Sunday, April 19, 2009

Virtual High School

I just found out about this internet-only school. It offers many, many courses for high school students (though it doesn't provide a degree). The Virtual High School, acredited through NYAAC, normally operates with more traditional schools that it partners with. The school joins the program and it's students can enroll in courses and the school provides a teacher or teachers to help present courses.

Luckily for homeschoolers, it seems that they also have an option for allowing homeschool students to participate as well. My mind always turns to cost when I learn of a new opportunity. Knowing that the Virtual High School's tuition is normally paid by a school, I wanted to find some information on price. I came across this page discussing tuition, but because the site isn't specifically geared toward homeschoolers, I can't be sure that the numbers quoted are the true tuition that a homeschool family would pay.

Virtual High School offers many different courses that would be difficult for a homeschooler to get on their own. Their classes are much more diverse than one would get at the local high school, like proto-engineering or business. The school was designed for smaller schools that did not have enough teachers or students to offer as much as they would like. The courses include honors and AP offerings. They also have a middle school program for gifted and talented middle schoolers. Many of the schools that use the Virtual High School are international schools that could be in many different nations.

The courses are run over the internet. One has to wonder how in-depth such a format can be. This page talks about the expectations for the work-levels. An AP level course may take 10-12 hours a week! A standard level course minimum requires logging in at least three times a week and six to eight hours of time. I cannot tell if they run a class, like a lecture or if the teacher uploads notes and homework and then answers questions.

If the tuition page is correct, then the price is about a half to a third of what a typical private college preparatory high school tuition is here in Connecticut (but I've never seen or heard of the insane--to me--level of college prep anywhere else). Some of the classes have definitely been influenced by the refiguring of college classes. A course entitle 'World War II through the eyes of Dr. Seuss' for the middle schoolers is an example. Some of the high school level courses are much more serious, mostly in science and writing. They are also currently offering advanced web design, animation and effects, and popular music.

Parents can find out more about the Virtual High School here. The high school offers a demonstration of the internet course.

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