One of the key components of distance learning is technology setup which includes the program’s reliability as well as the compatibility with the student’s device and Internet connection. When searching for accredited homeschools online, parents should ask about going through a demo where they and their student can navigate through the site, see how a class is organized and test the user-friendliness of the online curriculum. This user experience is extremely important because it takes the place of the classroom instruction and students need to be comfortable with it so they can focus on the material and not issues or problems with getting to the information

In addition to logging into and working through the system, parents should expect the program to provide separate parent and student portals so they can see information that applies to their individual roles. For example, parents with several children want to be able to check progress and grades at-a glance so they can provide accountability and communicate with the student if there is an issue. Documentation such as report cards and transcripts should also be available through a parent portal. Students, however, need to see their list of courses to choose from so they can select a class to start and then navigate to others throughout the day.  In each of these courses, the system should show a recommended schedule of completing the work to keep students on track along with their detailed and overall grades and progress through the class. 

Lastly, when searching for accredited homeschools online it is a good idea to select several of the top websites and then compare them based on usability, curriculum, cost and support. Some families have a high comfort level with technology and getting set up on their own, but there are others who are just getting into homeschooling and need additional help with getting students and parents set up with their accounts and learning how to use the system. It is necessary to ensure that there is a support staff that responds quickly to questions so families can work through any potential issues and get started as soon as possible.

Another aspect is the support provided by the certified teachers which can vary depending on the packages offered by the school and the parent’s selection. In the first few grades, parents are encouraged to be the primary instructor with print curriculum but, typically starting in the 3rd grade, parents may be able to choose to step back as part-time or transition the full-time instruction to the school’s teachers. Students should have access and confidence that their questions will get answered and they will receive the help they need to successfully get through the class.

Taking online classes in high school is a great way to prepare for distance learning in college but make sure that the program is reliable in technology, curriculum, and support across all areas. This ensures a positive experience and a solid education for students of all ages.

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