Today I have a real treat, a long-time blogging colleague and friend Tom Nixon has agreed to do a little guest post here for PhilFAQS. Tom is another of those nontraditional knowledge workers that I keep talking about. He runs his own publishing company, authors books based on his specialized knowledge and runs websites. One of his specialties is online high schools, mainly based in the US, but not always restricted to students from the US.
There online schools are set up by different sponsors and agencies for a variety of target audiences … some will fit right into the category of the parent who is interested in homeschooling his/her child, but doesn’t feel able to be the teacher, tutor, school administrator and disciplinarian all rolled into one.
The online high school option could be described as a subset of home schooling in general … one more arrow in a parent’s quiver … all leading to the goal of finding a satisfactory way of getting an education for your child in the Philippines. Thanks, Tom.
Choose the Right Online High School
Choosing the right online high school can be fraught with peril. While that sounds a little like a soap opera, if you choose the wrong one, you could end up with a worthless piece of paper. Choose right and you have a document that will be accepted by colleges around the world.
No one criterion below should make you select or not select the right online high school. It is always a mixture of the different criteria. Also, look at the resources available out there on the Internet (like BestOnlineHighSchools.com). They will tend to be more up-to-date than an article. What should you look for in choosing the right school?
1. Check accreditation. While a number of online high schools will claim accreditation, it is not the type that will be accepted by colleges and employers. An online high school should be accredited by DETC, CITA, AALE, or one of the six regional accreditors (that can be found at CHEA.org).
2. History. How long has the school been in existence? While new schools are formed all the time, having a longer tradition of offering courses, typically makes for better schools. Some of these schools have been open for decades as pre-Internet correspondence schools. This can be an advantage in producing quality programs.
3. Listed in standard references. Is the school listed in one of the standard references like Complete Guide to Online High Schools (Degree Press, 2007) or Bears’ Guide to Earning High School Diplomas Nontraditionally (Ten Speed Press, 2003)? Being listed is not necessarily a hallmark of legitimacy, but it helps. Remember that new schools will not be listed, so you will want to look at other criteria.
4. Cost. Some of these online high schools are free public charter schools while others are quite expensive private high schools. The most expensive that I have come across is attached to a university in the south. Is there an advantage to paying more? Not really, but there may be an advantage with your program being attached to a university. However, being attached to a university most definitely does not mean that it must cost more. What is important is that the school meets your needs.
5. Independent study or teacher-led. There are two basic types of programs. The first gives you the materials and you work through them on your own. The second provides you with a teacher, either one-to-one or similar to a classroom, and instruction is given. Neither is necessarily better than the other, but you should decide what sort of learning experience you need or want. There is a third option, more of a hybrid solution, and that is programs, like Laurel Springs School, that provides you with the amount of support that you, personally, need.
While this is only the beginning, it is a good place to start. You can also check out BestOnlineHighSchools.com for listings of schools.