Friday, October 29, 2010

Why I love GCA and why we aren't using it next year

As many of you know, Andrew's Kindergarten this year is GCA - Georgia Cyber Academy. It is using the nationally renowned home school curriculum, K12 but it is administered by a state charter school, GCA. Reasons for picking it in the first place are 1) It's free. They send me all the materials and it uses a curriculum that we have a high opinion of. Buying K12 privately would cost $238 a subject so about $1200 a year for all and 2) I wanted to have structure my first year to get the hang of it. I homeschooled pre-K but it was just a one or two days a week when I felt like it thing and I was all over the place with curriculum since I didn't have a formal curriculum for any of it. It felt very disorganized and I thought that if I didn't do GCA then I would never get organized and I would hardly ever do school.

So I am not doing GCA next year and people assume that means that I don't like it. Not true. I like it a lot. I don't like it enough to give my control to be able to do my own thing though. It is time consuming and comprehensive. To do GCA correctly and well, I have had to give up on a lot of my own things that I wish I could be doing right now. But for the most part, I don't mind doing GCA. And Andrew really enjoys it too. I even had hesitations about switching because Andrew likes it so much that I thought that choosing something else would be less fun and I still want Andrew to have fun. I will be more than happy to talk to anyone that is interested in GCA about it. Even if you don't have a school age child yet, catch me this year and I can show you the curriculum and sample lessons.

But here's how I finally was able to sum it up. GCA is a provider of high quality educational information. I didn't feel like I could define my child's educational goals with it because I was going to blindly accept their curriculum each year sight unseen. I can tweak a little..skip lessons here and there, go to the library for extra materials, look on the internet for extra projects. But for the most part, I don't need nor have the time to do these things. So even though it's great, I want to be able to do my own thing.

My own thing does involve someone else's curriculum though. We are going to follow the model of the Well Trained Mind. It's a 4 year rotation of time periods. In 1st grade, we are doing the Ancients. This will come into play again in 5th grade. They have a lot of different recommended books for the different subjects. We will use some of them and not use some of them. A lot of relies heavily on getting additional material from the library which I love. They have some real dud non-fiction books on their shelves but for the most part, I love library supplements. Regarding the fun stuff, I am going to miss the aspect of some lessons being online. I like online stuff and Andrew does too so I will probably supplement with educational computer games. But I did find out that I will have plenty of projects to do with History and Science and that is the kind of stuff that Andrew adores so as long as projects are involved, I don't think he will care what curriculum it is.

More on the specifics of what we are doing 1st Grade soon. We are starting to order from Amazon and it is hard when things arrive to not go ahead and start doing them. Must-finish-Kindergarten-GCA. Repeat..


  1. Good points! And love the idea of what you'll be starting next year. Just hang in there for the rest of this year! :)

  2. I've heard great things about the well trained mind program! Hope it works out great for you guys.