Last year for Kindergarten, we homeschooled our son, then 4.
It was amazing!
He learned so much, at his own pace, outdoors, traveling, book work, educational videos, etc. And a good portion about things that interested him.
This year, we wanted something maybe with a bit more structure. So, we decided to try something different: Online Public School.
After searching, asking opinions in all of homeschool/world school groups on facebook, doing research, and virtual meetings, I thought I had found the perfect online school for us.
This school boasted accreditation, middle college classes, work at your own pace, work around your schedule.. great for traveling families, educational activities outside the school work counted toward class time, all supplies provided, etc.
Awesome, right? Too good to be true, right?
We’ve been doing this program for a little over a month, and I’m pulling my son out of the program this week. I’m so disappointed.
If you follow our “sister site,” Books With A Chance Of Traveling, you know that we travel quite a bit – we recently went on a cruise and are getting ready to leave again in a couple weeks… so quite a bit. The main draw of this school is that it worked around that, and even counted all we did, educational. No. On both counts. They provided a laptop and a hotspot, great! I’d love to use that for his things on our travels, but trying to sit a kid down for 6-7 hours a day at a laptop to do schoolwork on a Disney cruise… right.
Not to mention the fact that they expect him to sit down at a computer for hours at a time anyways. At age five? Please.
The course work is ridiculous. They expect him to know how to read and know what a philanthropist is, but want to teach him to count by one’s.
My son is beginning to hate school. He doesn’t want to try to learn anything, he’s lost the joy in attending school this way.
Then there is the whole thing with school supplies. I had asked prior to enrollment if I need to provide any supplies. I was told no. I’ve had to go out and purchase things this past month that I can only hope we will use again in the future; large sheets of paper, special paper, clear dish soap, a large container to create a terrarium and the items to go inside…
The laptop they sent is a newer Chromebook, it’s very nice. Except the keyboard is small, there is no scroll bar and they don’t allow us to connect external devices like a mouse. Not to mention the fact that the laptop arrived two weeks after classes started so he was using mine that I use for the blog and projects, which wasn’t a problem until I needed it for those things. But, considering it was late, we had to spend a few days playing catch up creating and setting up all his accounts.
I was also disappointed in the “mentors.” It was so hard to get answers for the simplest questions and it seemed everyone was contradicting everyone else. Our elementary mentor never seemed like she had a clue as to what was going on and never came to our Zoom meetings prepared.
I feel like I’m being really harsh on this school. Maybe I’m being unfair? Maybe it’s just hard going from “going with the flow” to something with structure and a strict schedule? Maybe it is just not for us.
I will be pulling him out of this online school and will be going back to homeschool.
One of the reasons I enjoy the homeschool atmosphere so much, is because we can focus on things he enjoys. He’s five.. right now he loves soccer, space, and building things. He enjoys learning how structures are made, that is something we can focus on for math, reading, science, even art classes. He can’t do that in public school or even online classes.
Going back to homeschooling, I don’t have to worry about him missing deadlines, tests, etc. And I certainly won’t have to check in every week with someone who cannot remember things I’ve told them multiple times.
We don’t have a set curriculum, and that works. I know what he needs to learn to meet state requirements, so we do things based off of that.
There are so many free resources that you can check out and print. Plus many, many, many resources you can pay for for curriculum.
Most public schools will allow homeschooled children to play/try out for sports teams. There are so many co-op options to choose from and tons of lessons your child can take.
Of course we take all the things heard in the news into count as well. The shootings/stabbings, bulling, teacher misconduct, etc. Its frightening to think about. At home, I don’t have to worry too much about it. Yes, there is still the off chance that something could happen. Of course once he gets old enough to have an online presence I can’t stop the bullying. I can’t prevent the bullying at our co-op meetings and the like. But I can help him cope with it and I can minimal the exposure.
Right now, homeschooling my children is the way to go. It works for us and our lifestyle. With as much as we travel and do things in the community, online public school doesn’t work and regular brick-and-mortar school doesn’t either. It is what is. The best choice for our family and all that. 😉
Tell us in the comments below about your schooling experiences!