How to Choose the Right Online High School

How to Choose the Right Online High School

  • 01/12/2019
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 How to Choose the Right Online High School?

 

 

At the high school level there are several key components parents should look for in the best online homeschool programs as they will affect the student’s ability to play sports, apply for scholarships and attend the college of their choice. If parents want a specific worldview incorporated in the curriculum then this needs to be part of their search so they only see the platforms that meet this requirement. A good example is families looking for a Christian education which is available but not necessarily through all the homeschool platforms that are available. Identify the top several with positive customer reviews and start comparing those so you can narrow down the list, exclude names or bring in others based on information received.

Accreditation is a ‘must’ factor because without this colleges will have a harder time evaluating the transcript and accepting it as valid to meet their standards. The process is rigorous and can be achieved through a single, or multiple agencies depending on the platform’s location, designation and desire to earn and maintain these designations. If a school has no accreditation, then it needs to be dropped from the list immediately even if you are looking for your elementary student in preparation for the later years.  Make sure the school has had the accreditation for a period of time so that you don’t enroll and then find out they didn’t renew it or lost it very quickly. This means that you have to start the search over again and move your child to another platform which can be disruptive to the process.

Student interaction with the online system is another critical component since this is the primary vehicle of learning, completing assignments and taking exams. If the system is difficult to use, challenging to navigate or constantly having issues with access and glitches then it gives the impression the school is not focused on providing a quality experience. High school deals with difficult information and it should not be made harder to get the course work done by a system that is outdated or not maintained. Parents should ask for a free demo of the online portal for themselves and their student prior to finalizing any decision so everyone can get a hands-on experience with the system. This allows questions to be asked ahead of time and for parents to see the available resources as this will be how they keep up with grades and documentation.

The best online homeschool programs should have options for students so they can find the level that fits their ability and future path. This should include AP, Honors and dual enrollment at a minimum so students that want to pursue college can build the foundation in high school with electives that meet their interests and preparatory tools for assistance. The SAT and ACT are major exams that colleges require for admission so the online platform should include information about these tests, prep resources and access to a guidance counselor so the student and their family do not have to figure the path out on their own. This individual should start working with the student in 9th grade (if not earlier) to help them identify their goals, determine their learning level and outline the courses they need to achieve their objective.

Even if the parent operated as a part or full-time teacher for their child, at the high school level, this responsibility transitions to the professional instructors through the platform due to the subject complexity and meeting standard requirements. It is important that parents ask about the standards for teacher communication, level of involvement with the student and grading turnaround because differing expectations between the school and the family can result in issues. Having this information upfront ensures that everyone is working together for the success of the student and parents can relay any concerns or special requests that may need to be considered.

Finding the right online high school platform can be easy or take some time depending on the results of the initial search but it is worth the investment for your teen’s future. A solid foundation starts at the bottom and builds upward with the confidence that the final result will be durable and usable. In this case, a quality online platform ensures that every student is taught from an excellent curriculum with the credentials they need to gain access to the college of their choice and skills developed that will help them with their career and advanced education. Whether you are transitioning your teenager from a traditional school format to homeschooling or trying to get a head start when they are young, these tips are helpful in narrowing down the options, weeding out the sites that are limited in scope or ability and finding the platform with the necessary experience and qualifications to get the job done.



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