You’ve decided to supplement your homeschool program with online learning. That’s fantastic!
Now, make the most out of your decision by asking the right questions to your online homeschool program provider.
The provider’s answer to these questions will help you decide if the program is the best one for you and your student.
Their responses will provide important insights on levels of support, curriculum, testing, instructors, and more.
Sound good? Let’s get started!
- What tech equipment is needed for the online class my homeschooler wants to take?
- PC or Apple?
- Operating system?
- Memory (RAM)?
- Internet speed?
- Peripheral equipment (e.g., webcam, headphones, microphone, speakers, printer, flash drive, etc.)
- How do I get tech support when needed?
- Does the provider offer free resources designed to support students and help them succeed in their online course?
The right technology is one of the first steps to getting your homeschool student prepared for eLearning
Keep the information you learn, from asking the questions above, when shopping for tech gear so that you can easily find the right equipment.
Also, keep in mind that many computer dealers will help you with set up and offer tech support.
Yes, there are many questions when it comes to coursework since it’s really the most important aspect of online programs for your homeschooler.
You want to make sure you and your student are confident in the program and that it provides the best educational opportunities.
Here are a few questions you might consider asking about an online homeschool program’s courses:
- Does the course my student wishes to take fulfill your state’s required courses of study?
- Does the online homeschool course(s) my student wishes to take require prerequisites?
- Can my homeschooler take courses without being enrolled in a local school?
- How rigorous are the courses? Will they challenge my student to master concepts before moving onto subsequent lessons?
- How strict are the course assignment due dates?
- Are test dates rigid or does the program offer some flexibility?
- What is the approximate daily time commitment my student should expect?
- How long should it take my student to complete the course?
- Does the course require textbooks or e-texts?
- How and when will my homeschooler receive a final grade?
- What is the process (and getting reimbursement) for dropping an online course?
- Does the program offer Advanced Placement courses, dual enrollment for college credits, and elective classes?
- Has the course been reviewed against national quality standards for online learning? If so, does it meet your needs and expectations?
One of the many positives of online learning is the one-on-one time a student can have with the instructor.
Your homeschooler may already be accustomed to not having to vie for a teacher’s attention, but it can be helpful for them to receive individualized feedback from instructors who are experts in the subject area they are studying in their course.
The following questions will provide important information on how communication will take place with an online instructor:
- Is there an instructor in the course who will provide my student with feedback and guidance?
- Are instructors highly qualified in their subject area?
- Are instructors trained in best practices for teaching online students?
- Is the instructor available to answer questions and provide support?
- How long can I expect to wait for an instructor to reply to my questions?
To learn more about the training we offer our highly qualified online instructors, check out “Our Course Difference.”
A few additional questions you may consider asking include:
- Is the program accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting body?
- Does the program follow national online teaching standards or guidelines?
- Is there data available from the provider on course completion rates?
The list of questions can go on but using the information provided here will get you started on your way to selecting the best online courses for your homeschool student.
Even after enrollment, you should continue to ask questions as they arise to ensure complete satisfaction and, most importantly, the best education for your child.
Getting answers to all your questions regarding online learning can help provide peace of mind for parents and great opportunities for your homeschooler. Michigan Virtual provides a wealth of trusted resources to assist you in this journey.
Lynch, M. (2015). 3 Critical Questions We Must Ask About the K-12 Online Learning Trend. The Edvocate.
Michigan Department of Education (2019). Nonpublic and Home School.
Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute. (2017). Parent Guide to Online Learning.
OnlineEducation.com. FAQs: How Online Courses Work.
Understood.org. Questions to Ask About Online Schools.