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Pros & Cons of Online K-12 School

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In the past, school and home were separate. Kids went to school every day. Then they came home.

Times have changed. The bright line between school and home has blurred. Parents now realize that online learning offers a wealth of benefits that traditional schooling can’t — flexibility, safety, academic control.

Still, they have questions about the pros and cons of online schooling. They wonder about the effects of online school on their children and their family. As they weigh the decision, a close look at all sides of the equation could reveal that cyberlearning brings harmony to the school day and family life. 

Pros of Online K-12 School

The benefits of online education for K-12 learners include positive effects on family life and children’s academic progress.

  • Flexible schedule: With online learning, you don’t have to contort the family schedule to fit a school timeline. Children can access learning whenever it’s best for them and the family, and less time is wasted on the logistics of getting children to and from school every day. Real-time virtual sessions offer genuine classroom opportunities, when kids engage with highly qualified teachers and each other, but if they can’t make those sessions, they have access to all the recordings and course materials that allow them to catch up any time. Suddenly, families and kids have the freedom to live according to their own priorities. Children can pursue high-level training or competition in sports or the arts. They can manage medical conditions without missing class time. High school students don’t have to sacrifice schoolwork while they gain valuable experience by working jobs. Families can choose to make travel a priority for its real-world learning, connections to far-flung relatives and opportunities to teach children the value of volunteer service. Whatever their priorities, families can escape the daily grind thanks to flexible scheduling. 
  • Engagement-Focused Learning: Online learning puts the student first. In a student-centered atmosphere, children take responsibility as active participants who decide what they will learn and how. Teachers don’t dictate lessons but instead provide guidance that leads children to their own discoveries. Studies show that online learning delivered through a student-centered model promotes more in-depth discussions, improves the quality of learning and encourages student participation. As a result, children are engaged and inspired to learn. Learning in the home also means there are fewer distractions, so teachers aren’t wasting time on classroom management and your child can concentrate on lessons. 
  • Personalized Curriculum: Every child comes to school with unique needs. They have their academic strengths and weaknesses, and their distinct learning styles. Online school, by its very nature, empowers teachers to develop educational plans that reach individuals, not entire classes. Personalized education means customized learning, tailored to your child’s needs. Children are more enthusiastic as they dive into the subjects that fascinate them and see tangible gains in the areas where they struggle. Personalized learning also eliminates wasted time moving around the school or sitting through content that your child has already mastered. In fact, a personalized curriculum lets your child breeze through the easy courses and put more time and effort into the challenging subjects that threaten to hold back their overall academic progress.  
  • Tech and Career Support: As much as we’d like to see our children stay young and innocent forever, one thing is inevitable. They will grow up. Is your school preparing them for that day? In CCA’s online K through 12 school, the personalized approach to education begins with exploration of possible careers and, by high school, tapers into pathways designed to prepare your child for fulfillment in whatever comes next. Whether your child’s future holds college, career training, the workforce or the military, CCA’s personalized learning plan adapts to the changing child, preparing them for success after graduation. 
  • Socialization Opportunities: Who says brick-and-mortar schools get to hold the monopoly on socialization? At CCA, online school includes a rich array of socialization opportunities. Children learn to make friends and navigate social situations while avoiding the toxic effects of bullies and school cliques. More than 500 educational and social field trips every year offer fun and enriching learning experiences. Parents and guardians enjoy these excursions, too, as chances to build support networks and lasting friendships. CCA clubs bring children together over shared interests in everything from building robots to digital photography. Kids who love sports or the arts join community activities and, in Pennsylvania, have the legal right to participate in extracurriculars in their local school districts. 

Cons of Online K-12 School

Naturally, there are some cons of online school, but CCA embraces them as challenges to be problem-solved. Our well-designed approach keeps students and families at the center as we strive together to deliver a seamless learning experience. 

  • Learning Adjustment: Cyber school students and families must adjust to a new way of learning — one where the teacher and study notes are on a screen and management of the school day comes into the home. CCA helps families get through the adjustment period quickly. With the engagement of students, families and teachers in mind, CCA created a unique, customized learning management system called edio. Through edio, students can participate fully in live lessons or watch recordings of those same lessons, whether they’re seeing them for the first time or going back to review a new concept. Parents use edio to collaborate and communicate with teachers and staff, check on their child’s progress and review teacher feedback. Teachers use edio to communicate with parents and students, and to customize lessons and provide extra support on the spot. With all the powerful tools available in edio, CCA ensures new families have the training and on-going support they need as well.  The quick adjustment period to online learning helps promise academic success by getting kids off to a great start. 
  • Self-Discipline Is Crucial: In traditional brick-and-mortar schools, teachers stand in front of the class. They give assignments. They collect homework. In short, the teacher is responsible for keeping your child on track. With online learning, more of that responsibility falls on your child, especially as they get older. Self-discipline is a must for academic success, but as any CCA graduate will tell you, cultivating that high level of self-management gives them an advantage. Cyber students develop unparalleled time management skills that send them sailing into college and the workforce well ahead of their peers. CCA encourages families to develop schedules and routines that create a framework for self-discipline and completion of assigned tasks. CCA’s family mentors are experienced cyber schoolers who are trained to share tips, answer questions and offer support that helps families and kids build the art of self-discipline. 
  • Less In-Person Socialization: It’s true that online learners aren’t in a space physically with their classmates, but that’s where any socialization limitations end. Students who take advantage of live lessons interact in lively fashion with classmates, and highly capable teachers assign students to group discussions and projects that build the collaborative skills their future employers will demand. CCA’s holistic, personalized approach to education gives children the chance to grow into well-rounded young adults. Our full slate of field trips brings children together for the shared joys of seeing classroom lessons come to life in the outdoors, historical sites and museums. In a variety of fun clubs, like-minded children reach across the miles to share their passions for chess, video games, dance, leadership and lots of other topics. CCA even encourages learners to suggest their own clubs because, with so many classmates all around Pennsylvania, they’re almost sure to find fellow enthusiasts.  Likewise, CCA offers the Community Class Reimbursement for families to take advantage of classes available in their local community for further learning and socialization opportunities.
  • Requires Technology: The power of technology to change lives includes its revolutionary, democratizing effects on education. Unfortunately, some families lack access to the technological tools to seize the opportunity, but CCA sweeps away that barrier. CCA families get free access to laptops fully loaded with all the necessary software. They also receive a printer and a subsidy to help pay for high-speed internet that connects students with wondrous learning experiences. Plus, families have the assurance that, if anything goes wrong, CCA’s technical support team is ready to help solve the problem and return children to learning.   
  • Some Schools Are Not Accredited: The digital age has opened worlds of opportunity in learning, but scammers and poorly structured schools are poised to take advantage by preying on parents’ fears. In Pennsylvania, charter schools must receive approval to operate from state or local authorities, but they are not required to be accredited, and that makes a big difference. What is accreditation? Essentially, it’s affirmation from a state-recognized body attesting that the school does what it says it will. Accreditation gives families the assurance that learning can be reciprocated by other schools — a valuable attribute for frequent movers such as military families. It also validates the quality of the student’s education when it’s time to apply to college or seek an internship. CCA voluntarily sought and received full accreditation from the renowned Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. With accreditation, CCA has objective affirmation that it meets standards proving that it upholds its mission to provide personalized learning; strives for constant improvement in student performance; is financially sound; hires competent, qualified staff; ensures the health and safety of all students and staff; and delivers a carefully planned educational program based on appropriate content and learning standards. In short, CCA families know that CCA is there for their kids. Unaccredited schools in the online learning universe can’t always make that promise.    

How to Choose What’s Right for Your Family

Now you know the pros and cons of online K-12 school. Consider these tips to help you decide whether it’s right for your child:

  • Factor in what is important: Make a list of the things that matter to your family. Rank them in order of importance. If flexibility, educational control, safety and personalized learning tailored to your child’s learning styles and pace rise to the top, then CCA’s cyber learning could be the perfect fit.
  • Get input from your children: At CCA, children have the power to direct their learning, so this is a good time to start. How much do you really know about what goes on during your child’s brick-and-mortar school day? Ask your child, and you might be surprised to find out that classes aren’t very engaging, or that bullies are a worse problem than you realized. Ask if your child feels ready to learn the discipline and time management skills needed to make online study a success.
  • Ask questions about unknowns: What does a typical lesson look like? How will my child make friends? Do I have to sit beside my child all day every day? Can online learning give my child the time to learn new concepts or the extra challenge to eliminate boredom and bring excitement back to their education? You have a lot of questions, and a reputable online school will be happy to answer them. Reach out to CCA, and talk to other parents who have decided to bring online learning into their family life.  

Consider the many benefits of online K through 12 education. Your child enjoys rich, vibrant education. You get the flexibility to make schooling fit into your active family lifestyle. The centerpiece of the school day is your child, not the class. CCA is mission-driven to personalize learning for every student, leveraging technology to deliver an engaging education that prepares your child for lifetime success. Contact CCA today with your questions about how online school can make your child love learning.

Author

Commonwealth Charter Academy

Published

March 23rd, 2021

Category

Learning Lab

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