No one knows your child better than you do.
Is your young learner self-motivated and enjoy independent exploration? Does your teen like the challenge of advanced placement classes or learning a world language?
These are just some of the types of questions parents will want to consider when deciding if an online course is right for their child.
Armed with the knowledge of your child’s learning style and research on the many online learning options available today, you can have confidence in your educational choices.
Fill out our research institute’s Online Learner Readiness Rubric to see if your child is ready to take an online course.
The Facts About eLearning & What They Mean for Your Child
There are many misconceptions that persist about homeschooling.
With the rapid growth of online courses available today, it can create confusion on which program is right for your student.
Again, asking plenty of questions and doing your homework will help you select not only the best eCourses but the program that will help your homeschooler excel.
While online courses can appear similar on the surface, it’s important to get as much information as you can on these particular items:
Pace of learning
The beauty of both homeschooling and online school is that a student can work at his or her own rate.
Do know that while there may not be deadlines for assignments, there can be firm start and end dates for courses.
Also, if a student is taking an AP class, there are deadlines in those.
Support for Online Learners
Due to the nature of online courses, it’s important to have technical support and help available when your student needs it.
Does the program have a devoted helpline, pacing guides, resources on how to succeed, and other assets designed for student success?
Some online providers do not offer an instructor. If that’s important to you or your student, make sure to ask.
Some programs, like Michigan Virtual, provide highly qualified instructors who are experts in their subject matter and able to provide individual feedback on assignments
As the parent of a homeschooler, you already know how to keep your child connected with others and the community.
Often cited among common homeschool pros and cons, social development also can present similar concerns, though it is generally seen as more of a misconception than reality.
Does the eLearning program include a safe community where students can connect with the instructor and peers? Are teachers available in a variety of ways, including chat and text?
These questions and others will help you better understand – and select – the best curriculum for you and your student.
Types of Online Courses
There’s much more to a K-12 education than the core curriculum.
See which online program offers a variety of subjects and electives to explore.
Homeschooling, as well as online study, means your child is not bound to a brick-and-mortar classroom.
Family trips, sports schedules, and extracurricular activities don’t have to be sacrificed in order to learn.
In fact, incorporating these activities into your child’s education enhances education and social interactions.
Make sure the online program you’re considering supports the flexibility that fits your family’s lifestyle.
Qualifications, Accreditations, and Certifications
Not all online programs are created equal.
To guarantee the best educational outcomes for your student, check to see if the program has earned any endorsements or qualifications from reputable, third-party sources.
Ask if the instructors are highly qualified in their subject area and if the program is accredited by a regional or national accrediting body.
With the growth of both public and private programs, this information can often reveal the best choice for your homeschooler.
As you learn more about online classes, you will discover whether they are a good fit for your child. Some may want to start slowly, trying out one course that seems right for him or her.
You can always add additional courses if your student has enjoyed it and wants to complement their homeschool curriculum.
Find out if online programs are right for your homeschooler with over 200 parent and student resources from Michigan Virtual.
Boyington, A. (2019). Is an Online K-12 School Right for Your Child? Niche.com.
Harris O’Hanlon, L. (2012). Virtual Elementary School: Should You Enroll Your Kids? Parents.com.
Tynan-Wood, C. (2015). The Reality of Virtual Schools. Greatschools.org.