Traditional schooling is kind of one-size-fits-all — but it's definitely not the right fit for all kids. And whether it's for religious reasons, bullying, learning disabilities or health issues, many parents have been seeking online education for their children as an alternative.
Virtual schooling is a great option for parents who feel ill-equipped to educate their kids at home. With today's technology, parents and kids can customize their experience — and even choose to have real instructors, tutors and video online.
Obviously homeschooling is a challenge, but what experience in life isn't?
Trying to decide between the different types of online homeschool options can be daunting. Virtual, umbrella or cover schools all tend to fall under the same category. They can provide all subjects, issue report cards, maintain attendance records, issue diplomas and sometimes offer college prep and career prep programs.
Some online curriculum specializes in one particular subject such as math, reading or spelling. These programs allow you the freedom to carefully tailor your child's education to suit their individual needs. You may also choose to teach some subjects online while incorporating textbooks for other subjects.
Determine your budget. Online programs can range from a couple hundred dollars a year per subject to free. Most of the free programs are run by the public school system and come with many more requirements for both parent and student. Some programs are run through private schools and include access to online instructors and full record-keeping. Decide if you want one subject, multiple subjects or an entire program.
You will want to check your state's homeschool laws before you choose an online program that best suits your child's needs. Speak to the online instructors, read reviews and educate yourself about the programs. The more informed you are, the better prepared you will be to offer your child a successful online education.
Originally published February 2013. Updated March 2017.
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