trips and other organized learning activities. K-12. Please come if you’re interested!

Angie’s Curriculum Review

Twice today I’ve been asked about curriculum! The following is in answer to an email Tiffany sent to me asking about curriculum. I’ll update this with links and photos…but for now, I’ve gotta get dinner on the table and a presentation at church to give tonight. So, I’ll get around to that later.

The curriculum I use is based on an educational philosophy. It’s called Thomas Jefferson Leadership Education based on a classics/mentor approach to teaching. I’m not following it by the book, but it gives me a foundation to what I do.
Most of the “curriculum” I use right now is a bit eclectic. I’m just looking into getting into a whole curriculum but they’re kinda expensive and I’m not sure how well I’ll actually follow it. We’re free spirits in this house. If the kids don’t like something, I look for something new. I find that I end up liking recommendations from a classical homeschool method called “The Well-Trained Mind.”
This last year, this is what I used (I had an 8yo, 6yo, 4yo, and destructive 2yo).
4yo: Teach reading: Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Bob Books, super easy Clifford readers
Bob Books
Math: I just start with living math…cooking, what is 3 raisins plus 2 raisins, etc.
Math-U-See for Math…I’ve really loved this program. It’s complete. I cruise through the stuff the kids already know and slow down for the stuff they need help with. Originally, I bought the teacher’s guide and the DVD. But I only watched a couple of DVD lessons (where the teacher instructs either you or your kids). My kids wanted ME to teach them. So on Math day, I would open up the Math lesson, scan it to see what I had to teach, and teach the concepts. It uses unit blocks for tactile learning for “touchy” kids.
math u see
I also supplement it with Khan Academy. He has all kinds of stuff for upper levels (Middle School +) of Math, Science, History, Computer Science. He has videos the kids can watch to learn the concept then he has questions (for Math) to review.
Writing: I just started 3rd grade print/cursive Zane Bloser writing workbook for my 8yo. I haven’t done anything formal for my other kids because they are always writing notes around the house and writing in their pretend play.
History: Story of the World by Susan Wiser. It’s a 3 part series of the World’s History, divided into Ancient History, Middle History, and Modern History. You can get activity books to go with the readings to really expand the learning, but so far I haven’t bought those. 2 years ago, we did unit studies about different countries around the world. I would just look up resources online and check out books from the library. The kids loved it but it took a little more prep work than I wanted to keep up with. This is one subject that we do all together, too.
story world
Geography: 2 maps (US and World) taped to the wall in our kitchen. It’s amazing how often the kids ask “where is that?” or “Mom, do you know where that is?” and they just look things up on their own. I LOVE environmental learning. Less pressure on me. 🙂
Grammar and Language Arts: First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. I just started this with my 8yo and it’s already helping him with grammar.
Science: My kids are natural scientists. They love checking out non-fiction books from the library about animals, bugs, outer space, ecology, biology…I haven’t had a curriculum for this. I have also had an online subscription to The Simple Homeschool which has a great science curriculum. You can sign up for her newsletter and she often gives out pdf freebies.
Spelling: All About Spelling. Great curriculum…thorough. It also helps the children (and me) learn the rules about English and why things are spelled the way they are. So it’s not just memorization. (They also have an All About Reading program which would work well for your K if needed.)
spelling
Art: we’re seriously lacking here. None. Just the coloring and projects they do on their own.
Music: Piano lessons for 8yo (Michael Mahaney is his piano teacher and he definitely is an excellent music mentor. He already has my son learning chord progressions…something I didn’t really get into in my 7 years of piano lessons), Let’s Play Music class for 4yo (I’ve highlighted the class on the Hub, the teacher is great). 7yo stubbornly refuses organized classes right now, except mom, gratefully.
Foreign Language: Getting Started with Latin and Latin Primer (we’ve been off-season with this…I feel like the basic RRRs are more important right now)
Brain Pop  is a great supplemental resource.
Currclick.com has a lot of ideas, classes, and curriculum made by homeschoolers for homeschoolers. They even have a free online Lego Club and Magic Treehouse Club.
Homeschool.com also has a lot of ideas and curriculum co-ops to buy discount curriculum.
Core Knowledge Series is a set of books (you can check it out at the library) that gives educators (parents, too) an outline of what kids ought to learn in each grade level. Some parents I know own those books and teach directly from them. I just have an outline and use it occasionally as a benchmark.
If my style doesn’t match your style, just research stuff online, pray/meditate about it. Things will start to click. One criteria I have in picking curriculum is considering if it will morph with different learning styles since I have 4 kids. One kid is visual, another is tactile, another learns by listening, etc. So if a curriculum teaches in multiple styles (as most of these do), I’ll buy it. That way I can alter it for other kids and reuse it year after year. I rarely use a curriculum exactly as it was written because I’ll alter it for the needs of my child and our schedule. I mainly want it to guide me and help me give my kids a thorough education.
Thanks for your question!! I hope I didn’t overwhelm you!
Angie

School at Homers

Updated July 2013*

One popular way of homeschooling is by selecting a private or public on-line school for your child’s education. The nicest thing about this is that the virtual school is responsible for the curriculum selection and teaching of your child…the parent just has to make sure the child attends and does their homework. It’s a lot like school…just at home. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. I found out just today, though, that if your child receives over 49% of their education this way, they are not considered as homeschooled students in the state of Arizona, see here. Basically it’s an issue of the state funding your child’s education. For that reason, I’m nick-naming these homeschoolers as School at Homers.

But, you are still doing school at home. You and your child are also not really part of the local school’s social scene and PTA (for some of us…thank goodness)…so we welcome all School at Homers here because we all still need a support group. 🙂 And information about extra-curricular activities.

Resources:

Arizona Connections Academy

K12 Arizona Virtual Academy

Sequoia Choice and REACH

The Yavapai County education website has a bunch of great options for virtual academies and on-line classes. These are accredited virtual schools that provide state standard education for your child.

You’ll also find great resources at Homeschool.com, but make sure you find out if the virtual school meets Arizona State standards.

Williamsburg Academy provides a high school classical education via virtual classrooms. You can opt to pay the tuition and attend it as a private school (think: no need for your child to do quarterly state testing) or go through Sequoia Choice and have tuition paid by Arizona State but your child will have to take quarterly tests. I posted an article about this particular partnership here.

 
*Since I last wrote about this, I’ve come across several different choices in providing an education at home that models the public school model. The pros and cons to this depend largely on your personal preferences and even possibly political views. School at home choices receive funding through the State, so your curriculum is no cost to you. They are set up as distance learning charter schools with a teacher who keeps tabs on the family/student to make sure the child stays on track. The curriculum follows State Standards and Common Core Standards. Often these choices will have an additional group gathering/field trip option where families meet once a week/month with others who are learning in the same system.