Virtual Kids’ Clubs Offer Social Opportunities for Online Students
One of the first questions asked by parents looking into online education is “What about socialization?” They imagine their children lacking friends and involvement in kids’ clubs associated with school.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, for students in K12 online schools, it isn’t that way at all.
There are many dynamic social programs within the K12 network that includes more than 130,000 students worldwide. The company places a high priority on these programs because they’re crucial to overall student success. Some experts have found lack of positive socialization opportunities can affect some children’s academic performance. It’s also possible students who cannot relate to their peers may be shunned and are at a higher risk of developing self-esteem issues or apathy about school. Also, skills such as conflict resolution, understanding and forming positive social interactions, respect for people and their ideas, taking turns, and taking responsibility for their own actions can all be honed through positive socialization opportunities.
K12’s National Student Clubs has more than 100 club options, allowing students to connect on a wide variety of topics with a broad range of students, both in numbers and locations. Options range from Photography and Model United Nations to Pop Music and Duct Tape Art, with up to 300 participants from around the world. Each club meets regularly via a live online session that’s recorded so students don’t have to fret if they have to miss the live session time. Some clubs welcome guest speakers or collaborate on group projects and competitions.
This year’s options for kids’ clubs include:
- Hobbies: Legos, American Girls Club, Cyberstacking
- Foreign Interest: Spanish, French
- Language Arts and History: Virtual Field Trips, Creative Writing
- Math, Science, and Technology: Caring for Animals, Stock Market Club
- Friendly Competition: Quiz Bowls
- College and Career: Scholarships, Careers, etc.
- Music, Art, and Dance: Duct Tape Art, Learn to Play Guitar
- Success Builders: Health& Fitness, Character Ed
- Impact the World: Operation Lemonade, American Red Cross
A few of our online club leaders offer more insight:
Laura W. teaches grades 3-5 at California Virtual Academies, and has led the American Girl Hobby Club for the past two years with about 200 students in each of her four sections, and ensures that the club’s main goal consists of more than dolls. She believes that “American Girl” dolls serves as role models for today’s girls, focusing on character traits and open mindset thought processes that they need to develop at their present stages of development. By using real-life scenarios, the club allows participants to learn all sorts of things through the dolls. During club meetings, Laura demonstrates a craft or recipe, a section on looking back into the character’s time in history, a story that fits the theme focus of the month, and a doll-care feature. She also allows the girls a chance to appear on video (after the recording is turned off for internet privacy concerns) to show their dolls, crafts, drawings, and more.
Andrew D. is a high school Social Studies teacher at Ohio Virtual Academy and leads the Pop Music Club and the United We Stand Club. As someone who has always loved pop music and is knowledgeable about it, and as a Social Studies teacher, he was a great fit for both. Andrew really uses the Pop Music Club time to allow students to relate with each other, and loves playing great music for the students. In United We Stand, he likes seeing the students have the opportunity to voice their opinions and allows them to give topics of discussion based on what’s going on in the news.
Roger G. is a middle school Science teacher, and he has led a filmmaker club for Ohio Virtual Academy students for three years. What that means is that in addition to having the opportunity to connect with students around the state virtually, Roger also has the ability to host in-person meetings for students to meet and complete an animation workshop, and an all-day production workshop. He comes from 30 years of experience in television and video production, so during virtual club meetings, he taught students how to create short films, how to use lighting, sound, cinematography, editing, and special effects. ‘Campers’ were given a series of assignments to build their skills, from telling a story in three shots, to a chase scene, and finally to create a how-to video. They also had a guest speaker, an independent filmmaker from Chicago, who shared his experiences with the campers.
The leaders agree that these club options give students the opportunity to expand their education beyond traditional classes and allow students to be creative, collaborate and have fun.
- 10 Ways to Socialize Your Children in an Online School
- Tim Tebow, Homeschooling, Socialization, and K12
- USA Today: Even bizarre college clubs get students more engaged
- Science Daily: Youth Clubs Strengthen Kids’ Self Image to Keep Them out of Trouble
- Why is it important for children to learn socialization skills and how can teachers and parents facilitate this learning?
- How Secular Homeschooling Affects Socialization
Brittany Marklin is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a community manager for K12. She coordinates all K12 student contests and connects with families who pursue online education. She attended George Mason University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, with a minor in tourism and events management. Brittany spent her first five years at K12 on the social media team where she aided with content and strategy for multiple channels, and helped construct K12’s user-generated content site, “What’s Your Story?” When she’s not working, Brittany loves spending time with her husband and daughter in North Carolina.