Taking Education Out of the Classroom: Why We Chose Online Public School
Our son will be heading into the third grade this year. He had been attending our local public schools since he started Kindergarten, but it hasn’t been without its challenges. Our situation has been unique given his giftedness and his acceleration.
Let me share a bit of our back story with you.
We are raising an engineer, or at least that is what we have been told since our son was two years old. He began reading at 2 and a half, writing at 3 and has kept us on our toes ever since. He has always loved learning and really anything that stimulated his academic life and fueled his intellect. He tested into the gifted program in Kindergarten with flying colors, and we knew that keeping him challenged at school was going to always be a challenge.
Though he is highly gifted, it has been no easy feat. Raising a gifted learner is hard work, and raising our engineer has been a journey of ups and downs. After three years with some pretty amazing teachers by our side, our engineer continued to struggle, and not with academics. His behavior was always the discussion. Through many, many parent/teacher conferences, in-classroom plans of action, and continuous color changes on the coveted behavior chart, my husband and I knew in our hearts that through the efforts of our amazing teachers, the two of us and even attending counseling sessions to curve the “behavior problem” something was not working. Good days at school were measured by whether or not a note was written or what color was highlighted on the behavior chart. This was made clear at the end of the year, when our engineer had succeeded at maintaining mastery of all subjects, had good attendance, was excelling in his studies, but those achievements were overshadowed by the coveted behavior chart. Yes, citizenship is important, but it shouldn’t overshadow academics and proficiencies in studies. I remember the last day of school, as we walked out of his second grade classroom, our engineer left empty handed with no acknowledgement for his academic strides over the year, all because of a few color changes and couple of notes.
We knew we had to make a change. If we didn’t, we risked some major consequences that might hinder his excitement to learn in the future. We didn’t want his fire to be extinguished.
We began looking into other options. We explored each one whole heartedly and very closely, weighing pros and cons of each. Private school was a good option with smaller class sizes, but it was simply too expensive for our budget at the time. Montessori schools were highly recommended for their structure of teaching, but our local schools did not provide the continued education we were looking for. Chapter and magnet schools were supplied the STEM programs we loved and knew would be highly beneficial, but all of the best schools were far from us by at least an hour and a half, one way. We were left with the option to homeschool. Homeschooling had always been in the back of our minds, but we were never really certain just how it would work, or if we were able to do it ourselves. Nonetheless, it became our best option and the hubs and I started talking though what homeschooling would look like for us, our daily routines, and how we would go about making it work for us.
We talked to several knowledgeable advisors within our circles, and a new term of education kept coming up: “Have you thought about online public school?” “Have you heard of K12?” “Online school would fit his learning style.”
So, enter K12 Online School.
The research began, and I was convinced rather quickly that this may be our best option moving into the next school year. I attended the online information sessions provided by the K12 school we were interested in. I read the minimal reviews I could find, which were all very positive. I reviewed the curriculum that would be taught. I was hooked, all in. Here’s why:
- School can be attended from anywhere with internet access (this means we can travel, and our engineer could attend school without repercussions of missing school days).
- He will have a physical teacher designated to teach his classes. With this live sessions would be required throughout the week where interactive classwork would be completed.
- The curriculum is modified for each student. It is individualized based on assessments and how well he understands the work.
- Classwork is given a week at a time, and students can work at their own pace throughout the week to complete assignments.
- Curriculum materials are shipped directly to our home, so we have everything we need to complete coursework throughout the year.
- It’s completely free.
I must admit, there was a brief moment where I felt guilty for wanting to move away from the traditional brick and mortar schooling environment. It almost felt like I was cheating. I knew in my heart that given the circumstances that we were faced with, this was the right decision for our son. He loves to be on the computer. In fact he is already learning to program and code software using coding programs like Python. Let’s face it, he is not a traditional kid; therefore, traditional school was obviously not a good fit.
After all, we knew what was best for our son and his education. We know how he ticks and what drives him, and at the end of the day. That is what matters.
So our journey of homeschooling begins, or should I say, our journey of online homeschooling begins, and we can’t be more excited to see what happens over the next year!
We will continue to post updates as we move throughout the year covering our highs, and lows and what is working and what’s not.
Also, be sure to check out this post for first impressions and a full unboxing video of all of our K12 materials that we received for our upcoming school year.
Want to learn more about the K12 Online School program? Check them out here!