What Do I Ask?

Last November I interviewed Doug Hering, author of Charter School Insights blog and writer for Examinier.com. Doug offered great insight into what charter schools are, how they’re accountable, and what makes them different from the traditional neighborhood schools. It’s a great read for parents who might be interested in learning more about charter schools.

I followed up with a post on Considering a Charter School?, which offered some suggestions on what types of questions parents might consider asking when visiting a potential charter school for their child.

But what about questions to ask when considering enrolling in an online school?

As I mentioned in my post, take advantage of the school’s website because often the school offers a FAQ page where you can get your answers by the click of a mouse, and schools are very transparent nowadays, or at least they should be, and their website should offer other pages which might contain answers to your questions.

Online schools and charter school are both public schools, so many of your questions would be very similar to those listed here, but for exploring the online option, I would add to the list by including these questions as well:

How do Parents/Learning Coaches/Mentors partner with teachers?

What is the role of the teacher?

Does the online school offer Advisors and Counselors?

I’m not very tech savvy, what type of support will I get as a parent so I can help my child?

Do textbooks come in digital form?

I hear so much about the flexibility that online schools offer. Does course work need to be completed within the school year or do we have 12 months to complete a year?

I’ve heard lots about how the online model allows students to move at their own pace. How will that look for my child? If my child completes a core class, like English or Math in 3 months, will my child be able to move ahead to the next grade level? And is that the case with History and Science?

Will my child receive a computer? ISP reimbursement?

Explain how attendance gets recorded.

How are state tests administered in an online school?

How are school materials delivered and what needs to be returned and how is it returned?

What if I don’t have space at home to create a school room?

How would I manage multiple children in multiple levels and subjects?

How do I help my child school while working around my younger and older children?

Specifically, what is the parent’s role in an online model?

As a parent, how much of the day could I expect to be doing school with my child?

We travel, is this model doable considering our family travel?

Is concurrent enrollment an option in this online school?

Does your online school have a chapter in the National Honor Society?

Does your online school have prom, continuation for 8th graders, and graduation for HS?

Will this online school prepare my child for college?

What about socialization? (Scroll down to read about socialization)

Thankfully there are many public school options out there, but each state offers something different, so be informed, know your child and what your child’s specific learning needs are, and ask the questions that are most important to you and your family.

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  1. This is a great list. I'm actually bookmarking it so that I'll be able to find it when I talk to our Pal.

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