Another educational shift

 Another shift has happened in our schooling. At the beginning of the year we signed up to do Language Arts and Science through the WAVA K12 program.  We received the curriculum and signed up on the website.  Then school started and since both Isaac and Job needed to get up around 6am I figured Lona could as well.  She could start her day at 7 and hopefully be done at noon.  Well it ended up that with those two classes she had almost 5 hours of work to do.  She had an hour of science but the problem with science was that she had a daily assessment to take and it usually consisted of 3 problems.  If she didn't score 80% on any assessment she had to do it over.  With science that meant if she missed even one problem she had to do it over.  Well no problem except that about half the time the questions dealt with material that would be presented the next day,  it asked questions on a footnote, it dealt with materials a few lessons previous or it required Lona to infer something that was only hinted at.  Since this was happening science ended up taking 2 or 2 1/2 hours.  Then there was Language Arts.  That was divided up into Grammar Usage, Literature, Vocabulary and Writing, which is all and good.  However with grammar it went too fast.  She covered linking verbs, helping verbs and regular verbs in one day.  Literature was the same way, Tom Sawyer was read in two weeks or less with daily assessments and projects.  Then there was writing.  She needed to write a research paper, but she was given one day to find sources on the Internet and another day to do all her library research.  The vocabulary had words that I don't use or have ever used.  Antebellum just isn't in my daily usage.  Then there was the required work on study island to study for the maps tests.  She had to have so many hours for language arts logged on study island.  I thought that if the regular curriculum didn't cover it then why should we use that curriculum.  Or if the test was so poorly designed then why were we using that test.  The curriculum and the tests should work together instead of making more work for her.  It would have been great had we been able to slow down but we had required percentage of her total work to complete each month.  We would work sometimes until 5:00 at night with a half hour break for lunch just to get the stuff done.  It was frustrating for both of us.  Then there were required weekly meetings whose only purpose was to check in and it seemed to waste time. We had required days to attend and if something came up we were marked absent.  Sometimes we had problems connecting to the site and were marked absent.  Sometimes the site kicked us off and so she failed her assessments because she was in the middle of taking them.  It didn't end up being a good fit for us.  The school calendar had December 23 through January 4th as "winter holiday"  so we took that off and it felt good, really good.  I just couldn't see doing that anymore.  I couldn't bring myself to work through that.  I looked at different curriculum for science and language arts.  I settle with using the same grammar book because she really liked it.  We now set a timer for grammar and she spends 15 minutes on it. Then we correct it together.  It seems more manageable for her.  With writing we are trying the Write Source book.  She again sets her timer for 15 minutes and reads that much in her book and does an activity when she comes to it.  With Literature I have a list of books that I want Lona to read.  Some of the books correspond to her history.  Right now she is reading "The Witch of Blackbird Pond." and she's loving it.  She frequently asks if she can read more than one chapter.  I have chapter questions for her to answer and she's doing that on the computer since she can type faster.  For science she is going through Basic Science Mysteries by Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum.  The year is divided up into 5 chapters.  Each chapter is divided up into three 5 lesson sections.  At the end of each section she is tested on that section with up to 65 questions.  If she scores 85% or above she doesn't have to take the chapter test.  We have figured out that if she works on one lesson a day she will have finished the whole year by the middle of May.  It's great since she doesn't have to spend over an hour working on it.  This schedule has allowed us to do more things such as photographing eagles.  I figure that is science, writing, and art all rolled up into one activity.  She is happy about school again and is excited about learning.  I really think that the K12 program can work for some people.  I think that the concept of it is great.  If it could be tailored to individual learners it would work fantastic.  It just was too rigid for us.  She did learn a ton but it was too fast and too much.  So another shift has happened in our educational journey and it's for the best at this time.

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