5 Best Online Homeschool Programs for Elementary, Middle, & High School Students

When designing your family’s homeschool curriculum and extracurricular plan, keep these things in mind…

In their Global Learner study, one of the leaders in educational materials and learning platforms, Pearson, uncovered several interesting facts about our changing educational landscape: Homeschool offers parents a “DIY education” approach that’s becoming more common. There’s a general lack of confidence in the traditional learning environments provided by the public school systems that’s becoming more prevalent; we know there’s a better way to educate our youth, but which materials and methods are best?

Before we get into which 5 programs are best, here are a couple considerations as you’re deciding on which educational materials and platforms to base your customized homeschool program.

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What subjects are you least comfortable with?

Deciding from the beginning that you will involve a tutor in your educational plan is an excellent way to strengthen the education you’ll offer while keeping costs down. If you homeschool your children and you hate reading, for example, you’ll find it more difficult to engage your children in the subject as the subject (and they, for that matter) deserve.

Each subject matter deserves to be communicated about in an enthusiastic and knowledgable way that makes it interesting for a child to learn about. As Einstein reportedly wrote to his son in a letter:

“Mainly [do the things] which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes.”

If you’re least enthusiastic about reading, consider adding Audible and listening to audiobooks as part of your curriculum! One of the benefits of homeschool is being able to customize your child’s educational experience so that they are able to learn and become engaged in the story.

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Check out author Scott McCormick’s audiobook, Rivals! Frenemies Who Changed the World or its sequel, Rivals 2! More Frenemies Who Changed the World — highly interesting, educational, and funny!

Or, consider hiring someone to substitute teach that subject a once or twice a week. (Perhaps you get the SparkNotes to keep up? 😜) There are plenty of tutoring franchises through whom you might meet and hire for this purpose: Kumon, TutorDoctor, Huntington Learning Center, Sylvan Learning Center, etc. It’s worth the additional investment to explore ways to better meet your child’s educational needs — especially if you honestly can’t stand a certain subject and find yourself rushing through the material to just “get it over with.” Plus, hiring someone to help a few times will give you a moment to yourself!

If you need more “outside engagement” than a tutor a few times a week, keep reading — we’ve got resources for you to consider!

 Religious education and homeschool programs.Decide whether to choose a religious program or an alternative to a religiously-affiliated program

Research shows that 64% of homeschooling parents wanted a “God-centric” curriculum for their children, and 91% of parents choose to homeschool because the current environment of bullies and gun violence is terrifying, indeed.
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As with any private education, you can expect to pay for the curriculum, but consider that there are some other options available that will help you teach your children about God and instill a stronger sense of religious values. For example, every state offers its own FREE, online public school system. The material is, of course, dictated by the federal system, but you will obviously have the freedom of creating the schedule and learning environment, and you can add religious studies on top of that (perhaps including a Wednesday night youth group as “credit” for the class).

This can simply be approached as a family devotional time. By selecting age-appropriate material, you can supplement any secular program. Additionally, participating in a free or low-cost secular education program offers the benefit of offering your children exposure to commonly-taught systems and the opportunity to explain to your children what you believe and why you believe differently, while providing additional educational materials to support those beliefs.

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5 Best Online Homeschool Programs

  1. Outschool – With unique courses such as “How to Make Money at Any Age” taught live via video-chat by real teachers, this platform offers a variety of ways to add depth and breadth to your child’s educational experience. This platform is the future of education!
  2. Calvert Homeschool – This program offers a streamlined approach that is entirely online and is highly affordable: You can choose to enroll one child for a fairly low monthly subscription fee of $39.95, or you can enroll up to 3 children for $69.95 per month. They also have annual subscription plans available that will save you money, so consider paying a lump sum and save between $79.95 – $139.95!
  3. Time 4 Learning – Another excellent and affordable option, what sets this platform apart is the ability for parents to adjust the grade level by subject to suit different learning aptitudes. If your child is “crushing it” in language arts but struggles in mathematics, you can structure their learning accordingly. Time4Learning also offers a monthly subscription plan with pricing based on primary and secondary age groups: K-8th Grade costs $19.95 for the 1st student and $14.95 for each additional student; High school aged students are $30 per student. With 24/7 access, this platform offers superior flexibility.
  4. James Madison High School – For high-school aged students only, this program offers an optional Career Pathways track for driven students to get a head start, as well as NCAA-eligible courses for student athletes. At the time of this posting, the school is promoting a “$10 to start” offering; monthly dues as low as $49!

Though the average annual income of homeschooling families is $75,000 — higher than the nationwide average among families with school-aged children, regardless of public or private school participation — we’ve focused on affordability to appeal to parents who would like to learn more about homeschooling, but don’t want to pay $150/per month. But there are two equally excellent online options that are tied for 5th place (and only placed 5th for being more than $100/month).

5. Forest Trail Academy & Laurel Springs School — Both of these options are like super-charged versions of the more affordable versions, offering Gifted & Talented Education programs, part-time individual courses and credit recovery for students looking to take more advanced courses with even greater flexibility.

One last tip…

Join a few Facebook groups for homeschooling families and make connections with other families in your regional and local area. If your child is an only child, and your friend has two children, you might work out an agreement between yourselves that allows you to take advantage of a “multi-student” discount! We hope you’ve enjoyed this informative article.

👇🏼Drop a comment below and let us know what you’re currently doing and/or what’s working for you! 🤗


6 Comments to “5 Best Online Homeschool Programs for Elementary, Middle, & High School Students”

  1. Thank you for this great article and I like your logo from your header. Home schooling is a great idea because schools these days are not always the healthiest environment. The teachers to students ratio can be too low and also theres a lot of distractions. In schools there is even bullying and peer pressure which can really get in the way of learning school material. 

    Outschool sounds cool, especially “How to make money at any age”. I would want my children to know that, because why wait until you’re in your 20’s to really make a full time income? They might be able to start an online business when they’re 15. 

    Calvert Homeschool sounds good too. Thanks for the idea of what a monthly fee costs. Honestly, 39.95 a month is not too much, especially considering the children will get a higher quality learning experience, with less of the issues of the school system. 

    Thanks for your expertise on education programs. Have a great day!

    1. Hi, C!! I’m so glad you liked the “How to Make Money at Any Age” suggestion, too!! I feel that today’s students are missing out on basic life skills and homeschool parents are often so concerned with getting the schooling part right that they may not formally tackle any of those sorts of things. With an option like Outschool, parents can offer a broader range of courses — they even offer sewing courses! It’s so cool. I’m glad you enjoyed the article; thank you for commenting!

  2. Homeschooling is increasing in popularity. I know several parents who decided to homeschool their children, and they told me that there are some great programs out there. While I am not much informed about the online homeschooling platforms, I am very interested in finding out more. So, I will look at the homeschooling platforms you listed here. Traditional education is indeed lacking and needs to be adapted (and this is coming from a teacher ;-), I am very well aware of it and I agree). Homeschooling provides the opportunity to customize the learning experience. 

    People told me that it could be a little expensive, but you give a great solution by proposing the “multi-student discount”. It’s a good idea to let your child homeschool with a neighbor. This makes it more accessible 🙂 

    1. Hi, Christine! Thank you so much for commenting on my article! I would so love to see the perceived barriers to homeschooling erased for parents. Especially for parents who don’t think it’s an accessible or affordable option for them.

  3. Thank you for your post. It is a timely article for me. I have a grandson at elementary level. We are thinking about improving his academic skill through Online Homeschool program.

    Here comes your article. I like all five program, paticularly Calvert Homeshool. The price is within our budget and the lump sum provides me with additional saving.

    Although I like the description of the school program, I would like to have trial the it. Does it provide free trial option?

    It is kind of you sharing this useful information with us.

    1. Hi, Anthony!

      I’m pleased to hear this article reached you at an important time in your life! I’m not sure which program you are referring to when you mention wondering about a free trial option. I’m not sure any of them offer a free trial, but the benefit to a couple of the programs is that they are paid monthly. So, it’s at least a very low-cost way to try before you buy!

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