This is part 2 of a multi-part series about homeschooling methods. Part 1 covers online public school options for homeschooling.
Is your family interested in online homeschooling but prefers not to use public school platforms? As homeschooling numbers skyrocket, independent, online schooling options are on the increase.
Who Uses Online Homeschooling
Families who tend to use online homeschooling include those who:
- are brand new homeschoolers
- have high school students
- have only a GED or high school diploma
- are dual income or single parents
- school multiple grade levels at a time
- are experiencing a family crisis
- are dealing with chronic illnesses
- have children who prefer using technology to learn
- and families with a student in crisis who need to get up and running quickly.
Public vs Independent Online Platforms
You may have heard online public school platforms referred to as virtual charter schools or virtual schools.Public schools receive funding for the students enrolled in these online platforms.
Students who participate in these platforms remain under the oversight of the public school system in their area.
Students are subject to truancy and absence policies. They are subject to guidelines for specific hours they must be logged on for classes. They participate in required academic testing.
Many families choose online public schooling because the school system provides the computer equipment and other curriculum resources free of charge.
Independent online platforms differ from public school platforms in that they:
- do not provide computer systems and equipment
- may or may not require the use of hard copy materials as well as computers
- do not cover the cost of any associated materials required free of charge
- do not report to or abide by the requirements of the public school system
- may or may not involve fees for enrollment
- may (fee-based) or may not (free) track and compile grades
- usually allow your student to complete coursework at their own pace
- do not provide the local get togethers provided by some online public school options
- may not have live streaming classes
- may not have online mentors available to answer academic questions
- require academic achievement testing only if your state homeschooling law requires it.
Use the free checklist paired with this article to help you evaluate non-public online homeschool options.
Online School (Non-public) Checklist
Want the most well-rounded view of online schooling? Download the checklist from the 1st article in this series. Evaluate available online public school options. Then, compare the two.
The list below includes both free and paid online educational platforms. The Consumer Reports list includes both public and private/non-public platforms. The other links are non-public school options.
- Consumer Reports has a list of highly regarded online educational portals
- Alpha Omega Academy is provided by one of the premier publishers of homeschooling materials and is a moderately priced option.
- Spelling City is an economically priced spelling and vocabulary program for K-12.
- Time4Learning is another cost efficient option which is well-regarded among homeschoolers.
- Easy Peasy All-In-One-Homeschool is a free platform serving Grades 1-12. They site owners are clear that they are not a school and parents must maintain all record keeping and grades, etc.
- NorthStar Academy is an accredited Christian charter school for grades 4-12.
- Skrafty includes self-paced courses, live streams, and courses that integrate live classes and real books. Grades are compiled as the student progresses. It started out as a Minecraft community for homeschoolers. Skrafty now boasts hundreds of educational resources in addition to classes. Your very low enrollment fee will entitle you to hundreds of free resources included on the platform.
After completing the research steps in part 1 and 2 of this series, you will have a good idea as to whether online options will work for your student. If you feel as though you are still unsettled in your decision, read on for more information about other options.
This series continues with part 3 which begins an exploration of more traditional schooling methods. Be sure and sign up for my newsletter. Then come back to read about other ways to homeschool including:
- relaxed and unschooling approaches
- interest led schooling
- the classical approach
- Charlotte Mason driven options
- unit studies
- and traditional textbook and worktext options.
Do you have a burning question about homeschooling?
It may be simple and sound dumb to you. It may feel bone crunching and as tho’ the future of your child hinges on the answer.
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