As I mentioned before, there are lots of ways to homeschool. I cannot tell you which one is best for you and your family. What I can tell you which way we choose and why!
After a lot of discussion and research, my husband and I decided that the best option for us was the online public school option. We choose this option for many reason and I will share some of them with you now.
- I, personally, was very worried about starting homeschool so late in my son’s academic career. He is in 5th grade this year! He has 5 years of regular public school (known as “brick and mortar” school or “B&M” from here on out) education with various teaching styles, at least 3 different curriculums (Oklahoma is our third duty station since he started school), and 5 years of bad habits!
- My husband was worried that it would be a lot of stress on me, especially since at the time we decided this he was deploying on average once per year for 4-6 months at a time! Homeschooling is hard enough, but when you add in that I am also a licensed in-home family childcare provider; it adds up to a lot of work and stress on me already. Throw being a “single” parent for half of the year, and I am sure you can imagine that life gets just a little bit crazy around here at times!
- We were worried about the social aspects. How were we going to make sure our son got the much needed social interactions with not only his peers but other adult authority figures? We had learned a long time ago that just being at home with Mom all day was not good for him. He needed to learn that there will be other authorities in his life that he is expected to listen to.
- We worried about his education being acceptable for college or whatever career choice he made in the future. For example, as of right now he talks about going into the Air Force like his Dad. Which we fully support, but right now the Defense Department only accepts 10% of its recruits with what they call “untraditional diplomas”. To them homeschoolers of any type and people who get their GEDs earned an “untraditional diploma”. Despite the fact that statistics have shown over and over again that homeschoolers routinely match or exceed the test scores of their public school counterparts!
- We worried about the impact it would have our 4 yr old daughter, as homeschooling can be time consuming and we did not want her to feel left out.
- We worried about the potential cost.
And as I said I could go on for quite a while …
Then one day I was posting about my concerns on Facebook, and a fellow military spouse told me about Oklahoma Virtual Academy and K12.com. She had nothing but wonderful things to say about it. So I called and set up a time to talk their representatives and I spent some time researching them online.
One of the best things I could have ever done was post on my Facebook page and asking people for their thoughts on online public schools, homeschooling in general, and K12 specifically. The response was overwhelming! I never realized how many people were familiar with this type of homeschooling and specifically K12!
Everyone had awesome stories, recommendations and experiences to share! The ONE family I found that tried it and did not stick with it said they believed it was an excellent program, but just was not the right one for their family! I literally could not find one person to tell me something bad about this program.
The people I “chatted” with from all over the US and a few were military serving overseas. So this was not a concentrated sample of people just here in Oklahoma. These were testimonies from people from all walks of life, all sorts of economic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. You can’t get much better information that that!
After talking to the representatives from OKVA, asking a million questions, talking it over my son and my husband, we decided this was the homeschool option for us at this time. We were open to the idea that it may not work out or we may just decide that homeschooling in general was not for us, but we wanted to give it our best shot and this was the plan we choose to try.
Next time I will talk more about what is involved with online public schools and our experience in the enrollment process.