Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Definitions

I tend to have to explain my kids' education to many people. They understand a charter school. They may have heard of home schooling. So, when people ask me if I home school my kids, I have to respond "no, my kids go to school at home". Sounds like mincing words, I know, but it makes a difference depending on who you talk to.

I don't know any of them personally, though I have encountered a few, home school parents that don't appreciate those of us who attend a virtual school calling it "home schooling". In fact, "home school" to them means you create or purchase your curriculum through a vendor, tailoring it to what you feel appropriate to your family. They feel insulted if we compare ourselves to them, even if it's inadvertent.

So, as a virtual charter school, we have a homeroom teacher for each child. These teachers generally have kids from a couple of grades that they're watching over. We have subject teachers that are geared to the appropriate grade (not necessarily their homeroom teacher). The kids get their curriculum through the school itself, which is actually adapted from k12. The kids use elluminate for "in-person" classes, a virtual teleconference (skype-type).

Also, unlike "regular" home school students, our kids take the CRCT (see my post from last week). This means they have to perform to state standards. Teachers AND parents are held responsible and accountable to make sure that the kids learn what they need to do. With teachers supporting the parents (called Learning Coaches) and vice versa, the system has a great support system built in.

Speaking of support systems, just like those home school parents create their own groups, parents at GCA have started their own. Many times we're able to utilize what the home school parents have already put in place, which is a GREAT thing and we appreciate those that have put in the effort to get it done.

So, depending on your point of view are we "home school" or are we "school at home". I guess it will eventually end up being decided by Webster. In the mean time, I will content myself with the fact that my kids are in a great school and getting to spend a lot of time at home too.

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