What You Need To Know About Online Charter Schools

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Dear “And You Will Have Kids”:

I am currently homeschooling my children.  I’ve heard about a new online charter school which is free in our state using our tax dollars.  I’m not sure if I should enroll my children though.

Do you know anything about online charter schools?

          Teacher Mom


Dear “Teacher Mom”,

I homeschooled my children for many years.  For several years, I did enroll my children in an online charter school. 

Before enrolling your child in any online charter school, you need to do your homework on that particular school. Is is accredited?  How stable is the school?  In other words, is it’s funding source in jeopardy and has it paid it’s bills?  You don’t want to enroll your child in a school that is in jeoparady of closing.

After you have determined that the school is accredited and that it’s funding source is established, take a look at the curriculum and the general pacing of the courses.  Also look at the expectations for mastery for each course.  In our case, these were the issues that eventually led me to seek other educational options for my children.  While the school I enrolled them in was an excellent school, the courses were very fast paced.  There was little room for accommodation for “slower” learners.  My children, all of whom have learning disabilities, were simply not able to keep up with the rigorous course work.

However, there are many options for online charter schools which vary from country to country and state to state.  While one charter school may not meet the needs of your children, another school might.  Be sure to check out all of your options!

Of the homeschoolers I have met that have tried online charter schools, very few have continued to keep their children enrolled for an extended amount of time unless they had extenuating circumstances.  Homeschoolers who seem to do well with the whole online charter school concept tend to be very organized and enjoy a more formal school experience even though they are at home.  If you tend to have a very laid back homeschooling style, a charter school may not be for you.

On the other hand, if you have extenuating circumstances which may affect your ability to develop, teach and grade your own homeschool program(health issues, children with special needs, financial issues, etc), you may find that an online charter school is answer to your problem! 

If you are serious about checking out this option, I’d suggest researching your options.  When you have narrowed down your options to several schools, contact the charter schools to see if they have any information sessions which they are presenting in your area.  At these sessions, you can meet online teachers, look at the curriculum, ask questions, and talk with current students.  It’s a great way to test drive the whole experience to see if it is something that would work for your family.

Good luck!


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