When choosing an online homeschool curriculum, all options are not that same.
Just like any other homeschool curriculum, each online program has its one unique pros and cons.
In order to find the best fit for your family, it is important to ask yourself the following five questions in order to choose the best web-based homeschooling program for you:
Important Questions When Choosing An Internet Homeschooling Program:
1. Do I Want to Work with a Live Person from a School or Just the Computer Program?
Some parents want the convenience and ease of web-based learning. They like the auto-grading and the organization and ease of managing assignments online, but don’t need much else. There are many programs that are perfect for this situation. Top online homeschool curriculum publishers like BJU Press, K12 and Alpha Omega all have internet classes available like this.
However, other parents need a bit more help and assistance and want to have the ability to leave all aspects of grading and record-keeping to someone else. They also want a teacher to step in to answer questions on an as-needed basis. If this is what you are looking for, there are many umbrella schools with online options like K12 or Alpha Omega Academy that are better suited to your needs than a stand-alone program.
2. Am I Looking for a Supplement, Single Web-Based Class or a Complete Program?
Some classes and programs are great supplements because they reinforce certain subjects or skills that a student needs but are not well-rounded enough to replace your whole curriculum.
Some companies have excellent ala-carte options for online homeschool courses for you to pick and choose which core subjects or electives that you want to purchase.
Other companies have comprehensive web-based packages available for purchase that give you a complete plan for the entire year.
It is important to know which type that you are looking for to determine if the homeschooling program you choose will meet your expectations.
3. What is the Worldview of the Program? Is this Compatible with Our Home School Goals?
Just like any home school materials, you should investigate the worldview taught by the publisher before you make a purchase to make sure that it is compatible with your homeschooling goals.
For example, this way you are not surprised at a more humanistic worldview from a secular publisher or a creationist worldview from a Christian publisher.
Be sure to know ahead of time so you get no surprises.
4. What Programs Do Other Parents Recommend?
No one can judge a curriculum better than someone who has used it.
Publishers can tell you that their program is accredited or that it meets all state requirements, but the publisher cannot really tell you how effective it is in teaching students… but other parents can!
Make sure to read home school curriculum reviews first before making a purchase because you may benefit from someone else’s experience.
5. Will My Child Always Have Internet Access to Complete the Work?
While this may seem like an obvious questions, try to really think about how and where your children complete their schoolwork.
Many times parents think this will not be an issue, but then in reality it can be. Do your children often do work in the car, on trips or in locations that may not have good internet access? If so, you may want to try a computer curriculum like Switched on Schoolhouse that is actually stored on your computers hard drive and does not require internet access to use.