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. Study.com is an entirely online, portable curriculum that can be accessed from a desktop or via a mobile app. Within the time limit of their subscription, students can complete courses and take assessments at a pace that suits them.
There are three plans – basic, premium, and college accelerator. While Study.com is available to students in other types of schools, it has a separate page for their homeschool program. Whatever the educational setting, you still have these three plan options.
For homeschoolers, the premium plan makes the most sense since it includes access to all courses and online quizzes, and it tracks student progress, a feature not included in the basic plan. In addition, homeschool subscribers have the option of creating accounts for a family at no extra cost, with a free parent account that can be linked to paid student accounts. This makes it easy for parents to plan and monitor progress. The college accelerator plan might be very useful in certain circumstances, as I will explain later.
For homeschoolers, Study.com lists suggested courses for each grade level, but many courses for high school do not have specified grade levels. Students may enroll in one or more courses, and the price remains the same no matter how many courses the student takes.
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, there are a couple of additional options for science and social studies. At the high school level is where Study.com really broadens out with all of the basic courses for the four core subject areas (often with a number of choices for each), plus other required courses for health, government, economics, foreign language. They also have 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 Ancient Egypt, Important People in World History, Western Civilization, the History of Russia, and World War II.
English courses for grades nine through twelve 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 for those particular textbooks (which might be expensive or difficult to obtain), those courses can work for homeschoolers. The “online textbook help” courses expand the number of course options for grades six through twelve. (Since Saxon courses with answer keys 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.
Study.com's 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 handwritten 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 six through twelve, but you probably want to supplement some of these courses with additional material and learning experiences.