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?
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. Many providers offer single course options, so homeschooling parents are able to only enroll in those subjects and courses that they need.
Online courses certainly have their place in homeschooling—and picking the right course at the right time benefits everyone.
And if possible, pick a fun and engaging course–because as we all know, fun learning is forever learning!