the network for radical unschooling families
My daughter and I intend to start unschooling in Sept. Our ocal schoolboard has a connections program for homeschooling. I was wondering if anyone out there has, or is using such a program. I would love to get some feedback on what your opinions are about it.
Also they ask for an annual 'Learning Plan' and weekly hourly meetings to see if the children are in line with state requirements. How do I write a learning plan when i intend to unschool? What if they aren't up to the requirements? How flexible is this program. I am loving the idea that each child will get $1500 yearly to cover material etc.
Any input gratefully accepted.
We have a similar thing here in Washington state. We did NOT use it. For us, the constraints outweighed the few $$ by a huge margin.
You'll want to do more local research into the laws and policies for your area - don't ask the school district, they won't know! Check with other home and unschoolers in your area - this question is probably better asked in a Group than the regular discussion forum, but it doesn't hurt to review the basics now and then.
Generally speaking, in the US, programs put out by local school districts for use by homeschoolers are a way for schools to claim home-ed students as members of the school district. This is to their advantage, they believe, because homeschoolers test well and will boost their stats, plus they get additional funding for students who use next to No services - no busses, no lunches, nothing. It's a sweet deal for schools. It's a decent transitional program for people new to homeschooling, I suppose, since most homeschoolers will change to a different curriculum after the first year, if not sooner. If you're planning on homeschooling, it's a place to start. But what I hear from unschoolers who have tried such programs is they end up being more trouble than they are worth. The money and/or computers come with stipulations which get in the way of unschooling.
Learning plans in general... here's link with some samples:
I'd stay away from anything which has a weekly check-up if you can - that's going to get in the way of unschooling big time. At one point I was doing "learning plans" for Ray and just needed to submit them every semester, so I'd keep track of what he was doing and put it in formal language for the Next semester's learning plan. That way, I wasn't guessing about the future, could always show work or progress, and he always met all his goals.
Connections is a nationwide chain of virtual schools. http://www.connectionsacademy.com/home.aspx There are various versions of their programs. You will need to talk to others using the program in your area, find out what the legal options are, review the program for yourself, etc., to see if it will fit in with your plans for homeschooling. I wouldn't think it would be anything close to unschooling but it is one way that hsers manage things. Each state and even district has its own way of using the Connections Academy/K12 or other virtual schools. Some enroll your child as a public school student, using the standard curric, including all the testing ps students have. Some have the option for homeschoolers to use the entire program but retain their hser status and not have to do all the testing. Some offer access to the courses as supplements to your other hsing activities. You really have to figure out what your particular school district is offering, what the requirements are, what your legal status will be (homeschooler or public schooler), and whether it will work for you and your kids. And understand that you can try it and stop if it isn't a good fit. Or not. :) These programs work for some families but there are certainly other ways to homeschool. Anything that seems intimidating at first, like putting together an annual learning plan, is something many other hsers in your area have doubtless done for years. Get them to help you and pretty soon you will be helping the newbies. :)
Technology makes our lives easier! (wink) We're in Snohomish County, in Everett and it was probably a deade ago that we talked to the district but, like I said, it definitely didn't it our unschooling life and the attraction of the money wasn't enough to make us want to participate. Not nearly enough.