This year my sister Gabby decided to place her two granddaughters in a public online school. They said it was free to attend; what they didn’t tell you is it’s expensive if you don’t have scientific equipment (microscope, slides), art supplies (special paper, name brand paint, chalk, crayons, canvas), math tools (calculator, compass, rulers) just to name a few. It cost $300.00 the first week’s assignments to get started.
One has to be self-motivated, self-disciplined, and have the desire to accomplish goals. There are seven 45 minutes lessons due every day with a 30 hours minimum workload. If you get behind in your lessons; the teachers will work with you- but it becomes like a snowball trying to outrun an avalanche. This is not for the faint of heart.
If you skip a practice, quiz, or exercise you are marked as incomplete and you can’t move beyond to the next lesson. It doesn’t matter how many tantrums you throw- you’re not moving forward. You can blame the computer, you can call the help desk and they will research the issue, bottom line_ you are still responsible to get the assignments done.
One has to make a commitment to succeed. There aren’t any alarm clocks to go off and wake you up in the morning and tell you to get to school. If you procrastinate, it only adds to your stress of getting things accomplished that day. There aren’t any school dress codes or uniforms to wear- but it’s important for your self-esteem to dress as if there were (sorry, pj’s all day long don’t count). And most important you have to show up ready to work. That means having materials ready, pencils and paper available if you don’t use the online note tracker feature, and computer logged in.
One has to put forth an effort. You have an online classroom teacher that connects with you for online live sessions and small class size online groups if you avail yourselves of them. Your teacher will provide feedback on your assignments- you have to be handle being critiqued. No one else is to blame if you fail a portion or all of your assignment. You will get kudos for passing an assignment in the teacher’s feedback. In public school, you can make excuses and get away with a lot until test time catches up with you. You also get peer praises to bolster your confidence. On the downside, your peers can reinforce a negative behavior or cause you to think less of yourself.
One doesn’t have social pressure in an online school. The pressure is self-driven and internal. There aren’t any clicks to navigate through. You aren’t bullied by anyone except maybe the computer (lol) and parental force (sigh). You don’t have any prestige or team sports and clubs spirit to attend, despite the school offering them to you via the internet, think chess club, debate, art shows, etc.
Parents have to make a commitment to have you up and dressed and ready to go to work for public, private, or online school. In my sister’s case, she has to drive 38 miles each way to the library, since, they can’t get internet service on the mountain where they live. It can be inconvenient, time-consuming (152 miles daily) and gas/maint expenses add up quickly. Local public school is only 7 miles away. In public school you can have an IEP (Individual Educational Plan) meeting on short notice, you have quick access to the teacher’s time. You can form working relationships; party time, volunteering events and tutoring yours and other children. You can carpool to local school and field trips. Your child can share experiences with other peer children at field trips in a public or private school. Online students meet a group of strangers at a given date and time frame and write their report or portfolio by themselves- no group work.
Children have to be educated- they are our future workforce replenishing the worn out senior citizens. Minimal paying jobs are a dime a dozen, which means you’re often treated like you are dispensable, and it’s hard to make lasting working relationships with your boss or peers. Minimal paying jobs keep you in or at the poverty level living style. College is not for everyone, but trade schools are. From being a mechanic, realtor, skilled laborer, trade schools teach one on a fast track towards success, that doesn’t require a lot of formal education like college does. College is a constant building block from Kindergarten onwards for a 16-17 year commitment to just learning and practice at work while you get a Bachelor’s Degree. Certifications are short, quick classes that tell potential employers that you have a specific skill set. I highly recommend certifications to pre & post trade or college level students. It may make a difference in getting chosen for a promotion or salary increase.
Finally, whether you choose public, private, or online school go at it with gusto. I tell my children to see it, believe it, and achieve it. Meaning if you can conceive an idea in your brain, believe in it with your heart, then you can achieve success. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.