My son attended a traditional school last year, and this year we decided to give homeschooling and homelink a try. It has been a great experience for us! My son has no desire to go back to traditional school. He loves all of his workshops and his teachers! He has made friends, and loves the opportunity to eat lunch and have recess a few days a week. I feel like the principal and staff really care and want what is best for the school. They have done their best to deal with the increased enrollment and the changes that came with moving into a new school building. It really is the best of both worlds!
This is our second year. I never had to deal with the Legislation changes as some of my friends did & we're turned off by them, so I cannot judge based on that. Last year there was much more parent outreach from the principal & staff. This year, getting in volunteer time has changed. Last year I was able to bring my younger child to class & now this is discouraged. Opportunities to buy supplies for volunteer hours are few. This makes it hard for a mother who works evenings & has a younger child to care for. Already the brand new school is nearly too small to accomidate students since it is constantly growing. I'm still on the fence about the new principal and his views. You rarely see him as opposed to the old principal who was always out and about, talking with parents and sending weekly emails.
On the positive, the classes (workshops) are great. My child loves them and his teachers. The staff is friendly. Students still seem happy to be there & eager to learn. They also still have small class sizes. Our consultant is amazing and is always there to answer any questions and help out.
I miss the ways of last year. I'm hoping this next semester things will settle after the move to the new school, and the principal & staff will be more helpful to the parents & make it feel like there is an open line of communication as before. I also hope they will have more parent events such as mother tea time & dad's breakfast so the parents can get together and be more involved again. If the parent involvement does not increase at the school, we will likely pull out next year.
We switched from a traditional school to Alternative Schooling and I have to say it was the best decision I have ever made. The staff, counselors and Principal all go above and beyond expectation. They really do their best to partner with the parents. That being said, the responsibility of the Parent to ask questions, get involved in the many events that Homelink offers to foster team building skills and community, has to be realized before going into it. Great staff, great atmosphere and great leadership!
We switched from a different Richland School District (traditional) Elementary School after finding the education and opportunities there were disappointing to say the least. Homelink allows kids to excell. We don't struggle with any disabilities or behavioral issues but those that do are helped by staff and customized education. The school is safe, supportive, filled with friendly and respectful children and parents who truly care about their children's education and the people surrounding them. I can not imagine my children going back to traditional public school after seeing how fast and how far my child has gotten in his courses since we began Homelink and homeschooling (it is after all, a hybrid where parents and the students do the bulk of their educating at home). Homelink has WONDERFUL, engaging 'workshops' aka classes available for all grade levels taught by certified teachers who KNOW their material and go above and beyond to help children grasp the material and succeed.
I will admit we are fairly new to this program but getting enrolled was a ton of headaches, I have felt that absolutely nothing has been explained to me - I have had to learn everything the hard way. We really like our "counselor" but as for the rest of the staff it's been only average. I don't get a good feeling from the PTO that they so encourage you to get involved in, I feel like there is a lot of cliquishness and snottiness in their banter with other mothers which is very off putting and not at all endearing to their efforts. (This could be typical public school nonsense but as we come from a homeschool background, it has been a little surprising for us!) The greeter and "volunteer coordinator" is not friendly at all. She is always preoccupied and looks annoyed when you have questions. If I could afford to purchase our curriculum of choice on my own I would probably not be involved with this program. As is, we will just keep them at arm's length!
Homelink has grown to veer a different direction than its' beginnings. Due to legislation there is less parent input allowed. Elementary program is monitored much more than before. The principal has chosen staff who will listen and appreciate parent input though. Unfortunately there are no special ed. programs and at times parents have to send them to large public schools because of this deficit. I hope they get a special ed. program soon. Staff could improve on maintaining a colleague relationship with parents and need to resist treating families like "cases" on a caseload.
This will be our second year and we love it. My daughter came from a traditional school and this is the best of both worlds. Small classes and working at home for one on one personal learning has been great. She also has a school she can call her own and have school friends.