K12 Overview

To kick off my little series on our curriculum choices for next school year, I decided I’d do an overview of K12.  I think it’s a great choice for many homeschoolers and can be incorporated with other curriculum to create a very well-rounded education.

What is K12?

K12 is a curriculum company that provides a fully accredited curriculum for grades K-12.  K-8 can be done as an independent, through at virtual academy (VA), or through the International Academy (IA), while high school is done exclusively through the IA.  I won’t touch on the academies here, since I do not participate and don’t have extensive knowledge about these options.  If you are interested, you can find information about the VA option here and the IA option here.

How to Use K12 to Homeschool

As a K12 independent, you essentially purchase the curriculum items from K12 {books, graduated cylinders, grass seeds, workbooks, rocks, etc.} and then pay a monthly fee {for one year} for access to the Online Learning System {OLS}.  You can purchase the entire K12 curriculum, which includes math, language skills {grammar, usage, mechanics; literature; spelling; vocabulary}, science, art, history, and music; or you can purchase only those subjects that you would like to use.  Pricing information can be found here.

The page specifically for homeschoolers on K12’s site is located here.  In a nutshell, K12 provides online and offline lessons, teaching guides, assessments, and planning and progress tools.

How Does K12 Work?

This is the K12 OLS home screen.  This screen lists courses begin taken, special announcements, and has shortcuts to various planning tools.
From here, you can choose to view all lessons scheduled for the day or week,
view each subject’s unit lessons,
check the student’s progress,
and record attendance.
You also have the option of setting up your schedule to include holidays and time off from school.

As you can see, there are a multitude of scheduling and planning options in the OLS.  I don’t make full use of them right now.  Since we switched up a good bit of our curriculum mid-year, I kind of just stopped using the scheduling, attendance, and progress tools.  I simply go to the lesson I need and we complete it.  It’s nice to know it’s all there if I wanted it though.

At the beginning of each unit, the unit objectives are displayed.
You can also view the lesson objectives
and the lesson materials.

What Do We Think?

K12 is definitely a lot to take in at one time, and it doesn’t stop at the curriculum choice phase. K12 is packed full of teaching materials. Some people view this as a boon to their homeschooling. I know as a perfectionist I struggled with the need to complete every last lesson for at least a year. There are so many, however, that it’s just not possible. Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to pick and choose what you need.

Babydoll and I enjoy the variety of activities in most K12 courses.  We did not enjoy math, much of the language skills lessons, or music.  These seemed much drier than the rest of the courses, full of mainly worksheet type activites.  Babydoll loves worksheets, but these were so basic and boring that she totally lost interest.  This is in stark contrast to history and science, where they are rich with multimedia content.

We used K12 for all subjects our first year of homeschooling.  I was in a rush to move across country and had no idea other curriculum choices existed.  Given this fact, it was a great choice for us at the time.  I know of others who have various family circumstances that make an all-in-one curriculum a good choice for them.  The fact that you can purchase only the subjects you like through K12 is a great plus in my opinion.  We love their history and science, and will continue to use them for these subjects.

In addition to great content, K12 does offer quite a bit of support in the form of blogs, an online homeschool community, online training seminars, seasonal activities, and much more.

You really need a few hours to sit down and evaluate K12 to see if it would be a good choice for your family.  I’d be happy to answer any questions I can; this is our second year with the company.  You can also register to receive a two week log-in account to preview the format for yourself.

Stay tuned as I break down several of the individual subjects in greater detail so you can get a feel for how each subject is presented; many are vastly different from the others.

Have any of you had experience with K12?  Do you know others who use it?

Disclaimer:  The above statements are my own and not those of K12, Inc.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.  We use K12 in our homeschool and I wanted to let others know how it works and what we think about the program.

Photo credit:  Images are from http://www.k12.com/.