NC Homeschool Students Virtual Public School: 11 Reasons Why
11 Reasons To Consider Part-Time Enrollment in Virtual Public School Classes
Why would any homeschooler consider enrolling their student part-time in public school? Don't most of us homeschool because the public school system wasn't working for us? What would the benefits be? Here are eleven of the most common reasons why homeschool students in North Carolina are enrolling part-time in public school.
1. Access to Free AP Classes:
Many homeschool students want to create a competitive transcript for college admission. Taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes is one way to do this. Since AP classes are standardized, it does not matter where you take the class, the content is the same. AP classes prepare students to take the AP exam. Depending upon the grade earned on the AP exam, some universities may grant college credit for an AP class.
Homeschool families usually pay for AP classes. One organization charges up to $800 for a single online AP class! Although there are less expensive options, they usually do not have live instructors. The cost often puts AP classes out of reach for homeschool families.
A student that lives in a school district that allows part-time public school enrollment may be able to take online AP classes for free.
2. Advanced Subject Matter Courses:
Homeschool high school students may wish to take advanced subject matter classes in fields like mathematics. The student may wish to take a course like statistics or advanced functions and modeling. The student may wish to take honors courses in other fields. It can be difficult and even impossible for home educating families to find and afford access to these kinds of classes. Virtual public school programs include these kinds of course options.
One example is the CMS eLearning Academy. Their program offers advanced science, technology, and engineering courses. These courses are taught by video conference. Students may choose courses such as Aerospace Engineering, Honors Forensic Science: Anthropology, Honors Chemistry, and Honors African American Studies.
3. Access to Electives:
Do you have a student who wants to study psychology or sociology? How about economics or videography? Perhaps your student is interested in learning about accounting? Coding? It can be very difficult to find elective courses for homeschool high school students. Though the courses offered in each district may not be the same, these are the types of electives that may be offered.
4. General Subjects:
Parents who homeschool are great at finding resources for their students. We have to be, simply because we aren’t experts on every subject. Whereas some parents may know a lot about mathematics, others excel at writing and language arts. When our students are in high school, we have to find courses and support for those subjects that we are not strong in. Virtual public school courses may be one answer.
5. Foreign Languages:
A common question that I see from homeschoolers is about which foreign language program to use. Though there are many free options for foreign language, purchased foreign language programs may be expensive. All of the foreign language curricula, whether purchased or free, seem to be lacking in one way or another. If your school district allows homeschool student enrollment, you will have access to foreign language programs. For example, the NCVPS catalog includes programs in French, German, Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish.
6. Test Prep:
Several of the virtual public school programs include test prep for the ACT and SAT. Some districts may offer additional test prep programs. For example, if you participate in the CMS eLearning Academy, your student also has access to test prep for the PSAT, Compass, Accuplacer, GED, and HiSet tests.
7. Access to Teachers/Tutors:
The virtual public school programs provide students with access to teachers and tutors. This can be especially helpful to a student struggling with difficult concepts or course material. More often than not, the online courses that homeschool families purchase don’t come with this type of support.
8. NCAA Qualified Courses:
Homeschool student athletes may hope to play athletics as a college freshman. If the college is a member of the NCAA, extra details about core high school classes are required from homeschool students. This information is used to decide if the homeschool course meets NCAA criteria. Courses taken through the public school system already meet the NCAA criteria.
9. It Is Free:
The courses, most books, and required materials are provided to the student free of charge. Some districts may even provide laptop computers for use. Because every district’s program can be different, there may be fees for some materials. Some districts may require students to purchase textbooks for AP classes.
10. Secular Curriculum:
Homeschoolers often search for secular curricula. With the exception of electives that may be faith-based, courses are secular.
11. Other Benefits:
Enrollment as a part-time public school student may have other benefits. It all depends on your district since each school district has their own program. Some districts may provide high school and career counseling. Other districts allow homeschool students to participate in extracurricular activities. Some districts allow home school students to play sports. There may also be added benefits for Career and College Promise dual enrollment. Since these other benefits vary by district, it is best to ask before enrolling.
There you have eleven of the most common reasons that homeschool students may want to enroll part-time in public school programs. Can you think of more reasons that we should add to this list? Please let me know in by leaving a comment!
Before you make a decision, be sure to read Part 3 of this series. That part talks about what homeschool families should be aware of before enrolling in the part-time public school option.
In case you missed it, Part 1 of this series addressed the question of whether this is in violation of NC homeschool law.