Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Trying a few lessons with IDVA and some Q&A

This week Belle really really REALLY wanted to try a few lessons.
I decided to humor her so yesterday we did math and today we did language arts.

Her first math lesson she counted to 500, then had a quiz. That was fun. Mostly her online and then counting to 500 for me (I added that part because I wanted to). She took her class at the kitchen table while I wiped down the counter and the boys played. That was yesterday.

Today she took her first language arts class. It was a lot of offline stuff (note to self, this class is great for when I need to clean upstairs and she can sit on the couch or at the table and read and write) and we worked on dipgraphs. That was really fun! Xander was napping, we were at her desk and table (and she read her assigned reading from a chair with a glass of ice water and a banana and you could see how please she was with herself that she could do her schoolwork while she had a snack) and Buddy and I were "cleaning" dvds. Well, he was running around being a spy and I was trying to pick up after him.

After each class Belle said she loved it and wanted to do more. But school doesn't officially start until next week so I'm trying to not go too crazy just yet. Plus, I want to take one class at a time this week and just get a feel for how they will go.

Now, for some questions/comments I've gotten so far:

1. So, this is a home school online?

Well, okay, this is my understanding. K12 is NOT labeled as home school by pretty much everyone. It is an online public charter school. It is available in most states for free (yep 100% for free, well, our taxes fund it) and it is available internationally for a fee. This means if you have a family that moves around a lot you will be able to have the same school, curriculum, teachers... that sure beats bouncing from school to school to school; especially when you know you aren't going to be in that location permanently.
So basically, it is a public school wherever you are. This includes in the car, at the library, at McDonalds and yes, at home.

Feel free to look into it more at www.k12.com

2. How can you cope without your "break"? I would lose my mind if my kids were around all the time!

I get that. Now, forgive my directness.

Every parent is different. And we all need a break on occasion. I need a break on occasion. I am lucky to have a temperment where I don't need a lot of breaks however. I am also lucky to have kids that understand when I do need that break and will occupy each other so I can regroup and recharge. I have a spouse who can't consistently relieve me, but he does what he can when he is able. This works for me.

Sam and I had kids so we could be around them during most of their waking hours. As parents we have made a concious choice to be more attached to them than we know many parents choose to be and while that choice is different from many and we have had to make some financial sacrifices to do it; it is our choice and we love it. This parenting technique started at birth for our kids and while we plan to make sure our kids are very independent, self sufficient adults one day, we both believe that at their young age they need us to be the primary influence in their life in every aspect from determining their core values to learning the basics to living in the "real world". That is our responsibility and we accept it and embrace it.

I remember an occasion when Xander was about 3 or 4 months old and the pediatrician asked if I had others give him bottles so we could go out and get away. I said no. He got rather frustrated with me and told me that every mother has to leave her children with other people and "escape" and take a break or they would be unhappy mothers who could not effectively parent. I think Sam and I were both totally flabbergasted by his outburst. Either way I thanked him for his opinion and told him we were happy the way we were going.
And we are.
Believe me, when I need a break I'll get one, I'm not shy.

And I'm sorry if your kids drive you nuts. Mine do too sometimes, but mostly I think they are pretty much hilarious, a hoot and I am very very lucky to have them around. I don't ever want to squander the gift of being their mom.

3. Isn't your extended family insulted by your choice? 

While it is true that Sam and I both have mothers who were/are public school teachers, both completely support our decisions. We appreciate their support more than they know.
If anyone else is insulted we don't know about it and to be blunt, we don't care. We love our extended family and we hope they love us too, but our core family takes priority. And frankly, knowing our families I doubt they give a rip... they have way better things to do than care what we do. We're not that cool (a fact that bums us out every day, hee hee).

4. Don't you think people at church will think you are weird?

I laugh at that one. If only you knew the wonderful mix of people we attend church with. Homeschoolers, virtual schoolers, Montessori schoolers, private schoolers and public schoolers... we have it all where we are and it is incredible and uplifting to be around. I work with the children at church and seeing this mix of parents and kids on a weekly basis, watching incredible parenting in action (even when they make choices I would not make, hee hee), we don't worry about being judged for a lot of reasons. But the main one is that we are surrounded by love and support for our family and there isn't time for judgement in that kind of environment. They may think we are weird, but I doubt it is for the schooling choices and I think they'll love us in spite of us. We sure love them.

5. I'm not disciplined enough to do what you are doing.

Neither am I. But I love a challenge.

6. You can't shelter your kids from everything.

Correct. Not really our intent. And, on that note, I can't shelter them from it all, but I sure can introduce the yuck of this world on a timeframe that Sambo and I believe is healthiest for our kids. This is one question that actually bothers me a bit but I respect it at the same time. We don't really want to shelter our kids, but we want to be the one who talks about the big stuff with our kids: drugs, birds and the bees, violence. We know from experience that we have smart kids who will make good choices but we still want to be there to guide them as opposed to the neighbor kid. (No offense to neighbor kids.)

7. What if your kids don't learn what they are supposed to learn?

The only way that will occur is if I don't follow the lessons of the Idaho Virtual Academy. It follows the state standards so as long as we are progressing in it (and I don't give all the answers, wink wink) I think we will be okay. Plus, I have smart kids. That helps.

8. What if your kids can't act "normal" in society because of this?

Seriously? Have you ever met our kids? I don't think they are normal half the time anyhow... they are KIDS!
This is a non-issue. Our children could make friends in a swamp full of alligators. And we aren't exactly hermits.

9. Won't you be bored in the house all day?

Oh my. We have so many opportunites through the IDVA. Dance classes, gym... then of course I teach piano and the kids have karate. Then there are the other social activities provided through the school at little to no charge. I'm trying to not add everything to our schedule at this point! I want to stay in the house to a degree!

10. Are you sure this is a good idea?

Yes. Are you sure what you are doing is a good idea? Yes? Then lets clap hands together about our good ideas and have fun with them.

I promise as I get more questions I'll answer them and as we continue down the road at IDVA I will tell you all about it. I know a lot of people are intrigued and we're not shy.

Oh and I forgot. Guess how much I spent on back to school clothes and supplies? $50. I know, rough.
(Don't mind my teasing, we all know I love a deal!)


  1. That was AWESOME. I am sitting here clapping.

  2. To add to question 7 and 8's answers. 7. The kids are monitored very closely. They have a monthly conference with their teacher, they go over what they needed to learn in the past month. They are also tested in the fall, winter, and spring to make sure they are to the standard. 8. They have "days out" where you get together with other home schooled students and do the lessons. So they are socializing here as well as learning how to work with others who have different backgrounds and ideas. K12 is really the best choice if you are going to choose a homeschool option.

  3. Good for you, Kimber! It is hard at times..but way rewarding. Wait til they send you the rebate check for internet! Can I get a "heck Ya?"