K12 Online School

The Web Homeschool How To

Many families choose the K12 online school option for their children's education. Since this method is becoming more and more popular, I thought I would explain what exactly it is and some pros and cons about it.

K12 is available in about 30 states and is free. The main caution with K12 online school that gets overlooked is that the student IS a PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENT! Although the student is not in the school building, they are on the roll for that school district and they get the federal funding for them.

You can see why school systems would want a student to use this method of education. They do not have to deal with any behavioral or physical challenges, but still get money for the student.

Here's how it works:

There is a teacher assigned to each student. The teacher keeps in contact with the student and the parent. They make sure the student is staying on track. These are certified teachers that handle most of their job over the phone.

The student is provided with a computer, printer and partial financial reimbursement for an Internet connection. They receive all their textbooks and hands on materials to use for the year. Everything has to be returned at the end of the year except for the workbooks that the student wrote in.

The family chooses the location where the work is done. If the family travels or the student is in sports or has a medical condition, their work can be done anywhere in the United States as long as they have an Internet connection.

Families can NOT choose their own curriculum. The coursework is assigned and is expected to be completed. The coursework may be too difficult or too easy, but the family will have to stick with it throughout the whole year.

The student is expected to take a standardized test at the end of the school year at one of several test locations. The parent is expected to take their child to the test location and be sure that they take the test.

From my experience the K12 online school also requires students to participate in several field trips throughout the year that the parent is responsible to make sure their child attends.


  • Student can do their schoolwork at home and not have to deal with bullying and other social aspects of public school.
  • All books and computer equipment is provided basically free of charge.
  • Teacher is assigned to the family to keep them on track.
  • High school students still get credits that count towards graduation.
  • They keep track of all school records.
  • More flexible pace and individualized - student can work ahead or slow down based on learning abilities.
  • Can be helpful if the student travels a lot, has a medical condition, is an athlete, or travels and participates in the fine arts like music or dance.
  • Parent and student have to answer to a certified teacher
  • Curriculum has to be completed as assigned or student will not receive credit for the year.
  • Student may have to spend a lot of time in front of a computer.
  • Student must complete the traditional curriculum and can't use a different mode of learning like a literature based curriculum.
  • Parent has to be sure to take the student to the standardized test location which may not be very close to their home.
  • Parent can NOT choose their curriculum. The traditional coursework is assigned and expected to be completed whether the family likes it or not.
The fear that many homeschool parents have is that if too many people choose this option for homeschooling, school districts will start requiring ALL homeschool students to choose this mode of learning. The school districts like this option because they have more control and receive the funding. Some school districts still want all their students in the building so that they can monitor their learning more closely. Just be aware that there is the possibility that all homeschool students might some day be required to use online learning through the public school.

Hopefully this will give you a good idea of what is all involved in the K12 online school program and will help you make an informed choice for your child's education.

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