A growing number of teenagers are earning their high school diplomas through the internet. Distance learning is often a great option for students who need to stay home for health reasons, desire to work at their own pace, find themselves unable to concentrate on their work in the traditional setting, or need to schedule their learning around a career (such as acting). Finding an online high school can be a challenge; many schools make big claims but few live up to their promises. Parents generally have two options for their children: private online schools or public online schools. Private online schools function much like traditional private schools, while public schools must follow national and state regulations.
Private Online High SchoolsFor the most part, private schools act independently of government regulation. Just like traditional private schools, they create their own regulations and have their own learning philosophy, which varies greatly from school to school. Tuition is often high since parents are charged for all costs related to their child's education, including hardware and software.
These high schools may or may not be accredited by the proper regional association. If you choose a school that is not accredited, check with the academic advisers of a few colleges to make sure that the schools' transcript will be accepted should your child apply to attend a college.
Many well-established universities are beginning to offer online high schools; these schools are probably the best bet since they are tied to credible institutions that have been around for years. A few schools to consider include:
- Allied National High School
- Penn Foster High School
- Keystone National High School
- Christa McAuliffe Academy Online
- More online private high schools...
Online Charter SchoolsIf your state allows charter schools, you may be able to enroll in an online high school for free. Charter schools are publicly funded but have more freedom from government control than regular public schools. This is one of the best deals out there, since public schools are not allowed to charge tuition and are generally accredited by the proper organization. States such as Minnesota and California have provisions in their state laws that permit students to enroll in charter programs that are paid for by the government. Schools Blue Sky in Minnesota offer students the chance to earn a diploma without paying for classes or materials. Choice2000 in California is completely online, completely free, and completely accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Some schools even provide computer equipment and hands-on materials free of charge.
Find a no-cost program in your area by searching the directory of online public charter schools.
Transitioning to an Online ProgramWhether you choose a private school or a public school, do a little investigating before you enroll your teenager. Interviewing the school of your choice can be a great way to make sure that you'll get the resources you need and checking with the correct regional accreditation board can ensure that your school is properly accredited. Finally, make sure your child is emotionally and academically prepared to learn through the internet. Many students struggle being away from social events and friends, and have difficulty avoiding the many distractions in the home. But, if your teenager is prepared and you choose the right school, online learning can be a great asset to her future.
See: Online High School Profiles