This post will complete my series, Homeschooling the High School Years. As in any years with homeschooling, every family’s methods and experiences will differ because every family is unique. I have mentioned that we use an online distance program for most of my son’s courses. I wanted to further explain how this works for us. Even though our distance program has some unique features compared to others out there, I’m sure the general idea and the pros and cons are pretty much the same for homeschoolers who high school this way.
- Our faith is woven into each course. God is welcome and our values and beliefs are embraced and taught. Each teacher is also LDS so our values and beliefs match theirs, and that is important to us because we strive to live our beliefs every day.
- There is no Common Core, which I am fully against, and no state testing.
- There is an accredited track, which includes a transcript for college. This makes my job a lot easier as they take care of the transcript for me.
- They prepare students for the ACT test.
- It’s homeschool-friendly. By that I mean it’s flexible by offering options to work for each family. Also, there are no classes on Fridays, and there are no worries if we take time off for a vacation or just-because day (there’s no attendance, etc.)
- Homeschoolers are welcome to visit the school, and attend school events, such as prom and super trips (super trips are summer trips to historical sites, etc.).
In a nutshell, Liahona offers four high school courses online- English, science, history, and math (there are choices for the math and the other subjects are in a four-year rotation). These classes are actual academy classes which are filmed and streamed LIVE. Students simply log onto a streaming site to watch their classes.
If the student watches live, they have the option to instant-message their teacher throughout class. The teachers are great about answering homeschoolers’ questions and comments on camera. This helps the homeschooled student feel a part of the class. Teachers may also be reached through e-mail.
If the actual class time is inconvenient for the homeschooler, they simply watch these classes recorded, anytime of their choosing. Assignments are submitted through a sharing platform site or by email.
Accredited students take a proctored exam for each class, per semester (so twice a year).
I won’t go into the details here, but there are options for homeschoolers who wish to add additional credits to their transcripts, and to earn a state high school diploma (Utah, in this case).
PROS to using a distance program:
- Someone else does the planning and teaching for subjects the parent may feel are beyond them. For me, this is math, science and history. I do miss teaching English, but I still proofread his essays, read his Shakespeare with him, and reinforce what he’s learning.
- The student gains experience with other teachers. Good preparation for college.
- The student gains experience with online learning.
- The student learns how to manage their own education. I’m not saying homeschoolers don’t do this if they are using another method, but in our case, each of my homeschooled teens have taken the reigns of their distance education.
- If the program is accredited, it looks great on a high school transcript.
CONS to using a distance program:
- The curriculum is chosen by the program and there is little parent involvement. This is the flip side of #1 from the other list. I admit, I have struggled with this one. On the other hand, I actually love Liahona’s history and English curriculum, and I still teach my son life skills such as cooking, money management and good work ethic.
- There is a set calendar, which could be similar to a typical public high school year. For example, Liahona films classes for 32 weeks, beginning in September and ending in May. These classes are Monday through Thursday, with breaks for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring.
- It could feel like “school at home”. In our case, this is a program offered through a private school so there are public school aspects, such as block time subjects, teachers lecturing while students take notes, etc.
- There is little person-to-person interaction. Liahona does a good job including homeschoolers in activities such as youth conference, which is held every fall. (Youth conference is a type of camp, featuring uplifting speakers and workshops.) Marcus has also met his distance teachers in person.
- It could be heavy on the online/screen time. This is the case for us, but we balance it out in various ways. For example, my son does have one class outside our home with peers both public schooled and homeschooled.
♥ Overall, we are very happy with our distance program. Does your homeschooled teen use a distance program? If so, I’d love to hear about it. If you have any questions for me, ask away! Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog. Have a wonderful day. ♥