This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Idaho Distance Education Academy1
Posted March 08, 2014
- a parent
I am all about consistency and freedom in homeschooling, sadly this program is not for us. You have to choose from curriculum provided by them, which is the same as brick-and-mortar schools. Though my student has assigned teachers for certain subjects, there is no teacher involvement. We did enjoy the IDLA option provided by IDEA for some classes. The IDLA teacher taught and was fully involved with my student's education, and also returned emails within 24 hours. The staff at IDEA is friendly, but I look forward to severing out ties with them.
IDEA has been a great resource for us in homeschooling. It has provided the accountability , resources and support from teachers to educate my children. I enjoy being able to order supplies and excellent curriculum to teach throughout the year. The contact with the teachers has been positive for both the children as well as myself. They have been affirming, directive when needed and supportive of my individual way of educating. I am thankful for this resource as we educate our children.
Our family has schooled at home for 15 years, the past 6 with Idaho Distance Education Academy. It has been a great fit for us by allowing the best of both worlds-- the flexibility of choosing the curriculum, structuring our day, and selecting the pace to fit my children's needs while having the expanded resources, opportunities, and accountability of a public school. I-DEA's contact teachers are supportive and sensitive to the unique challenges of teaching at home. My children enjoy knowing they are covering the same material as their friends at "brick and mortar" schools, while still having time to pursue topics of their own interest and choosing. State testing and a transcript are important to me so that if we decide to return to a traditional school at some point, the transition will be much smoother, especially at the middle and high school levels. The supplemental opportunities provided by I-DEA have been extremely beneficial. Clubs focusing on writing and geography have been motivating for my children, as well as the group activities such as study groups, science labs, outings, and parent workshops. We love I-DEA!
I think the important to thing to remember about IDEA is that it is a public charter school. It happens to be online, but it has the same requirements in terms of accountability to the state that your local brick and mortar school does. So, if you're a homeschooling parent looking for an online home school (you and your student make all the decisions and decide what to learn and when), you're going to be frustrated and disappointed. It is certainly the wrong choice for someone with an "unschooling" philosophy. There are mandatory courses, required and graded assignments and, in many cases, final exams. However, as the parent teacher you typically determine 60% of your student's grade in each course based on your own evaluation (which you have to be able to back up with hard-copy documentation) of your student's progress. If you can live with that, you'll be comfortable with IDEA. One of the best features of IDEA is that each family has a contact teacher who guides and assists as you navigate the public school maze. Our contact teacher has been particularly helpful and conscientious and has made our IDEA experience a positive one.
Idaho Distance Education Academy has been a wonderful help to my family. We joined at a time when my children were in high school so they have been doing most of their education at the local junior college and IDEA has been nothing but a great support and help to my children and me. Our contact teacher is the best. She is quick to answer any of my questions and is ready to help with anything I have had to ask for. I am so thankful we found IDEA.
Idaho Distance Learning Academy has been a great fit for our family. They offer a lot of flexibility, and a wide variety of classes. Our boys have enjoyed taking both the IDEA classes as well as having the option to take IDLA classes. We are looking forward to next year when our older son can start taking a few of his courses at North Idaho College. This is our first year working with IDEA. IDEA has been an excellent choice for us. I would highly recommend this school.
I love the support, guidance, and accountability provided while allowing parents freedom, choice, and the opportunity to individualize their child's learning. It's a great partnership of parent & teacher. They have fun & educational field trips, park days, and events. We've had excellent teachers that offer lots of ideas, enthusiasm, and individualized planning. Funding is even available for music lessons, dance, gymnastics, etc.
My experience with this school has not been so great. There are so many homeschool curriculum options out there, it is sad to see so many brick and mortar, big publisher choices in the curriculum catalog. The school is not open to receiving parental input. It is a take it or leave it mentality. Very few activities are offered. Teacher assistance is focused on getting their forms filled out so they get paid. Lots of hoops to jump through. The carrot is: hundreds of dollars to pay for outside curriculars. ie. piano lessons, acting classes etc. Best suited for homeschool families who homeschool so they can use Christian curriculum. IDEA can supplement your Christian program. By itself, it is a weak program.
I love working with families who have chosen to educate their children at home! I learn so much from them. I spent many years in a public school classroom, so I appreciate the way I-DEA works to create individualized plans and appropriate curriculum for each child. This is difficult to do in a traditional classroom. Our community coordinators do a great job at planning activities that bring our families and students together. It's nice to have I-DEA as a choice for parents!