Study.com might be used as your complete homeschool curriculum for grades three through twelve, although I think it’s really best for students in grades six through twelve. There are three plans – basic, premium, and college accelerator. They have a separate page for their online homeschool program, but you still have these three options.
Their Basic plan gives students at all grade levels access to 26,500 video lessons for all subject areas along with printable transcripts for those lessons. (One course will often have 100 or more lessons, so this means that students have access to a few thousand courses. Courses include questions with answers and solutions. Students can ask questions of the expert support staff as they work through courses. Since the Study.com library has more than 79,000 lessons, the Basic version provides access to about one-third of that library.
For homeschoolers, the premium plan makes the most sense since it includes all of the above plus online quizzes, and it tracks student progress—features not included in the basic plan. The college accelerator plan might be very useful in certain circumstances, as I will explain later. (Homeschool subscribers also get the option of creating accounts for a family at no extra cost, where a free parent account is linked to paid student accounts, allowing for ease of planning and monitoring progress.)
For homeschoolers, Study.com lists suggested courses for each grade level, but many courses do not have specified grade levels. Students may enroll in one or more courses, and the price remains the same for the plan no matter how many courses the student takes.
Study.com is a portable curriculum that can be accessed from a desktop or via a mobile app. Courses are taken entirely online. Students can complete courses and take assessments at a pace that suits them within the time limit of their subscription.
The course content is presented via short videos, with most running fewer than 10 minutes. Each video lesson generally has an online quiz with five multiple-choice questions for students to answer and a printable transcript of the lesson content. Student progress and quiz scores are tracked by the program. Support from instructors is available via email.
The content is secular in nature, similar to what is taught in government-funded schools. For grades three through five, Study.com lists courses for only math, English, science, and social studies. For grades six through eight a couple of other options are added for science and social studies/history. High school level is where Study.com really broadens out with all of the basic courses (often with a number of choices for each of those) as well as courses for health, government, economics, foreign languages, and a broad selection of electives, such as political science, psychology, statistics, nutrition, accounting, computer science, and art history.
Parents need to check the amount of content for each course to ensure that it is adequate. For instance, the High School World History: Homeschool Curriculum course has 425 lessons that should take an average of about eight minutes each to complete. That amounts to about 57 hours of course work. Since one credit might require from 120 to 180 hours, students would need to complete at least two or more history courses of this length to earn a full credit. Fortunately, Study.com has additional world history courses that expand upon special topics within world history such as their courses on Ancient Egypt, Important People in World History, Western Civilization, the History of Russia, and World War II.
High school English courses cover grammar, composition skills, and literature. Even though students learn about writing skills, the courses don’t require students to actually write. Parents need to add their own requirements for written work. For instance, if a lesson teaches how to compare and contrast ideas, the student should then be required to write a comparison and contrast essay. (Parents can easily scan the lesson outlines and plan for these assignments.) Similarly, students learn about literary works such as 1984 and listen to the teacher summarize the plot of the novel. The teacher discusses the key themes, setting, and tone of that novel, but students aren’t required to read the book. To make the course more effective, parents should probably require students to read entire books and write essays about a few of the literary works discussed in such courses.
High school science courses do not include actual lab work since they are completed online. Some courses include instruction about lab procedures and explanations of experiments. Study.com tells me that they are working on creating lab activities that can be used in conjunction with some of their courses.
In addition to stand-alone courses, Study.com offers some “online textbook help” courses that supplement textbooks from major publishers such as Prentice-Hall, McDougal Littell, Saxon, and Glencoe. This option is available primarily for schools. But if parents can get answer keys, those courses can work for homeschoolers. The “online textbook help” courses expand the options for both middle school and high school. (Since Saxon courses are widely available to homeschoolers, the “online textbook help” courses for Saxon math are the most likely to be useful.)
High school students, in particular, have access to other types of courses such as remedial math courses, English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, supplemental math courses for study and review, and courses that prepare students for AP and CLEP exams. See my review of Study.com’s accelerated college options for more information about how to utilize Study.com for dual credit, testing out of college courses, and other means of getting a jump start on college. Students can switch between plans if they want to use the college accelerator at some point to start acquiring college credits.
As I mentioned above, the content is sparser below sixth grade. For example, third-grade math has only 87 lessons, and each lesson should take fewer than 10 minutes, including taking a five-question quiz. This amounts to a total lesson time of fewer than 13 hours. Also, students in grades three through five need to be doing some paper and pencil problem solving for math, and they need to work on handwriting ─skill development that is missing if you rely only on Study.com. Consequently, I would use it as a supplement rather than a complete program for those grade levels.
Aside from the online course content provided by Study.com, students need to have some means of interacting with others, discussing course content, making presentations, debating ideas, etc. This means that Study.com might serve well as the provider for a significant part of your curriculum, especially for grades five through twelve, but you probably want to supplement some of these courses with additional learning experiences.