[Please note that the following information is outdated (based on February 2010) and may not reflect current experiences at these schools. It is always a good idea to check out the schools’ websites as well as what current parents/students are experiencing. Also note that this is the experience of some parents/students,]
Pros: Great Community Atmosphere
Student group discussions in class
Some student skype chats or video chats in some classes
Some video lessons
Extracurricular activities for students and parents
Powerschool grade book where parents/students can keep up with grades easily
Both standard and advanced diploma options
Balanced Graduation requirements
Flexibility yet deadlines– helpful when you need flexibility in schedules (like moving to a new country)
Good parent/teacher and student/teacher relationships — Teachers are normally good at responding to emails
Dual Credit courses now being offered! ** Check it out: New Link ** See below for more info on it
Cons: No short term intensives offered as summer programs, winter or Maymester options.
Sometimes students on the early bird schedule cannot access the week of materials that they need due to new lessons not being posted soon enough.
If a student falls behind, it is difficult to get caught up.
Some teachers give too much homework, especially math.
Pros: Offers a variety of dual credit courses through various colleges;
Offers some high school and dual credit courses that can start anytime during the school year;
Offers some unique elective courses such as Flash Animation (HS) and Contemporary Management (dual credit);
Personal interview during the application/registration process through skype with parents and students;
At least some teachers perform personal skype interviews with each student prior to or during the first week of lessons;
Cons: Lacks the community/school environment that NorthStar offers;
Requires 4 years of Bible for graduation (when many families prefer to study Bible lessons as a family and use paid for academic courses to cover other core and elective courses);
The regular diploma (not advanced) requires students to have three sciences (including physics). So, students who are not strong in science and who may not want to take physics, would be better off graduating through NorthStar.
The regular diploma requires 2 credits of foreign language. If a student is living in a place where they are studying the language and can submit the right documents to get credit for that language, then it is great. But two years of doing an online language out of context can be very challenging for many teens.
40 hours per year of documented volunteer service is required. While this looks great on a competitive college admission interview, it could be difficult for some to demonstrate this.
Also see: Online Schooling: Who is Cut out for it?
** NorthStar Academy currently partners with LeTourneau University and Moody Bible Institute to allow students the opportunity to earn college credit while also earning credit with NorthStar. Dual credit courses from other accredited colleges/universities may be accepted after review by NSA’s guidance department. NorthStar Academy continues to provide diverse academic opportunities for our students. For more information about dual credit opportunities at NSA, please click here: New Link –– Rachel Knipe, NorthStar Guidance Counselor.