Virtual Public Schools Versus Homeschools

On Friday, Tavia Fuller Armstrong posted an article on Yahoo! Voices titled “Why Virtual Public School Is Not Really Homeschool.”

From the post:

There has been much debate in homeschool circles over the past couple of years about whether families using virtual programs like K12 or the Connections Academy, offered through the public schools, are truly homeschoolers. Some of these discussions result in hard feelings, and leave many parents asking, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

As a homeschooler who works hard to get along with other parents regardless of their educational choices, I don’t like to see virtual schoolers offended or feeling left out. Online public school is a great option for many families, but it is important, especially for parents who are leaving conventional public school for the first time, to know all you can about your educational options, and to know where you stand in the eyes of the law.

I agree with Tavia to the extent that understanding the legal distinctions are important for having informed conversations about policy, but I completely disagree that the distinction makes any difference beyond that specific discussion.

I’m hoping that every family realizes that we are all homeschoolers. Every minute our kids are with us is an opportunity to make their book learning relevant to their lives, no matter where they’re getting that book learning.

My family has tried several different alternative education scenarios and I passionately believe the right decision comes down to what works for the student. I know families that have multiple kids, with each in a different style program.

That’s more work than I can even imagine. For us, we’ve settled into a hybrid homeschooling/classroom program. It’s been an adjustment, but it works on several levels for us.

Which way do you lean on the homeschooling versus traditional schooling conversation?

The Argonaut – Digitally

argonaut 2

Want to catch up on a little Argonaut reading with your cuppa joe, but don’t want to run out for the paper? Maybe you missed the last copy at Trader Joe’s?

I just stumbled on a cool website that let’s you read the Argonaut and flip through each page with the same layout as the print edition.

Try it out here. And now if you can figure out how to get me a Starbucks soy latte delivered to my doorstep, I’ll be a happy camper. Ideas?

Incubator School awarded national grant

From the Argonaut:

A Los Angeles Unified School District pilot school has been selected to receive a $100,000 “Next Generation Learning Challenges Breakthrough Schools Grant.”

The Incubator School, which will be colocating on the campus of Playa Vista Elementary School this fall, is one of 30 schools nationwide to receive the national grant.

I’m rooting for this little school, but I’m skeptical. They are a “pilot” school within LAUSD. Pilot schools are public LAUSD schools which are supposed to have autonomy over budget, staffing, governance, curriculum & assessment and the school calendar. If it works, I’ll be the first to sing the praises of LAUSD (and anybody who knows me knows this is a big offer :-)).

For more about the Incubator School, go to

I’m a huge fan of the total concept for this little school. I’m completely hoping that it will be the little school that can! Good luck, families! We’ll be rooting for you!