Changes in education have been a long time coming. We know everyone learns differently, that some students learn hands on, others are visual, some auditory. We know some work better independently while others flourish in groups. We’re seeing more charters, schools like Montessori and Waldorf, hybrid models, and kindergartens held completely outdoors. The options can be overwhelming, but alternative learning plans are also more important than ever with online curriculums being some of the most accessible, flexible, and affordable. The biggest question is how do you know which one is right for you?
Online learning offers the largest range of flexibility for high school students today. Students are able to work at the times that suit them best, athletes can travel, artists can work around studio schedules, but most importantly, high school students completing their work online develop and practice time management and crucial work ethics for college level learning.
So, how do you know if online learning is right for you? Here are a few things to consider as you explore educational opportunities.
- You must be self-motivated. Most students are excited to take hold of their education but online learning does require a little extra independent practice. Can you set your schedule and tasks on your own? Do you stick to deadlines? Can you prioritize? These are all skills you may already excel in, and if not, they are skills you can learn and develop as you go as long as you are dedicated to improving.
- You need a strong support system. A parent, guardian, or coach, needs to be there to support you. Don’t fret! This doesn’t mean they need to know how to tutor everything from Algebra to AP Literature, but it does mean someone needs to be present. Have your guardians ask themselves if they will check in with you, check your course progress, look at your grades. Are they committed to following up with student-teacher meetings, of asking how they went, encouraging you to schedule the meetings on your own? With a strong support system, most students will be successful in online learning.
- You should work well independently. Much is being done to develop community and groups within online schools, and there are many opportunities for these, but the reality is most of your time will be spent working independently. If you do well working independently, quietly, and in your own space, online learning should be great for you!
- It’s a bonus if you enjoy developing relationships with your teachers. Since online learning caters to the individual, it’s a perk that students get many one-on-one meetings and phone calls with their teachers, coaches, and advisors. If you struggle with this, online learning could help you learn how to self-advocate––an important skill for college!
- Reliable access to technology is necessary. With things like travel, open timeframes, and a range of devices, counting on technology is both easy and often unattainable. Before jumping into online learning, double check your technological options, skills, and needs. You can discuss these questions with the online school of your choice but taking inventory first will help you save time.
With all the options available today, choosing an alternative education is exciting! It should be. You are taking hold of your own learning and ultimately your own future. That is an amazing opportunity! Moving your education online might just give you all the freedoms you’re looking for. Don’t hesitate to call and email schools with questions, follow them on social media, ask to talk to a current student or teacher. We are all more than happy to help you on this journey.