Four Helpful Tips for Evaluating Online Courses

Four Helpful Tips for Evaluating Online Courses

Many parents who are homeschooling turn to the Internet to find online instructional resources. But determining whether or not certain online courses are an effective academic solution can be confusing, so here are four important factors to consider when evaluating online courses:

1. Interactivity
One of the greatest aspects of homeschooling is the personal interaction of teacher and student. With online courses, you don’t want to sacrifice the support to which your child has become accustomed. Look for online courses featuring a combination of live instruction and recorded lessons to ensure that your child gets interactive time with his or her teacher and peers. Live support from an expert instructor proves invaluable, particularly when you are teaching multiple students or when your older child is tackling challenging subjects that you have long forgotten!

2. Curriculum Quality
How can you be certain that a particular online course carries academic worth? Consider how long the provider of the online courses has been in the business. Is the program accredited? Where have the online courses been used before and what is their track record? Many school systems are using online courses, and often their school results can be found through public records.

3. Flexibility
Another great benefit of homeschooling is schedule flexibility, and online courses can be suited to accommodate your busy family schedule. Self-driven online courses for older students can be completed by your teenager when he or she is at his or her “academic best” during the day. Younger students can use game-based instruction to remain engaged for longer periods of time or throughout the day. Online courses often use online textbooks rather than hard copies, meaning true “anytime, anywhere” instruction (provided there is an Internet connection).

4. Cost
There is a wide range of pricing for online courses. When the curriculum content is free, the old adage often rings true–you get what you pay for! Many providers offer single course options, so homeschooling parents are able to only enroll in those subjects and courses that they need.