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K12, GCA, GVAS - Am I A Homeschooler?

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Posted 5/28/12

Recently there have been some questions raised about the difference between legal homeschooling and doing something like Georgia Cyber Academy (also called k-12) or Georgia Virtual Academy. Kelly Rhoades was kind enough to write out a document explaining the differences in the these things, as the differences are very important in the dialog about homeschooling in general. As the government continues to tap into the "homeschool" market, more people have signed up for something that they think is homeschooling, when in reality they are not legally homeschooling. We have a wonderful video called Exposing The Trojan Horse that discusses the potential dangers of using a public-school-at-home program, but for those of us (me included!) who sometimes get confused with all the acronyms, Kelly's explanation below is worth a quick read. 

Thank you, Kelly, for taking the time to do this for us!

Am I A Homeschooler?

The Georgia Code (Home School Statute: Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c))states the following: 

  1. Parents must submit a declaration of intent to home study to the local superintendent within 30 days after the establishment of the home study program and by Sept. 1 every year thereafter. This declaration must include the names and ages of students, the location of the home school, and the time the parents designate as their school year. Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c)(1-2). 
  2. The home school must provide “a basic academic educational program.” Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c)(4). (see “subjects” above). 
  3. Each school day must consist of four and one-half hours. Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c)(5). 
  4. Attendance records must be kept and submitted to the superintendent each month. The records will “not be used for any purpose except providing necessary attendance information.” Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c)(6). 
  5. Parent must write an annual progress report for each child in the required subjects and retain it for three years. Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c)(8). 

http://www.hslda.org/laws/analysis/Georgia.pdf

Are you a homeschooler?

You are a homeschooler if:

  1. You submit a declaration of intent to home study to your local school board. 
  2. You keep attendance and submit it annually to the Georgia Department of Education. 

What about K12, GCA, GAVS?

There has been much confusion concerning these three acronyms. What’s the difference between them?

K12

  • K12 is a parent company that sets up public and private schools across the country. There is also an international school owned by k12. 

  • K12 is Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA). http://www.k12.com/gca

GCA

  • GCA is a PUBLIC GA school. It is NOT homeschooling. This is public school at home. GCA employees highly qualified, certified GA teachers just as a brick and mortar school is required. GCA is responsible for the student’s curriculum, attendance, and standardized tests. 

  • GCA uses k12 curriculum that is tweaked to reflect the Georgia Performance Standards that all other GA schools are required to teach. 

  • GCA is SACS/CASI accredited. 

  • The GA Legislature allows GCA to enroll a certain number of students each year for kindergarten through 11th grade (beginning Fall 2012). A certain portion of your tax dollars are allotted to GCA just like your tax dollars fund the local brick and mortar school. 

GAVS

  • GAVS is Georgia Virtual School. GAVS is under the control of the GA Department of Education. http://www.gavirtualschool.org/

  • GAVS employees certified teachers and also teaches the Georgia Performance Standards. 

  • GAVS is for 6th grade through 12th grade. They are responsible for the student’s attendance, curriculum, and standardized tests. 

  • GAVS is SACS/CASI accredited. 

  • A homeschooler can enroll for up to 3 free courses through GAVS and still be considered a legal homeschooler because 51% of your time is completed as a homeschooler. 

Can I use GCA and homeschool? No. 
Can I use GAVS and homeschool? Yes, but only up to 3 courses.
 


Andrea's note: When a family utilizes something like GCA, the parents are no longer the legally responsible party in the education of their children. That authority is transferred to the state, just as if their child was enrolled at a brick and mortar school in their district. When a family utilizes something like Abeka Academy or Bob Jones or any other umbrella school, even if the school is keeping the records, the parents are still responsible for doing the attendance, and the ultimate legal responsibility is still on the parents. There is a huge philosophical and legal difference. HSLDA will not protect you if you are using government school. They will cover you if you are legally homeschooling, even if that falls under the purview of an umbrella school.