Families across the country are taking their children out of traditional classrooms; instead, they are switching their children to alternative methods. Since homeschool is recognized as a viable education option for children, many parents are opting to teach their children in the comfort of their own home. However, another option has been on an upward trend: online school.
Evaluating the following factors may help you decide whether online school is the best option for your child. If you are considering transitioning away from the traditional classroom setting that public and private school typically offer, this info can help.
What Is Online School?
Online school takes some of the pressure of homeschooling off the parent while still allowing children to “attend” school at home. Online K-12 schools are available so that students can participate in their classwork anytime they have Internet access. Often, these online schools are accredited, meaning students can graduate high school with a diploma rather than having to take a test.
Not all online schools are the same. Instead, online schools differ by courses and flexibility, among other things. Most online schools will have the core subjects of mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts and reading while also offering at least a few electives. Course structure depends on the school but may consist of lecture videos, learning activities, homework assignments, and quizzes and tests.
Some online schools are flexible and allow students to work at their own pace. These schools will typically have open enrollment policies so that students can start taking online courses anytime throughout the year. Other online programs will have more strict deadlines and requirements for enrollment. When selecting a K-12 online school for your child, you will need to do a lot of research to ensure that you choose a program that is conducive to your child’s needs.
How to Know If Online School Is Right for Your Child
Parents decide to enroll their children in online school for a plethora of reasons. Often, there is not one sole reason parents decide online is a good option for their child, but rather, many factors that add up to the ultimate verdict. Schedule flexibility, religious freedom, and familial closeness are a few examples of why students transfer to online school. However, the following are several specific situations that have lead students to move to an online schooling option.
- Bullying – For many students, safety from bullies is the driving factor that leads them away from the classroom and to online school. When children do not have to worry about avoiding bullies, they can focus more on their education.
- Student-athletes – Students who spend dozens of hours a week training for a sport have moved to online school because it provides them the flexibility to do schoolwork at a convenient time. This applies to students who are performers or kid actors as well.
- Military kids – Students with parents who serve in the military are forced to transfer schools anytime their parent switches stations. This can be emotionally and mentally draining. Online schools allow students to continue with their courses wherever they are in the country or abroad.
- Ill students – Online school allows students with chronic illnesses to attend school from the comfort of their own home when they are feeling at their best. These students do not have to worry about falling behind or catching up either.
- Learning disabilities – Students who may struggle with a particular subject or concept in school because of ADD or dyslexia have seen more success in their online courses because they can work at their own pace and do not have the pressure from peers or teachers to keep up with the assignments when they are not comfortable.
- Intellectual disabilities – Although most public schools have resources and aids for students with intellectual disabilities, such as Down syndrome, online school gives these students a stress-free environment for them to excel in their academics.
Selecting an Online School
Students enroll in online school for a lot of reasons, so it is also vital to consider each student’s unique needs. Typically, for any topic or concept, there are a variety of learning options for students. For example, some individuals may learn an idea better through visual teaching methods, while others prefer to listen to the teacher explain the topic. Parents should research online school and read reviews to make sure that the course structure of the online school that they select aligns with their students’ personal learning needs.
Likewise, schedules and other requirements will differ between online programs. Families can choose a plan that gives their students the flexibility to do course work in the morning four days a week. Other students may need more structure, so their parents will opt for an online school that has strict due dates for coursework.
When a parent does a lot of research to find the right online school, or education methods in general, for their child, it increases the likelihood that the student will be successful in the chosen program. Not only will the child be receiving an education that is best suited for their needs, but a parent’s involvement in a child’s education enhances their overall interest in school and will lead to greater opportunities for success in the future.