CA Charter Caters to Home-Schooled Students

Source: Education Week, Dec 2013

The partnership between Wiseburn and Da Vinci offers one model for keeping home-schooling families connected to the larger district community and highlights a more holistic approach to getting parents involved in their children’s schooling. While parent cooperatives are becoming more commonplace, the Innovation Academy is unique as a full public school serving only home schoolers.

Students attend in-school class two days a week, either in a Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday cohort, though the school also offers a half day of fee-based elective classes on Wednesdays. For the rest of the week, children work with their parents on projects developed in partnership with the school’s teachers and aligned to the Common Core State Standards that most states have now adopted. Parents fill out a detailed “work journal” linking the activities they do on home days to specific standards, and a panel of teachers audits the journals every 20 days to ensure students are completing at least 20 days’ worth of learning in that time.

Parents attend two days of training at the start of the fall semester, learning how to align what they do at home with what students learn in class. Throughout the year, they continue to attend workshops given by teachers and other home-schooling parents on topics from reading-comprehension strategies to occupational therapy, and teachers provide online videos and other materials to help parents link school content to home lessons.

Connecting Lessons

With parents responsible for covering the bulk of core content, the school also has more time to focus on teaching students to apply what they learn in multiple subjects, as well as cultivate noncognitive skills such as decisionmaking and cooperation.

“Content is about 50 percent of what we do here, and in most schools, content is 95 percent of what they do,” Principal Rainey said.

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