Online Schools For Kids and Adults

Category: Education

Distance learning, or “online schools” is one of the fastest-growing and most useful applications of the Internet for school-age children and adults pursuing continuing education. No matter what your situation or preferred learning mode, there is probably an online school that can accommodate your needs. Read on...

Is Online School the Right Choice?

This Fall, "back to school" could very well mean "back to the laptop" for lots of people. Many parents choose home-schooling for a variety of reasons, and many adults are looking for new skills to improve their employment prospects. Here are some online programs for students of all ages. is widely used by public school districts to provide distance-learning to school children who need this option. Consequently,’s programs are free to families, paid for by local school districts.

According to the company, “Master teachers, cognitive scientists, subject-matter experts, technologists, interactive designers, writers, and researchers—who share a deep expertise in their areas of focus and a passion for shaping young minds the right way—develop the K12 curriculum.” Interested parents can find a program that is tailored to their local school board’s requirements at’s site.

Online School options

Private, tuition-charging online schools for the K-12 demographic are also available. They range from religion-oriented home-schooling curricula such as that offered by Heritage Christian Online Homeschooling to K12 International Academy, which is accredited in the U.S. - meaning its diplomas are accepted by colleges, an important factor to consider when choosing an online school.

Adult learners have a vast array of online education options from which to choose. Associate, Bachelor, and Master degrees are available through Ashford University, American Interocontinental University, and many others.

Give Me Some Credit!

See my previous articles Free Online College Courses, Free Online College Courses - Part Deux and Free Online College Courses - Part Three for even more online learning options, from top-ranked colleges and universities.

But be careful when shopping for such a program; read my article, “Are Online Universities Accredited?” to learn how accreditation affects transferability of credits and eligibility for financial aid and scholarships, and how to avoid financial aid scams pushed by some online schools.

MOOCs - Massively Open Online Courses - have proliferated as popular continuing education opportunities that satisfy informal autodidacts as well as career-minded professionals who need certified courses to maintain their licenses. My article, “More Online College Courses” delves into the MOOC world to explain how to get an advanced degree or just stay current in your field.

One of the best-known MOOC providers is Edx, which partners with colleges such as Harvard, CalTech, Columbia, and many other top-tier institutions. Edx’s Global Freshman Academy offers over 500 courses; some are free, the rest cost less than half the typical credit-hour price charged by physical schools. It’s a good option for getting basic freshman course credits or brushing up on skills that may have rusted over the past few years.

Coursera is an online education platform hosting free courses from hundreds of universities all over the world. It’s served nearly 14 million students so far.

Khan Academy offers a wide range of online courses, with the promise that "you can learn anything." Math, science, computer programming, history, art, economics are just a few of the online classes you can take here. Khan is a great resource for high school or college students who need help with a subject, or for adults who want to learn a new topic or skill.

Distance learning options are abundant. While they do not provide “the college experience” of physical schools, many students would prefer to skip the distracting hijinks of a typical college campus. Working adults appreciate the option to take classes at a flexible pace that accomodates their schedules. Overall, online education just keeps getting better.

Have you taken an online course? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Online Schools For Kids and Adults"

Posted by:

Al S
15 Aug 2016

I have been getting numerous calls from on line schools lately I never signed up for any. I am 74 and had a wonderful career ending in retirement in 2004. So much for the Do not call list, They also disguise their phone number.

Another thing I'd like to discuss. I have been getting many emails saying I was hired with salaries as much as $118.98 per hour from different sources. I open them and select report as Spam.
3rd, Calls from various sources telling me I won a Trip to Fl. Hardly need that my best friend lives there and after tonight he will be heading back home till Oct. 1st.or others that I have money waiting to be put into my Account. Just hope that anybody especially Sr. Citizens do not fall for that trick or the IRS call a 900 number.

Posted by:

15 Aug 2016

No, I haven't taken an online course, but, I have many friends that have and do!

I have several family and friends that Home School their children. Some of these kids are Autistic and they simply do not function well, in a classroom. Some of the kids are ADHD/ADD and they concentrate much better in front of a computer screen, at home, there are less stimulants, around them. The best online programs for kids are those that have a game eliminate! This really gets their attention and keeps them focused.

I have had friends who have gotten their "core classes" done online. What a time saver for them, too! Yes, in some of the higher courses, they will need to go to class, but, it really is good that they can get basic English and Math out of the way online.

I totally agree with you, Bob. It is imperative that all of the online courses are accredited! Why waste your time and energy on a course that is not accredited??? The course may sound great and exciting but again, if, it is not accredited it's not worth it.

Posted by:

Dana Jaeger
15 Aug 2016

I haven't commented on any article before, but I really enjoy them. I do feel smarter, lol. Thank you from a retired teacher for encouraging people to continue learning throughout their lives.

Posted by:

Allen Lang
15 Aug 2016

I am recently retired and have done a variety of short courses through, which I can highly recommend. Courses included writing a basic game in Java for a mobile phone (which I managed todo without any prior Java experience); forensics; film making; psychology and philosophy. One of the main advantages is the interaction with the many other students from all over the world who have very varied backgrounds and experiences in the field (from novice to experts).

Posted by:

Old Man
15 Aug 2016

I've taken a few free online courses to learn specific skills. I found them more beneficial than some similar courses taught on campus.

Posted by:

Jay R
15 Aug 2016

I have been getting smarter at an average of 146%/week. I believe that with the success that you have achieved, that Certified, Online Credit should be available. I know that you (and millions of others) have my email address. I'll check my email in a few days. Thank you for all the you do.

Posted by:

15 Aug 2016

Education on line is only starting. It will develop its own life, the kind of which we can't even imagine. Like television in the past, internet opens new possibilities. Nobody can argue, that book studying and visiting an underfunded ZOO will always lose to a well designed, well narrated TV program about animals, that shows those animals in their real habitat and with a zooming that allows the viewer seeing even specks of dirt flying in the air. Yet many people use TV as glorified babysitter. Because of TV and now also the internet, some of the same change is happening with schooling. Real schools are going down, treated now as glorified babysitters,underfunded, overburdened, slowly stripped of right to teach, while turned into storage facilities for children during working hours. No wonder those who can, try to replace it with internet learning, which can be way more effective, better matched with learner's needs and overall better. And all that before we even start considering adult learners, for whom the effectiveness and time are of essence. Internet can and do answer many of those concerns.
Not all, however. School is necessary for the society and should be, well, social. It doesn't only provide knowledge, it also teaches how to function in a society. How to pick friends, how to fight bullies (they will not disappear just because we wish it), how to work together and when to separate. This teaching cannot be done on the internet. But it won't be done in schools that are so big on self esteem, that they do not allow red pen for teacher's corrections of papers. Go figure. Maybe internet WILL be able to find solution for that.
I'm laughing, but it's a bitter laughter. The problems are big, because the countries will only be as good as is the education of their children.

Posted by:

16 Aug 2016

there are also regular universities that offer most or all of their course work online, which is handy if you are not near a university campus. I am thinking of places like who are themselves in a slightly remote location. But who also have a bricks and classrooms campus, and full accreditation.

Posted by:

16 Aug 2016

You did not mention the great ed2go on-line classes available in conjunction with many colleges. I took two classes in web design this way 10 or so years ago and they were great and the prices are very reasonable. I just checked to see if these are still around and found the on-line ed2go classes available thru a local college. There are some that really look interesting. Note that if you sign up thru a college in a less affluent area, the prices are cheaper--e.g., $90 for a 6 wk course vs $149. Website:

Posted by:

16 Aug 2016

There's also MIT OpenCourseWare (

Posted by:

Pat C.
19 Aug 2016

No, I don't take online courses but I learn a lot from 'How-Tos' on Youtube, Instructables, and others but there's no accreditation, just knowledge. And Knowledge is one thing THEY can't take from you. The more I know, the more I realize how ignorant I am.

Posted by:

Alex S
20 Aug 2016

Hey Bob, am I missing something? You mentioned that the is free to families, but when I checked out their preschool program it asks for either $99 per year or $69 per year. It's still not a bad price, but I was under the impression it was free. Can you explain? Thank you much :)

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Online Schools For Kids and Adults (Posted: 15 Aug 2016)
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