What are online schools?

Online schools have virtual classes that students can receive at home or in a library, cafeteria or any other place that has an Internet connection.

Teachers have a structured class schedule for their students. Some children only receive one or two classes online. Others receive all of their classes online.

Online learning is sometimes known as distance learning. Online schools are also called virtual schools or cyber schools.

Choosing and enrolling courses online can be especially beneficial for doubly exceptional students who are bored in courses taught by traditional schools.

Online learning has become so pervasive at the secondary level that several states require students to take an online course to graduate.

Do online students learn at their own pace?

Online schools are often described as an educational alternative that offers more independence and allows children to learn at their own pace. It is true that some online programs have begun to include personalized learning. But it is important to find out how much time children have to acquire those skills and complete tasks.

Many online programs require students to complete a certain number of hours per week of online lessons or modules. These requirements can make struggling students feel like they always have to be struggling to stay current. Ask the school if it offers flexible hours while guiding children toward graduation.

What is a typical day like for online students?

Children who attend online schools have to be at the computer for several hours a day. The lessons or “modules” include video presentations and short quizzes. Students work on those modules independently, and tests help determine if you’re ready to move on to the next lesson.

Online courses may have activities that are not done online, such as completing worksheets or doing science experiments. They can also include group activities. For example, high school students could use a Google document to do a team project. Some courses schedule “live lessons” so that students can have an online discussion with all their classmates at the same time.

Some online students may not interact much with their teachers. Individual or small group sessions may be an option for struggling students. But the student has to request this kind of help.

What role do parents play in online schools?

Parents of children who study online should be prepared to actively participate in their children’s education, as should parents who educate their children at home.

Many online schools expect parents to take on the role of the person who “facilitates learning.” In a study of online students with IEPs, parents commented that their roles included:

  • Understand the specific educational requirements of your children.
  • Identify obstacles as barriers to online programs.
  • Interact with school staff.
  • Provide interventions
  • Help your children participate in online classes four to six hours a day.

If you are considering enrolling your child in an online school, it is important to ask:

  • How much instruction time occurs through the online modules?
  • What opportunities exist for collaboration and other types of socio-emotional learning?
  • How will you help your child develop self-defense?
  • What percentage of students with IEPs graduate four years after starting high school? (it could be a red flag if the school can’t answer you)

Asking these and other key questions can help you decide if an online school is right for your child.

At CybeSchool we are committed to the integral development of our students, providing them with tools that prepare them for life.

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