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Can anyone compare K12 and Connections Academy

Posted by on Jun. 8, 2013 at 11:09 AM
  • 11 Replies


This past August, was my first year home schooling. It was a little stressful, but it was definitely worth it. I was looking at possibly using Connections Academy or K12 for next year. I have 3 children, one that is currently home schooled, one that is still in public school- eagerly waiting to get out of public school, and a toddler that will home school for K5. I am worried about trying to teach 3 grades at once and still hold on to my sanity. LOL

Can anyone offer any insight on these virtual schools, or recommend a program for multiple children. I am currently using A Beka for most of my oldest child's curriculum.

Thanks in advance for any info you can offer.

by on Jun. 8, 2013 at 11:09 AM
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by Silver Member on Jun. 8, 2013 at 12:04 PM
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Well, it could depend on the ages of the kids, but I personally wouldn't use K12 or any other virtual school for any reason, ever.  K12 IS public school. They tell you that you can work at your own pace and have flexibility and options, um, no. As a public school, they have certain attendance and work requirements just like a brick and mortar school. Your child will sit for 8 hours in front of the computer doing the exact same work they'd be doing in school.  If your children are close in age, combine them with a curriculum like Heart of Dakota, Sonlight, or any other Charlotte Mason type approach. The toddler doesn't need a curriculum, officially, and it really only takes about an hour and a half to school a pre-k'er, so he/she could just tag along on big brother's stuff. Most little siblings surprise their moms with how much of big sister's work they pick up on.  To combine things like history and science, try to get out of the textbook mindset, which of course limits you to a small age range, and look at doing more of a hands on study, which can inclued a much bigger span of ages.

by on Jun. 8, 2013 at 12:49 PM
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Leissaintexas gave some very good advice.  Here are some articles that explain:

New York Times Writes About Parent's Experiences With Online Charter Schools

Veteran Home Educator Writes:  Will Parents Avoid This Bullet

How To Home School The Pre-K Student (no curriculum needed)

How To Home School gives you several different methods used by home educators.  The Unit Study Method is great for teaching different grade levels at the same time.  I personally like the Eclectic Method which allows me to use the best parts of all the methods.  Remember, when you home school, the whole world is your classroom. 

by on Jun. 8, 2013 at 2:45 PM

 I am really trying to keep up with our state standards for each grade level. I don't want to look back and feel like I didn't give my children what they need to go further in their education if they choose to. I know a girl that was home schooled and she is planning on taking her GED (after taking a GED course) and going on to college. I was thinking about using half online courses for their curriculum, such as Switched On Schoolhouse.

by on Jun. 8, 2013 at 2:47 PM

 BTW thank you for your replies ladies. I am trying to figure out my course for next year, so I can actually enjoy my summer. floating in pool

by on Jun. 8, 2013 at 3:03 PM

I used K12 for 3 kids from November on this yesar.  My kids are older (4th, 6th, and 9th grades).  My 9th grader changed her mind and returned to school in February (to a different school than she left).  My 6th grader decided that he doesn't like homeschooling and is returning to school in the fall.  My 4th grader is tentatively enrolled at a school for fall, but we don't know if he will get a spot, so we may end up using K12 again.

Teaching three grades at a time is harder at the younger ages than the older ones.  The older the child gets, the more independent work they do.  In elementary school, only about 30% of work is done online with K12-and that's higher than Connections which claims that only about 10% is online in elementary.  I found that I spent about 8-9 hours a day actually working on school with the kids.  I would do a lesson with one child, then put himon the computer to do his lesson assessments and activities and work with the other child, then put him on and go back to the other child to do another lesson.  Later in the day, after they were both done and I had given the 9th graders work a once over (which was about all I had to do-hers was almost completely online), then I would spend an hour or so getting things ready for the next day.

Have you considered a Unit study program?  If you are doing Abeka (which is an AWESOME curriculum but would be very hard to do times three in my opinion.), you may want to check into KRONOS.

Also, be aware that if you are using either K12 or Connections Academy, you are nolonger HOMESCHOOLING, you are registered with a school and SCHOOLING AT HOME.  You have attendance requirements of a certain number of hours per day in each subject.  Someone else is determining what you should be doing each day.  Although you can use some flexibility, you are really tied to the rules.  I found that I really resented having to report exactly how manyminutes I spent doing things, having to make sure to sit him down at the computer at certain times to watch class connect session for something that he already understood and didn't need, being challenged if I wasn't following the Daily Plan correctly.

That said, if we are going to end up homeschooling my youngest again next year, I will probably use K12 again anyway because in spite of MY problems with it, he did really well on the program.  He liked the way it worked and by the end of the year was gaining a lot more independence in his work habits.

by on Jun. 8, 2013 at 4:12 PM

I do like the idea of my children getting a state issued diploma. I know for my 5 year old that online K12 or CA is not an option. He has severe speech delay, and we will continue with one on one. He is using Starfall, and ABC Mouse at the moment. We also do all the cool stuff like reading, coloring, and making an educational art mess. We love glitter. LOL

My oldest is very independent, and super bright. I sometimes forget I am talking to a 12 year old. I tried some of the practice lessons online for K12 & CA, and I have trouble keeping my concentration. They appear quite boring, and I worry about my children losing interest. I love the examples they give of live lessons, and know for a fact my middle child that is 10 would love the idea of chatting & sending little messages.
I am also looking into online private schools, that could offer a top notch education without being under the state's thumb.

by Member on Jun. 9, 2013 at 5:24 PM
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We've been using Connections Academy for this year. I think we will be doing it again for next year as well. While you do have to record a certain number of hours each day, you can do those hours whenever you want to. Our schedule doesn't start until 1PM because we decided to have the kids on the same schedule as their working parent. We didn't do very many live lessons, because their teachers tended to have them earlier in the day than we could manage. However, some teachers prefer to have live lessons in the afternoon which would fit our schedule better.

At the ages my kids are, kindergarten and third grade, the live lessons are not as important as they might be in later years. We can do the work on Saturday or Sunday if we want to, we can block schedule so that we get all the math done one day, science an other day and so on, or we can have a little of each class every day.

We liked that there wasn't a lot of busy work, but that there was often some extension work if they didn't understand what we had done for that day. My kids both have problems with Language Arts, the kindergartner doesn't really care about learning to read so she can't remember from one minute to the next what sound each letter makes. The third grader, reads well but if he's not interested in what he is reading he doesn't retain very much of it, so comprehension is low. But both of them are pretty good with math. We scheduled her for two math classes on the days she had math, and then did extra Language Arts at the end of the semester.

I know of a couple of kids who doubled up on everything and finished each semester early, one of them just used the time left to do other projects, the other asked and was allowed to start the next semester early. That one finished one year and started the next before school was out for the year. If you finish early, you just fill in their schedule with things that seem educational, like reading a book of their choice (language arts), helping you with the shopping (math), running at the park (PE), baking (science and math), a trip to the State Capital building (social studies), and many more things for art, music, history etc, you just need to put something in and record the standard hours. They don't do much checking up on the students as long as they are doing the assessments for each lesson, taking the quizzes and tests and sending in the portfolio assignments.

You can work longer than the standard hours if you need to. For example: My third grader needs to have 5 hours recorded each school day, I record 5 hours even if we only took 3 to get through his lessons, I also record 5 hours even if we spent 7 hours working on something that he didn't quite get.

Other parents who are using CA in my state like the freedom this allows them, they can spend all day out for appointments and such in the middle of the week, and then do the work on Saturday. They just record the hours from Saturday on the day they skipped. If you can connect to wifi when you are out, you can take some of their work with you on a laptop. Some things will work on a tablet but they haven't quite caught up with the technology so something don't, even with the full  Windows 8 tablets. We have skipped nearly a whole week of school work because of illness, and just doubled up and worked on week ends to catch up.

People like having a teacher you can call with problems. Having the whole curriculum laid out and exactly how to teach each lesson in the lesson guide is helpful too. Especially for parents who are worried that they wouldn't be able to teach their children on their own. Or, as in my case, have a partner who is concerned that the kids will manipulate the one teaching them, or that getting the right knowledge at the right time might be too much without guidance.

For me it's more important that my DS is able to see his Dad everyday and that they are able to spend time together working of projects or just hanging out, than doing a full Homeschooling curriculum on my own. DH is fine with CA but isn't sure we could do it on our own. Also DS had some trouble in Public School, he has special needs, but they weren't doing enough academics because they were working on social issues and behavioral issues most of the time. DS has a few behavioral problems, but in a classroom with 12 other kids with behavioral issues they got worse. He somehow got the idea that he couldn't do math, that reading was hard, and that school and learning was stupid and only for 'normal' kids.

by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 11:11 PM
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I can not compare the 2 since we have only used K12. We started with K12 back at the beginning and have used it since then. My oldest just graduated from California Virtual Academy with a 4.1 GPA. I'm so proud of her and know that K12 is a major factor in her success so far. She also started taking some college courses when she was 15 which included college level biology and physics holding a 4.0 in those classes too. She also was accepted to Cal Poly's Animal Science Honor's program. Her younger brother (a sophomore) is doing awesome also. Though I only have 2 children I know many in K12 who teach more that that. It can be done. And K12 offers many, many sessions for parents given by parents who have the same challenges. K12 has a top knotch community for parents around the world which include videos for helping you get going at the beginning of the year to regular sessions all during the year covering a huge range of subjects from math help to story time for the little ones, computer classes for parents and students to clubs for parents and students, helps in how to keep your children engaged, help them get caught up if behind, ideas of what to do with toddlers, etc., etc. These sessions are recorded and available at all times. Hope this helps.

by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 11:17 PM
My children never have spent 8 hours doing their school work using K12 and though K12 does offer some awesome online activities, pictures, animations, etc which are very engaging for the children, they are not in front of the computer all the time. More so for highschool ages than the little ones. There are workbooks, worksheets and lots of hands on activities and manipulatives. It's not for everyone but we have loved using K12 as direct consumers to start with and through 2 different virtual academies.
by on Jun. 10, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Just a bit of clarification. K12 is a curriculum company. They provide curriculum for schools in a variety of ways. You can purchase the curriculum directly from K12 and use it as a homeschooler with no oversite. You will not get the help of having teachers as you would through a Virtual Academy or Charter school using the K12 curriculum which is a public school done at home in most cases and many of other benefits but some want that. There are also private school options which use the K12 curriculum such as iCademy, Keystone and others. You can check out the K12 website for the options available in your state.

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