Last Updated on January 19, 2023
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best homeschool programs in california
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Why We Chose It: It’s a highly-customizable homeschool option, allowing you to fully enroll your child in an online school curriculum or cherry-pick only the subjects you want.PROS
- Full public school curriculums offered
- Access to individual teachers and tutors
- Available for kids in grades K-12 and includes all subjects
- You may live in a different state than the school you enroll in
- Some programs require long hours online for completion
- Some users complain about customer support and web site issues
Notable for its comprehensive and ultra-customizable approach, K12.com is a one-stop-shop for online learners and their families.
K12’s online homeschool options include tuition-free, virtual public schools for students in grades K-12 taught by state-certified teachers. There are options for three different tuition-based private schools, and a variety of summer school, intensive, and standalone course offerings for kids with special interests or subjects they’d like to brush up on.
If you’re not looking for a full-time homeschool program, you can draw from K12 Digital Literacy Solutions—a free library of literacy tools and over 21,000 eBooks—to boost your child’s reading ability, or sign your teenagers up for one of K12’s several free camps centered around high-interest areas like coding, marketing, or information technology.
Free, game-based learning is available for kids in grades K-8 through K12’s program STRIDE. And, if there are subject areas in which you don’t feel comfortable homeschooling your child, K12’s state-certified teachers offer live, online tutoring sessions in math, world languages, English, science, or social studies.
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Why We Chose It: Kids aged 2 to 8 will have no trouble staying motivated to use this platform; engaging activities and an interactive learning map will encourage them to keep going.PROS
- Levels based on age and grade level
- Rewards system lets kids collect “tickets” for virtual prizes
- Art & Colors curriculum for the youngest users
- Desktop or tablet use
- Works better as a curriculum companion
- Kids have to be able to navigate a computer or smartphone
- May not be challenging enough for some kids
At around $10 per month, purchasing a subscription to ABCmouse.com is the most budget-friendly educational decision you can make for your early learner. ABCmouse.com’s Step-By-Step Learning Path is accessible on tablet, smartphone, or computer for kids ages 2 to 8.
Spanning 850 lessons across 10 levels, this award-winning curriculum includes a comprehensive reading system (from letter recognition and phonics to reading full-length books), as well as math, science, social studies, and even art (including both drawing and painting).
Music, read-aloud stories, puzzles, and educational games round out the ABCmouse.com library, making it a solid choice as a supplement to an existing homeschool curriculum and for a comprehensive educational system.
ABCmouse.com is also gamified, meaning your little ones can play it like a video game, complete with a ticket system that rewards them for completing levels successfully.
As they sharpen a particular skill set, they’ll receive tickets they can use to “buy” virtual treats, like fish for the online classroom aquarium. Built-in incentives allow your kids to move at their own pace and make the learning experience more enjoyable and engaging.
BEST FOR STRUCTURETime4Learning
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Why We Chose It: For parents who want to 100% homeschool online, Time4Learning is a fully-fledged curriculum that takes all the planning and guesswork out of setting up your child’s grade level work.PROS
- Full online-only homeschool curriculum
- Adjustable grade levels and self-pacing
- Wide variety of approaches, including online and offline activities
- You lose access to your records if you close your account
- You need constant internet access
- Your child may need supplemental lessons on certain topics
Time4Learning is a comprehensive, subscription-based online homeschool curriculum. It’s reasonably priced, at around $20 per month (and about $15 per month for each additional child) for PreK-8 students and approximately $30 per month for high school students. This is one of the best programs if you want to keep your kids in a more traditional educational setting, even when they’re learning remotely.
Your child’s curriculum will include hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of animated lessons, activities, quizzes, worksheets, and full-length tests, all suited to each student’s grade level and your particular state’s learning standards. In contrast to some of the other curriculum resources on this list, Time4Learning offers a combination of online and offline, printable worksheets and other hands-on activities.
Additional resources that make Time4Learning stand out are the many lesson-planning tools and learning style guides that can help you track your kids’ progress.
BEST FOR COMMUNITYConnections Academy
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Why We Chose It: This tuition-free homeschool curriculum gets high reviews from parents, plus it emphasizes socialization through a variety of online clubs and peer activities.PROS
- Tuition-free, online public school
- Offers one-on-one counseling and clubs
- Curriculum was designed for online learning
- Only available in 29 states
- Usually requires attendance in live classes
If you’d rather enroll your child in a full-fledged online school rather than teach them yourself, Connections Academy is a great option for elementary, middle school, and high school students.
At this tuition-free, online public school, your children will be taught according to your state’s educational standards by certified teachers. Even textbooks and other instructional materials are provided free of charge.
True to its name, Connections Academy might be one of the best online homeschool programs for your family if you’re interested in building a connected community with fellow parents, students, and educators.
The online school encourages you to be directly involved with your kids’ education as Learning Coaches. Online live sessions with teachers and classmates, in addition to extracurriculars like online clubs and activities, allow kids to foster meaningful connections with peers.
What’s more is your kids don’t have to miss out on many of the perks of a brick-and-mortar school—like career counseling, one-on-one sessions with a guidance counselor, standardized test prep, and college prep advising—as these resources are all offered at Connections Academy.
BEST FREEKhan Academy
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Why We Chose It: Khan Academy stood out for its free video lessons, quizzes, and tests that cover a massive variety of subjects, from Kindergarten through 12th grade (and beyond).PROS
- Standard or Advanced Placement (AP) courses available
- Unique classes like storytelling, growth mindset, and coding
- Parents can learn alongside kids at their own level
- No community or one-on-one attention
- Some students can’t learn via video instruction
- Instruction is “flat,” i.e. not interactive
Khan Academy, an award-winning nonprofit that offers free educational resources for students, parents, teachers, and homeschoolers, first garnered international attention for its high-quality, completely free SAT prep materials—an attractive alternative to its much pricier peers. But Khan Academy has since expanded to include curriculum pieces for children and teens of all ages.
Simply select your child’s grade level and subject—the Advanced Placement (AP) or standardized test they’re preparing for, or the specific skills they need to boost—and send them off to gain “mastery points” as they progress. Easy-to-follow video lessons accompany practice quizzes and unit tests that help you track your kids’ progress.
This resource is notable not only because it’s free, but also because of the sheer variety of the content available. Khan Academy’s materials include many niche topics for adult learners and high school students that aren’t offered by many other online learning programs.
The virtual academy’s inclusion of unique subjects—like computer programming and animation, personal finance and entrepreneurship, art history, college admissions, and English as a second language—solidifies it as one of the best online homeschool programs.
BEST FOR COLLEGE PREPedX
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Why We Chose It: There is a broad range of subjects to dive deep into at edX, a site offering college-level courses for teens hosted by top universities like Harvard and MIT.PROS
- Courses offered by prestigious worldwide universities
- Many courses are free or low-cost
- Some credits may transfer to college
- Only for teens and adults
- Not the right choice for students wanting to explore many subjects at once
If you’re going to get an at-home education, you might as well get it from Harvard, right?
If you’re looking to help with your teen’s college prep, consider enrolling them in one of the many classes at edX, a platform that partners with high-ranking institutions like NYU, Harvard, and MIT (as well as international universities, like Oxford and Australian National University) to offer over 2,500 college-level courses. Some are self-paced and available for college transfer credit, while others are taught by qualified instructors—most of whom have doctorates in their fields.
You and your teen can choose from a variety of standalone courses across the arts and humanities, STEM fields, music, computer science, education, and more. Most courses, even credit-eligible ones, are free, with completion certificates that will cost about $50 in most cases.
Particularly proactive high school students looking to get a head start on their college career while at home can enroll in an edX MicroBachelors program in popular majors like computer science, for just $166 per credit. Or, they can start earning college credits now by attending the Global Freshman Academy that offers common, foundational first-year courses like English composition, pre-calculus, or college algebra and problem-solving through edX’s partnership with Arizona State University.
BEST FOR MATH AND SCIENCECK-12 Foundation
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Why We Chose It: Although other subjects are offered, CK-12 focuses its curriculum on STEM courses, using games and interactive activities to boost learning.PROS
- Interactive online textbooks make learning engaging
- Comprehensive, deep-dive lessons
- Content can be viewed on all devices
- You may need to supplement with other material
- Some students could struggle with navigating the site alone
- May be too advanced in presentation for some students
If you’d like your child to beef up their math and science skills, look no further than the wealth of interactive learning tools at the CK-12 Foundation. This free resource offers one of the best online homeschool programs for STEM subjects. It’s also one of the most advanced resources available in terms of its seamless use of technology and cutting-edge approaches to learning.
While writing, spelling, and social studies are available, math and science topics (from arithmetic and earth science to calculus and engineering) are where CK-12’s creative curriculum really shines.
Simulations and the Play, Learn, Interact, Explore (PLIX) series integrate graphics and games into lessons about STEM concepts. Meanwhile, CK-12’s FlexBooks—interactive online textbooks that allow students to learn as they play and play as they learn—distill complex concepts into digestible pieces.
Check out your kids’ central Dashboard to follow along with their Adaptive Practice progress, which tracks the skills they need to boost and those they’ve already mastered in order to tailor their upcoming lessons.
For the most homeschooling options, K12is a hub of resources and opportunities where you can pick and choose how much—or how little—you learn online. If all those choices are overwhelming for you, a more focused program like Time4Learning may be a better fit. Parents concerned with socialization will like the community approach of Connections Academy, and teens looking to prep for college can take advanced classes through edX.
christian homeschooling in california
Liberty University Online Academy
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Liberty University Online Academy (LUOA) is widely recognized as one of the best online Christian homeschool programs available in terms of flexibility, affordability, and quality.
Accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and Cognia, LUOA offers self-paced homeschool programs in core subjects (like biblical-based curriculum, English and language arts, history, science, and math), as well as electives from public speaking and creative writing to music and foreign languages.
LUOA students can choose between associate’s degree programs—which are taught by Liberty University professors and allow students to earn three or four college credits per course—and online certificate programs, which can transfer easily to many college degrees. After graduating, LUOA students who enroll in online classes at Liberty University even get a 15% discount on their college tuition.
Programs at LUOA are also highly affordable. Prices vary: It’s about $170 per month for full-time kindergarten students, roughly $225 per month for first graders, around $280 per month for students in grades 2 through 8, and approximately $362 per month for full-time, online high school students.
BEST FLEXIBLE PROGRAM
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Flexibility is important for many Christian homeschooling families, and Enlightium Academy offers just that. With this accredited online program for children K through 12, you can choose the amount of guidance and support you’d like from teachers, counselors, and staff.
Parent-led programs, for example, allow for a more flexible schedule and less oversight from Enlightium Academy staff—while still providing a comprehensive curriculum (Bible, math, history, science, language arts, and electives) and grading by qualified instructors. Training in effective homeschooling is offered via videos and webinars.
In teacher-led programs, Enlightium Academy students take part in an interactive, immersive digital classroom. At the highest level of support, students are guaranteed responses via phone or email within two hours and can graduate early from high school, taking AP courses along the way. You can decide the level of communication and assistance that works best for your family.
Tuition prices at Enlightium Academy vary widely: It’s starts at $500 per semester (or $125 per month) for parent-led programs for students in grades 3 through 5, and goes up to $3,500 per semester (or $875 per month) for the highest level of teacher-led schooling for students in grades 9 through 12.
There are a variety of steep discounts available, including a 20% prepayment discount, family discounts for families with two or more enrolled students, and reduced tuition for students from active military/veteran, pastoral, missionary, or first-responder families.
BEST BIBLE-BASED CURRICULUM
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Abeka Academy offers a biblical-based homeschool curriculum for preschool, kindergarten, and K–12 students.
Parents can choose between a more traditional, accredited program, which includes progress reports, tests and quizzes, and report cards, and an independent study program (with the same textbooks at the same price).
Digital teaching aids, like songs, video lessons taught by qualified teachers, online interactive textbooks, downloadable PDF worksheets and workbooks, and printable art projects round out the curriculum. Older students can pursue dual online enrollment at Abeka Academy and Pensacola Christian College to earn college credits before they even graduate from high school.
Many Christian homeschooling parents choose Abeka because of its affordability—there are 10-month payment plans available, starting at about $43 per month for K–4 students—but many also appreciate the faith-based curriculum.
Every grade level includes an age-appropriate course on the stories and lessons of the Bible from the Old and New Testaments. And, in all of Abeka’s subjects— from art and history to science and health—biblical stories and a distinctly Christian worldview are integrated into each lesson.
BEST USE OF TECHNOLOGY
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Designed to be completed on any device and timeline by students all over the world, NFC Academy’s program is one of the best online Christian homeschool programs for parents who value the effective use of technology to optimize learning.
NFC Academy students can start school online—anytime, anywhere—beginning in third grade. At a sixth grade-level, students can participate in “virtual labs” in order to master the scientific method from the comfort of their own home. These Smart Science Labs don’t require the purchase of any extra materials or equipment, but they provide a real science lab experience that some homeschoolers might be afraid to miss out on.
Parents can choose between “you be the teacher” (parent-led) and teacher-led curriculum options. Dual-enrollment courses are available for college credit through NFC Academy’s partnership with the University of Northwestern, St. Paul. Meanwhile, advanced students can enroll in the fully accredited, online homeschool honors’ program, take NCAA-approved courses, and even participate in a chapter of the National Honor Society.
Tuition varies widely, but it starts at about $183 per month (on a 10-month payment plan) or comes in around $1,762 per year for students in grades 3 through 7. Discounts are available for students from full-time missionary families, first-responder and military families, and pastoral families.
BEST ONLINE PRESCHOOL CURRICULUM
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If you have little ones at home, it can be exhausting to try to come up with new and fun ways to engage their minds on a daily basis. ABCJesusLovesMe offers some of the best online Christian homeschool programs aimed specifically at young children, ages one through five, so you can spend more time teaching (and playing) and less time planning.
The comprehensive ABCJesusLovesMe curriculum bundles, which contain a year’s worth of lesson plans, digital downloads, and activity sets, cost about $65. The basic curriculum packages are available online for free.
Each lesson package combines faith-based learning—like Bible songs and stories—with age-appropriate skill-building. Three-year-olds in the program, for example, focus on building gross and fine motor skills, tactile writing, and self-care. Four- and 5-year-olds add music, handwriting, visual perception, and pre-reading exercises to their days.
If you’re just starting to homeschool, you can also take advantage of ABCJesusLovesMe’s other resources—such as a weekly newsletter and online Christian community that offers support, tricks, and tips.
BEST DUAL CREDIT PROGRAM
Alpha Omega Academy
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The Alpha Omega Academy (AOA) is a regionally and internationally accredited online Christian homeschool program that serves families and students from a wide variety of Christian denominations.
Each student crafts an individualized learning plan based on their goals and needs. The curriculum can include either individual course enrollment from a selection of about 200 courses and 75 high school electives, or full-time college prep or general diploma programs.
AOA also offers a dual-credit program for qualified full-time high school juniors and seniors, in partnership with two Christian universities: Houston Baptist University and the University of Northwestern, St. Paul. Students in these partnership programs can get credits for their AOA graduation while earning college credit—and saving money on college tuition and room and board in the process.
Tuition at Alpha Omega Academy ranges from around $230 per month (or $2,290 if paid in full) for grade 1 through 5 students to about $350 per month (or $3,490 if paid in full) for students in grades 9 through 12.
BEST PARENT-LED PROGRAM
Kirkwood Education Online
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If you’d prefer to be directly involved in your child’s day-to-day learning, Kirkwood Education Online is an excellent choice for students in grades PreK through 5.
The self-paced, flexible program allows you to set your child’s schedule and focus on their particular strengths and weaknesses. What’s more, the online curriculum is interactive—it uses video lessons, downloadable student workbooks, and timed, at-home “computer labs” to reinforce skills.
Bible lessons are an integral part of Kirkwood Education’s online Christian homeschool program, as is character development. Your child will be rewarded for developing positive traits, such as responsibility, spiritual growth, and goal-setting, with weekly award certificates.
Kirkwood Education costs about $30 per month for one student and roughly $15 per month for each additional student. The program also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee; if you’re not satisfied within your first month of use, you can get a full refund.
BEST TEACHER-LED PROGRAM
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Excelsior’s NCAA-approved classes, geared primarily toward high school students, are led by qualified Christian instructors in a live online classroom.
Junior and high school students attend one, 90-minute interactive lesson every seven days for 15 weeks every semester. They also log on to Excelsior’s learning management system to complete assignments, stay in touch with their teacher and other students, and get detailed feedback and grades as they progress.
Course options range from Bible lessons, government and economics, and psychology to computer science, graphic design, the arts, and history. Bridge Builder courses help students prepare for college by developing critical thinking skills in a faith-based environment, while dual credit courses allow students to earn college credit online through LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas.
Most of the rigorous courses at Excelsior classes cost about $275 per semester, in addition to roughly a $40 family registration fee and any class-specific supply fees. Seasonal discount codes and coupons are often available in the course catalog.