Solutions Found in Online Schooling
In education, one size does not fit all and real solutions come in varying widths.
Most successful students need to be challenged. Some need to experience success. Others require a more disciplined environment—free from distractions—to thrive.
Online schooling can provide these and other solutions to students and their parents seeking to unleash their children’s full potential.
“When capable students engage with a rigorous, robust learning experience, they will thrive,” says Melissa King, K12’s director of early learning and product advancement. “As highly able students encounter challenging academic content, they will find their own ways to expand and go beyond.”
K12, the leader in online schooling, offers challenging content with access to stimulating digital resources, an array of hands-on and virtual labs as well as optional self-directed lessons and projects.
Online schooling helps ensure that students will not be bored, left lacking for teacher communications, or without the specialized courses and individual attention they need to maximize their educational experience.
It also allays key areas of parental concerns. Throughout the online educational process, K12 parents play an active role and can monitor how their student is progressing on a daily basis. Parents of high-achieving students appreciate the availability of advanced placement or honors classes, some of which, at the upper levels, can earn a student college credit.
In addition to challenging students, online schooling with K12 provides self-paced learning and a “no brakes” philosophy that makes it possible for students to accelerate if they are able to master concepts and skills at a rapid rate. In concert with adaptable scheduling, this also enables students to move forward to more advanced materials, go beyond the lesson plans with their own ideas, or pursue other valuable classroom and extracurricular activities.
At the other end of the spectrum, it can also eliminate the necessity to skip a grade which, in traditional schools, could prompt issues with maturity or bullying without addressing the true needs of the student.
Online schooling gives students the chance to “dive deep.” In many cases, public schools are forced to give certain subjects superficial treatment because they are attempting to teach to all levels of students in a classroom, some of whom could be less engaged or focused.
A learning environment that provides clear focus without distractions from dress codes and discipline can be a huge benefit of online schooling. There are no worries about catching the 6:30 AM bus, traffic snarls on the way to a library, or the horrors of a wrinkled blouse.
Students who might be shy or lack confidence among their peers in a traditional classroom can gain confidence by participating online with both teachers and classmates. While the pressure is reduced, access to shared documents and the access to audio/visual tools are increased.
Moreover, online schooling allows students to learn in any setting and outside of the home if needed.
“Certainly, the experience was more accommodating for my family,” says Patrick Keeney, former teacher and now K12’s director of college and career planning for high school product management. “When I traveled, my son could travel with me and still complete his online lessons.”
In many cases, students get to go their own way, becoming passionate about the books they choose to read and the electives they choose to study, especially in upper grades as they prepare for college.
As much as anything, online schooling helps students prepare for careers and the real-life experiences that lie ahead.
“We live in a world that is much more oriented toward technology and online delivery,” Keeney says. “While our online students are getting their education, they’re also building 21st-century skills. They’re using tools that are on their computers, [like] Excel and Word, in order to do much of their work. If you were to walk into a typical brick-and-mortar school, you might see that happening in a computer lab, but you wouldn’t see that in general.
“But, ultimately, it’s the instructional model that dictates how deeply students learn and understand what they learn. A student might be able to learn by rote memory and become a ‘fact monster’ and do well on a test. But, I think what we really want to produce are students that are motivated by excellent teachers. Our teachers are different because of the support they have. They have the opportunity to pull in different online activities. We have teachers who are showing students an extension of their laboratory experience on YouTube or are online going over a chemical problem that many students might find challenging.”
For more insight into online learning and the solutions it provides for elementary, middle school, and high school students, visit K12 online.
Seth Livingstone is a veteran writer and editor who has spent much of his career in sports journalism covering multiple Olympic Games, Super Bowls, World Series, and Daytona 500s. He covered the Boston Red Sox throughout the 1980s and 1990s before joining USA Today and Baseball Weekly in 1999. He maintains his membership in the Baseball Writers Association of America and is a Hall of Fame voter. Seth holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and has also worked as a substitute teacher (all grades and subjects). He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and has two grown children.