Hickman Charter School

Community Subscriber

Charter School
110 students
Website: http://hcs.hickmanschools.org
Phone: (510) 893-1011
546 9th Street Oakland, CA 94607
Program Type: 
Homeschool program

public charter school serving homeschoolers

Parent Q&A

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  • Updated reviews of Hickman?

    (1 reply)

    The positive reviews of Hickman (including its Shakespeare program) are a little old. Has anyone been part of it recently and can give us some quick pros/cons?

    My husband was especially impressed that it had lot of in-person classes. Did you like the classes offered at Live Oak? Have you heard any talk that they'd move them from Live Oak.anytime in the near future? I know Live Oak has been renovating for a yr, but (weirdly conveniently for us) that year happened to be during covid anyway. The location would be a big plus for us.

    We know Hickman offers less funding than other charters--we don't get many charter options anyway.

    We're not even sure we'll get into Hickman. I've been hoping to find a part-time school option that would allow us to homeschool/do half-time in-person school.

    If it matters, we're looking at third grade for 21/22. I'm also looking at Connecting Waters and all the local outdoor schools.

    We had two kids go through Hickman until this academic year: one starting in 2nd grade and the other since kindergarten. Hickman did really well by us.

    The Shakespeare program is still absolutely amazing. It's a spring offering, and done to a level beyond even what one would expect in a private arts high school. It is clearly a passion-project for the person who runs it. This alone, in my opinion, is worth the difference in funding that one would get with other charters.

    Hickman holds classes on Wednesdays in two sessions: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Without knowing what you're looking for, it's hard to comment on their quality. Keep in mind Hickman is serving a full range of homeschooling families, from those who are very academically oriented (that was us) to those who despise academics and have no wish to put their own kids through that, to those who are on some other axis completely. Personally, I was grateful for the elementary school classes that involved things like papier-mâché that I hella wouldn't have wanted to deal with at home. In middle school, the spring Shakespeare classes (the play was the afternoon class, but one could dive deeper with the morning Shakespeare class, where they'd do period study, sword play, etc.) were really neat for my son and became the highlight of my elder child's entire education to that point (true for many in the program). That said, the other classes tended to be a little fluffy for our tastes, but I gather other homeschooling parents were enthusiastic. For us, the fall semester was worth it simply so that the kids could hang out with their pals before class, during break, during lunch, and after the second session. They went eagerly. The other kids became our community outside of Hickman -- soccer, orchestra, chorus, parent-taught classes, all kinds of shared other extra-curriculars, etc. Parents hanging out while our kids played together after school would exchange ideas, support, and information. Hickman was our homeschooling core.

    It's just one day each week, so it won't be "half-time in-person school." For that, you would need to find additional solutions. That said, we found our Hickman "Educational Councilor" (every charter seems to have a different title for the same thing) to be very helpful in guiding us through managing our kids' subjects. In the end, both kids were happy throughout and both scored in the high 90s on the SSATs, so Hickman worked out really well for us.

    Good luck wherever your family ends up!

  • Hickman Charter current experience?

    (1 reply)

    We are looking into homeschooling for 21-22 as we are getting virtually nothing from OUSD and the attitude of the teacher and administration have been rather dismissive because our kids are academically ahead. We can’t afford private school for more than one kid, and our taxable income is too high for any financial aid. our financial advisor made it very clear to us that we could afford kids and buy a house or kids and private school but not all three, if we want to save for retirement and continue to support our less fortunate parents, grandparents and a disabled sibling. 

    Out daughter is an extrovert, so I am concerned about homeschooling. Kids have always said they hate going to school but love playing with kids after school. 

    I would love to hear from parents who have experienced Hickman through this pandemic. 

    We did not use Hickman for homeschooling, we used Vista Oaks.  Depending on your needs, you may want to look at other charters which offer a lot more financial reimbursements than Hickman. I believe Hickman gives under $800 in educational reimbursement (but does have some local services like a learning center and curriculum).  Vista Oaks gave $2000.  Valley View gives $2750 I think.  Depending on your priorities, you may want to look beyond Hickman.  The EBHOME group is a great place to connect with other local homeschooling families. In non pandemic times, they do a weekly park day and some other things as a group so you can probably find plenty of social engagement for your extroverted daughter if you are willing to put in the time to find it.  Also, last piece of advice - I thought our taxable income was too high for financial aid as well, and as it turned out, we ended up getting some financial aid for private school - so I wouldn't write that off completely.  

Parent Reviews

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We’ve been to both Hickman and CW, and they’re very different experiences. Both charters require monthly meetings, but Hickman is quite small, and while the funding amount is drastically lower than Connecting Waters, they do offer in-person classes (in non-pandemic times, that is!). The classes are geared toward enrichment (not academics), the options are pretty limited, and we just didn’t click with the small community there. However, the teachers are truly wonderful and caring.

Our recent experience with Connecting Waters has been great, but for different reasons. It’s a much bigger school with more red tape, but the funding made it worth it. Our EC was very helpful but hands-off (though I’ve heard this differs by EC) and the instructional funds paid for independent PE and academic classes, books, and supplies. Their library/resource center is also much larger than Hickman’s. I’ve only been to the Union City location once to visit the resource center, but in the past we could put books and supplies (even musical instruments!) on hold and our EC would pick them up for us. Our child also had an IEP, and we were very impressed with the services they received from CW.

We are part of a homeschooling charter, the Hickman Charter Annex, which mostly takes place at Live Oak Park in Berkeley. They meet something like 18 Wednesdays/year, nominally for classes (which, at the middle school level, includes an absolutely phenomenal Shakespeare program), though in large part for the social interactions that happen before, during, and after. My 7th-grader has a number of friends from there, and participates in other activities with them outside of Hickman. We've had absolutely no trouble finding enough socialization for her, and Hickman is a big part of her community! Same for my son.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Questions Related Pages

Hickman Charter School Resource Center?

April 2013

I am a current public school parent interested in hearing about your experiences with Hickman Charter School's Alameda resource center. I would love to hear feedback on their resources and the support they have offered you with curriculum, transitions, etc. I would also love to hear what you think of their on-site classes, particularly math, science and electives. I am interested in providing a more hands on, project-based education for my son, but am a bit apprehensive about going solo. Thanks for any feedback!

Hickman is a great resource and my 4th grader has loved the math and science classes she's taken onsite this year -- which is great for me as those aren't my strengths. I have two girls (K and 4th) and we've done public school , homeschooling on our own, and now Hickman. The community is great, diverse and friendly and the teachers are lovely, experienced, flexible, and committed. Elizabeth

We're coming to the end of our first year with Hickman, and our first year officially homeschooling. Our Education Consultant (EC) at Hickman has been wonderful for keeping us assured that we're not missing anything, that everything is going well, and that this can be done. She's gives guidance where needed, as well as curricular advice and materials.

Both of my children attend the 1x/week Wednesday classes. For K and 2nd grade, at least, I think the assumption is that parents will deal with the more academic topics, and Wednesday classes are more a chance to do those things that kids are likely to miss by not being in school: acting in plays, doing messy art work, playing group games, exploring at stations, recess, etc. In other words, they're _all_ electives. Many of the Wednesdays that don't have official classes have outings, like a Hickman-only day at Adventure Playground.

If you're looking for support in a particular subject, you may find it at the Hickman Resource Center. My kindergartener is finishing up 2nd grade math, and it's been no big deal. My 2nd grader has found her fill of historical fiction on their shelves. Their material supplies and physical plant are limited, but as a steadying hand and a source of socialization and group exploration, they've done really well by us. B.

We enrolled with Hickman when my son was a kindergartner, for the 2011-2012 school year.

We originally picked Hickman because they hold classes throughout the year, field trips, potlucks, etc. I was hoping that this would foster community - that was really what we were looking for - but unfortunately this ended up being a bust.

The classes weren't what we'd hoped for, and the field trips were few and far between. We tried a lot of stuff in the beginning - the camping trip in September, classes in the Fall, and school picture/family learning day, as well as the 1st field trip. Unfortunately, we didn't click with the other families and kids, and eventually I kind of gave up and started looking for other social outlets for us.

Also, because Hickman offers its own classes and activities, has a resource center (which is pretty great, I must admit - we were able to check out lots of materials and could keep them for as long as we wanted), you don't get nearly as much money for classes through outside vendors than if you went with a different homeschooling charter 'school'.

I think you get around $1600 a year for classes/curricula via Connecting Waters, and their vendor list is gigantic. Through Hickman, you only get about $500 worth for outside classes, and they have maybe ten or twelve vendors you can choose from, total.

I think it works out to your benefit if your kid likes the classes and the other events, and you end up meeting other families you enjoy spending time with. If you don't, though, then you're still doing the documentation but not getting back very much for it, in my opinion. Speaking of documentation, while you do need to show your kid's work and progress, our EC was super sweet and kind and very relaxed about everything. (All the ECs seemed great, by the way... in fact, I would say that the ECs, along with the resource center, are the big pluses of Hickman Charter.)

All in all, I am sorry to say that I would not recommend Hickman. I think the main reason why people pick them over another homeschooling charter (or just striking out on their own) is because they are hoping to find community, but we personally did not find that at Hickman.

Although, to be honest, we had a hard time finding a community we jibed with in the greater homeschooling community as a whole. This is the main reason why we stopped homeschooling and enrolled our son in a traditional school... he expressed feelings of loneliness and wanted so badly to connect with other children, but we couldn't find many friends for him via local homeschooling groups, despite my efforts.

I know homeschooling works for many people, but we are super happy to now be in the Berkeley public schools. We have found a warm and accepting community at his elementary school, and our son now has many friends. M.

My son is in 5th grade at Hickman, after doing K-4 in OUSD.

The best thing is the staff at Hickman, all of whom are kind and intelligent people. We were assigned to an Educational Coordinator (a credentialed teacher, ours had taught for around 9 years in regular school). With her, we chose books and workbooks from a wide selection. For example, we chose the Reflections history/social studies book which is the same as OUSD uses in 5th grade. But we chose a writing Daybook for writing (it has selections from children's literature and then exercises/questions, and you can write in it), because it looked like the most fun. For science we signed up for a local class.

The same idea for the Hickman Wed classes. My son chose Research Writing (rigorous but with only 8 kids in it) and Tall Ships (they learned to tie knots, studied ships, and there was a sleepover on a docked tall ship at the end and there were maybe 30 kids in it). In the Spring he chose to take Knitting and Art of Math. But he could have taken a current events class or acted in a production of A Midsummers Night Dream instead of Knitting. We also packed bags at a food bank, pulled up weeds/small trees at Sibley, and are going camping in May with Hickman.

You meet with your teacher every so often (oftener if you are having problems, they can suggest other approaches or strategies). There are homeschooling groups that have play days at the park days every week, and many home school field trips are offered through various groups (for example, my son went to the De Young to see colonial art on an independent field trip.) You can also hook up with people offering classes, e.g. a book club, through their homes, usually for a fee.

I have found homeschooling to be completely different from going to school. I think almost anyone can be a successful homeschooler. anon


Charter/Homeschooling Schools in Berkeley?

May 2002

Hi there,
I have been trying to find any charter schools in berkeley, home school-ish, or traditional day school. I havent found anything on the website, nor have searches on the internet brought anything up. I do know about the two charter schools in Oakland but im suprised i cant find anything in berkeley.Are there any? cris

http://www.hickman.k12.ca.us/ Hickman has a homeschooling charter school. Their main office is in Hickman, CA (near Modesto) which is in a county neigboring Alameda county. But they also have a location on Gilman street in Berkeley for picking up supplies, etc... The way homeschooling charter schools work is that you are eligible to attend ones in neighboring counties (in California). I'm also looking into starting my child in a nearby homeschooling charter school (kindergarten) but I live in Contra Costa County (but work at UCB) and I'm looking for alternatives since Hickman isn't available to me. Please let me know what else you find. I would call right away there offices reopened on 8/14. Mike

There is a charter school satelite called Hickman Charter School located in Berkeley. It is located on Gillman Ave. in the Tanery complex down near 6th I think. Hickman Charter Berkeley Annex Phone (510) 525-3111 / Voicemail (510) 433-9582 / Fax (510) 525-3741 Paul

Yes, Hickman Charter school is a home school charter. In Berkeley on 4th and Gilman. k - 8. Lucinda