Non-Accredited may sound like a negative descriptor. All it means is that the services and transcripts that these organizations provide are not recognized by your province and may not be recognized by postsecondary institutions. Some home educators are not concerned with receiving a transcript or diploma that will be recognized by every postsecondary institution. Perhaps you are simply looking for help in teaching a particular course, or perhaps you want guidance in planning your child’s high school program. If you are looking for options like that, then some resources that you might consider using are (listed in order of increasing cost):
The Khan Academy is an entirely free, online, K-12 curriculum. This program, endorsed by Bill Gates among others, does not provide transcripts. However, it does maintain a detailed record of your student’s progress. The website is full of brief, but thorough, teaching videos, practice questions, and skills to master. There are ‘badges’ to earn and online incentives for the student to progress. You, as the parent, can easily track your student’s strengths and weaknesses and choose areas for review or closer study. Even if you do not choose to school exclusively with Khan Academy, the video instruction and practice pages are an incredible addition to your homeschool for review and mastery purposes on specific skills. Or you can use the website to teach one particular subject that you are uncomfortable teaching.
Another popular service is Tree of Life School and Book Service. This Classical Christian Education service provides not only the books and resources your student needs, but they also can advise you as to which curriculum plan may best suit your student. For an additional fee, you can also subscribe to their monitoring service in which Tree of Life will do the marking and provide a transcript. Although Tree of Life does provide a transcript, it may or may not be recognized by a postsecondary institution.
Similar to Tree of Life is Schola Classical Tutorials, a Classical Education school at home. Schola Classical Tutorials provides the books and resources you need, as well as online tutorials with other students and educators, which creates a valuable virtual classroom experience. Their evaluation services take the burden of marking and record keeping off of the parents. The fee for these services is $600 per course.
Of course, the more heavily you rely on these outside services, the less you are actively teaching and directing your child’s education. The temptation could be to ‘take your hands off the reins’ entirely, so to speak. But you want to homeschool through high school, right? As the parent, you are your child’s best educator and instructor. Don’t let that go lightly. These services are a very good addition to the tools available to you, and by using these services in some measure, you may be more freed up to continue the good and important work that you’ve begun of moral training, character development, and relationship building that is critical at this stage of your child’s growth.
These schools are for the families who want to ensure that the transcripts and records provided by the online campus will be acknowledged and accepted by postsecondary institutions. While these schools allow for your child to be at home and under your parental care, you do lose complete control over the subject matter being taught, the schedule your child will keep, and the amount of work required of them. You will no longer be able to craft an individualized educational plan for your child, and you will not be able to direct them to spend more time on the subjects that matter most to the development of your child’s gifts. Using these accredited, online schools does still allow your children to be at home with you. However, you will be very hands-off academically, and may find that the amount of time available to you for character and life skill training or relationship building is very limited. These schools are a good option for some parents, and perhaps you are in a season of life where this type of program is a temporary necessity for your family.
However, we also know that many homeschooling moms hear such opposition to their intention to homeschool through high school that they are convinced that relinquishing this amount of academic control is the only option. Before you decide, please contact the HSLDA office. We would love to have someone who has taught their children (successfully!) through high school speak to you and to encourage you before you make this decision. HSLDA does believe that you, as the parents, ought to have the complete freedom to direct your child’s education as you best see fit and if you choose to use one of the following accredited schools, please know that you are still supported by HSLDA. Our desire is to give you the resources and supports to give your children the best education possible. Call our office for help and resources as you make these important decisions.
Each online school differs in its admissions requirements, so do read their FAQ pages carefully. Most institutions will allow students to enroll either for individual courses or for a full year at a time. Some institutions will give credits for work done at home (or at other schools) prior to enrolling online. Many of these schools are online public schools using your province’s curriculum.
Some options (listed in order by increasing cost) that you may consider are:
- Virtual Learning – Free
- Hope Christian School – Free to Alberta residents
- Online High School – Free to British Columbia residents
- BC Online School – Free to British Columbia residents ($600 per course for non-residents)
- Open School Ontario – Free for Ontario residents
- ACE Canada – $500 per year
- Independent Learning Centre – $40 per course for Ontario residents, $500 per course for non-residents
- Nova Scotia Virtual School – $150 per course, approximately
- North Star Academy (Christian) – Up to $500 per course
- Canada E-School – $300 to $500 per course
- Canadian Online High School – $500 per course