The Cost of Online Education
When you consider the cost of regular tradition schooling, parents are spending about $700/year, the cost is equivalent to homeschooling. However, the purchases are different. For traditional schooling you have back-to-school clothing, class pictures, field trips, fundraisers, etc. With homeschooling, parent spending is typically for curriculum and extracurriculars.
How Does Online Schooling Compare?
While purchasing a readymade curriculum is ideal for some families, they still find themselves outsourcing for additional classes and/or extracurriculars. Some curriculums cost thousands and have to be upgraded each year. Oftentimes parents have to sift through the many that are offered and determine if it’s a good fit for their child with no trial period.
Another option is online study. Online courses don’t have to be costly. You can find entire curriculums online for free. Some classes are offered live with the instructor and all learners present, others are prerecorded and allow your child to take the class at their own pace. When I develop my courses, I still look at state standards to ensure I am aligned with my daughter’s academic goals and it helps me compile her portfolio even though this is not required by my state.
Most curriculums focus on core subjects while you can find any area of interest in online classes.
You don’t have to hire someone to teach your child.
Depending on individual state law requirements, you may be qualified to teach your children without a particular degree, certification, or license. Some states require licensed teachers which you can hire out. Some states require that you follow a particular curriculum or outline the options for homeschooling you can choose from. Always check with your states board of education to determine the requirements and check out the HSDLA website. If you decide to build your own curriculum, you may not spend as much money. There are several online resources that can be utilized for free, especially for core classes.
My classes are considered core classes. Math, English, Science, Social Studies all fall into the category of core classes. I try to keep the cost for the courses low. I offer the same class at different costs depending on the format. Live classes, which include feedback cost more than the packaged classes that requires the parents to complete the rubrics and feedback themselves. The reason for this is time and labor. Once my live class is over, I still have work to do (grading papers and leaving feedback).
I tend to design and price my classes with families like mine in mind. I don’t have a dual earning household. I only have one child. I determine how much I would be able to pay for one of my courses. I also offer discounts to families that have multiple children enrolled in my courses.
Teaching online allows me to work within and outside of standards. The standards are still met but I am not limited to how I can present the information.
For those of you thinking about teaching online, the same question can be answered about costs. It does not cost anything to teach online IF you already have access to a computer/laptop, or iPad with an internet connection. You determine what you want to teach, create your course, and market it through a platform or your own website.
For my private learners I use Zoom and Schoology. They offer free services along with paid subscriptions for additional features. I also teach my courses on different platforms, one which requires a monthly or annual membership cost and others that take a percentage. My preference is my own site where I only have to pay for the maintenance of the site.
Choosing an Online Class
Here is my checklist for choosing an online course:
- Ask yourself what you want to learn
- Shop around, check different platforms (free and paid)
- Budget, decide how much you’d be willing to pay
- Determine what type of class yo desire (live, prerecorded, asynchronous)
- Thoroughly read the class descriptions
- Read reviews left by others
Before you enroll, make sure you understand all the requirements and technology that will be utilized. Most sites provide a FAQ or you can reach out to the instructor with questions. I teach online, I take online classes, and my daughter takes classes online. Finding a good fit is well worth it.
My favorite online sites for adult continued education: Coursera and EdX
My favorite online sites for my daughter: Khan Academy, Motherland Math, Prodigy Math, Kamali Academy, and PBS ‘Think Like a Historian’