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Alternative Ways to Gain High School Credits

Today there are many options for students wishing to earn high school credits towards the Ontario High School Diploma:

  • correspondence courses through the ILC (Independent Learning Centre)
  • online courses through fully accredited "virtual schools"
  • home schooling

How Mostly Math Can Help

Whichever option you choose, please keep in mind that Mostly Math can help you succeed.

One drawback to these alternatives is that a student usually has no face-to-face access to a teacher. We are here, on a regular or an as-needed basis, to:

  • provide one-on-one help with homework
  • teach a lesson
  • explain a concept
  • review an assignment
  • provide extra practice questions
  • help you review and prepare for an exam
  • help with an essay

We have provided some information and links below to help you with your research and your choice.

Correspondence courses through the ILC (Independent Learning Centre)

Correspondence courses are an example of distance education. In these courses, material is mailed back and forth between teacher and student. There is generally no "teaching" involved in the course, as the student is expected to learn by studying the course resource material independently. Assignments are sent for grading, and there is usually a final examination. The Ministry of Ontario's Independent Learning Centre (ILC) offers high school credits in this manner.

When independent learning is arranged through a school, students generally work independently from a teacher or class, but may check in with a supervisor from time to time. If students are earning high school or university credits independently, then they will usually be required to complete assignments and/or write examinations as proof of their learning. "Independent Study Credits" at some institutions allow students to design their own course curriculum and evaluation methods. Or, students may follow a prescribed curriculum to receive an existing credit offered by the school.

Online courses through fully accredited "virtual schools"

Virtual schools offer a way to earn high school credits without physically attending school. A virtual school is an educational institution, often without a physical campus, where interaction between teachers and students is conducted through email, discussion boards, chatting, and web sites.

Students apply to enroll in these schools as they would any other traditional high school and receive the equivalent of a public/private school education from home. Some of these schools even have a Guidance Department and can offer academic counseling services.

Some reasons to consider the distance learning alternatives above:

  • Scheduling conflicts at your home school
  • Your home school does not offer the course
  • Work schedules or other responsibilities
  • You require only one or two credits to graduate
  • You need to catch up in order to graduate on schedule
  • Need a different learning environment
  • You want to accelerate your academic program
  • You need courses to supplement your home schooling
  • You are physically unable to attend a regular school
  • You are traveling away from your home
  • You are involved in an elite athletic or artistic activity
  • You need a prerequisite for a college/university course

Home schooling

Below are common questions that parents have when considering alternative home schooling at the high school level.

How can I help my child at the high school level when I don't know/remember the material myself?
The best thing that you can do for your children is to show them that adults don't always have all the answers, and that's ok. You can teach them how to be resourceful and how to develop into independent learners by finding the answers themselves. Together you can do this by:
  • Doing research on the internet
  • Visiting libraries or bookstores
  • Seeking out a tutor
How do I know which material to cover or where to begin?

Review the Ontario curriculum outlines for elementary schools or for secondary schools.

Help is also available from the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents.

How will my child get into university without a high school diploma?

Most Ontario universities are developing policies to address home schooled applicants, if they don't have a policy already, even for students who may not have any recognized high school credits or an official transcript.

More information available here.

You may also want to read a Canadian research report on home schooling and university admission.

Isn't schooling compulsory? Is home school legal?
Yes, it is legal to home school your children.
Lastly ...our very best advice:
Mostly Math's Founder and previous Director is an active and knowledgeable advocate of home schooling. You will find a wealth of information on her blog. In her own words, "be prepared for more than you ever wanted to know!"