Monday, January 5, 2015

Halfway Through Our Virtual School Year with Calvert (Leavenworth Virtual School in Kansas)

A homeschooling friend was asking my son some questions about our virtual school yesterday so I wanted to FINALLY take a moment to put this together to let you know how our virtual schooling has been going since I know a lot of people have questions about it.

Kindergartner Eva does some of her computer lessons, like typing, learning how to send email, how to do Excel spreadsheets, use Paint, etc.
We are eclectic homeschoolers usually ... ranging from an expensive Catholic curriculum one year to Sam's Club workbooks another to whatever is given to us to IXL Math and CTC Math and general hippie or unschooling methods. Virtual school has been a change but something I needed personally to keep on track. The testing does freak me out but I need that pressure ... you might picture homeschooling parents as all organized and teaching at the dining room table from 8-3 every day but that's actually pretty rare. We are all super different and I'm finally getting some footing here in my 8th year of homeschooling!

So here are the basics:
For $45 per kid we get EVERYTHING we need to homeschool. See my posts on unboxing curriculum for Kindergarten, 3rd grade, 5th grade and 7th grade.

There are 2 crazy days when you have to hit every subject and do one checkpoint for each subject. The district/state requires this and you just block it out on your calendar and don't plan to do anything else those 2 days.

We have to do 160 lessons total before the end of May. Each lesson might have only 5 checkpoints in 5 different subjects or it may have as many as 8 or 9 in a busy day.

You can go at your kid's pace. My boys are going to get their spelling lessons for the ENTIRE YEAR done by January 9 because spelling is easy and fast for them so why not knock it out and not have to worry about it anymore? Callie will do Picture Study for the whole year this week. Then we focus on harder subjects at a slower pace.

We like to do one or two subjects per day instead of one LESSON per day because it's a pain to switch from one subject's books to another. It's easier to just do several checkpoints for one subject ... keep reading on Science for a few chapters then it's easy to knock out several Science checkpoints.

We need to log 160 days of attendance for our virtual school to keep their accreditation ... (see tips below on logging attendance). It does NOT log TIME SPENT online per kid like K12 and other programs that REQUIRE your kid to BE ONLINE for 6 hours a day. There is no way we could do that. Also, if you have a kid who likes to work at night, they sure can.

I am behind on math for every kid and our awesome facilitator Gary is coming end of this month to do testing so I am feeling a bit stressed about that. I believe he only comes one more time for testing at our house but we also have STATE TESTING to worry about in April, I believe. I have to point out that I freak out about testing in general and it's not because the school is putting is putting any pressure on me or anything!

Tricks, Tips and Other Stuff:

If we have a sick day or day we were out and don't show attendance, I might have the kids each do one CHECKPOINT (not one entire lesson) on a Saturday or Sunday to show one day of attendance. Then we can work harder and catch up later but I like to see that we are on track attendance-wise so I don't have to worry at the end of the year.

We have only been on one field trip but it was entirely free for my virtual schooled students, leaving only myself and my 5-year-old son to pay for our portion. In December we went to see a play at The Coterie then ice skating at the Ice Terrace at Crown Center. What would have been a $72 field trip ended up only being $24 ... we had to get up earlier than our norm but it was worth it!


If your kid is "behind" for their grade, they don't ridicule you. There is a program called Verticy, which I have one of my budding readers in. If you don't like the math program, they will get you a different one. If you need lessons read to your kid they can get you a program to do that.

ANY OTHER QUESTIONS? Please ask! I'm happy to answer them in the comments or in another post!

2 comments:

  1. I'm new to homeschooling and was wondering how you teach the younger kids different subjects at the same time? My kids are still pretty young (kindergarten and 1st grade) and don't work well independently yet. The testing freaks me out too. How often do they have to come to your house? Are they there long? Do you take them to Leavenworth for state testing or do they come to you for that too? Also, about how much time do your kids spend on school work per day? Is there time left at the end of a school day for your kids to learn about things they want to learn about? I originally thought I'd be a more eclectic homeschooler but the LVS looks really appealing, just a little freaked out about the testing. Sorry I'm so long winded in this comment.

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    1. Alena! Thanks for commenting! Let me answer your questions in another post so everyone can find out the answers! Give me a day or so, as our testing guy comes TODAY! Testing also freaks me out even though our guy is the sweetest man on the planet and does not pressure them or make me feel horrible if they don't know things!

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