Online homeschool programs have made huge advancements in availability and quality.
There are many available now and it can be super confusing as to which one might work best for you.
I have not tried them all and I cannot with a clear conscience tell you which one is right for you but here is a checklist for things to look for. Things I didn’t think about until I was knee-deep in the online school world with two kids.
Doesn’t this picture looks serene? It’s what I imagined my day to be working while my kids are doing all their classes online. I mean how much do a 4th and 6th grader need help with…isn’t it funny what we imagine things will be like versus what they really turn out to be like?
1. What subjects are offered?
2. Does it keep track of grades, attendance and do progress reports?
3. Is there adequate support?
4. How much does it cost?
5. Are your kids the type of learners who need videos or just to read online?
6. How much parental involvement it there?
7. Will the online school do state specific testing?
These questions are what I have found were the big ones that seemed most important.
I am no expert and having just finished our first 9 weeks with using Acellus I can say the following.
I was able to do 9 week progress reports, well I was able to print their grades so far. I was also able to see their attendance chart, see how many hours exactly they worked on each subject. Now I will tell you this. I believe at my core that keeping grades is not a good way to really judge a childs abilities or understanding.
I personally do not like having to keep progress reports. I do see the use of them to see where a child is struggling and help in that area but it’s a slippery slope to me and starts to defeat the entire homeschool philosophy I loved so much especially unschooling.
I keep these records to quiet the family members, namely their dads. ( I know it’s not a typo and I am letting my shame hang out there for the world to see. I was married two times and each time had a son. I never imagined this would happen and I would have not one ex-husband to deal with but two.) I guess in this sense when they ask (once or twice a year) I have some solid evidence that we are doing our due diligence and just dismiss the comments that playing soccer and attending music lessons weekly and 2 field trips a month is not enough socialization.
Prime example is this, I have one son who is in the 4th grade, mildly autistic and has ADHD he also has dysgraphia which makes writing a challenge to put it mildly. His grades were all A’s. His attendance is another story. He can’t sit for more than one subject at a time and can not sit still through that. Online school is a challenge being strapped to the computer but we are using a lap top so he can move some and he prefers to sit with the computer in his lap twisted up in a rolly chair. He has many days where he just cant get it together to get on the computer to finish things up and it’s not just a discipline problem.
My older son is in 6th grade. He is a perfectionist and likes to work on all of his school work at once but gets overwhelmed and makes mistakes from fatigue. His grades are B’s and C’s. If you gave both the same task they would tackle it completely differently. What one kid is great at the other is not. My older son loves writing and drawing. My younger son thinks pens and pencils should only be used as weapons and thinks writing anything down other than codes for Minecraft is a waste of his time.
I am still supplementing the online classes with some Moving Beyond the Page. I just love classic literature and find their use of novels and how they apply each subject around those to be really cool.
If you have used an online school which one did you use and what were some questions you had or wished you had asked?
If you have a child with a learning issue have you had success with online school?