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:
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.
are located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Soldotna, and Wasilla. Click on the "Contact Us" link above to find contact information for each one.
We provide an ideafamilies email address for each family. This enables us to add you to our listservs (email lists) and enables you to access the "family" section of our website. That section of the website contains the full vendor list, curricular guidelines, all IDEA forms, electronic handbooks, homeschool links, and more. You may use your allotment to be reimbursed for high-speed internet access.
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 $25 allotment deduction is required for the multi-function printer.
IDEA will reimburse out of allotment for a tablet computer for each student. You have your choice of any tablet that costs less than $500. In addition IDEA will also reimburse for accessories that cost up to $100 and extended warranties for your tablet that cost up to $100.
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. Field Reps and parents contribute to a newsletter called "Homeschool Tips and Quips" that is sent to to our families. We provide information on homeschool support groups around the state, and links to helpful information about homeschooling.
IDEA is the only state-wide homeschool support program to provide access to Skills Alaska, an online test-prep and skill development program that identifies specific learning gaps and provides tutorials to address those specific skills.
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 writing, making books with children, how the brain learns best, teaching reading, using your computer, and more.
Another special event that we conduct on a regular basis are Enrichment Days, a day where sessions for your kids revolve around a theme and you have time free to do lesson plans, shop for new materials, clean your house and plan menus, or just relax and read a book!
In April, 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 for high school students and Close Up in Washington DC for both high school and middle school students. These programs teach sudents about the government process in a fun and fascinating learning environment!
Courses in Galena:
High school students have unique educational opportunties 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 the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools, so credits from IDEA are transferable to any other school.
Graduation ceremonies take place in Fairbanks, Anchorage, 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.
The Final Word!
We believe strongly that IDEA offers the best homeschool support available in Alaska, for three primary reasons: