Thursday, March 16, 2017
Homeschooling: The Skinny on Connections Academy
I have been homeschooling Akaiysha for a year now, and we have just finished enrolling for another year of homeschooling. I have received a lot of questions from other parents about how to do it, how to sign up, what it entails, etc. So, instead of posting a huge post on Facebook, I figured I'd put all the information together for you here.
I homeschool through Connections Academy which is a public homeschool.
That means that the way I homeschool is completely legal, and I don't have to worry about keeping records, or filling out extensive forms. I simply enroll Akaiysha each year, turn in the proper paperwork like immunization forms and proof of residency, and the school takes care of the legalities.
It is completely free...there is no registration fee, there are no shipping fees, nothing. You can even apply for one of the computers the school lends out if you do not have access to your own computer. The only requirement is that you have access to an internet connection in order for your child to access the lessons and turn in their homework. This could be an at-home connection (which is recommended) or you could take your child to the library if that is what you need to do.
The school will send you a box of supplies, usually it comes in July, and this is also completely free. They ask that you send the materials back at the end of the school year, which I believe is also free (I haven't gotten to that yet, so I will update with certainty when I do.)
Your child will have teachers for each subject online. There will also be a 'main' teacher assigned to your child that will call every other week to check up and see how things are going. This is normally a very short phone call, but it is especially useful when your child is having problems, or if you don't understand something.
Your child has access to their teachers at all times, they can call or send them a quick email throughout the day. The teachers are fast a responding during business hours, most of the time. If a teacher is going to be out of the office they send out an email stating as much.
Your child will have teachers, you are their learning coach. It is your job to keep your child on task, take attendance, and mark their assignments as complete. This literally takes less than 10 minutes, and is meant as an opportunity for you to make sure your child is keeping up with their assignments.
One of the biggest concerns I hear from parents is the concern about their child being socialized. Connections does a fantastic job at putting together 'field trips' to bring other homeschooled children together throughout the year. Additionally, there are clubs and extracurriculars that your child can be a part of that allow them to socialize with other homeschooled children. Further, you can also put your child in activities outside of the school, such as softball/baseball, basketball, music lessons, and other clubs or activities. School is about learning, not socialization.
I am so pleased with Connections. They have allowed us the opportunity to change my daughter's world. She was being bullied by not only the children at her middle school, but also the administration. For 2 years I tried to help her. Her grades were failing, but, the school kept pushing her forward. She was miserable, she began self-harming, having suicidal thoughts, her self-esteem dropped drastically. I knew that I had to do something!
Luckily, Connections gave us an opportunity that we would have otherwise not had. I am a full-time student, I have two jobs, and I have two children. I do not have the time to plan lessons and teach my daughter. Connections provides this for you though, which is why we could remove our daughter from public school, and switch to homeschooling. We had looked at every option; switching to another public school, sending her to the Christian school, and homeschooling through the public school. However, private school was too expensive and, like I said, I just don't have the time to plan lessons and organize a curriculum. I am forever grateful that Connections exists. My daughter's self-esteem has increased phenomenally, our relationship has improved exponentially. While she attended public school, we hardly spoke. She resented me for making her go to school, and she was miserable and projected her misery onto me. Now, she is so much happier, she is less stressed, and she is actually learning the material she is presented with. Her grades went from F's to A's and B's! She will actually pass 8th grade, instead of just being pushed through.
The decision to homeschool her is one I will never regret!
I really hope this information helps. I will add to it as I learn more, or if anything changes. If you have any questions, need help setting anything up, or just want to chat a little more about homeschooling, please feel free to comment here or find me on facebook/alaina.ellington.