Monday, September 7, 2015

Reasons to school at home - Lies your high school might not know they told you

In her sophomore year of high school, DD1 experienced health issues that interfered with her ability to learn. Health care appointments were frequent, and she missed a lot of school. Unfortunately, the teachers were not sympathetic and the school administration was unwilling to provide a home-bound teacher.

We were forced to find an alternative for her, one that allowed her the flexibility to (a) schedule appointments at her convenience and (b) sleep when she was exhausted (which was often.)
Online high schools were worth checking out. Most are accredited. Many are run by universities. Classes, assignments, and entire curriculums are customized to the student's situation.
photo by JJ Losier*

In other words, DD1 could take the classes she wanted, whenever it suited her. She would know 100% of her assignments from the first day of class. Since she didn't have the state government choosing the classes she took, she could create her own transcript primarily based on personal interests. (We did, of course, ensure that her transcript contained the minimum requirements needed to get into her target college. But you might be surprised how flexible that is.)

In the state of North Carolina, there are 3 options for primary and secondary education:
  1. public
  2. private
  3. homeschool
There is no "online high school" option; therefore, we formed a homeschool, so that she could attend Mizzou Online High School (through the University of Missouri at Columbia.) DD1 has a diploma from the State of Missouri.

We liked the quality and convenience of online high school so well that we decided to send DD2 through the program as well. Her reasons were different: she learns better when she can focus on one subject at a time, and not switch when a bell rings. Online high school permitted that. If she wanted to work on English and only English during the week, that was fine. If she wanted to spend nine months to complete math and one month to complete history, also fine.

We were a little concerned about the stigma associated with homeschooling. The stereotype for homeschoolers are poorly-socialized kids who are being pulled from "bricks-and-mortar" schools for extremist/religious reasons. And, while there may be some families who fit that stereotype, we do not--nor did we find that to be true for the homeschool families we met.  In our county, 10,000+ kids are schooled at home. In this state, 150,000+ are homeschooled, of which 40% are schooled for secular reasons, such as health or disdain for the quality of local schools.

Bottom line: We chose online high school because it provided the flexibility of daily schedule and course workload that our daughters needed.  Our girls could sleep-in, take the classes they were interested in exactly when they were ready for them, and still get a good education. Being "homeschooled" was not only better than okay; it was great! (which is why so many families choose this option for the very same reasons we did.)

Other posts in this series:
Online school 

Work Experience 
Career or money 

* Image under commons license

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