View Full Version : Advice about online school sites.

12-12-2014, 11:23 PM
My high school student has been enrolled in Penn foster online school for a year now and it's going good. I'm trying to find something similar for my 3rd and 4th grader because we are taking them out of public school at the end of next week. I saw the link on this site to time4learning.com and was wondering if anyone has used it. I would also like to hear other reccomendations for online schooling. I would like to find something that keeps track of test scores, progress, etc.. like Penn Foster does, also one that takes monthly payments. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Mike Walton

12-13-2014, 02:20 AM

Welcome to the forum!

There are a lot of parents here who use Time 4 Learning, there is a review page (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/content/699-time4learning-reviews/) that might help you. You might find the basic review page (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/content/675-secular-homeschool-curriculum-reviews/) helpful as well, as there are a number of different curriculums and online schools reviewed.

I can't speak for or against any online schools, since it's not what we utilize, but I hope these links will help you out a bit and I'm sure that other members will soon weigh in with their experiences.

12-13-2014, 11:38 AM
You can purchase K12 to use in that manner. It's broad, if not deep, for elementary school. If you use it through your state it is still public school, but it's free. However, then you are on the state's schedule and must log in so many hours per day and still do all the state testing. Time4Learning was flexible. We used it for 1st grade, so it's been a few years, it was OK, however my child only used it as a spine, as it just wasn't meaty enough.

12-13-2014, 03:32 PM
Calvert has had a print curriculum for a long time--I know a family who used it for 7th and 8th grades with the teacher service (tests graded, etc.)--and now offers virtual school in certain states: Find a Calvert Partner School | Calvert Virtual Schools (http://calvertvirtualschools.org/getting-started/find-a-partner-school)

I can't vouch for them personally, though, as I use a variety of mostly print resources with DS.

12-13-2014, 08:07 PM
I used to do K12, through one of the Virtual schools. Advantage: they pay for everything and you can get one computer per household if you want. Disadvantage: You can't pick the grade level that you want, you must go with school grade levels. You also have deadlines and have to show work and mark attendance that can be kind of a pain at times. Loved the curriculum years ago when we did it.

You can also do independent and pay for it yourself. I HIGHLY recommend this, unless you have a charter school that will let you pick grade levels for your kids. Disadvantage: It is pricey. Advantage: You can have your kids work at their own grade levels for math and Language Arts, but can have them work together for history, science, and art. (All of those subjects are great, including the art. Art is appreciation, history and learning techniques of masters.) I highly suggest that if you do K12 that you do put some of the classes together. They will need you to read to them and teach them at this age with this material, so you will might as well have them both do it at the same time. The classes are advanced, so don't worry if you have your older do 3rd grade history or science. Also, everything wraps...so don't worry that you are starting with the middle ages and they missed ancient history. It will be fine.

Time4Learning....I have known some people who use it and loved it. Most kids though, they seem to like it for the first couple of months, then the novelty wears off and they don't like it as much. I hear parents saying that they have a hard time getting their kids to get on and use it. Not all kids react this way, but more than a few that I have come across. Advantage: It is cheaper than K12 so you can ditch it if you want and not be out of a lot of money.

Khan Academy has math that keeps track and you can be the "coach" and get weekly reports of what your kids are learning. There are also charts online that you can look at or screen print. Common Core Aligned, in case your kids will be going back to school. I had my kids start in 5th grade...not sure what 3rd and 4th look like at this point in time. I suspect better than when my kids were that age.

MobyMax is a free free program that will do placement tests for everything except reading - that you have to place your child. It is okay, not really exciting over the long term, does not include science, history or art. It can include writing if you want to pay for it. It has nice charts that keep track of mastery and progress. My charter school loves it as I could just bring in the chart and show progress and amount of time worked.

Home2Teach has writing classes that you can pay for. My 12 year old is using them and I really like the progress that he has made. There are not charts for progress, but they can let you know if you want. They do have standards for moving to the next level and will let you know if your child can move to the next level or should repeat the class. If they repeat they will have more difficult work to do than they did the first time, but the online class session will run about the same. About $85 per class session, discount for siblings. They have about 5 sessions per year. They go from about age 9 up to high school.

12-14-2014, 04:12 PM
We have used time4learning for over 6 years now. My 12 year old loves it. I also have 3 grandbabies who use it. @ are in high school and 1 in 2nd grade, The high schoolers love it. The 2nd grade, not so much. She is very advanced for her age. She inds it to be just too slow for her. They all three have done K-12 and hated it. They found it too rigid. My daughter is now unschooling her little one using time4learning as a fall back if she needs help with something.

12-15-2014, 10:59 PM
Hi, thanks very much everyone for all the info. K12 and Calvert are not available in Missouri so I cannot use them. I'm leaning towards time for learning. I just need to find something to supplement the science and social studies since I have read that they are weak in those areas.

12-16-2014, 12:29 AM
Dear Mike,
For the past years (son is in 3rd, we HS since Kimdergarten) Ive been looking for meaningful science and social studies each year. This last month, Ive come to the conclusion that I had greater expectations than what is appropriate for the age level. They get all the meaty stuff when theyre older. Mitosis and meiosis, unless they are of great interest to your kids, will wait until high school.
Social Studies - pick up a copy of Libertys Kids from Target or Amazon for $5, have a marathon when they have colds.
Its just introducing them to highlights and general themes - theres no need to memorize the pharaohs in order or to be able to discuss the social differences between the Chang and the Ming dynasties. (Unless thats what they are intwrested in.)
I dont know what all T4L has, but whats there for those subjects might suffice. ;)
Just a thought, coming from someone whos been dissatisfied with all my science and social studies curricula - until I decided a book or two on each topic was enough.

12-16-2014, 09:48 AM
Yeah, we're making good use of horrible histories and horrible science books and the like . . .

12-16-2014, 12:22 PM
Yeah, we're making good use of horrible histories and horrible science books and the like . . .

You just inspired me to finally go out and buy these! (Well, from amazon)

12-16-2014, 03:09 PM
I bought a big batch on ebay last year. This year for history, Raven is reading horrible histories, taking notes, and writing up summaries. Well, he's just finished his second book. We took some time off for a minecraft homeschool class about roman architecture

Free Thinker
12-17-2014, 12:26 PM
Hi, I am also from Missouri. I have known several people who used Calvert here, you just do the physical text book version, and you can choose to send in assignments/test, and have a teacher overseer if you choose. On that same note, everyone I know IRL who's used T4L or k12 has not stuck with it or been happy with it. Some do like computer-based learning for a few subjects, but not for all of them. They will pick a few subjects for the child to do on-line, and do the rest w/ textbooks. I do know a few Calvert users who like it, and some who feel like it was too much when you have multiple grades. Missouri doesn't have any laws about what you have to teach, so you are open to making up your own curriculum to suit your students needs. SInce they are just one grade apart, I would try to get them the same things for all but math. For my 4th grader I am using

Writing and Rhetoric- Fable (almost done), and Narrative 1 next semester
FLL and WWE- I consider WWE reading comprehension which we struggle with
Wordly WIse- vocabulary
Spelling- LOE spelling list 2, free on their website w/ printable cursive lists to copy

Math- Saxon 5/4 - This would heavily depend on your student, but many people like Teaching Textbooks for computer-based learning
Science -RSO Biology
History- History Odyssey Ancients

I'm not sure what your kids' school experience has been, but mine have a lot of holes from Public school that I am working to fill in. I don't think an on-line based program would have worked right now because they were all at such different levels on different subjects. We had to remediate math for one, and advance math for another. Best of luck finding what works for your family!