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  1. #1

    Default Homeschool Charters- CA

    Hello!

    I'm in CA and I'm new here We are looking at homeschooling options and I am in the application process for a charter school as I see you get spending accounts or something?? I am very curious how this works and how your experiences have been if you have done this in CA.

    Main questions:

    How does the spending account work?
    Do we get to keep the curriculum or do we need to give it to them if we decide to opt out of the program at some point?
    Do we *need* to do state testing? I'd like to opt out of it.
    How do you like it? Pros and cons?

    Thank you!

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  3. #2

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    It depends on each charter how they handle things.

    Talk to the school, they will explain how it works in a friendly and helpful manner. If not, try somewhere else.

    Some may give you a budget, some may want to make the purchases for you. Mine gives me a very small consumables budget, but all non-consumables dont count against it (and are returned after we are done with them).
    Some may deduct participation in enrichment activities.... it all depends on which charter you go with.
    Homeschooling DS11, DS5.

    Atheist.

    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

  4. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alexsmom View Post
    It depends on each charter how they handle things.

    Talk to the school, they will explain how it works in a friendly and helpful manner. If not, try somewhere else.

    Some may give you a budget, some may want to make the purchases for you. Mine gives me a very small consumables budget, but all non-consumables dont count against it (and are returned after we are done with them).
    Some may deduct participation in enrichment activities.... it all depends on which charter you go with.
    Thank you From my research there is only one that services my county so I'm applying- but I'm new to all this! I've joined a local homeschooling group and plan on asking all about this as I was told many of the families homeschool this way.

  5. #4

    Default

    We're using Inspire Charter School this coming year. So I don't have any first hand experience yet, only what we've been told.

    Inspire Charter Schools

    We will get $2600 for the year. $1600 starting July 1st. The other $1000 on December 1st. We can buy most anything, including service vendors for field trips and outside lessons. Only non-consumable items have to be returned, and only then when you withdraw from the school.

    They set up an account for each child. You submit your order trhough them and they order it for you. They have Amazon, Rainbow Resource, and most any other shopping place.

    To my understanding they do want student 3rd grade and older to do the standardized testing. But they said it was very low stress and no emphasis will be placed on results. It's just something they have to require to maintain accredation through WASC.

    They will even support unschooling and buy supplies for gardening, music, art, mechanics, as long as you're using them to meet common core. I'm really not sure how that works, and this is one thing that makes me slightly nervous, but I'm willing to try it. You meet with a teacher and they go over progress about once a month. In my area the teachers are also homeschooling moms too.

  6. #5

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    Just one charter? That seems unusual! Youre also allowed to enroll in adjacent county charters. Did you look here?
    California Directory of Charter Schools with Home Study Programs - Homefires.com

    We just did the state testing.... for the 3rd year in a row. 2 days out of the school year, and about an hour and half each of those days. And it doesnt affect grades, enrollment, or anything tangible.
    Our family had stomach bug the first day of testing, DS was disappointed to miss it, and did all the tests on the 2nd day. (Two days later.) Still, there was no pressure or recriminations, or even communication from the school cajoling us to participate when we didnt show up for the first day.
    Homeschooling DS11, DS5.

    Atheist.

    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

  7. #6

    Default

    Hi! We;re homeschooling through the Inspire charter this year. We've only been in the program since November, but I think I can answer some of your questions.

    How does the spending account work?
    You are given a lump sum of $1600 in August and another $1000 in January. You can buy just about anything secular from any online store, just submit it. Sometimes, if it is an unusual request (like particularly expensive art equipment, or something non-traditional) Your teacher-liason might ask you how you are planning on using it, but it is pretty rare that they ask (i've never been asked, but i've mostly been using it for physical supplies and traditional curriculum, though i did buy a family zoo membership for the local zoo,)

    If you find something you like, you log into the vendor lobby and look for the website that you will be buying (rainbow resource, amazon, etc.) Then you explain the product you want, you give them the URL for online ordering and then you type in the cost of the item. It will over-estimate the shipping and taxes and set that money as pending, but only the exact cost is deducted from your account. If the site is not on the vendor list, they will likely add it for you. They usually only have trouble with unlisted/unapproved services (karate lessons, music lessons, etc.)

    Do we get to keep the curriculum or do we need to give it to them if we decide to opt out of the program at some point?
    You can keep anything consumable (workbooks, school supplies) but anything that is non-consumable (textbooks, computer, etc) needs to be returned when you exit the program. I recently returned a laptop because my son hated it, and they sent me a postage paid label and had the delivery service pick it up at my door. You can also return it to your teacher/liason at your last meeting.

    Do we *need* to do state testing? I'd like to opt out of it.
    It is strongly, stongly encouraged. Even if you child is going to "fail" the test, they want you to do it, because if they don't get a certain percentage of students participating, they might lose their state funding. It ended up only being a couple days for us, and then it was back to our regular routine. It was annoying, but there was very little pressure to perform well on the test.

    How do you like it? Pros and cons? We love it, and wish we started sooner (although i think this is the first year that it was available in our area) Pros, totally customizable curriculum with absolutely no out of pocket costs (we plan on going to disneyland on our funds next year, and we are looking forward to it) Cons, lack of social interaction (we don't have any homeschool friends in our area) and...Well in our situation, it is that some of the services they offer to kids with IEPs (OT consultation, one on one with a language teacher) are kind of redundant because he is already getting one on one time 100% of the time, and the same is happening with OT stuff. So its kind of useless, but we did want to keep the IEP just in case we transfer back to a typical school for high school.
    -Sam
    New-to-homeschooling mom to
    7th grade DS

  8. #7

    Default

    I have never homeschooled in California. I seriously doubt if any of you ever will either.

    HomeSchool Association of California1California Compulsory Education

    Your legal options do include enrolling in a charter school, in which case your child becomes a public school student:

    HomeSchool Association of California1Charter Schools

    but this is by no means your only legal option:

    HomeSchool Association of California1Establishing Your Own Private School

    HTH
    I am not a robot.

    Neither are any of my kids.

    homeschooling ds9
    homeschooled dd28 (Grad student, UC Berkeley, Philosophy) and ds25 (Spc. in US Army, deployed, Operation Spartan Shield)

  9. #8

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    Hi kthigh!
    I am also a new homeschooler and will be doing the charter school (starting next year).
    Which charter are you applying to? They should have a website where you can find most answers to your questions.
    It seems most charters have the same general rules. You get the money divided in 2, you have to return all non-consumables and you have to do testing. I'm not sure if you can opt-out of testing.

  10. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Autumn Leaves View Post
    Hi kthigh!
    I am also a new homeschooler and will be doing the charter school (starting next year).
    Which charter are you applying to? They should have a website where you can find most answers to your questions.
    It seems most charters have the same general rules. You get the money divided in 2, you have to return all non-consumables and you have to do testing. I'm not sure if you can opt-out of testing.
    Actually they arent all like that. Mine, I get a lot of enrichment activities offered including semester classes, unlimited non consumables, and they will order a reasonable amount of consumables for me as I ask for them.
    Testing is ALWAYS optional, both for charter and neighborhood public schools. They arent allowed to say that its voluntary, but if you dont go, you will suffer no consequences. (TBH, tests in one week a year that make no determination about grades or homeschool status.... no big deal, says me, after having done it for 3 years.)

    INSPIRE doesnt look like a very hands-on charter... some may like that. Personally, I prefer the social network and support of the more interactive ones! $2000 wouldnt go anywhere to covering all the classes and field trips we participate in. Here on the board, people are always lamenting the lack of secular co-ops, how hard it is for their kids to have a consistent peer group. or how they dont know anyone in their area they can stomach who homeschools.

    Money really is the least significant of the reasons to charter!
    Homeschooling DS11, DS5.

    Atheist.

    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

  11. #10

    Default

    Alexsmom, thanks fot the info. I have not come accross a charter that operates like yours. It sounds interesting, do you mind sharing its name?

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