Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Other Non-Traditional Education Options

In the course of a discussion on getting started in home education, I noticed several bits of misinformation being circulated. Although this was likely unintentional, I wanted to clarify a couple of things.

First of all, K-12 is NOT homeschooling. It is public schooling from home. The state provides free curriculum, and a teacher oversees your child's education. Most people who homeschool do not go this route because their whole goal is to move away from public education. With K-12, the government still selects your curriculum and determines your schedule.

However, I personally feel that K-12 is a legit option for some. Cases where K-12 might be beneficial: you have a child with life-threatening illness; you have a child with learning disabilities that are not compatible with a classroom setting; your child is pregnant; you plan to return your child to public school in a year or so and/or your other children are remaining in the public school system. I'm sure there are other cases in which K-12 would be a good fit. I am a big advocate for parents having the freedom to decide for themselves what is best for their children, and this may be a good fit for your situation. Just know that it isn't homeschooling.

Article from The Tennessean about K-12's poor performance, resulting in likely closure:
Huffman Orders Closure of Tennessee Virtual Academy

Of course, the Virginia-based, for-profit curriculum company does not want it to be shut down, as it would miss out on all those Tennessee taxpayer's dollars. Same for the tiny school district in East Tennessee which handles enrollment for the entire state. They receive over $5k per student with the advantage of not having to haul them in busses or put them in classrooms.

It has come to my attention that there is also a K-12 Private School option that is doing well and will not be affected by the closure of the virtual public school. But again, this is not traditional homeschool, but rather private school at home. 

Next, there are other options such as Gateway's extension program and Classical Conversations that are not full-out homeschooling. Gateway offers three services. They have a regular private school campus. They have an extension program of this private school, where you take their material home and teach it, then come in for weekly testing. And finally, they serve as an umbrella school for traditional homeschoolers, keeping up with transcripts.

Gateway Christian Schools 

Classical Conversations is another private school/homeschool hybrid, with CC choosing some of your curriculum and you choosing for certain subjects. Students attend class once a week, tutored by parents. The other four days they are at home. There is a local chapter in Millington. You can get more information about Classical Conversations here: Classical Conversations

As parents become more aware of alternative options for the education of their children, more options seem to be offered. This can be rather confusing at times. But it is also great to know that parents have the freedom to choose an option that is best for their family.

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