The number of students enrolling in online schools has risen rapidly in the past 10 years. So what’s the growing popularity all about for cyber schools or as some refer to them, online schools? I attribute this rapid growth to the many benefits that online schools offer :

1- We need options. Our children all learn in unique ways, they are not one size fits all and it’s not possible for every child’s learning style to be met by the nearest neighborhood brick and mortar school. So along with magnet schools, charter schools, and other open enrollment policies, we also have the option of online schools.

2- Students can school at their own pace. A child does not have to keep up with anyone but himself when it comes to moving on in coursework or sticking with it a bit longer to fully understand the concept. Laws differ from state to state, but in Colorado students are expected to complete a year’s worth of academic growth in a year’s time.

3–The flexibility to school when and where you want. Create your own schedule and work around those extracurricular activities and new opportunities that come up that you don’t want to miss. Perhaps some are working a full time job and this offers the flexibility to work and school when you can.

4– The ability to revisit lessons is an incredible plus whether it’s to review for an exam, or revisit to better understand. Each online school does things a bit differently, so something you might want to ask when enrolling. For Colorado Virtual Academy (COVA), our HS students have access to courses 24/7 for each semester and in our K-8 model, our students have access to their courses 24/7 from the day school begins and throughout the school year, including weekends and holidays.

5– A safe environment ranks up there as a key factor in the decision to choose an online school. This is a great option for the child who was being bullied at school or just didn’t fit in.

6–There are medical reasons why some children cannot attend a brick and mortar school and for whatever reason they are homebound.

7–Each child has a unique learning style and learns with an Individualized Learning Plan. Students move at a pace that allows for the concepts to be grasped before moving on, and lessons are tailored to that student’s academic strengths and weaknesses.

8–Since school work can take place at home or on the road or wherever an internet connection can be found, It’s easy to travel.

9– Sports or other pursuits that require a great deal of training can still be pursued. I met a mom who shared with me that her daughter has been training for the Olympics and she devotes 5-6 hours per day training…her dream is to be an Olympic ice-skater and her dream is that much more attainable with this model of education. She takes her school on the road!

And now let’s talk a bit about that burning question of socialization. So exactly how do cyber students socialize?

Personally, I believe that the reality of socialization is that when parents are involved in their child’s activities they are more likely to have more social opportunities. Same is true for cyber students. We don’t send our children to school to be socialized, but to be educated. The notion that children who school online are being deprived socially is just not true. Online schools offer lots of social opportunities where students interact face-to-face as well as online.

Again, each online school offers something a bit different, so when searching for the right online school for your family, be sure to ask what types of social opportunities are offered. Oh, and field trips…unless it’s a field trip specific to a certain age or academically relevant to a specific grade, everyone is usually invited to attend such as siblings, grandparents, and friends.

Below are ‘just a few’ of the social interactions our COVA students have available to them:

Field trips, HS dances, outings, parties, school newspaper, pen-pals, virtual bowling, Science Olympiad, Destination Imagination, ski trips, Regional Spelling Bee, Geography Bee, Meet and Greets, graduation ceremonies, Student Government, park days, a variety of clubs that meet both online and F2F, HS and Kindie graduation, field day, threaded discussions, and much, much more.

Most online schools provide an online community, again be sure to ask before enrolling if this is something that is important to you. Our school provides an online community platform for parents, students, teachers, and admin. This site houses info for upcoming events, workshops, newsletters, announcements, and offers a place to share comments, thoughts, and ideas in a threaded discussion format. It’s a secure resource that’s available 24/7. It’s sort of like the Facebook social networking site, but more secure and only accessible to our school community.

This growing trend of online education offers students the opportunity to have a world class education in a global economy where employers can choose workers from across the world. It’s important to educate and graduate students who can compete globally and are prepared for a lifetime of success.

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  1. Christine says:

    A big thanks for Lori for posting the wonderful comments about cyber school education. It has been a part of our lives for 8 years…and there are so many other children and families out there that need the support you have to offer!

  2. Great blog. Lots of great information. ” target=”_blank”>
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