Posted by Vickie McCullough on Jan 29, 2020 2:54:00 PM
Starting online high school can be an overwhelming time for both the student and the parent. Parents are likely to feel apprehensive about the child learning from home, and the child may be worried about missing friends and classmates he or she is used to seeing every day. But with a little research and preparation, any family might decide that this alternative to traditional schooling is right for them.
Key Things To Know Before Starting Online High School
Students Follow a Strict Curriculum
Just like a brick and mortar school, online high school teaches students the key components of a well-rounded education. The curriculum follows one similar to the one taught at other schools in the area and is evaluated by external experts to earn accreditation. The subjects and tests will cover the same major points as those in a regular school.
Structure and Routine Are Key
To be successful at online schooling, the student needs to keep a routine similar to the students at a physical high school and devote time to school each day. Some lessons will be conducted in a learning lab environment, where students can interact with the teacher and classmates. Others will require them to post to discussion boards where they can debate certain points. There's also independent reading and assignments that the student submits for grading online.
Socialization is Included in Many Programs
Parents are often concerned about the lack of socialization that online schooling can lead to, but modern online school programs are designed to include opportunities for socialization. Field trips, learning experiences and social outings are planned to bring kids together with classmates, but parents may need to supplement these activities with extra opportunities to meet other children. Many local community organizations, like the YMCA or local library, have a program for homeschoolers that meets once or twice week.
Answering Students' Big Questions
If your student has questions about online school, we have answers! Here are some of the most commonly asked questions by new students.
Are online classes easier?
Although online classes allow you to move at your own pace and engage with the material in a variety of unique ways, they certainly aren't easier than traditional courses. The most challenging thing is getting used to the self-paced work and learning to make time management a priority.
How can I make friends?
Because online classes allow you to interact with your classmates digitally, you can make friends at an online high school. However, you'll also have more free time to go out and meet people who share your interests, or to get involved in your community. So you have plenty of options!
Is there anything I can do to be more successful?
The best tips for starting at an online high school are to read all the directions (especially when you're first getting used to new websites and digital tools). Ask your teachers for help whenever you need it and make sure to set up a comfortable workspace to help you focus.
Transferring to Online School Mid-Year is Doable
Traditional brick-and-mortar schools aren’t always the environment most conducive to learning for every student. Some children find they need more assistance and aren’t getting the tailored help they need in a public school. Others deal with behavioral issues and can benefit from a safer learning environment. Still, others are gifted and find their classes unchallenging—even resulting in poor grades as they react to their boredom.
Moving mid-year is possible! There's no need to make your student wait for a new school year if they are ready to switch. Whatever the reason for the transfer, ICON can help meet every student’s unique needs and keep their education going strong, even during times of transition.
Tips for a Smooth Transition
Whether you’re considering a mid-year transfer or a new school year start to an Idaho online school, here are a few ways to help ensure a smooth transition.
- Do your research: Call ahead and discuss your options with school officials, and do your homework to know the ins and outs of your student’s new school. There should be no last-minute surprises if you ask all your questions ahead of time.
- Start the paperwork early: There are plenty of forms and documents you’ll need to complete the transfer: transcripts, immunization records, and more. Start the paperwork as soon as you can, to get everything out of the way in time.
- Get your student involved: Whenever possible, get your child’s input. Although the ultimate decision to enroll them in an online public school is your call, letting them select things such as a new desk to work from could help them take ownership.
For more information about a mid-year switch or to inquire about starting the new semester with ICON, get in touch. We can help you decide whether our Idaho online school is right for your student and assist you in the enrollment process.
Written by Vickie McCullough
Vickie McCullough is the Head of School at ICON - Idaho Connects Online School, serving 6-12 grade students throughout the state of Idaho.