Harmony Ed had its advantages, but the disadvantages outweighed those. I had so much work to do. If there is any way you can see how much monetary value you’d get out of doing it and find a way to get that much money, so that you could spend that much on your kids’ education, I highly recommend it. I think I have been at work full time for Harmony Ed, and the Homeschooling before I did Harmony Ed, was wonderful.
Let’s give some background story. I found out about Harmony Ed from another Homeschooling friend. I later asked about where the web site was. I looked into it. I prayed about it. I got the answer. The answer was no. God said no. I ignored God. I wanted to do this. I rationalized a lot. I signed on to the waiting list. The wait and anticipation was so important to me. I wanted that money. All that money would help me so much–I just knew it! When I was accepted, there was a big adrenaline rush. I figured I may as well see how long the paperwork to register, took. It didn’t take to long. I was in. I felt so happy. What a rush! Now I would have lots of money to spend on school supplies and educational needs! I also had one day a week, for Options Day, when I could take my kids in to the school.
Year One with Harmony Ed (2012-13)
The first few meetings were crowded and confusing. It was a rush, though. I was good with it. I was misinformed about money and they exaggerated how much I would get, at the meeting. Later, I found out I’d be reimbursed less than they’s informed me. Oh, well. I spent and spent. I got lots of cool books, supplies and office stuff for feeling like we were a genuine school, which I loved, and we needed. Then it was a mess to try to put it all together in receipts and send it in. It took as much time as it takes me to do my annual business taxes every year, and was just as much a pain. I finally finished, and got reimbursed. Whew!
4 days a week, I was in charge, and could teach whatever I wanted for Math, for Science and for Language Arts, as long as I scanned something in for each subject for each child, every 2 weeks. No sweat, right? Wrong! Every 2 weeks, I had to sort papers from the “portfolio” pile of work my kids had done, into piles for each child, then piles for each subject for each child, then scan them in and send them in. If I did not have something (video, photo or paper to scan), I had to remember what they had done in that subject in that 2 weeks and type up a journal entry about it. This does not seem to be a pain, but it was. It was time consuming. Then, figuring out their website submission was always time consuming, too.
My kids loved Options Day! I loved having Options Day as “Prep time!” How exciting. Before long, the wonderful “prep time” I had on Options Day, mainly went to doing things Harmony Ed wanted me to do, anyway. What a pain. A whole day given, and taken. I no longer had to worry about taking the kids out to find friends. They found them at the school one day a week, at Options Day. What a relief! This freed me from THAT burden. It was, however, somewhat of a pain that year, what with no parking lot and all, to drop off and pick up kids. The traffic was not fun, either. That year, the school was just in a bad location, with no parking lot. I would have loved a parking lot.
Testing? Testing wasn’t too bad. It did stress my kids a bit. Oh, well. They came out alive.
Determined to Quit (Summer of 2013)
After Year One with Harmony Ed, I loved the summer. Homeschooling was more religious, more peaceful and more purpose-driven. We accomplished much. I prayed about Harmony Ed. I wrote lists of pros and cons. Both took me in the direction of quitting. Then I got an invitation to a meeting at the new school, and my sisters and friends were thinking about Harmony Ed. Boosted by buddies, I went with them to the meeting, and told them how great Harmony Ed was, because I wanted them to homeschool. The staff assured me I could get a better mentor, and that the new Flex program would be easier to use, quicker to use, and simpler. I attended another meeting, wherein they convinced me even more, and I was confident they were telling the truth. I was happy about they lovely location and the promised easier to manage flex program. Despite a definite “No” from God, I decided to stay on for another year. How could something so good, be bad?
Year Two with Harmony Ed (2013, Fall Sem.)
This year would start off better. I knew it. For one, I did not have to wait so long to be accepted. I was already in. They said in July, I could start purchasing. I did. My stuff came box after box and it was so exciting! We got less money, but I understood. They now had a better building, with a parking lot, for Options Day. I understood that!
They had another meeting about Flex. I learned that they were going to be a bit stricter than they had once told me, but I didn’t learn that at the meeting. They said I would have to get the “skills checklists” from my mentor. I did. That is when I saw what they meant by a skill. They had told me each skill was very simple. Now I could see, looking them over, that they weren’t. They also did not give me freedom to decide how I would teach something, because they did not just say what my child should learn, but what I should show Harmony Ed, to prove my child had learned it, IN THE SUGGESTED MANNER. Pain!
Lesson planning took on a whole new meaning. I had to figure out what they wanted for math skill #3 for that grade level, for each child. I was the teacher. I was a teacher, making lesson plans, with common core standards. Oh, how I learned to hate the Common Core from the TEACHER’s Perspective! The skills were in a nonsensical order. Why would I teach my kid this, then jump to that? Wha—? How does this make sense? Well, a lot of it doesn’t, in Common Core, FYI. Then I had to take those lessons to my kids and get them to do them. They’d ask why. Really? Why? Beats me. How can I tell my child why we are doing this thing that is teaching nothing, really. My answer was usually, “because Harmony Ed requires it. This is how you do this. I know it’s stupid and pointless. I’m sorry. Just fill it out real quick so I can scan it in for Harmony Ed.” Thank heavens, I gave them real work most often. The CC is just pointless! Ha ha!
The really hard part of all of that was that it would take a really long time to prep some lessons and to get the kids to do some lessons, then I still had to scan them and upload them. Even then, I would say 60% of the time, the work was rejected, so I had to plan a replacement lesson, have them do it, scan it and upload it, too. All of this was very time consuming. I found myself quite often, yelling at my kids, and frustrated. Many times, I said, “We don’t have time for you to go outside and play. We have to do this work for Harmony Ed!” and something to match it later: “No, I can’t (do something) with you! I have to scan and upload to Harmony Ed!” I kept assuring them I’d be done soon, and then things would be better. The truth was, I’d always be stressed like this, and I’d never get done.
I finally came to this realization.
I finally started to ask myself, whether Homeschool was the stressor in my life.
I knew it was not. Harmony Ed was.
I remembered the days when I’d homeschooled for half a year without Harmony Ed. It had been organized. It had been peaceful. The kids had learned tons. I’d had time to teach. I’d been a great teacher. They’d been great students. God was there to help us. We’d felt the spirit of the Holy Ghost then, a lot more often. The house had been cleaner.
I Quit Harmony Ed (Jan. 2014)
Filling out the affidavit was fun. It felt so good. I am glad I am on the other side of this fence now!
They will make it sound so easy to send in your skills for the FLEX program, and Options Day is great, but it is not worth all the stress caused by the FLEX program. One lady said she had her kids in the MAP program. I would never do that. They teach math and Language Arts just the same way the public schools do, and make them hate them. I do not recommend Harmony Ed. You’ll be stressed out and the money is not worth it. I think having a part time job to get the money, would be a better idea, as awful as that idea is. I talked with my husband and he said we can use as much money as the Harmony stuff is valued at and as much reimbursement as they’d give me, from our tax refund, and I can use that for an education budget. I tell you, all the work the parent has to do in the FLEX program is so much, and the work the kids are required to do for it, is so stressful for parents and kids, that it made it impossible for me to have the time, even, to spend teaching my kids. I was always scanning, uploading, and creating assignments. Then I was pushing them to get the assignments done. Some of the skills require multiple parts, which would take all year to teach and help the kids understand, and get it all done. They make it sound as if a skill is just one worksheet. Not even close. Some skills will take a worksheet a day for a full year. Others do only take one worksheet. Some would only take one worksheet, if it weren’t for the fact that the skill is the ability to prove they understand “z,” but in order to get them there, you have to teach them a through y, first.
I really don’t recommend any online school to help with the costs of homeschooling.
Just do it yourself. If you need more money, or want more money, find out a different (honest) way to get it.
You’ll thank me if you take my advice! If you don’t, you’ll be in my shoes someday, explaining to others why the grass is greener without an online school’s “help.”