Thanks for the great questions about the online public school we use, Christy! Here is a little rundown of how it works:
– How much does it cost?
It is free! It is a state public school funded under an “Alternative Learning Experience” or “ALE.” Sadly, it is continually at risk of being shut down every time the state looks for ways to save money. We really hope it continues, because it is just fantastic. (Anyone here work for my state government? Please keep this open. It is an incredibly efficient and effective way to educate children. Tax money goes directly to materials for the child and the teacher is free!)
– How do you enroll?
Back when I was researching this option, I searched for “online public schools” and “virtual academies” for my state. Then I looked at the ones available and chose ours because I liked having a variety of curricula to choose from (rather than just one option) and only checking in once a week for accountability (rather than daily).
To enroll, I just filled out a form to move my son from my local school district to the parent school district for the virtual academy. Then they received the public school funding for my child and off we went!
– Do you return the materials?
The materials deemed “consumable” like art supplies, workbooks, vocabulary cards, science supplies, etc. we are allowed to use up and keep. The materials deemed “non-consumables” like reading books, teacher’s manuals, DVD’s, CD’s, etc. we return to the school. I just box them up and request a shipping label from the school.
– How do the grade levels and ordering curricula work?
They are very flexible in meeting our needs. We tried a number of kindergarten Social Studies curricula that didn’t work for us, so the teacher just looked in the next grade up and ordered one of those that sounded like a better fit for us.
Brother is quite advanced at math and there were no math workbooks available for kindergarten, so our teacher just requested that the first grade workbook be added to the kindergarten options as well.
– How much curricula do you get for each subject?
For almost all subjects, you pick one primary curriculum and can pick up to two supplemental curricula. We’re pretty gung ho, so I ordered the max of everything and Brother is happy as a clam chugging through it all.
– Do you plan to continue?
Absolutely! It’s been a wonderful fit for kindergarten and we plan to continue in first grade.
“Look, Mom, I made green water!” (Saxon Math lesson from last week: following a recipe.)