While distance learning may seem like a trend that has emerged in the past decade, the concept isn't really all that new. In fact, according to the United States Distance Learning Association, the world's first correspondence school was established in Europe in 1840!

Today, distance learning has become a common and acceptable form of schooling and homeschooling. Defined as any type of educational instruction that occurs through the Internet, distance learning has become so fundamental to education that many people engage in it without realizing that watching a training video online or enrolling in a virtual class qualifies as distance learning.

Virtual academies like Alpha Omega Academy can especially offer features and benefits that specifically appeal to homeschool families, including:

    • Full-time or part-time enrollment
    • Student recordkeeping
    • A structure that allows students to make their own schedules and work at their own pace
    • Multimedia like videos, interactive websites, and opportunities for students to socialize online
    • Affordability
Performance
Students enrolled in a distance learning school often outperform their peers. According to a 2009 report from the Department of Education, "Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction." The study also revealed that students who mix online learning with traditional coursework, a process called blended learning, do even better.

Accreditation
Yet another benefit that attracts homeschoolers to distance learning is accreditation, which guarantees that the school's policies and programs meet quality standards. Alpha Omega Academy is fully accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI).

Christian Education
While all the benefits of virtual academies make distance learning a viable option for homeschool families in this tech-savvy 21st century, a Christian education rightfully remains at the top of their educational priorities. Celebrating 20 years in 2012, Alpha Omega Academy teaches over 2,300 students from a biblical worldview.

What are your views of distance learning? Pleas share your thoughts and experiences in the comment field below.