So what is school really like for an online student? Do students in online schools spend the entire day on the computer? How do they communicate with the other students? Are they getting a comparable education?

For those unfamiliar with online learning, the details of an online student’s school day may seem like a mystery.

The fact is that a typical day in an online school varies with each student. Families in online schools customize their daily schedules to fit their lifestyles and their children’s learning needs.

Seventh-grader and online learner Elayna, for example, prefers starting her interactive classes early in the morning so she can then move on to her other lessons and homework. This schedule frees up her afternoons for theater class, sports, and other activities, while still allowing for quality Zachary holding a book at breakfast tablefamily time in the evening. Fifth-grader Zachary, on the other hand, likes a quieter start to his day. So he begins with offline course work before he signs into his Class Connect courses, where he will converse with his teachers and other students.

While the K12 curriculum covers the same subjects taught in traditional brick-and-mortar schools, online students enjoy more freedom in the way they structure their day. “I get to choose which things I get to do first,” says Zachary when describing his morning routine.

Elayna petting a dog

This extra freedom allows online students to fit their own unique interests and skill sets into their daily schedule. Elayna created a puppy club that she hosts on her school’s “Lunch Bunch” breakout room. She teaches the other club members about dog breeds, encourages them to vote for the cutest puppies, and even showed them how to make dog treats. “I saw another fellow student having a horse club, and I was inspired by the idea to run a club,” she says. “And I have a passion for puppies.”

Eleventh-grader PaolaPaola at her desk with computer and book has a passion for writing so spends much of her free time pursuing that interest, including working with her virtual school’s newspaper. She stresses that, despite the differences between brick-and-mortar classrooms and online schools, her courses are just as demanding as other high schools. “My favorite subject is U.S. history,” she says. “We have two honors projects this year and lot of assignments and a lot of lessons that really help you capture the essence of U.S. history.”

Between the many clubs and extracurricular activities, online students have plenty of opportunities to meet other students. But they also interact with other online learners and their teachers during their Class Connection sessions. “Class Connects are really engaging,” says Paola. “You get the opportunity to do interactive responses. You can raise your hand to answer a question. You can type in the chat box.”

Get an inside look at what online learning is really like by visiting K12’s A Day in the Life website. You’ll find videos and a simple breakdown of how these individual students spend their day. If you think an online learning environment may be right for your child, visit K12.com and request more information.

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