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Choosing an Online High School Homeschooling Program

by Jessica Parnell | Aug 10, 2017 | 3 min read

If you’re researching online homeschool programs, you’re in good company. Each year, thousands of families choose to move to online homeschooling because of the flexibility, engaging lessons, fun topics, and safe environment. Online high school programs are rich in learning, convenient, and challenging. But not all online high school homeschool programs are built alike. If you’re choosing an online high school homeschool program, there are a few factors to keep in mind. Here’s your go-to guide for choosing an online high school homeschooling program.

5 Must-haves in an Online High School Program

  1. Customized academic plans. Your highschooler is unique and deserves a program as individual as he or she is. This means you need to find an online high school homeschool program that offers what they are looking for in terms of classes, interaction, and tracking. Think technical classes, honors, and AP, or even college-level dual enrollment when considering online high school options. The best online homeschooling high school programs will offer academic course planning and transcript services. Your high schooler will need an accredited transcript to go to the University of their Dreams, so make sure your school offers these services and has the accreditation to back them. Finally, a good online high school program will understand your state laws and requirements and set your high schooler on the track to reach goals by obtaining the credits needed.
  2. Engaging lessons that include pacing, note-taking, and multiple forms of assessment. Online learning is awesome and often keeps teens’ attention for longer periods than traditional programs. But students can easily fall behind or miss out on important skills, like note-taking and study skills. Also, a good online homeschooling high school program will include multiple ways of assessing your student’s progress. Look for lesson understanding checks, quizzes, essays, multiple choice and true false questions, and opportunities to write essays. You’ll also want to see different types of projects, including research, science, literature, and more. They should be engaging and fun and should teach different skills that will be important during college.
  3. Certified teachers as guides and instructors. This is a critical time in your student’s life when they will need to be guided by solid, trained content experts in the area of study. Choose a program that has certified teachers and provides times for those teachers to instruct your student. Maybe your learner needs help with math; maybe it’s essay writing. Whatever the subject, ensure that your teen has what they need from teachers that know their stuff (so you don’t have to!).
  4. Course options that appeal to your learner. It’s amazing how often high school homeschool students are put into boxes they don’t have to be shoved into! You’re homeschooling, which means you have the flexibility and freedom to choose courses that actually appeal to your student. So, do it! Find an online high school homeschool program that offers a variety of courses that your learner actually wants to take. Think about where your student is headed, career plans, college dreams, etc., and choose accordingly. And if the program you’re considering has only limited courses, ditch them for an online homeschool provider that has more to offer.
  5. Specialty courses that prepare your child for the future. We’re all on different paths — I get that. But regardless of the destination, there are skills we could all focus on right now that will help us get there. Great online homeschooling high school programs will be thinking about the diverse needs of your learner and their future plans. Think SAT/ACT prep, accounting, business management, driver’s education, and career or college planning (I mean, the entrance essays and résumé writing!). Find an online high school homeschool program that offers more than just core or elective courses and actually prepares your high schooler to take on their future equipped with the skills and abilities needed to shine.

Choosing an online high school homeschooling program is high stakes. However, you don’t have to go in blind. Use this “5 must-haves” list to guide you and your high schooler to success both now and in their future. Because your child is worth a program that supports and guides him or her towards their dreams — one course at a time.

Jessica Parnell
Hello everyone! I’m Jessica Parnell — mom, homeschool evaluator, teacher, and CEO of Bridgeway Academy. In my 20+ years of experience as a homeschool mom and evaluator, I have had the privilege of meeting homeschoolers that take a variety of approaches to their education. It is their many stories and successes that inspire me in my own homeschooling and I love to pass on the knowledge that I have gained from them to other homeschooling families. The one constant that always remains true is that there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter child.” Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made and as a result, learns and functions differently. It’s our job to ensure that we’re raising each child to fulfill their individual purpose and when we can teach in a way that inspires them, we are on our way to homeschool success. When I’m not writing or teaching my children, I like to ski, write and participate in triathlons. I graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters in English and I am currently pursuing a degree in Neuroleadership.
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