A Decade of Gratitude to K12

by Heidi | January 8, 2013
Advanced Learner

My family’s K12 story began over a decade ago when I attended an information seminar to learn about innovative educational ideas. Shortly after the presentation began I heard words that sent chills down my spine: “Schooling at home!!” I immediately began to sink down in my chair and glance left and right to see if anyone had seen me there. I had never considered schooling my children at home. I did not have the confidence and would not have known where to begin. I thought to myself that the timing of this topic was rather comical, since after 20 years of having young children in my home, I had just sent the last of my six children to first grade. So excited was I to begin another phase of my life that I had thrown myself a party! I invited several of my friends to celebrate the hours of the day that I would now have to myself.
As the presentation went on, I began to hear things that I had to admit peaked my interest By the time the presentation ended, I felt strongly that this was something that I needed to try in my home with my family.
I realized that the phase of life change I had just celebrated was not going to be what I had planned. I withdrew my three youngest children from their traditional school and enrolled them in the Idaho Virtual Academy. This was a weighty decision. When my friends heard about it, many attributed it to a mid-life crisis. My own mother questioned me. The most painful response came from my older children who came to me with shock and dismay. “YOU are going to be teaching our sisters?! Well, then we are going to be your only NORMAL children!” Interestingly enough, my first grader came up with an appropriate response some time later. “Mom, they ARE your NORMAL children! We are your EXTRAORDINARY ones!”
I admit it was a struggle at first. We each had to learn new roles and establish a new family routine, and the children adapted much more quickly than I did, but we were determined to make this work. K12 made it easy to know where to begin what to do each day with their daily and weekly plans. We were assigned, a teacher from the Idaho Virtual Academy who virtually held my hand through that first year. Eventually, it all began to work for us. Education was happening in OUR HOME! I was enjoying the learning too.
Don’t get me wrong, it was not always pretty, but we still made progress. Our daughters grew in their education and social abilities—yes social abilities. I learned that all those who told me that my children would lack socialization skills by learning at home were greatly mistaken. They can communicate with the old and the young--not just their peers, as most teens do--because this schooling at home lifestyle provided opportunities for them to be around all ages of people. Our family was strengthened and we worked better together. We became a team and approached life’s problems very differently than in the past. Education became a way of life instead of a separate life.
When the girls reached high school, Dad took on a bigger role with the math, and along with our assigned teachers, became the coach at home for all things of a calculating nature. IDVA teachers and administration were there to help every step of the way. Our older children expressed that high school had not prepared them as well as they would have liked for college. But our two younger daughters, taught with the K12 curriculum, arrived at college with the personal motivation and organizational skills to hit the ground running, and do well.
Our youngest is now getting ready to start a new semester using K12’s language courses to finish up high school. I have no regrets of making the decision to bring the girls home. The benefits of K12, blended with our home environment, made learning a focal point, and changed our lives for the better. I can remember that some days were long and challenging, but the years have been short and worth every minute.

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