Our culture has conditioned us to think of late summer as the time for our kids to go back to school. Usually, an assumption has been made well ahead of time and the location is a given with few exceptions.

Sometimes, life can’t revolve around the local back-to-school date.

At K12, we have students starting school at various times all year long. Families come to virtual education for a myriad of reasons. They start early, or in the middle or even latter part of the traditional school year to maximize their children’s potential and complete an unparalleled education in a safe, nurturing environment.

Though reasons for joining K12 mid-year vary and are unique to each family, they tend to fall into the following categories:

The Mid-Year Family Move. Job changes don’t only uproot families in the summer. Sometimes a family needs to move suddenly, shifting towns, states or even countries, and so a change in school is inevitable. Rather than being “the-new-kid-in-class” or end up enrolled in a school that is not ideal for them, virtual education allows a student to acclimate to their new home, town/city and activities in a far less stressful manner while keeping forward motion in learning.

The Wrong Fit. Just because a school worked for a child last year doesn’t mean that it will continue to be appropriate for them, but very often a family won’t know that a student needs a change until after the school year has begun. It might be that the student needs a different environment for learning, a different method of instruction, fewer distractions, an alternate teaching style or a different peer group. Moving to a virtual school allows for academic success and greater parental involvement, while allowing the student to regain a comfort level with learning.

Health Needs. Over the years we’ve encountered many families who have come to virtual education because a brick and mortar school building was an unhealthy location for their child. Whether because of fragile immune systems, allergies, asthma, critical illness or the need for frequent hospitalizations or treatments, families have found that schooling at home with K12 has allowed their student to remain healthier and heal from sicknesses. Virtual education has also been an option when the parent is the one who is ill. In times of health trauma, virtual education allows families to remain close and removes a layer of “who has to be where, when” from the equation. There are times when being close by is necessary and schooling at home makes that possible.

Academic Focus. After experiencing a brick-and-mortar school, a family may decide that it isn’t meeting the needs of their child. Perhaps a child needs more 1:1 time in order to learn best, but isn’t considered Special Needs. Virtual education allows a parent to provide that experience for their child. The child-to-adult ratio will never be better than when they are schooled at home. Perhaps a child is able to learn more quickly than his/her peers in class. Virtual education allows them to move through content and lessons at a quicker pace, learning at their own rate. K12’s curriculum is challenging and encourages thorough learning.

The Unforeseen. K12’s virtual education program is here…all the time. Many families who join mid-year never anticipated needing an option. They usually tell us that everything had been going well with their child’s previous educational experience, but then the unexpected happened. Trauma, fear, change in family circumstances, opportunities, or simply, a request. “Mom, I’d like to be schooled at home.” “Mom, I think I could learn doing that. Can we try it?”

Whatever the reason, whatever the time, K12 is here for families every month of the year. Our goal is to make sure that every student has access to a great education in a safe, challenging, individualized environment and we’re here to welcome your student anytime.

Enrollment specialists, who work with families through the process of getting started, advise families starting mid-year to work with their teacher to develop a plan to catch up and focus on key lessons, quizzes, and tests rather than every single lesson to save time. Some schools have cohorts, which means students are grouped with other late starters in their class that move at a faster pace so they can finish the year on time.

It’s important to remember students have often covered similar information in their previous school, so there may not be much catching up to do. In addition, Strong Start resources cover many onboarding issues and are referenced in each student’s K12 acceptance email. And be sure to check out how K12 high school teacher Eric Buffington welcomes his late school year starters for some extra inspiration.

Of course, every situation and every child is different. K12’s International Academy, an accredited, online private school for grades K–12, is another route for parents and students to consider when needing a mid-year change. K12’s International Academy offers students a number of helpful options for mid-year enrollment. Students can begin where they left off at their previous school, or start their new curriculum at day one and complete the curriculum on the full 180-day schedule.

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