Five Benefits of Online Classes & Five Classes I Recommend

Online classes are becoming more and more popular. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, an online class is defined as “a formal education process in which the students and instructor are not in the same place.”

Online classes include pre-recorded tutorials and videos providing step by step instructions on a variety of topics. As they pursue their independent study projects, my kids have watched hundreds of these type of lessons on YouTube – whether she is learning to tie a new fly, improve her watercolor techniques, channeling his inner Indiana Jones, or learning to code a Minecraft plugin.

Online classes also include direct interaction with the instructor and occasionally live instruction either through a virtual classroom or occasionally through Skype. In fact, when our language tutor accepted a position in Indiana, our Mandarin classes transitioned from live in-person classes to classes delivered via Skype.

onlineclasses5 Benefits of Online Classes

Whether you are a seasoned homeschooler or your children attend public school, I have outlined five advantages of online learning that will persuade you to consider alternative approaches to education.

1. Learn Whatever You Want

The great variety of online programs and courses is a huge advantage of this type of education. It doesn’t matter where you live or what you want to study – you can always find a suitable course or even a degree program that you can follow from home.

2. Comfort

Forget about attending classes for hours and sitting in an uncomfortable chair. When you opt for an online course, all lectures and needed materials are provided via online platforms, so you’ll easily access them from the comfort of your home or via the subway as you commute into the city.

3. Self-Paced

Most online classes are self-paced. This means that the student can start completing the targets at any time and she can arrange a learning schedule that meets her individual needs. Many even allow access to the material for a year or more.

4. Less Expensive

While the actual cost varies from one program to another, online courses are generally always less expensive than their traditional counterparts. Many online courses are completely free of charge. MIT, for example, offers all course materials online without any charges. Though free courses don’t usually come with certificate of completion, they are still more than useful for anyone who wants to learn from prestigious educators.

5. Achieve Your Goals

Taking online classes allows you to work toward your goals at your own pace. As homeschoolers, this is something with which we are very familiar. Upon completion of online classes and tutorials, students can frequently take assessment tests to prove competency in the subject and even receive college credit.

Tips for Success

Not everyone has what it takes to succeed in the non-traditional setting of online classes. They will test a students self-discipline, time management skills, and ability to learn independently.

In face-to-face classrooms, there are reminders to finish projects or assignments. Frequently, students are graded for simply showing up and participating. This is not always the case in an online class. You should thereby learn to login regularly to see what has changed or been updated, or who has replied to your posts. This is especially true if the course is graded or provides a certificate of completion.

Online Classes I Recommend

Art History with Alisha

Art & Mixed Media

Mixing with the Masters is one of several mixed media workshops by Alisha Gratehouse that we have enjoyed. Each week, we receive an email with a private access code to a video lesson. The necessary materials are clearly outlined and a list is provided in advance. Upon receiving the email, we simply gather our materials and jump in.

What I love about these online workshops is that I can pause the video at anytime or “rewind” if I need to see a technique demonstrated again. With lifetime access, we can work on our art projects whenever we want and at our own pace.

In addition to the art lessons, Mixing with the Masters includes:

* A short biographaphical video on each artist
* Printable PDF study guides
* A weekly student “challenge”
* Printable patterns and templates
* Inspirational quotes by each artist
* Suggested books, videos, and websites for further learning
* Private Facebook group in which to share students’ works of art

Hanbridge Mandarin

Foreign Languages

We have had the opportunity to try a variety of online foreign language courses. Hanbridge Mandarin and Middlebury Interactive are our two favorite. While both are very different in their approach, they each provide opportunity for students to develop proficiency in a foreign language.

Hanbridge utilizes a virtual classroom and live interaction with a native speaker. Middlebury uses an immersion approach similar to the well known Rosetta Stone. Both incorporate videos, stories, and games throughout the lessons. Students are completely submerged in the new language from the get-go. They must listen, speak, read and write in the foreign language.

Bright Ideas Press

North Star Geography

North Star Geography, is written by Tyler Hogan and is designed to give students a deep understanding of how geography impacts all of us —with real-life applications for college, career, citizenship, and ministry. You will love the open ended approach that allows you to mold the program to how you homeschool. I love that the program is flexible – providing schedules for one-semester, one-year, and two-year options.

Whether you build your own atlas, create unique hands-on projects, dive into a research quest, or set off on a fieldwork itinerary, you will find North Star Geography packed with a wide variety of learning options for every student’s interests. My favorite components of the textbook are the sidebars that provided us with a variety of cultural diversions. We also loved creating our own atlas and geography picture dictionary.

Through the online class, each of the book’s 16 lessons is available to download individually, along with the activity directions, map work, memorization, research questions, and note-taking pages. When you’re done with the lesson, take the quiz online and get feedback instantly!

The North Star Geography Online Class includes:

* Hands-on activities and projects
* Map work, memorization, and geographic research questions (with answers!)
* Quizzes, a final exam, and a grading rubric for the homework
* Reproducible outline and reference maps, note-taking pages, and graphic organizers
* Audiobook version of the Student Reader

 

Confidence & Success with Mr D Math @EvaVarga.netMr. D Math

Mr. D offers both Algebra I and Algebra II as well as a variety of other courses including SAT Prep. On a weekly basis, students work through the material and develop mastery of the math concepts, while also learning to manage their time, coursework completion, tests and grades.

My daughter loved the Mr. D Algebra 1 course. Her experience really helped to build her confidence.

I really like that every problem is worked out clearly. If I make a mistake, I can see where I went wrong and it helps me improve.

Mr. D Math Self-paced Online Curriculum includes:

* 12 chapters of video-based instruction (Mac and PC compatible)
* Coursework for each section of each chapter
* 12 chapter tests
* Two semester exams
* A comprehensive solution manual
* An online gradebook
* Enrollment in the Mr. D Math virtual learning center

Students who want guided instruction in addition to the Self-paced Online Curriculum can register for a full academic year of live Online Class Sessions via the Mr. D Math “virtual classroom” (August – May). Each class meets once a week, and there are several days/times to choose from.
The Mystery of History Online Academy

The Mystery of History 

The Mystery of History provides a historically accurate, Christ-centered approach to world history for all ages. In the online course, author Linda Lacour Hobar takes junior high and high school students through The Mystery of History Volume III: The Renaissance, Reformation, and Growth of Nations in two online class options: live and self-paced (recorded).

The Mystery of History Online Academy includes:

The Mystery of History Volume III Student Reader and Companion Guide in e-book format
* Recorded weekly videos of live classes led by Linda Lacour Hobar to view at your student’s convenience
* Automatic quiz grading
* One full year of learning (18 months of course access)

LIVE classes of The Mystery of History Online Academy with Linda Lacour Hobar begin on August 30, 2016. There are two options 10-11am CST or 2-3pm CST, both on Tuesdays.

Art History with Alisha: Mixing with the Masters Mixed Media Workshop

Geneva will be starting high school this fall and art and the study of art history has always been a passion for her. One of the ways we help her to increase her skills is to take part in art classes with local artists as well as online courses. Perhaps the best things about an online course is that they are less expensive. We also love the convenience.

To calculate high school credit, students are required to log 120-180 hours of experience in one subject. For art credit options may include field trips, research and writing assignments, and direct instruction either in person or via an online course. A combination of these strategies all work together to help her to meet her academic art goals.

I am so excited for Alisha’s new mixed media online art workshop available at Flourish – the first in an art history series focusing on master artists like Van Gogh and Georgia O’Keeffe. Mixing with the Masters is a course designed to allow students to do art with the masters and learn art history in an online format. I know this course will be a fun and fascinating look into art history.   Art History with Alisha

 

Disclosure: We were given free access to “Mixing with the Masters”  in exchange for our honest insights. This post contains affiliate links.

Art History with the Masters

Art appreciation and learning from art masters is an excellent way to introduce children and teens to various forms of art and the people behind them. Here are a couple of print resources we have used to teach about art masters in our homeschool:

Art That Changed the World 

An Eye for Art: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work

Art museums, galleries, and public installation art also provide opportunities for students to learn from the masters. Small museums sometimes feature traveling exhibits and one such occasion enabled us to see works by MC Escher.

Our travels have permitted us to see original works by Gustav Vigeland and Edvard Munch in Oslo. We have also seen works by Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Wassily Kandinsky, and Alexander Calder at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice.

Mixing with the Masters Mixed Media Workshop, Volume OneArt History Online Course

The six week Mixing with the Masters volume 1 art history course begins in August and will integrate a variety of art techniques including:

  • Sketching & charcoal drawing
  • Acrylic painting techniques, such as:
    • Fresco
    • Chiaroscuro
    • Impasto
    • Alla Prima
    • Gradient
  • Watercolor painting
  • Pastel painting
  • Wax resist
  • Collage art
  • And MORE!

Each unique art piece will reflect the artist’s original style and intent, but we will playfully reconstruct it in our own whimsical way.

Mixing with the Masters Mixed Media Workshop, Volume One
Each Mixing with the Masters volume will study 6 different master artists (released over a 6-week period). Volume One includes:

  • Da Vinci ~ High Renaissance
  • Rembrandt ~ Baroque 
  • Monet ~ Impressionism
  • Van Gogh ~ Post-Impressionism
  • Picasso ~ Cubism
  • O’Keeffe ~ American Modernism

Each week beginning August 1st, the instructor will email a link to a private eCourse with tutorials for the lesson. The best part is that we can work at our own pace. We will receive lifetime access to this course so there is no pressure to get through the material. We can take our time and review the lesson tutorials as often as we like.

We are really excited for this art history mixed media course. Having taken previous mixed media classes with Alisha, I know she will inspire my daughter and help to cultivate her Passion for art even more.

We know it will be the perfect way to begin the new school year. If you would like to join us, register today! Classes begin Monday, August 1st!

Early Registration price = $48 (through July 31st)
Regular price
 = $60 (beginning August 1st)

For more information or to register, visit Mixing with the Masters volume 1 today.