So...the buzz word around the block these days is Homeschool / Public School Partnerships. About 2-3 years ago, Virtual Academies (VA) opened their doors in MI. Now, many schools are adopting these programs, primarily for their at-risk students. Would-be homeschoolers that need a lot more hand-holding and organization are enticed by the VAs, too. Kids can stay at home, get a free computer and internet access, and get a public school education. Now, enter in the Partnership. A local school-of-choice partners with a homeschool group to offer part-time and full time VA, field trips, community classes, and a continuation of the homeschool group classes for free (some stipulations apply). I've been attending some of these meetings. Like everyone else, my first thought is "what the blue blazes???"
Like everyone else, my second and third thoughts are "what are they up to, now?" and "I don't trust them". And then, the fourth thought, "hmmm, do we want to do this?" LOL!
I spent some time reviewing the VA programs that my children would be enrolled in and try to envision our use of the programs. Does it meet my goals for my kids? It is very techy. We are a techy family, so of course it has some appeal. But I sat there, listening to the really cool virtual science experiments, and the graphically appealing virtual lessons. I thought about what we currently do. Thinking about all that really neat technology driven stuff, I discovered that I really missed paper. I missed the feel of paper under my hand. I missed the grasp of a pencil between my finger and thumb. I missed the textured resistance of the pencil on paper, or the smooth gliding of an ink pen on paper. I missed the sound of binders clinking open and shut. I thought of those virtual experiments and missed seeing explosions happen in real life! I want my children to experience a real metal microscope, dye on a real onion skin (oh! the teary eyed smell, lol!), and their eye pressed up against the eyepiece.
I imagined our year with a VA and really felt that we would be missing out on something. Yes, I know you can print pages off (Well, one of the programs allowed you to do that. There was some complaining about the other program that didn't have that feature yet). And yes, I know you can add in your own stuff for some real-life texture supplementation. The likelihood, however, is that we just wouldn't find the time to supplment, or pull in real life stuff. Most likely, I'd get busy, or the kids would have enough of their school day, and it simply wouldn't happen. Although, I would enjoy not having the paper mess and book mess scattered everywhere. And the experience with Z's Math TM missing for over 2 weeks wouldn't happen, either. But I guess I'll cope with those inconveniences for now.
If the Partnership had been offered last year, I probably would've jumped on it. Last year, we really needed something that could provide the planning and teaching; I just didn't have the ability to provide it myself. I'm really struggling again this year, but I have so many ideas about what is important, and how I want to direct my children's education; I do not think I can let go of that this year. I really need a babysitter while I drum up lesson plans. Oh, and I could really use someone to sit there and listen to me ramble on for hours about my lesson plans. And then I need someone who is really organized to take my ramblings and draw up a weekly lesson plan that I can actually implement. LOL. Any volunteers???