We are so looking forward to getting to know you! Our goal in this section is to give you a bit of a head start in getting to know us, especially if you have enrolled early and have questions before you can attend a General Orientation and get to know our staff.
What is the timeline for enrollment?
- Soon after your enrollment interview, you receive an email with your IDEA email address and passwords, which give you access to the family member (password-protected) side of the IDEA website. This letter also includes information on how to request IDEA equipment. You’ll be added to email listservs (explained further as you read on) and have the ability to check out library items and attend local IDEA events. Typically within two or three business days of becoming completely enrolled in IDEA, you will also be able to place orders and seek reimbursements for items you’ve paid for. (If the new fiscal year has not yet begun, you will have to wait until July 1st, along with the families who had been enrolled during the previous year.)
- Your local field rep is your primary point of contact until our new school year begins on July 1st. Our techs can help you to get set up with email on your computer and/or smart phone (once your passwords are assigned).
- FAST is available for orders and reimbursements for the new school year on July 1st. Unless you are an experienced homeschooler and know just what you want, it is wise to first spend some time visiting with your field rep or contact teacher so that they can answer your questions and make suggestions that would suit your family.
- Your allotment is available when the fiscal year begins on July 1st. If you are enrolled prior to July 1st, you can use your future allotment to shop the gently used materials in the IDEA Resource Rooms. If you are enrolled before the Curriculum Fair, you’ll be able to attend the fair at no charge and place orders (to be shipped after July 1st). The Curriculum Fair begins begins with an encouraging Keynote Breakfast; tickets are available for this catered meal for a minimum cost.
As we discuss further steps, you’ll find links to the IDEA website requiring a password. It’s helpful to know that some links may not work until you get your email account activated!
Learn more about IDEA
Once you are able to access the IDEA website, please check out the following links in the IDEA Information section (the handbook) to learn more about your support staff. Most families come to IDEA because their friends, co-workers, neighbors and other educators tell them that IDEA has the best system of support. And they are right! IDEA Contact Teachers, Field Reps, Computer Techs, and other office staff are ready to do whatever it takes to help you as a home educator. You’ll get the latest information at General and High School Orientations when you attend them.
IDEA Core Values
At IDEA, we believe we are in the business of empowering parents by providing educational support and customized opportunities that serve the unique needs of each child. Our true purpose is creating a network of support within a framework of integrity and high standards that serves, empowers and validates parents in their educational choices.
To achieve this we believe that families should always get more of the following than they expect:
- Choices, opportunities and resources
- Mentorship, guidance and advocacy
- Caring relationships
- Attention to detail
- Knowledge and expertise
We also believe that all involved with the education of our students are part of the network of support. That’s why we treat our coworkers, vendors, service providers, families, friends, etc., with the same level of integrity, high standards, empowerment and validation.
The IDEA Homeschool Community
Parental Involvement is IDEA’s key to success! The IDEA program listens to and honors the input of homeschooling families. There are several avenues for families to nurture and find support in their communities. You can learn more about each of the following (as well as other benefits of your IDEA enrollment) through this link.
- PAC (Parent Advisory Committee) members are IDEA parent volunteers who work closely with the field rep. They serve as “sounding boards” for new ideas, provide input on things that work and things that don’t, and plan some local activities and events. Their input is invaluable as they reach out to other homeschoolers and bring broader perspectives to our administration through their field rep. Please get to know your local PAC members, come to meetings or join in through social media.
- A PAC representative from each region accompanies the regional field rep to a retreat each year in order to learn about other schools in our district and attend a school board meeting, either in person or via video-conferencing. This is a work session, where the parents representing their region meet together to discuss the things that are appreciated about IDEA and areas that could be improved upon. Program goals for the next year come out of these meetings.
- Listservs are group emails sent to IDEA families in your region. Each region has two listservs: one is for IDEA news and the other is a community listserv created for families within a region to share educational opportunities, encouragement, and questions with each other.
- Closed Facebook groups, managed by the PAC in your region, were created as a place for IDEA homeschoolers to communicate and encourage one another. This is a great place to share community events, ask for tips on curriculum, and discuss homeschooling in general. The group is “closed” because only IDEA families and staff can be a part of it.
IDEA History and You
- You can read more about IDEA’s history in the Our Beginnings section of the handbook. Did you know that one of the first things that the Galena City School District did when IDEA began was to hire two experienced homeschoolers to help design the program? These were the first Field Reps, and IDEA has had homeschoolers on staff ever since, serving as consultants and having an active voice in the development of IDEA through the years.
- Check out this video created by an IDEA mom when she visited Galena, Alaska, in 2013 as a member of the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ricpimHSjoY
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