Educating the heart, mind, and soul in the Catholic tradition

Faith ~ Excellence ~ Passion

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Shopping Around for Online Schools


If you're looking for online classes for your homeschool, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself first. Once you've answered those, there are questions to ask online course providers.

Of course we believe Homeschool Connections is the best option available to parents. Hopefully, this list will help you in your decision process.

Questions to Ask Yourself
  1. What exactly do I want from online classes?
  2. How much can I budget for course fees or tuition?
  3. How much time am I available to devote to homeschooling my student each week?
  4. Does my child have a learning-disability that needs to be addressed?
  5. Do I have a computer that can be dedicated to online classes?
  6. Do I have high-speed internet?
  7. Is my child a self-directed learner? If not, can I commit to follow up on my child's assignments?
  8. Are there subjects that are beyond my comfort zone that I'd like to farm out to an online course provider?
  9. Do I desire a faith-based education? If so, what does that look like?

Questions to Ask Online Course Providers
  1. What is the pricing structure?
  2. Are there additional fees?
  3. What is the refund policy?
  4. Do you sign up for a full curriculum or do you sign up for individual courses?
  5. How do parents and students access class content?
  6. Are the classes live and interactive, or are do students watch recorded sessions?
  7. Are the live sessions recorded so students can watch them later in case they miss class or simply want to review?
  8. How long is the course content available to the student?
  9. Do courses offer grading services? If so, how is that handled?
  10. Are phone calls and emails returned in a timely manner if I have questions?
  11. Are classes taught with a religious or secular bent?

Answers from Homeschool Connections
  1. What is the pricing structure? Pricing for live, interactive courses varies based on the length and difficulty of the course. See the course catalog for individual course prices. Recorded, independent-learning courses are available through our Unlimited Access program. This is a very economical choice. For $30 per month, families can access an unlimited number of recorded courses.
  2. Are there additional fees? We do not charge registration or family fees. There is a late fee if you register for a live course less than one week before the first class.
  3. What is the refund policy? For live, interactive courses: We will refund 95% of the course fee for cancellations made up to the first day of class. (Please notify us ASAP so that students on the waitlist have an opportunity to take your place.) Up to 2 weeks following the first class, we will refund 80%. Written notification is required prior to the third class if you would like to receive the partial refund. For recorded, independent-learning courses (Unlimited Access): Monthly subscribers: If you forget to cancel and notify us within 24 hours, we will refund the payment. Annual subscribers: The first 7 days are free. After that, refunds are prorated less one month. 
  4. Do you sign up for a full curriculum or do you sign up for individual courses? Homeschool Connections is not a school. Some families use our courses to create a full curriculum. However, most families use our individual courses to supplement their homeschool.
  5. How do parents and students access class content? We use a program called Moodle, which houses all of the students' schoolwork and grades. Students and their parents are given a user name and password to access their individual accounts. 
  6. Are the classes live and interactive, or are do students watch recorded sessions? We offer both options. Families can choose the type of courses that work best for them.
  7. Are the live sessions recorded so students can watch them later in case they miss class or simply want to review? All live classes are recorded for later viewing.
  8. How long is the course content available to the student? Students taking live, interactive courses can access course content for six months following the end of the course. Unlimited Access (recorded) courses are available as long as your service is active.
  9. Do courses offer grading services? If so, how is that handled? Most live, interactive courses provide grading. Recorded courses come with answer keys where possible. Some recorded courses offer an optional grading service called Instructor Access for an additional fee.
  10. Are phone calls and emails returned in a timely manner if I have questions? We do our best to serve our students and their parents in a timely manner. Teachers answer student emails within 24 hours, with the exception of weekends and holy days.
  11. Are classes taught with a religious or secular bend? All of our courses are taught through the lens of our Catholic faith. 
If you have further questions to add to this list, please share in the comments. If you have questions about Homeschool Connections and your homeschool, please email us at homeschoolconnections@gmail.com 

No comments: