Why High Schoolers Should Take Online Classes

Why Teens Should Take Online Classes by Jimmie Lanley at Let's Homeschool High School

It is not shirking your duty as a homeschool mom to enroll your child in online classes. In fact, I think every homeschooler should take several online classes over the course of their high school years (if not sooner).

Besides earning those required credits for graduation, make it a goal to offer your child multiple types of learning experiences. The more ways your child can practice learning, the more varied his repertoire will be when it comes to higher education, work, and life in general. Your teen will not only learn what formats he prefers but he will also develop strategies for learning in many different situations.

Online Classes Bring a Professional into Your Home

I am a firm believer that any parent with a high school diploma can teach her child at least to that level. You don’t need specialized training. However, there can be huge benefit to having an expert teaching your child for a high school class.

If your child has a particular passion or talent, hiring professional teachers is a great way to invest in that strength. On the other hand, if you or your child have a deficiency in a particular area, getting the help of an expert can make the learning easier and give you the peace of mind that it’s getting done right.

Online Courses Provide Time Management Practice

Let’s admit it. We homeschoolers tend to be a pretty flexible bunch. Holding our teens to deadlines and due dates is not a strength for us. Although we want to encourage creativity and autonomy in the process of learning, we also need to ensure our teens have practice with goal setting and project management.

Online classes have reading assignments and activities with strict due dates that teach our children time management.

Online Learning Means Accountability

Having an objective teacher grading your teen’s work provides a different standard than having mom or dad do it. Kids know this and often perform with excellence because of the extra accountability.

In my experience, an outside teacher tends to echo things I’ve said for years without any result. Do any of these dialogues sound familiar?

me: You should study without listening to your iPod. I can hear that blaring from here.

teen: “Oh mom! I can study fine with music. It helps me learn better!”

me:  You are a great writer! This essay is outstanding.

teen: “You’re my mom. Of course you think it’s good.”

When the online teacher says the same things you’ve said for years, suddenly it holds value for the teen. She now accepts the study advice and the praise that was considered untrue when it came from you.

(By the way, don’t be upset that your teen didn’t accept it from you. Be happy that you found the right teacher to confirm what you’ve tried to teach your children. You still get the credit as the parent even if it was the teacher’s words that finally drilled something home.)

Learning Online Mirrors the Modern Workspace

Without question, the Internet is here to stay. To go further, some experts say that the distinction we currently make between online and offline will continue to be blurred until there is no divide. We will be continually connected. This new reality is even more reason to offer your child the experience of earning high school credit via an online course.

Your teen’s future — both work and personal– will exist in this continually connected world. Yes, our teens are digital natives, but experience on Instagram and Facebook does not substitute for a more professional approach to video and digital communication that online classes can provide. Our teens need to experience computers for more than texting messages and sharing selfies.

Online Learning Resources

There are many options for online courses for high schoolers, and here are a few that I know of at least indirectly and can recommend as a starting point in your selection process. Most of these resources are featured on my Online Learning for Homeschool Pinterest board.

About

Jimmie Lanley is the mother of one creative teenaged daughter. Living abroad in China necessitated the original choice to homeschool. But now that she and her family are back in Tennessee, Jimmie can't imagine any other way to educate her high schooler. Jimmie's Collage is where she blogs about homeschool. In the early years, Jimmie's lesson plans were full of hands-on activities and lapbooks. As the years passed, she began using more and more notebooking and became so passionate about the method that she created her second blog, The Notebooking Fairy. That site features free notebooking printables and how-tos plus the affordable eBook guide Notebooking Success. Jimmie is co-owner of iHomeschool Network, a social media company.


Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

8 Responses to Why High Schoolers Should Take Online Classes

  1. Adrienne says:

    I loved the online classes my oldest has taken!

  2. Thanks for all the great online links. The hard part is deciding which is the best match. My daughter tried a Princeton history course through Coursera in 9th grade. It was quite challenging but held her interest. We also used Thinkwell for math.

    • That’s a good point, Evelyn. There is a huge variety in the format and difficulty of online courses. And the peronality of the teacher makes a difference too. Many online classes offer a money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied after the first class. That’s a good way to test it out and not make an expensive mistake.

  3. I fear I’ll never have that with my daughter who has dyslexia. She’s quite opposed at age 15. However, I think Lorelai will be able to do online courses. Only 4 more years! :D Great post, Jimmie!

  4. Rhonda Albom says:

    Hi Jimmie, I agree and am actively looking for a good online creative writing class for teens who love to write. Any suggestions?

    Rhonda

  5. Jamie says:

    HI Rhonda, We have used Time4Writing as an option for an online course that is personalized. My 11th grader enjoyed it!

  6. Having an e learning course is always a best idea for all students to get best access of study material anywhere any time. I think e learning makes a great impact on process of education and it is much cost saving as well. Now a days most of the colleges an institutes are providing this facility. I think high schools should use this.

  7. Lisa Neal says:

    Great article about online learning. My daughter has graduated from High School using an online program. To supplement she used online practice as well.
    Varsity Learning Tools at: http://www.varsitytutors.com/practice-tests
    This site has subjects like foreign languages, history, math, and science, as well as practice tests and problems for Common Core and standardized tests like the ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, ISEE, and SSAT.
    Thanks for letting me share! – Lisa

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