Although online homeschooling is not the right solution for every student, for families needing flexibility, or additional support services, you will find an educational smorgasbord that will fit any size budget or learning need.
A wonderful perk of home education is being able to choose the products that best meet your child's educational needs.
From full-service online academies, to individual subjects, you have the freedom to choose from a wide variety of programs and services, designed to fit many types of learning styles, your student's individual needs... and your budget.
For families who are disheartened with brick and mortar public schools, you will find a growing number of virtual public academies. While some of these virtual schools are free, some are not; it just depends on your state.
Online public schools are not much different than a traditional school, so if you are not ready to venture beyond the familiar, than this option would be it. Although I'm not a fan of public education, I do understand why parents choose online public schools, especially when they first start homeschooling.
Most offer similar classes to your local high school, as well as provide graduations for high school teens, field trips, teacher support, grading, etc. Enrolled students may receive a free computer to complete their online classes- a nice perk! However, with some freebies like computers, your child's school and online activity may be closely monitored; free stuff usually comes with strings attached. You have to decide if any stringent monitoring requirements are worth it.
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Web-based homeschooling academies are different from virtual public schools in that most do not receive government money. The online academy has to pay real teachers, who either teach live classes, or provide grading/support/tutoring services, so therefore full-service programs are not free. The academy procures money through tuition and fees.
Private online academies come in all shapes and sizes - from non-religious to religious. Some offer courses for all grades, while others offer courses for middle school and/or high school students.
Course delivery varies from program to program. Courses may be offered online or via traditional methods like textbooks and workbooks. Virtual schools may use curriculum from a provider like K12, or may mirror whatever the local public school uses. Some publishers, like Alpha Omega and Abeka, not only provide curriculum for independent homeschooling, but use their curriculum in their distance learning programs.
If you don't want to enroll in a full-service online homeschooling program, you can choose from a growing number of programs that offer online curriculum and courses only. This option is most affordable, as additional support services either aren't included or possibly aren't available.
Some traditional curriculum publishers offer an online version of their curriculum to meet the changing needs of their customers. For example, Alpha Omega Publications publishes their award-winning LifePac and Switched-on Schoolhouse curriculum, as a similar online version called Monarch. You can choose to do all your schooling using Monarch, or pick and choose the courses you want to complete online.
Other companies have sprung, and will continue to create specialized online courses and services, to meet the growing desires of the ever-growing homeschool community.
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