Homeschooling is growing in large numbers each year. With the growth of homeschooling came the debut of distance learning opportunities for homeschoolers. Schools and organizations realized that homeschoolers could benefit from distance learning programs and started developing classes aimed at homeschoolers. Now, the public school system has joined the cause with certain states promoting enrollment in state-funded virtual schools.
Educational publishers offer CD-ROM based distance learning. These courses utilize a CD-ROM and sometimes a textbook or workbook. The parent helps with any questions and the student sends in tests and papers via email or website to an accredited teacher. The distance learning program then helps the family to keep records and assessments.
Online academies and schools are another choice of distance learning for homeschoolers. Students enroll in these programs just like they would a regular school and then access the class through the internet. All courses are completed online and utilize discussion forums, email and white boards for class work. The advantage to online academies is that many of them are accredited and will send a high school diploma upon completion. They will also keep detailed transcripts that students can use when applying for college. Another benefit is that most online academies offer distance learning on a course-by-course basis. This way, families can utilize the school for subjects they struggle with teaching or for elective courses they have trouble finding materials on.
Online tutoring is another form of distance learning that homeschoolers can take advantage of. Online tutoring programs are propping up all over the internet. Many of them use certified teachers that they extensively train before letting them tutor. Students enroll in the online tutoring program, sign on for a session and get help with subjects they struggle with. Some parents struggle with certain academic subjects, so using the distance learning form of online tutors lets their kids get extra help from an outside source without having to disrupt the homeschool environment.
Colleges and universities are now offering distance learning courses for high schoolers. The school allows high schoolers to enroll in their online high school program and earn an accredited diploma. Many of these distance learning programs allow for the transfer of previously earned high school credits, including those earned through homeschooling. The development of distance learning programs for homeschooler greatly increases the opportunities available to students learning at home. It also allows older students to self-direct their learning and be more responsible for their education.
If a homeschooler wants to keep their child at home, but worries about developing a well-rounded curriculum, virtual schools could be the answer for them. Virtual schools are fairly new. They may or may not be state-funded and not every state has one.
These schools are web-based and students receive the same education as the public schooled children. This is a good option for homeschoolers who want to include religious education into their children’s curriculum without having to worry about developing the entire curriculum. Overall, advanced technology has made homeschooling easier and more obtainable for families who want to explore that educational option.