I’m a freelance writer who works from home. I work in my pajamas, play with my dog throughout the day and take breaks whenever I need them. It’s amazing.
In fact, I wish I’d been able to work from home back in high school.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, attending school from home is easier than ever!
And not just for full-time homeschool students. High school kids in various situations can benefit from logging in online to learn, even when the subject is a foreign language.
You might be thinking, “I could never learn French online. Don’t you need to learn a language with another person in the room?”
Not so fast. Depending on your circumstances, learning French online could be your best option.
Who Can Earn High School Credit from Online French Courses?
Though requirements vary from state to state, many American high schools require students to take at least two consecutive years of a foreign language.
When you consider that foreign languages such as French are useful in business relations, these schools seem to have the right idea! But what happens if your institution doesn’t offer the language you want?
Or what if you live in a state with a foreign language requirement, but you’re homeschooled and your parents don’t speak a second language?
Well, this is the 21st century. The internet is here to save the day!
Your parents may not be proficient enough in French to teach you, even using a textbook. If you’re a homeschool student who wants to learn French, this shouldn’t deter you!
Enrolling in an online course is the easiest way to gain access to a strong French education. You don’t have to search for programs at nearby high schools or co-ops to learn the language. You can stay at home and learn French, right after science and before social studies.
High School Transfers
Suppose you transfer to a new high school as a sophomore, junior or senior. And let’s say you’ve already taken a year of French at your former high school. Depending on where you live, you may only need one more year of French to meet graduation requirements!
But what if your new school doesn’t offer French courses? Talk about a snafu!
You don’t want to waste time by starting at square one with a new language. Thankfully, many schools are willing to let you take one year of French with an external institution. Talk to your school’s staff to see if they’ll let you study independently online.
Students Whose Schools Have Limited Languages Offerings
Maybe you really, really want to study French, but your school just doesn’t offer French classes! This issue sometimes occurs at small schools, ones that have had to cut certain programs due to funding or ones with teachers who leave with little to no warning.
If you’re dead-set on studying French, ask your school’s permission to take one or two courses online. If they hesitate, provide concrete reasons why you want to study the language. If you want to major in French in college or study abroad, these plans could persuade them. Remember, schools want their students to succeed! A motivated young person who can articulate their academic needs in a compelling way is hard for school administrators to turn down.
Students Who Need Summer School
If you didn’t pass a French class during the regular school year, you may need to take a summer class to graduate on time.
But what if your school doesn’t offer French in the summer? Or what if your family has already planned a long vacation during the summer months?
If you fall into this category, taking an online French course for credit is probably your best option.
Students Who Are Applying to a College with Unique Foreign Language Requirements
I knew a girl who applied to Stanford University, an elite college that requires students take three years of foreign language in high school. Remember to review course requirements of the colleges you want to attend.
Maybe your school only offers French levels I and II. Or maybe you just can’t fit that third year of French into your class schedule. Once again, the internet comes to your rescue!
6 Online French Courses for High School Credit
When searching for online education opportunities, it’s crucial to check that the institutions are accredited. When an organization grants a school accreditation, your hours earned officially go toward your graduation requirements. All the schools on this list are accredited by AdvancED.
Each of these six schools allows you to enroll either full- or part-time. Although some may be a better fit than others, they can all accommodate any of the reasons listed above.
And don’t forget to use FluentU to help your studies go faster and easier. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. With FluentU’s help, you can really hone those vocabulary words into your memory, see authentic spoken French in action and reinforce your online studies in a fun and engaging way.
Sterling Academy offers three years of high school French. Levels I, II and III are each two semesters long, but if you need to enroll for only one semester, they give you that option as well.
Other than the fact that it’s online, Sterling Academy’s curriculum is fairly traditional. The website states that each class consists of “vocabulary practice, writing assignments, quizzes, unit tests, and mid-term and final comprehensive exams.”
Sterling’s major draw is its reasonable tuition price. If you only want to enroll in one year-long French course, you pay $395, plus a $100 enrollment fee. If you want to enroll for only one semester, you pay $225 in addition to the enrollment fee.
While those prices might seem hefty, remember that Sterling is a private academy, and all private schools require tuition. Sterling also prides itself on its rigorous academics, so you seem to get what you pay for.
Apex Learning Virtual School offers four courses, French I, French II, French I Honors and French II Honors.
Honors courses appeal to students who are more serious about French studies than those who simply need to meet graduation requirements. The courses move at a faster pace than the basic classes, so the students cover more information, often at a greater depth.
Keep in mind, honors classes are not equivalent to AP classes. Kids will not take the AP exam or receive AP credit. This can be a major benefit for students who are passionate about French but don’t want the pressure of taking an AP class.
Apex Learning’s courses often operate similarly to brick-and-mortar schools. There are lessons, reviews, quizzes and exams.
All four last for a full year and cost $700 each.
The Keystone School offers French levels I through IV. Each course starts at $289. One huge benefit of taking one of their online courses? No textbook required! Textbooks are insanely expensive, so you can relax knowing you won’t spend money buying books on Amazon.
Like the other programs on this list, each French level at Keystone is divided into two semesters.
However, a unique feature of this school is that semesters aren’t necessarily the same length as a traditional school’s. Students can enroll at any time throughout the year and squeeze in or spread out the hours over any length of time. This is great for students who, for one reason or another, might decide in October or April that they want to take French online.
Each class consists of 120 credit hours, or 60 hours, per semester. Keystone also provides 30-45 hours’ worth of outside study materials per course.
Although students have teachers for their classes, the program intends for students to do most of their work independently, so they can finish tasks on their own time.
Keystone also recently developed the Keystone Plus Program for students who need a little more guidance. This arrangement includes built-in scheduling, class placement support and academic intervention.
Keystone’s main priority is to provide a French education that meets the rigorous standards of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). This means students will learn reading, writing, speaking, listening and culture in each class.
Forest Trail Academy only offers French I and II. Although Forest Trail provides students with a strong education, no honors or AP classes are offered. The school does offer AP classes in other subjects if your homeschooled child wants to take the APs in subjects other than French.
This school’s biggest selling point is the availability of academic advisers. While all these schools want to help your child succeed, these advisers are especially invested.
Between the advisers who look at each student’s overall educational experience and the AP classes in courses other than French, I recommend Forest Trail Academy more for homeschool students than traditionally educated kids who just need to take one or two French courses online.
Forest Trail is a private school, and each year-long class costs $550.
NorthStar Academy is a Christian online institution. It’s a great option for students who want to learn from home but still want a religious education.
This school offers French levels I through III as well as AP French Language and Culture. All four courses are two semesters in duration.
Even though numerous schools across the country offer AP classes, not all provide AP electives. I know my high school sure didn’t! I was passionate about French as a teenager and would have loved to take an AP French course.
AP French Language and Culture is a strong choice for students who not only want to learn about grammar and vocabulary but also want to learn about Francophone countries and their inhabitants from “authentic” sources.
Authentic sources are materials created by native Francophones for speakers of the language, as opposed to activities created by textbook publishers for French language learners. Of course, a huge aim of this course is to prepare kids for the AP French examination in May.
The cost of one yearlong course with NorthStar Academy is $615. The school does offer discounts to families who enroll in courses through their brick-and-mortar schools or have at least two kids enrolled with NorthStar. If parents work for ministry-related non-governmental organizations or for the military, students may also receive discounts.
NorthStar also offers multiple payment plans for families.
Connections Academy is a little different from the other online schools on this list. It’s not a private school, but rather an online network of public schools.
Yes, public schools. You know what that means? Tuition is free! Youpi!
Resources are provided online. You pay for any additional materials you might want and the cost of optional field trips. The field trips are a benefit of being connected to a local Connections school.
Connections Academy has partner online schools all over America, making it easy to find partnered schools near you.
It seems silly that a school needs to be near you if the offerings are online. However, each school must meet the requirements of the public school system in the state where you live. Due to these standards, Connections Academy clarifies that it’s not technically a homeschooling program.
Connections Academy offers high school French for levels I through IV, and each class runs for a full academic year. The academy’s website gives a thorough explanation of what topics, vocabulary and grammar are covered in each level.
One of these six online programs could be the answer to your prayers! Find the right fit and learn French in your pajamas. While munching on a croissant. Maybe even while sipping a café au lait.
Laura Grace Tarpley is a writer based in Athens, Georgia. She has spent the past four years living in and exploring France, New Zealand and China. She runs the blog Let’s Go Tarpley!, where she writes city guides and budget travel tips.
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