The Pros and Cons of Online Schooling: Is It for You?

With so many changes in the public school curriculum and instructional methods since the pandemic, online schooling has become more popular than ever. Like traditional schooling, online classrooms have their pros and cons. The better informed you are, the easier it will be to choose which option is right for your child.

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Keep in mind that not all online programs are created the same, and your needs as a parent and the student’s needs will change over time. Online high school classes are different than the elementary and middle school curriculum.

As you go through each school year’s expectations, you may decide to change your approach.

Some parents are happy to send their children to private or public institutions until middle or high school when the students’ focus changes from education to socializing.

This short guide to the advantages and disadvantages of online schooling can help you as you determine your child’s next education steps, no matter what school year they are in now.

Types of Online Schools

Online, also called virtual, schools are educational institutions where students can receive the classes they need to obtain a diploma or comparable certificate. There are four types of virtual schools, and each one has its unique set of requirements:

● Public online schools: These programs are available for free to resident minors of the district or state and are government-funded. The courses are similar to those the student will receive in a brick-and-mortar public classroom and the guidelines for graduation are the same.

● Private online schools: Less regulated than public schools, these types of programs are skyrocketing in popularity. Although you must pay for your curriculum, you can choose what courses your child takes and opt for specialized private schools depending on your preferences.

● Charter schools: Similar to online public schools, charter schools are regimented but offer more classes and innovative teaching strategies.

● College/University-affiliated schools: For high schoolers looking to receive dual high school and college credit, a college or university affiliated school is an option. These programs are sponsored by the higher learning institution, so the student can take college credit classes while still in high school.

Determining which kind of school you want your child to attend can be challenging, but there are a few consistent factors that will help you narrow down your selection.

Online School Considerations

As you determine whether online schooling is for you, remember that just because one type of program isn’t what you’re looking for, another might be ideal. Consider these factors before you make your final decision.

Scheduling Pros and Cons

Do you prefer a rigid course schedule or is flexibility essential to your lifestyle? If you want your child to attend school during regular school hours, public school works well. However, if you want your student to learn at their own pace or take less traditionally scheduled classes, look for a program with flexible scheduling.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Courses

Online public schools often offer more course selections than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. But if you want a specialized schedule with a focus that puts your child on a particular college or life skills track, the downside is that you may have to pay for that specialization through private courses. However, not all private courses are legitimate. Be sure to do your due diligence and check for accreditation and reputation before giving your information and money to anyone.

Pros and Cons of Socialization

Since there’s not a traditional classroom environment with online schooling, socialization is always a concern. Virtual public schools give your child a chance to connect with others in their state or district, while other options are individual-focused and may require you to find ways to socialize as needed.

The Right Online School Is Your Decision

Ultimately, the choice of schooling for your child is in your hands. In today’s world, online schooling is nearly as common as traditional courses, but the right type for your child is up to you to determine.

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