*Update 2020 – We are now with Mission Vista Academy managed under Inspire Charter schools.
Long before we had kids, we knew that when we did we would home school them. This year (2018) we “officially” started homeschooling. When you home school you can file a PSA (Private School Affidavit) or enroll in a tuition free charter school. We decided to go with a charter school, at least for now. Our daughter is 4.5 and enrolled in Inspire Charter School’s expanded TK program (Transitional Kindergarten AKA Preschool) for students who’s 5 th Birth Date falls between December 3, 2018, & February 28, 2019).
Prior to enrolling, I researched the different charter schools, and I found there are many to choose from. I spoke to many parents and did my own research online going over the pros & cons of the schools, with my husband.
Inspire refers to their teachers as an HST (Home School Teacher), other schools may refer to their teachers as ES (Education Specialist), etc… So far we are very happy with our decision to join Inspire Charter School. They have been helpful with any questions we’ve had. Inspire offers many community in person and virtual online events, field trips and other extracurricular opportunities. You only have to meet with your HST once a month (once every LP or learning period) and during this meeting, you only have to provide one sample of school work. You are able to contact your HST during school hours through phone, text or email… They offer educational funding and any unused funds, roll over to the next year (Note: 2021 Funds no longer roll over). There are a wide variety of vendors who work with Inspire. If there is a local class or program your student is interested in, but they are not a vendor with Inspire, try to convince them to become one, the process is fairly simple for them to add themselves on.
The main reason we are so happy with Inspire, is our wonderful HST Miss Erin! It was very important to us, that along with the school we chose, that we had a great teacher. She has been extremely helpful, with over 15 years of teaching experience, we couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. She is knowledgeable and quick to answer calls, text messages and e-mails. Even though I always knew I would home school, with this being our first child and the first year we are officially schooling, I knew I would need a good support system, and have been very happy with how supportive Miss Erin has been on our home school journey. My daughter and I both felt a connection to her right away. I love her teaching style, She is very patient and kind to my daughter and me, and she really enjoys what she does. I love that she understands how we want to school our little one, she is not pushy, she listens and addresses all questions & concerns.
When your student is enrolled in most charter schools, they will receive funds that may used to purchase educational learning items (each school has their own rules regarding funds and what they may be used for). When you purchase items they fall into two categories consumable and non-consumable… Consumables are items that are fully used up or consumed (you get to keep consumables) for example; art supplies, ink, toner, paper, science & crafts kits, classes and field trips, etc (see my post “The Ultimate Consumable Idea List for Charter School Funding” for more info)…. Non- consumables are items that can be reused again and again by other students such as books, games, telescopes, computers etc… With Inspire Non-consumables will have to be returned when your last enrolled student either graduates or if you decide to pull them out of the school. (see my post “The Ultimate Non-Consumable Idea List for Charter School Funding” for more info). Inspire also has Lending Libraries where you can borrow educational items for free. The Lending libraries get their items stocked from the non-consumables that have been turned in when the students have finished with them.
Below is a chart I created of Charter schools in the Inland Empire of Southern California (listed in ABC order). I created this chart while I was in the process of researching charter schools for our own child. I could not find a chart or website anywhere comparing local schools, so I made one myself. I hope this helps you with your decision.
Tip: If you are new to homeschooling and are looking for personalized advice and a support system, a great place to look are in the Facebook groups! You can find general groups for homeschooling, local homeschooling groups or groups for the school you are considering enrolling your child in. There are quite a few groups for Inspire Charter School.
— Note: The information in the chart below is correct to my knowledge… Schools change how they do things all the time, if you see anything on my chart that needs to be updated or perhaps a school that should be added on, please don’t hesitate to let me know so that I can keep this post up to date.
|School||Grade levels||How often are HST meetings?||# of work samples||Yearly funds per student||On campus classes offered?||Meet HST – Virtually or In person||Educational supplies mailed to||Summer school?|
|Cava||TK–12||1x a week||5 samples – once a quarter||$0||Yes||Virtually||Your Home||Yes for special education students|
|Compass||TK–12||2x a month||1 sample – per meeting||$3000 (k-8)||Yes||Virtually||Your Home||Yes|
|Dimensions Collaborative||K-12||Unsure||Unsure||Unsure||Yes||Both||Unsure||Yes for struggling students|
|Elite||TK–12||Unsure||Unsure||$2,700 (TK-8), $3,200 (9-12)||Unsure||Virtually||Unsure||No|
|Excel Academy||TK–12||1x a month (every 20 days)||4 samples – per meeting||$2,850 and $500 for summer||No||In Person||Teacher||Yes|
|iLead||TK–12||1x a month (every 20 days)||2 Samples – per meeting||Unsure||Unsure||Virtually||Unsure||No|
|TK–12||1x a LP learning period) or month (every 20 days)||1 sample – per meeting||$2,800 (TK-8), $3,000 (9-12)||No||Both||Your Home||No|
|Method||K–12||2-3x a week||Unsure||No||No||Virtually||Unsure||No|
|River Springs||K-12||1x a month (every 20 days)||6 samples – 2x a year||$1250 + a chrome book + $300 redeemed on school’s site||Yes||In Person||Both||No|
|Sage Oak||TK-12||1x a month (every 20 days)||1 Sample – per meeting||$2,600 (k-8)||Yes||Both||Teacher||Yes|
|Sky Mountain||TK-12||1x a month (every 20 days)||1 Sample -per meeting||$2,700 (Tk-8), $3000 (9-12)||Yes||Both||Unsure||No|
NOTE: You will notice some of the schools in the chart above say unsure. They were suggested, that I add them to my chart (the info I have is all they provided). I have not yet looked into these schools myself, I will update with the info when I do.
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*LIST UPDATED 4/28/22*