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Considering an Online Christian School for Your Teen? Help For Your Search

Whether you loved high school or muddled through it, most people agree — it is a pivotal season of life. During these important years, your teen will solidify their academic foundation, shore up their values, and begin to pursue their God-given gifts. As a parent, you’re naturally thinking about the best environment for them and what type of learning experience would equip them for a bright future.

If you’re like most Christian families who inquire about The Crest Online, you’re probably exploring all the options at hand. 

The flexibility of homeschooling has its benefits, but maybe you’re not confident teaching college-prep academics. 

Public school is a free option with strong academics…but who will be influencing your child, and how will their worldview be affected?

Private Christian schools are available, but tuition can be quite expensive, especially if you have more than one child.

The Crest Online was created to serve families who feel like none of the traditional options are right for their teen. An online Christian high school, TCO is a ministry of Ben Lippen School — a renowned private Christian school in Columbia, SC.  We work with students and families across the globe to provide a high-quality, Christ-centered college preparatory education in a flexible, online format. 

Who Is the Ideal TCO Student?

TCO serves students with all kinds of educational backgrounds. Many of our students were formerly homeschooled, some have been in private schools, and others have been in public schools. We serve international students, missionaries, and military families. The flexibility of our program also makes it an excellent opportunity for students invested in athletics, performance arts, or entrepreneurship. To sum it up, there’s no one type of student at TCO — it is an ideal opportunity for any teen who desires a flexible learning environment and greater autonomy in their high school education. 

Visit our Who We Serve page to read more.

How Does It Work?

If you’re considering online high school for your teen, you might have some hesitations about whether they can stay on track and learn all they need to learn in a virtual environment. We understand your concerns. Our program takes into account the age of our students and their unique developmental needs. We’re always happy to meet with parents and discuss the day-to-day learning experience for TCO students. Generally, this is what a semester looks like for incoming students:

1. Pick a Start Date

The Crest Online offers many start dates throughout the year. For 2023, planned start dates are:

  • January 9, 2023
  • March 6, 2023

2. Select Your Courses

TCO students can take a full course load or one or two classes as needed. Many of our students are full-time students, but we also have students who are supplementing education they have received elsewhere with TCO courses. 

So maybe you’re homeschooling and have 1-2 classes you don’t feel comfortable teaching. TCO can help!

Or perhaps, you want to ease into online education to make sure it’s a good fit. There is no pressure to take a full course load for your first semester. 

A full course load consists of four classes in the spring and four classes in the fall. One-credit courses run for 16 weeks, and half-credit courses run for eight weeks. View our Course Catalog to explore the classes we offer.

3. Plan Your Semester

At the start of every semester, we encourage students to look ahead, mark important deadlines on the calendar, and identify any opportunities to work ahead.

Going on a family trip? Your teen can put in extra work the week before to have more freedom on the road. 

Busy season for your teen’s sports team? Consider what days will work best for schoolwork and set a schedule that accommodates your needs.

At TCO, students can work at the pace that suits them. The inherent flexibility of online high school means your child doesn’t miss out on irreplaceable opportunities because of an attendance policy.

4. Log On For Learning

Our user-friendly learning platform is designed for online high schoolers. When students log on, they can easily see their coursework calendar, access interactive learning modules, check out the suggested workflow posted by their teacher, and communicate with classmates.

While flexibility is a TCO selling point, we recognize that teens need structure to stay on track. Our program helps students strike a balance between independent study and strong support. Wondering how your child will learn?

Asynchronous lessons — Teachers post lectures which students can watch whenever and wherever is most convenient for them. The asynchronous format means there is no set class time. For most classes, lectures are kept to 15-20 minutes.

Text and reading — Textbooks and supplemental reading assignments help students develop independent study skills they’ll use in college.

Projects and assignments — All assignments are explained thoroughly and can be submitted inside our learning platform.
Quizzes and tests — Students complete their exams online and receive their grades promptly.

5. Communicate with Teachers

TCO teachers are dedicated, Christian educators who are passionate about seeing their students thrive. While teachers and students do not meet directly for instruction, there is still plenty of opportunity to receive academic support.

So if your teen has a question about an assignment, send a quick email.

Want to talk face-to-face? Set up a zoom meeting to discuss more in-depth questions or challenges.

Online high school is intriguing to our family, but how do we choose the right school?

After considering all your options, you’re leaning toward online education for your high schooler — awesome! More than 1 million families have made the same choice and are experiencing the benefits of flexible online learning. But not all online schools are created equal, and you want to ensure you choose the right one. What should you be looking for?

Accreditation — This one’s simple: look for an accredited online high school. TCO is fully accredited as part of Ben Lippen School. Choosing an accredited online high school will ensure your teen has a strong academic foundation and a compelling college application.

Format — Consider whether asynchronous or synchronous classes would work better for your teen. Asynchronous lessons are pre-recorded and can be completed on the student’s own time. With synchronous classes, students will be expected to log in for class time. Asynchronous is essentially more flexible, but both formats have pros and cons. 

Course Content — Ask the school about their curriculum. Many online schools purchase courses from big resellers and simply put their name on it. TCO has developed its own courses to provide a meaningful and engaging learning experience, with the depth and breadth to prepare students for college-level academics. 

Values Alignment — While many online high school options exist, Christian options are limited. High school is an important time for students to develop their identity in Christ. At TCO, we believe that ALL truth is God’s truth. As a result, we find the wonder of God throughout all forms of content and curriculum.

If we choose online high school, will our child truly be prepared for college and the real world?

The goal of online high school is for your student to start creating a path to the future they want today. Autonomy in their education. Flexibility to pursue their interests. The development of independent study skills and self-advocacy that will serve them in higher education. These are all incredible opportunities for students to prepare for college and life. 

In traditional high school environments, students spend the majority of their time at school, when their academic work can be completed in as little as a couple hours a day. Online learning is what you make it — and for many, it can be an incredible opportunity to enrich life with more meaningful activities, more family time, and more chances to step into the real world today.

Whether your teen’s next step is online college, college on a physical campus, a career, or a ministry calling, we are confident that TCO will give them the foundation they need to flourish.

Request more information about The Crest Online today.

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