For all of my life, I went to the same school district and went to school like every other kid in America. I enjoyed the routine and direction. Yet, when the 2018-2019 school year came around and I was done my Sophmore year a thousand miles away from where I started it, I knew I wouldn’t get the education I craved from a small, broken public school system in a place the movies depicted as “Run-down, Small Town, USA”. I never went in with the idea that online school was a Plan B, but from what I experienced I knew it was my only option. Convincing my parents to let me take my education into my own hands and get my high school diploma through an online public school was the best decision I have ever made.
After I enrolled, I had so many questions and was curious to know if the program could measure up to my expectations. The main attractions, for me, was the ability to work at my own pace and have many more course options than I was ever given before. Despite these initial impressions, I had a few preconceived notions about doing school online which quickly dissipated as the school year started.
Here are the top 5 myths about online school debunked.
- It’s easier than brick and mortar school. This is so untrue, in my case at least. It is more challenging, the material and the fact that most of what you learn is self-taught. Most of the time, as well, you learn the material, complete an assignment, and take a quiz all in the same day. Just because it is harder though, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The material isn’t going to tear you down, it just requires more concentration, dedication, and attention than regular public school.
- You have no pressure to get work done and never have to worry about teachers watching over your every move. Wrong. Of course, the main reason online school works for so many people is that it is all at your own pace and no numerical penalty is given for being behind, which is true, but deadlines are still very much implemented. Teachers call and text you regularly to ask you questions on the spot. You get credit for following your academic plan and finish assignments within the week they are assigned. You attend Live Lessons led by teachers. Your parents sign off on your weekly completion. I can make school work in favor for me, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t checks and balances in place to ensure I get my education.
- Colleges have a hard time accepting students from Online Schools because they aren’t accredited. This one doesn’t even make sense to me, but doing your research and committing to a legitimate school, like Connections Academy or K12, will not affect your likelihood of getting into a good college. Thousands of graduates from my specific school have gone on to major universities and Ivy League schools. These online institutions teach the same curriculum regular B&M school does, as it is required by law. It prepares students for AP and standardized tests the same as any other public school.
- Online students get more free time and less work. This is only partially true. Depending on the state, each student is required to log a certain amount of hours a day (about 6 hours). Online schools entire premise is to allow students to easily be flexible with their schedule, whether it’s doing 6 hours at night or in the morning, or splitting the hours throughout the day. Making up for missed hours during another day of the week is also a plus, my typical schedule would be to work longer hours Mon-Thurs and have no work on Friday. But, just because it is required to do 6 hours of work (minimum), doesn’t mean there were some weeks I was doing up to 9 hours of work a day back to back. The lessons are still there, it is all about how willing a student is to work out a schedule that works for what they need.
- Online students miss out on participation and interacting with peers and teachers. True, online school is not even close to how social B&M school is, but there is still frequent contact between teachers and peers. Like I mentioned before, Live Lessons are required parts of each students day. Live Lessons happen 2-3 a week from each teacher you have. They send a link to you, and once you click on it you are in their “classroom”; they have their video camera and microphone on and they talk just like teachers do. There is a chat room attached where students ask/answer questions and talk to their peers just like a regular classroom. At the end of each Live Lesson, teachers create small groups and peers work together on a project or set of questions and are given credit for participation.
This probably sounds like a huge advertisement for online school, but it definitely is not. Online school is NOT for everyone, it depends entirely on your ability as a learner and your specific circumstances. But, just keep in mind that being an online student is not just for people training to be professional athletes or those who aren’t interested in college. For me, I have been able to take more AP classes, spend more time focusing on my grades and work, and seriously has done wonders for my mental health. I advise anyone who is in a situation where they feel they are not getting the most out of their education to look into online school and see if it is a viable option for them.
With all of this in mind, do you think online school would ever be a good option for you? Did this post clear up any confusion about what online education is like? Do you think that more kids will turn to online education in the future as our world gets more dependent on technology?