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.
- Apologia Academy (science, Bible, and worldview/apologetics)
- Aventa Learning (all academic areas)
- Biola Torrey Academy (composition, humanities)
- BYU (all academic areas)
- CurrClick Online (all academic areas)
- Fortuigence (composition)
- Founders Academy (government, economics, and American history)
- HippoCampus (all academic areas)
- IEW (composition)
- iTalki (foreign language)
- Kahn Academy (heavy on math and science but includes business, art, and humanities to lesser degree)
- Lynda.com (technology, graphic design, business, and the arts)
- MIT OpenCourseWare (mostly STEM areas, but humanities too)
- Patrick Henry College Prep Academy
- Stanford University Online High School (full program or take one course)
- The Potter’s School (all academic areas)
- Udemy Online Courses
- Uzinggo (math and science)
- Veritas Press Scholars Academy (all academic areas)