Thursday, May 05, 2011

More differences (rules/regulations/references) GCA vs. home school

I thought I'd point out couple of the other differences between home schooling and virtual schooling. The first is "enrolling". With home schooling, you file a "letter of intent" with your district for the school year for each child you plan to home school. For Georgia Cyber Academy, you simply enroll your student in the school, they handle the legal side.

Next is hours and attendance. With home schooling, you file an attendance report each month with your district. My understanding (and this may have changed) is that with home schooling, you're required to school 4 hours a day. With the virtual schools, it depends on the grade level. For my daughter (4th grade), the requirement is 5 hours per day. My son, on the other hand, as a 6th grader is required to put in 5.5 hours per day. This is generally very doable and still reasonably flexible. To let the school know they were there, our online learning system (ols) has a slot for attendance. You enter what they did each day before the end of day.

I mentioned this briefly in another post, but curriculum should be mentioned again. Curriculum is determined by YOU (if you're home schooling) or by the SCHOOL (if you're charter schooling). GCA uses K12 for it's curriculum. As a home school parent, you have this as an option as well, though you pay for the materials and access. With our charter school, it's considered a public school and the materials are provided for you. As a home school parent, you have a multitude of options available for your choice to use. Almost too broad of a choice in my opinion, but it's not a bad thing.

The choice on how to school your child is yours, make sure you look at all options before making your decision. To help you out, here are a couple of sites for your reference:
Georgia Home Education Association - http://www.ghea.org (You'll find a lot of the requirements for home schooling in GA here, as well as some of the legal documents.)
K12.com - http://www.k12.com (Curriculum used by the Georgia Cyber Academy)
GCA - http://www.k12.com/gca (Link on the K12 site to GCA)

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