What school are you enrolled with and what do you like and dislike about your school?
Did you choose to register or enrol your children this year? What led you to make your choice? Are you going to do the same thing or something different next year? Why?
I'm a traditional homeschooler, and highly recommend it!!!!!
This year I decided to enroll my grade 8 as I am wondering whether or not she should do the BC graduation program or continue as a traditional homeschooler and I thought it would be a way to "test the water". I also thought it would be good for my daughter to have some other input.
We began with one school where the teacher seemed completely disengaged and by late November hadn't met or had any meaningful communication, so I changed schools. This next attempt got me the opposite: a teacher who seemed to be focused on checking off learning outcomes, to want proof of everything (videos, government tests of work already done), and who seemed to not trust me as a teacher.
By mid January we were joyfully back in the traditional homeschooling fold. (For "other input" I have arranged for a friend who's a professional writer to give her feedback on her writing.) We still haven't decided what to do about high school, but after this experience I am very interested in continuing on the traditional homeschooling path.
I have always traditionally homeschooled my grade 5. When I began homeschooling 9 years ago there was only one type of homeschooling in BC, what is now called "registered". While the funding may be nice I don't think that most home school teachers need a "professional teacher" over them. We are very capable and don't need the government's verification to prove that our children are learning. My goal is my children's education and love of learning - not meeting grade level content and expectations. I try and give them a rich diet of good books and experiences. When I first began homeschooling I read a lot and found a philosophy and style of learning which suits us. There are so many excellent resources and homeschooling curriculums, I don't see any need for the input of a government certified teacher who is not trained in the private tutorial method which homeschooling allows.
We started out as registered home learners, and I really enjoyed the freedom it provided. I was able to set the pace for my children, both in terms of what we studied and when we studied it, without being accountable for meeting any PLOs [learning outcomes]. I loved that it meant I could hold off on teaching my son to read until he completed speech therapy (it is much easier to learn to read when you can speak properly!) and that we could follow whatever interested my boys at the time!
The one thing I did not like about being registered is that there was no access to services my son needed. Ironically, in parts of BC, including where I live, some of the health services such as speech and OT are only available for kids 5-18 through schools or through private therapy (read: expensive!!!) As a result we decided to give enrolment a try. We chose Self Design as she said it matched my philosophy. I have loved that Self Design has given us the freedom to keep doing what we are doing in terms of choosing our learning plan.
The advantages of enrolment for us have been having a learning consultant to brainstorm ideas with, the accountability of showing we have learned something each week (through a weekly report like a blog - I think this accountability is my husband's favourite part), access to special needs funding, help and direction in how to teach my sons' phonics in a way that helps their dyslexic brains learn the sounds (this has been hugely valuable and is saving us major tutoring fees while hugely reducing the stress in our house), and access to increased funding to pay for classes and materials.
The disadvantages for us have been that reporting does take some time, and that we have decreased flexibility (as we are more bound to a standard school calendar, it decreases the flexibility for vacation time).
I think it is important to consider what a school's expectations and requirements are, and to think seriously about whether it is the best thing for our family at this time, before signing on any dotted lines! When we are realistic, and ask lots of questions, we are most likely to have the best success, regardless of what option we choose!
I'll try to answer both of the questions even though I registered this year. Last year we were at Summit Learning for the first time as enrolled learners. The things I liked about Summit were the Art Smart classes they offer in different venues and municipalities that did not come off of your grant. Our girls where able to take gymnastics, medieval sword play, pottery and art classes.
What I did not like was the rigidity of the system. There seemed to be little room for individual learning styles. As we got to know our teacher and she saw the girl's work then things began to relax somewhat. By the end of the year she said they could decrease the number of assignments because of the depth and quality they put in. That would have really helped half way through the year instead of the stress I kept feeling to keep up to the volume of assignments.
The second answer comes out of the answer to the first question. We registered this year because of the volume of work and limiting choices for studying topics we liked. Even though we knew we could do less in volume we still chose to register and pick our own projects.
I'm not sure what we will decide for next year. I have looked at a few other schools to register with and I will keep on asking mums about their experiences. I will continue to register my boys and possibly enrol my older daughter. I'm not entirely put off of enrolling but I will choose as wisely as I can.
We are enrolled with Self Design and we love being a part of this school! Here are a few of the things that I love about Self Design:
(1) Our Christian facilitator is very supportive of our goal to do everything from a Christian perspective.
(2) The program allows us to be as fluid or as rigid as we would like. It is our facilitator's job to align what we are doing with the learning outcomes. We don't worry about this at all.
(3) Our facilitator is supportive and a good sounding board, but she doesn't require us to jump through any particular hoops.
(4) We have the freedom in our program that a registered student has, but with funding to support some of the costs associated with learning.
(5) Weekly reporting helps keep me on track and focused so that the year doesn't escape us.
(6) The reporting is not detailed oriented, but rather an exploration of three learning moments during the week and accounting for 25 hours of learning time. Because "all of life is learning", it is very easy to account for these hours.
The only thing that I wish was different was the allocation of funding. We get a pre-loaded VISA card, which is handy, but it is only loaded three times a year with a third of our funding at a time. You have to plan your year well because there isn't a lot of money to use in the fall. If you are not an organized person, one might find the weekly reporting tedious, but it certainly is not an unreasonable requirement. Lord willing, we will register with Self Design next year.