By definition, an online or virtual school is an accredited or formally constituted public, private, state or charter organization that offers full-time education, delivered primarily over the Internet. |
Online learning for school-age children is continuing to grow in popularity. According to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), there were 29 states that had full-time, virtual schools operating for 2013-2014. The organization reported that during the 2012-2013 school year, the number of students enrolled in full-time, online classes had grown to 310,000.
Parents choose to enroll their children in virtual schools for various positive reasons. The primary reasons are as follows:
1) Convenience Unlike bricks-and-mortar public schools that generally have set hours and are centered in one primary location, students attending online usually have flexible hours in which they "go to school", and they can attend class from anywhere, at anytime. 2) Lack of Satisfaction Many parents choose to enroll their children in a virtual school because they have become dissatisfied with their local, public schools. Furthermore, when a child is enrolled online, parents find they have more control over how and what their child learns.
3) Customized and Individualized Learning Another reason parents choose online classrooms for their children is due to individualized education plans. Students are given an assessment at the beginning of their online study and are later provided with an individualized education plan based on the results of their assessment. This evaluation determines a student's strengths and weaknesses and provides the teachers with guidance in determining the curriculum that the student will need in order to be successful in his or her academic studies.
4) Children Develop Independence Having to work on your own to complete class assignments by the given deadline will automatically enforce a greater level of responsibility. Online schools do just that, and parents enjoy this improvement in their child's character. Students that develop these skills will be better prepared for college and the working world.
5) More Family Time Some children spend more time at school than they do at home with their families. Hours in the class, tutoring, and extracurricular activities can be very demanding and leave parents with little to no time to spend with their child. On the other hand, online schooling can provide them with the best of both worlds; children can complete their studies and still spend quality time with their parents.
6) Children Are Away From Bad Situations Bullying, bad teaching, and sketchy curriculums cause parents to insist on a finding a better learning environment for their children. When a parent can keep track of their child through the day, he or she feels a sense of comfort and surety that public schools can't provide. Most believe attending a virtual school is best for a child's learning and emotional health.
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