(See also: Five Types of Curriculum)
Some popular online high school programs include:
What questions should I ask when considering various online high schools?
Here is a list provided by NorthStar Academy— http://www.northstar-academy.org/academy/QuestionsToAsk.aspx
Where can I view a comparison of online schools?
How can I view side-by-side comparisons of several online high schools?
Here is a sample comparison between these four schools: Keystone, Sevenstar, NorthStar, and The American Academy — http://online-high-school.findthebest.com/compare/2-6-10-37/The-Keystone-School-vs-Sevenstar-Academy-vs-NorthStar-Academy-vs-The-American-Academy
Here is a sample comparison between: NorthStar, Alpha Omega, National High School, and Liberty University Online Academy: http://online-high-school.findthebest.com/compare/10-35-39-40/NorthStar-Academy-vs-Alpha-Omega-Academy-vs-National-High-School-vs-Liberty-University-Online-Academy
Are there any free public online schools?
Yes, but only for those residing in that state. However, for a fee, Connections Academy is also open out-of-state.
How can I find out about high schools associated with universities?
I will list a few of the ones I am familiar with, but if you will do a search for the university and “online high school” you should be able to find out if the university you are considering also offers an online high school
Texas Tech Online High School http://www.depts.ttu.edu/uc/k-12/
University of Texas Online High School http://www.utexas.edu/ce/k16/ut-high-school/overview/
University of Nebraska Independent Study High School http://highschool.unl.edu/
Indiana University online High School http://iuhighschool.iu.edu/
Stanford University Online High School http://epgy.stanford.edu/ohs/
Liberty University Online High School http://www.libertyonlineacademy.com/
What type of student is best-suited for online learning?
Here are some things NorthStar Academy recommends considering – http://www.northstar-academy.org/academy/Introduction.aspx#anchor_intro_who_enrol
Here are some student profiles:
Seventh grade girl, introvert, taking a course through The Potter’s School —
This student is in her first year of online learning and is taking one class with TPS. Overall, parent and student love this program. According to the mother –“My daughter’s teacher is extremely helpful and approachable. The 1.5 hour class is rather long for a seventh grader. My daughter has to be really disciplined during the week to keep up with the daily assignments, as it is easy to slack off and put off the assignments since the class only meets once a week.” Homework generally takes this student 30 minutes to complete for this class.
Eighth grade girl, introvert, taking some courses through The Potter’s School –
This student is in her second year of online learning and takes 1-3 classes a year through TPS. According to the mother – “TPS has quality teachers, teacher/student interaction through their software with live class meeting 1x/week, provides a pseudo-social outlet for teens in isolated areas. It is not self-paced, which could be a pro or con depending on the family. Some of the challenges include learning the system and the preferences for each teacher, time management, completing assignments. One of the strengths is having someone besides her mom teaching her. For two classes it takes 2-3 hours for her to complete her assignments.”
Eighth grade girl, extrovert, taking three classes (one AP) through NorthStar Academy —
She is Class Representative and involved in: Student Council, Welcome Committee, Library, Online Clubs, Chat Rooms, etc. She enjoys her online friends around the world and that she can take them with her wherever they move. Her parents like the flexibility of the schedule and that the classes are a good challenge. According to her mother, “There is a learning curve on getting used to NSA and being self-motivated to keep up with the assignments. Our daughter works quickly. She works on and off with guitar playing breaks from morning to early afternoon. She feels like she has a lot of free time.”
College grad, guy, extrovert/introvert, took a full load with NorthStar Academy for 10th-12th grade—
This student was very involved in online clubs and chats. He was an A/B student who loved to be involved in the local community but often found that the course work (and online community) consumed his time.
Tenth grade girl, introvert, taking two classes through NorthStar Academy and one class with Veritas—
This student has been taking online courses for three years. She enjoys having her own schedule and quiet room to work on her assignments. According to her mother—“Kids can work on their own because they know how to interact with the teacher. The teachers usually give quick responses to questions. The drawback is that they are sitting in front of a computer all day. My daughter enjoys the school and its flexibility. She is meticulous, works slower, and finds it hard to focus. She’ll spend all day working with homework at night.”
College Sophomore, guy, extreme extrovert, NorthStar Academy and Sevenstar student for 9th and 11th grades—
This student was an A student and very meticulous, often spending too much time on the computer. Found it easy to get behind and was often frustrated by the lack of time to be with real people. Ended up going to boarding school for 12th grade. He did enjoy the online social environment and successfully took several dual credit college classes.
Where can I read more about Online Learning?
Humble Beginnings: Kindergarten Readiness (online learning)
Where can I read about the other four types of curriculum for homeschooling?
Delana H. Stewart is the author of Nine Year Pregnancy and Three Days at Sea. She speaks at conferences on special needs’ education, language learning, homeschooling, and adoption. She has lived in five countries and traveled to dozens more. Her four children have experienced homeschooling, online schooling, national school, US public schools, international schools, boarding school, community college and university.