Tips for Researching Homeschool Alternatives

 June 24, 2015

Tips for Researching Homeschool Alternatives
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You may be at a point in your homeschool journey where you want to begin researching homeschool alternatives. It can be difficult to find a program or school that is right for your child. Many families are searching for a program that will take their child’s interests, abilities, talents and style of learning into consideration. Asking the following questions will help you find a program that not only fits your child, but will set them up for future success.

  • Does the program have experience with homeschool families?


It’s important to find a program or school that is well-known and has years of experience providing education to homeschool families. A main factor for many families is determining if the program will provide the opportunity to enrich the curriculum and incorporate local resources, but does not require parents to be experts on every subject. Laurel Springs School has been partnering with homeschool families since 1991 and our school’s founder homeschooled her own three children. We understand that parents have a unique set of criteria when it comes to selecting an education partner. We believe that life experiences are part of every child’s education and consider life and learning to be one and the same.


  1. Is the program accredited?


There are many homeschooling options available, but not all are created equal. Finding a program that is accredited ensures that when your child begins the college application process or enters the workforce, the quality of their education will be recognized. In order to receive accreditation, the program or school must earn the approval of an external, independent organization that performs ongoing, comprehensive examinations of the curriculum and teacher services.

Laurel Springs School’s accreditation with WASC, AdvancED and SACS CASI is nationally-recognized and ensures the legitimacy of our courses and transcripts. When students enroll in a course with Laurel Springs, parents can be confident that they are receiving an education that has been thoroughly examined and approved by an independent third-party verifying body. In addition to our accreditation, most Laurel Springs courses are also NCAA Division I and II and University of California a-g approved.


  1. How much flexibility is provided?


The flexibility of a program can be determined in a number of ways. If you prefer to have more control of your child’s schedule, choosing an option that provides asynchronous learning opportunities is important. This allows students to work through their courses more independently. Some programs will require students to follow a traditional school calendar, log in during certain times of the day, and deduct points if assignments are not completed on their due date. When doing your research, be sure to find out what the program’s asynchronous vs. synchronous learning opportunities are. Flexibility is one of the primary benefits of partnering with Laurel Springs School. We offer asynchronous learning, which allows students to complete coursework on their own schedule. Additionally, students can enroll and start their courses on any day of the year.


  1. Does the program offer a variety of curriculum options?


Everyone learns in their own way, so it’s important to find a curriculum that will suit your child’s learning needs. Find out whether or not the program provides a variety of delivery methods, or if they offer one method for all students. High-quality programs will offer a combination of curriculum delivery options to create an optimal learning experience for each student.

Laurel Springs offers project-based, text-based, and online curriculum options. Our project-based curriculum is offered to students in grades K-8, our text-based courses are offered to students in grades 4-12, and the option of online courses is offered to students in grades 5-12. Additionally, younger students may take an online World Language course as early as Kindergarten. Our courses feature materials carefully chosen for their academic quality and suitability for a wide range of learning styles.


  1. Will the high school program prepare students for college-level coursework?


One of the major factors that a college admissions committee looks for in an applicant is whether or not they took a challenging course load. This lets the college know if a student is prepared for the rigor of a college course and if they have the desire to succeed in their major and beyond. The college prep courses at Laurel Springs have been carefully designed so that successful completion prepares students for courses at the most demanding colleges and universities around the world. Our students’ SAT and ACT reasoning scores are higher than the national average, and many of our students are accepted into highly selective colleges. Our course catalog includes 160+ college prep courses, 30+ Honors courses and 20+ AP courses.


  1. Does the program offer any support services?


Programs that have experience working with homeschool families will understand how to fully equip students for a successful learning experience. Find out if the program or school has an onboarding process to ensure you and your child will be comfortable with the learning platform. Additionally, many programs understand that parents are not experts in every subject, and will provide teacher services to help students with their coursework. The level of support needed for each family differs, so make sure you determine what your needs are and if the program can provide them for you.

At Laurel Springs, we believe that a strong partnership and excellent communication between parents, students and teachers gives students confidence and sparks their desire to learn. Our students are supported by our Student Services Department, School Counselors, and certified teachers. Our Student Services Department welcomes families, guides them through the onboarding process, and provides training and support for our Learning Management System. We offer college counseling services to students in grades 8-12 which includes 1:1 college planning and webinars catered for each grade level. Students also have access to Laurel Springs’ teachers who are fully qualified, experienced professionals, all of whom have learning styles training and many of whom possess an advanced degree.

At Laurel Springs, we believe that each child is a unique human being with personal interests, special talents, and a recognizable learning style. We are dedicated to partnering with homeschool families to provide an education that fits your child intellectually, emotionally, and developmentally. To learn more about Laurel Springs School as a homeschool alternative, contact our Admissions Department today: 800-377-5890.