If you are one of the many parents or guardians of school age children, you likely understand the pressure and added responsibility that it is to educate your children at home. It is most certainly a challenging time for both students and parents around the global but with some guidance and tips, we hope to help make it a much easier transition to a successful homeschool environment.
The concept of remote learning or homeschooling as it is called is not a new one. Starting from the late 1960s to early 1970s for some, school reform and the way we go about educating our young ones since that time has been a primary focus for teachers, leaders of school districts and producers of learning curriculum.
In this article, we aim to offer a guide on the very best homeschooling programs and homeschooling curriculums available today. These were identified based on the following simple guidelines:
· National and/or international recognition
· Advancement of learning based upon grade
· Accreditation standards and approvals
· Ability to send high school students to good colleges
· Well-roundedness of the overall program
· Enrichment opportunities and support offered
Below you will find our guide to help you transition into the best online homeschool program for you and your students. Many of these schools offer programs to help support and guide the overall learning process, offer individualized feedback, streamline the paperwork and enrollment process and help students learn at their own pace.
Whitmore School is based in Morgantown, West Virginia and offers a range of individual courses, electives, and open enrollment. The school prides itself in being the first online high school in the world and allows high school students to learn on their own schedule. They offer two tracks of study: General Studies Track and the College Prep Track. Stemming from their mastery approach, both tracks guide the student through high school curriculum and the latter prepares the student for college studies.
Whitmore School is also accredited by AdvancED, now Cognia, which is the result of a merger of three accrediting groups. The Department of Education in the United States recognizes AdvancED as a fully accrediting body. Graduates of Whitmore are accepted into some of the most prestigious schools including Yale University, Stanford University, and Johns Hopkins University.
The International Connections Academy, also known as iNaCa, is primarily an alternative to traditional private or international homeschooling programs. Its courses focus on “four C’s” in an attempt to help prepare students for college and for life and work after: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and innovation, and Critical thinking and problem solving.
Along with full K-12 grade programs, iNaCa offers individual course options as well as interest-based options including AP classes. Their Connections Academy is a tuition-free full-time online public school for K-12 and offers all the core courses. Based in Columbia, Maryland, iNaCa is accredited by Cognia, formerly AdvancED. In addition, this online school has regional accreditation for each individual state in which it operates.
The K12 International Academy is truly a globally-focused online learning institution. Based out of Switzerland, this academy aims to not only educate students, but also to create a global community in which teachers, parents, educators, students, and mentors are connected around the world to help develop both intellect and character for every student. Their individualized learning programs help each student to achieve mastery of core subjects as well as pursue extracurricular activities and interests.
Their online program has a built-in planning and progress tool to help students and parents schedule and view lessons, log attendance and monitor advancements and progress in learning. The K12 International Academy is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, NCAA, as well as the Virginia Council for Private Education.
These are some of the top full-fledged schools for your consideration. If you are just looking for guided curriculum and plans to progress through it that you would like to teach yourself, here are some excellent sources for curriculum that you may want to consider.
A variety of homeschooling curriculum options are available with Bridgeway which allow for independent and guided study. Based out of Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, Bridgeway’s curriculum plan has won several awards and certifications from reputable organizations. Its independent study program has easy to follow plans starting from kindergarten all the way through high school.
Additionally, Bridgeway also offers the option for parents to choose from entire school-year long learning kits to selecting individual courses. Parents can customize kits to fit their child’s mix of learning preferences and needs. Instructor guides come with each learning kit. They also offer live online classes taught by certified instructors.
Abeka homeschool curriculum is more of a religious alternative to learning. Developed by Pensacola Christian College based out of Florida, the learning materials are made available to homeschooling parents as well as faith-based schools. Their lesson plans start out much earlier than K5 at just 18 months of age and run through the end of high school. Parents can order a full set of year-long curriculum or individualized courses depending on their child’s needs.
One additional feature of Abeka curriculum is that they offer some form of guide for certain standardized tests. It is up to you as a dual parent and educator to decide if this is valuable for your child. It does not offer any directive it seems for nationally recognized standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT which many students need to get into college.
There are a wide range of homeschooling resources that are available to you, but as a parent you only want the very best for your child. We hope this guide of top online schools and homeschooling curriculum offerings is useful as you successfully handle the challenges of education and direct your child to remaining focused on their studies.