5 Benefits of K-12 Online Schooling
Online schooling has become a popular alternative education option for K-12 students. The Internet age changed the way many families approach homeschooling with an increasing number of homeschool resources available to families. In addition to homeschool resources, the Internet led to the development of online school and blended learning options.
Many online schools offer similar benefits to homeschooling but eliminate a lot of stress and responsibility for the parents. Additionally, online schools are often accredited, meaning that students will graduate with an accredited online diploma once they complete the high school graduation requirements. If you are considering alternative education methods for your student, here are five benefits of online schooling for K-12 students.
1. Flexible, Self-Paced Structures
Like homeschool, many online schools offer flexibility for students and parents to make their own schedules. Although some programs may assign due dates for lessons and assignments, many online schools are self-paced, allowing students to progress through the material as they feel comfortable. For students who get stressed or overwhelmed with strict due dates, this structure alleviates the pressure of deadlines and allows students to focus on learning.
The flexible structure of online schools also allows the parent to set their student’s schedule. For example, students may work from 8:30 to 1:00 with a few short breaks. Once they are done with their work for the day, they can move on to other enrichment activities, such as art or music lessons. Alternatively, if a student focuses better in the afternoon, they can complete most of their schoolwork later in the day. Online schools that offer flexible, self-paced structures let students “attend” class when they feel most productive, making the learning process much more effective for them.
2. Continuity and Stability
Another benefit of accredited online schools is the continuity and stability they can provide to families who frequently move or students who are performers or athletes. Often, military families are required to move stations with little notice. For traditionally schooled students, constantly starting at a new school can lead to a lot of anxiety around learning. Online school, on the other hand, would allow these students to continue their studies without any changes regarding curriculum and material. With one less thing to worry about, military children can focus on acclimating to their new home without missing a beat in their schooling. This also applies to any children of parents who are required to relocate for their job.
Students who wish to pursue interests in athletics or performing arts may be required to miss too many days of school to keep up with the pace of a traditional classroom. Online school would allow these students to maintain a stable school routine between practices or training sessions.
3. Personalized Learning Experience
The traditional classroom environment can be strenuous for some students. Introverts may find it difficult to speak up and ask questions, while students with learning disabilities may struggle to keep up with the lessons. Online school can provide a more comfortable learning environment for these students or any others who may struggle to learn in a traditional school setting. Since most of the learning is done at home, parents can create an environment that is conducive to their students’ preferred learning methods. Likewise, the variety of online school programs available allows the parent to find one that is a good fit for their student. In traditional classrooms, it is difficult to accommodate each student’s needs, even if there are special resources and programs in place. Online school, however, gives students the opportunity to have a personalized learning experience that helps them excel in their academics.
4. Fewer Distractions
Traditional classrooms can be full of distractions, which for some students, can make it nearly impossible to pay attention and retain the material. For example, students with overactive senses will likely struggle in a bright classroom with constant noises. With online school, these students can learn in the comfort of their homes with light and noise levels just right for their optimal learning environment.
Other distractions such as bullies and peer pressure are often sources of stress and anxiety, both things that can prevent students from being productive learners.
5. Numerous Course Options
Most online schools offer a long list of course options that students may not otherwise get in their public or private schools, especially in rural areas. Researching online schools will provide insight into the types of courses they offer and may even present a full list of options. All programs will offer the core subjects of reading and language arts, mathematics, science, and history and social studies. However, parents should also pay attention to whether the program offers foreign languages, electives, emotional and social learning, and career and technical courses. In addition to the subjects, Advanced Placement or Honors courses may be worth considering for any student who performs well in a particular subject.
Online school can be a great option for many different types of students. Although there are downsides, such as fewer group learning opportunities or socialization, online school has helped many students excel in their academics and regain confidence around learning.