Friday, June 15, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

In typical homeschooler fashion I am already excited about the next school year while we are still finishing up the current one. We made the decision to home school because it was the best of the options available to us: public school (which wasn't very good) or home school. Now after six years a new option has become available.

Nevada has approved K12 to start the Nevada Virtual Academy (NVVA) for 4th-8th grades this year. We've looked over the curriculum and are going for it. Eve and Marie begin in the fall. I am ecstatic to say the least. With seven children it is becoming harder and more time consuming to gather all the supplies and materials, write out curriculum, check all their work, and keep Mom sane and the kids happy. This will take a big portion of the load off of me while still giving me the pleasure of having my girls at home. And it is truly a pleasure to have them all here.

NVVA is considered a public school so we will get all the supplies and curriculum materials, including a computer, sent for our use, for free. Yay! We'll finally be benefiting from some of our tax dollars. The Nevada State Legislature has allotted an average $5,122 in per-pupil support for 2008. That's up from $4,696 this year. It will go up to $5,323 in 2009. Can you believe that? I want to know exactly how the school district is using that money. I can guarantee if I got just $1,000 of that per child to homeschool I'd do a much better job than the school district could do. K12 will be making a killing off of each student. To buy their curriculum costs a little over $1,000. Wonder where the other $4,000 is going to? Oh, well. I'm just happy because I do like what I see about their curriculum. Heck, I already teach from over half the stuff they'll be using. The one thing they don't teach, but I will still continue to do with Eve and Marie, is English from the Roots Up.

I've decided to try Sonlight Curriculum with the younger girls this fall. It is literature based which I love. I had so much fun browsing their catalog and trying to decide what to get. Our order came on Wednesday. It was like Christmas! The girls (and Mom) got more and more excited as we pulled out all the books.They want to start now. But we still have to finish up this year's work. Though I might start next month because, truth be told, I can't wait either!
I bought the Core 1+2 package with 3rd grade readers for Sara and then added 2nd grade readers for Abby. Debbie is just starting to learn to read but will be doing most of the other stuff with us.

I am excited but a little apprehensive. I'm more of a classical home schooler (mix of The Well-Trained Mind, Charlotte Mason, and Thomas Jefferson Education) so this coming school year will be a big change from what I typically am used to.

10 comments:

Florinn said...

Seeing a pile of books on the table like that makes me drool! How fun!

Calandria said...

Wow! I'll be so interested to know what you think of K12. We'll be using it too with Lidia. She's doing the placement exams now.

I had an interesting conversation about the virtual academies with a superintendent here. He said that he did not approve of public school districts "trying to turn a profit" on their students by starting virtual academies. I relayed that comment to the superintendent of the virtual academy district and he threw back his head and laughed a huge belly laugh. He let me know that a virtual academy is not a money-maker.

An Ordinary Mom said...

The thought of home schooling my children has always terrified me because I always believed there was no way I could figure out how to create so many different lesson plans. However, now it just seems like all you need to do is find the right resources and tools. Not that I am going to consider doing this at any point in my life, but just in case, what resources and companies do you suggest? You could even write a series of posts on this subject matter ... Homeschooling For Dummies. How to even begin the process. I am sure I am not the only one who could benefit from such information.

Annie said...

My hubby and I were just talking last night about how great it would be to have an "approved" homeschool curriculum to use, and if used, to get a tax break, or your money reimbursed for purchasing it, or some such thing.

When our oldest approaced school age, my Catholic Mother-in-law asked me if I would be homeschooling him since so many "Mormons" that she knew homeschooled. I told her: not on your life! 4 kids later, it doesn't look like such a bad idea.

Our little school here in town is starting a program through the college that will allow high school aged students to study some academic courses as well as electives through virtual classes. It's a good option for them because they can't afford to offer every class that a large school does. I'd love to hear more about your new K12 program.

Annie said...

OOPS! Should have been "approached" up there. Guess it's a good thing I'm not homeschooling!

Jen said...

It's amazing how much money it takes to run an organization with so many professionals working. Suppose you could get your homeschool supplies for free (ha!) and that $5000/kid were going only to your salary for teaching them. With 5 school-age kids, you would be making less than a first-year teacher!

The public school budgets, income & expenditures are public information and available for anyone to review. It is (or at least it used to be) part of a Citizenship in the Community merit badge for the Boy Scouts to visit a School Board Meeting and to review the local School District Budget. It might be a fun homeschool project for your girls to do something similar!

athena said...

yes, decisions, decisions. i'm still indecisive about what to do next year. by the looks of the pic, it looks like it's christmas at your house again!

MommyK said...

I think Jen has an excellent point. I'm certain there is a fair amount of waste and mismanagement of funds in public schools, but 5000 dollars doesn't go far when you consider everything that needs to be paid for, from teachers and guidance counselors to textbooks and keeping the water safe. Some of my husband's cousins attend private school and the quality of everything is so much higher. Better teachers, better course offerings, even better venues for sports. Tuition is far above 5000 per student.

Julie said...

I remember the table-load of Sonlight supplies! That looks VERY fun!

Maureen said...

A Thomas Jefferson Education Blog Carnival is up.