Freedom and Respect
At IDEA we believe that you know your child best. We are here to help you with the educational end of things, but you know what makes your child tick better than we ever will! We partner with you as you make the educational decisions that are best for your child. We have working relationships with over 300 companies that supply curricular materials to homeschoolers. We provide as much help and support as you need in making decisions about what materials to order and what teaching methods to use, but the education of each and every child in IDEA is totally individualized. Here are some of the choices available in IDEA:
- Whether to purchase a curriculum package (with the main academic subjects all covered) or mix-and-match materials from different vendors for different subjects.
- Whether to order complete courses with answer keys and/or outside grading, or to create your own course using the standards and a variety of materials that you select yourself.
- Whether to include some outside instruction in an area of interest for your child or not.
- Whether to use a curriculum based on textbooks, literature (“living books”), hands-on, or a mixture of these.
- How much to use free, online targeted instruction (“Skills Alaska”) to identify and address any “learning gaps” in reading, language arts, and math.
- Whether to participate in workshops, field trips, and other learning opportunities with other IDEA families.
An allotment is money that is set aside for your child’s educational needs. The allotment amount is $1900 for grades K-3, $2100 for grades 4-8, and $2400 for grades 9-12. If you are enrolling older children, you may also enroll a child who is age 4 by September 1st of the current school year. We receive no state funding for these younger students, but we recognize that 4-year-olds often are learning along with their older siblings, and therefore provide a nominal allotment of $200 for a preschooler. This money may be spent on a wide range of materials and/or activities as long as they meet your student’s educational needs.
- Textbooks and workbooks
- School supplies: notebooks, paper, pens and pencils, rulers, whiteboards and markers, etc.
- Literature, dictionaries, thesauruses, poetry, etc.
- Social studies materials: globes, maps, timelines, atlases, etc.
- Math manipulatives: flash cards, base ten blocks, teddy bear counters, protractors and compasses, calculators, etc.
- Science supples: experiment kits, dissection materials, microscope slides, etc.
- Guided instruction: swimming instruction, piano instruction, weekly science clubs, etc.
- Field trips: museums, art galleries, science museums, etc.
Parent Advisory Committee (PAC)
Some parents volunteer to be part of the local Parent Advisory Committee. 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. Each year IDEA brings the Field Reps and one parent representative from each of the five regional Parent Advisory Committees together for a three-day retreat. The PAC representatives and field reps brainstorm with the Director and Assistant Director on ways to improve IDEA’s service to the homeschooling families, contributing to administration’s goal setting for the next year. PAC representatives are also given an opportunity to meet the GCSD school board and discuss their thoughts, concerns, and/or appreciation.
Staff and Resource Rooms
One of the things that makes IDEA unique is the prominent role of Field Reps, women who have experience homeschooling their own children. Field Reps introduce you to the program and help you to learn about homeschooling, if this is new to you. They serve as advisors to the program, providing a homeschooler’s view on any policy issues. In addition to being available for any advice that you might request, they oversee PAC meetings, plan and organize workshops, and put on the Curriculum Fairs.
Students are assigned to a certified teacher who is familiar with homeschooling. ILP’s, progress reports and samples of work are turned into them. They are also on hand to assist as needed with any questions that you might have about IDEA, homeschooling, curriculum, assessment, and more. Most of our teachers have years of experience working with homeschoolers and some have homeschooled their own children.
Each IDEA office has a resource room, where you can find catalogs, sample curriculum to examine, materials to check out (books, videos/DVDs, cassettes, microscopes, and more), and helpful staff. In addition to providing an opportunity to see materials “up close,” many are available for check-out. Used materials can be purchased out of allotment at a reduced price there.
Unit Study Kits
Each resource room has a collection of tubs with kits of materials related to a unit study on such varied topics as World War II, Telling Time, Curious George, French, Birds, Simple Machines, and Fractions. Depending on the topic, kits include books, videos, models, puzzles, games, and/or manipulatives. These can be checked out for three weeks at a time.
We have six offices, located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Soldotna, Wasilla, and our newest office, in Eagle River! Click on the “Contact Us” link above to find contact information for each one.
IDEA provides every family with a secure, virus-filtered IDEA e-mail address. Although you may use your personal email to communicate with us, your provided IDEA e-mail username and password offers access to the resources in the family section of the IDEA website, the PowerSchool Parent Portal, IDEA Homeschool app, IDEA’s online ordering system, and more. The “family” section of our website contains the full vendor list, curricular guidelines, all IDEA forms, electronic handbooks, homeschool links, and more. IDEA offers our families convenient direct-billing (deducted straight out of your allotment) and reimbursement options for a variety of connectivity options. Choose from mobile MiFi or high-speed cable home internet.
We provide Windows computers and multi-function flat-bed printers with fax, copier, and scanner capabilities. You have the option of leasing a Windows computer from us with no out-of-pocket expense (through a yearly allotment deduction), it is updated every four years. A $50 allotment deduction is required for the multi-function color printer, or a $100 allotment deduction for a black and white laser printer.
Families may purchase Apple iPads through IDEA directly through allotment. There are also an assortment of other tablet devices on the market today which you are welcome to purchase and submit for reimbursement.
Technical support is provided to help with any computer problems and questions related to IDEA equipment, forms, email, or internet access.
In an effort to nurture the homeschooling lifestyle, IDEA has developed a section of the website to provide information related to homeschooling in general. We provide networking opportunities through our listservs, Facebook groups, clubs, events at our offices and in community settings.
We have also purchased subscriptions to online programs for our families such as World Book, BrainPop, Let’s Go Learn, Enchanted Learning, and United Streaming. IDEA families are given the required passwords to assess the great information, videos, games, and other resources at these sites.
Group Learning Opportunities for Parents and Students
During the year, there are workshops on such varied topics as public speaking, math manipulatives, scholarships and financial aid, college prep, creative writing, Dr. Seuss celebration, hands-on history, and more.
In April or May, one of our biggest events takes place in four cities across the state: the IDEA Curriculum Fair. Vendors come from across the country to share their products in exhibitor halls and to share their knowledge in workshops in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Soldotna, and Juneau. IDEA families attend free.
Students have opportunities to participate in academic contests like Battle of the Books, Academic Decathlon, Geography Bee, and Spelling Bee. Artistic and musical students may choose to get involved in Art in the Capitol, All-State Art, All-State Band/Choir, or Solo & Music Ensemble.
Student trips include Close Up in Juneau and Close Up in Washington DC and New York City for high school students. These programs teach students about the government process in a fun and fascinating learning environment!
Courses in Galena
High school students have unique educational opportunities for month-long intensives in Galena in aviation, automotive, cosmetology, or culinary arts.
IDEA may pay for college classes for high school students (correspondence courses as well as attending local colleges), through which they may receive credit for both high school and college concurrently.
IDEA is fully accredited by Cognia, so credits from IDEA are transferable to any other school.
Graduation ceremonies take place in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Wasilla, Soldotna and Juneau. IDEA graduations are unlike any other! In recognition of the preeminent place of the homeschooling parent, we present the diploma to the parents, who then award it to their young adult.
Ready to enroll?
Click below to fill out our online enrollment form. You may also give us a call at 1-877-582-4332 and we would be happy to walk you through signing up over the phone.