Using MOOCs for Your Homeschool High School in the New Year

homeschooling with MOOC

What in the World is a MOOC?

If you are like some (ME) you may be wondering what in the world MOOC even is. Others may wonder how a homeschool parent that has made it through the high school years wouldn’t know what it is. For those of you that do not know what this amazing online educational opportunity is I will enlighten you. MOOC, Massive Open Online Course, is a way to take a course of study over the Internet for FREE to a very large number of people. All you have to do is log on to the MOOC website and sign up! The only thing you need is a computer and internet connection. 

Where Do These Classes Originate? 

Most MOOCs come from universities such as Stanford, MIT, and even Harvard. Another source of MOOCs are from companies like Microsoft and Google and even organizations like IEEE or the Linux Foundation.

What Types of Classes are Offered and How Does it Work?

There are classes in about any subject that you can imagine and MOOCs range in length of completion from 1 to 16 weeks. You take a look through the TOP 100 FREE ONLINE COURSES but there are much more available. Students have auto-graded quizzes which are quizzes that are automatically graded when you submit them, such as multiple choice. Some also have Peer-feedback where the assignments are graded by other students according to a specific rubric. How well you do on these assignments ultimately determines your overall course grade. 

Can a Student earn a Credential for Finishing a MOOC?

If someone finishes a MOOC with a passing grade then they may earn a certificate of completion. Sometimes the certificate is free but most of the time it has to be paid for. To get a paid certificate it requires an ID verification where you have to send a picture of yourself and a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license. 

How Can I Make this Fit in with Homeschooling?

This has gotten your wheels turning, hasn’t it? A MOOC is a great opportunity for your high school student to learn college material right from home! The classes vary between technical fields, like website design, some have the potential to earn college credit, and others are for self-edification only. There is a class available for just about anything your student is interested in. What an excellent way for your teen to explore different majors and career tracks while trying to decide which way the road will lead them!

Some Things to Consider

Just like any curriculum you choose there are definitely some things to consider before jumping in. 

  • Before registering for a class make sure to carefully read all of the details about the class.
  • If you are a Christian homeschooler be aware that there is some secular content and some material also may not be appropriate for younger teens. 
  • Most of the material is college level so make sure your child is capable of taking on the more challenging curriculum and is able to work at a college level.
  • Because it is at a college level it might be a good idea to choose a class that is self-paced. 
  • Some of the classes may be able to be used for dual credit courses but do your own homework to make sure as some cannot. 
  • These classes are a great opportunity to keep learning beyond high school even if your student doesn’t choose to go to college.
  • This is probably an obvious one but make sure to involve your teen in the decision making of what class they would like to take. The more interested they are in the topic the more likely they will be to learn and achieve knowledge! 






Joy Capps is a homeschool bookworm residing in the mountains of western North Carolina. The only one who loves books more is her 16-year-old daughter. They both enjoy perusing old bookstores for treasures and sniffing books. Her son who is 18 has special needs, is the social butterfly of the family and has never met a stranger. Although she is originally from South Dakota she now calls North Carolina her home and she and her family love exploring the great outdoors. Her family has been homeschooling since 2005.

December 5, 2019


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