Self-Paced Online Courses Offer Homeschool Parents and Students Maximum Flexibility
In many ways, designing high-quality, self-paced online courses is the Holy Grail of learning design. It requires a course model that provides multiple forms of instruction and instructional support, offers modular content flexibility, and supports a variety of delivery options.
Designing self-paced college-level courses is particularly challenging because of the need to integrate effective instruction into the curriculum. However, the time investment and learning results are certainly worth the extra design effort, most notably for people who need the flexibility that this kind of self-paced learning offers.
This flexibility is especially valuable for homeschool families looking for high-quality, affordable learning that can be “shaped” to meet unique schedules, learning opportunities, and student interests.
At TEL, we spend ample time talking to homeschool parents about their specific needs and reflecting on the best way to meet those needs. We then work diligently to design and create courses that offer the widest range of flexibility possible.
Here are some of the ways we provide flexibility to homeschool parents and their students.
Flexible credit options — The TEL course catalog consists of general education courses required as the foundation for both the Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree in college. Where applicable, these courses are also aligned with high school standards to support dual-enrollment credit. In most cases, homeschool parents and students can take TEL courses to satisfy both high school and college credit requirements.
Flexible curriculum and course sequencing — Flexibility begins with course sequencing options. While we offer suggested course sequencing, parents and students are always free to create and follow a curriculum that works best for them.
Flexible content design — TEL courses are designed modularly. Each course is a collection of 12-14 modules, each comprised of 4-6 self-contained lessons. This building-block approach makes our courses easy to rearrange or divide into unique study blocks. Our lesson design also allows parents or co-ops to supplement our courses with additional content.
Flexible scheduling — A big advantage of homeschool is the ability to schedule classes and study-time flexibly. TEL courses offer families and students the flexibility to set their own schedules and pace-of-study. This approach accommodates a variety of scheduling needs, including family travel, sports commitments, special project opportunities, and emotional or physical challenges. The good news is that regardless of the schedule someone chooses, TEL instruction and support are always available.
Flexible instructional delivery — Some homeschool parents want to have an instructional role in their students’ coursework while others prefer their students to work in a self-directed manner with the support of TEL instructors and instructional support. We support both options and provide a set of discussion guides for each course to help parents guide their students in the learning discovery process.
Rob Reynolds, Ph.D.
Executive Director, TEL Library