5 Things to Consider When Determining if Online School is a Good Fit for Your K–12 Student


The average American grade school student spends nearly 1,200 hours in school each year. Is your child getting the most out of each moment?

For some kids, the approach to education within a brick-and-mortar school works well. It’s the perfect solution for their educational needs. But what about those kids who don’t shine in the traditional educational model? Any school-related decision—including determining if online school is a good fit—is a big one. Here are a few questions to help inform the path you choose for your child.

Why am I looking for an alternative for my child's K-12 education?

Looking for alternatives to public school is often rooted in a common challenge: A brick-and-mortar classroom space is intended for children to learn en masse, five days per week, and while in the building for a set number of hours each day. Your child may not be learning at the pace, level, or in the environment that best suits their needs. Local brick-and-mortar schools can be a solution for some, but you need a solution for your student.

If your child is an accelerated learner or shows interest and talent in a particular discipline (scholastic, artistic, athletic, or something else), they may feel confined by traditional grade-level curricula or restricted by rigid schedules. Perhaps your child is a neurodiverse learner and is developing unique strategies to best support their success in different subject areas. Maybe your family is planning a relocation and there is a stark difference between your current district and your prospective one. Maybe your child's talent requires a dedication of time that doesn't fit into the boundaries of a regular school day.

Whatever the circumstances, if you are considering an alternative K–12 experience, quality of education is likely at the top of your list of concerns, as it should be! To ensure a school meets the highest standards of excellence, consider its accreditation. If the school is accredited, what are the criteria and thresholds for the accreditation? Do the accreditation and the standards serve your student's goals?

What is your student’s five-year plan?

If you ask your first-grader this question, the answers may vary from astronaut to mermaid. But if your child is old enough to consider what they hope to see in their future, this may indicate the type of school experience best to support their future.

Take, for example, students bound for collegiate, professional, or Olympic sports. It takes years of training and preparation to achieve these goals. And school can not take a back seat! For Olympic, professional, or college-bound student-athletes, online school offers the flexibility they need to work toward their athletic goals while completing their education at the same time. Similarly, for professional or 

If your child’s goals involve traveling, competitions, and training that would interfere with their ability to be in a brick-and-mortar school from 9 am to 4 pm, you may decide that traditional schooling is not right for your learner. An asynchronous approach may allow them more flexibility.

What does your child want from school, socially?

Your child’s expectations for their social interactions could play a huge role in decision making. From special events like prom to the everyday routine of sitting at lunch with a circle of friends, or riding home together on the school bus, social-emotional growth is an essential part of learning.

But for children who don’t see these interactions as a perk in their day, locker rooms and crowded hallways can be detrimental. Online school can provide students with the opportunities to develop social-emotional skills and interact in a way that is comfortable for them.

Do these types of experiences exist the same way in an online environment as in person? Not exactly. That's not to say they don't exist, though. Our children are growing up in a different world—a world that is as much virtual as it is face-to-face.

We recognize the importance of a feeling of togetherness and camaraderie. This is why we foster a remote community of virtual field trips, more than 30 online clubs and groups, and a private social network for students. While our pupils are entire states, countries, and even continents apart, they may still come together or key events including prom for grades 8–12, travel learning experiences, in-person field trips, and graduation.

Is the environment the key factor to success?

In traditional schools, teaching must be done in a way that serves as many students as possible. You, more than anyone else, understand your child’s unique set of circumstances and the ways a regular school day misses the mark.

Accessibility in traditional schools—physically and mentally—can be inconsistent or downright unattainable. In online schools like Laurel Springs School, students work from the comfort of…well, wherever they’re comfortable!

Worried about how technology accessibility can impact your student’s education? Our computer technology experts are available 10 hours a day Monday through Friday for students and parents via phone or email.

How invested are you in your child’s education?

Making investments in our children’s college education is not uncommon. Why shouldn’t that be the norm for their K–12 education too?

The standard of academics afforded in private schooling comes with tuition costs. However, we believe the opportunities for your student should be as affordable as they are amazing. That is why our tuition is among the most affordable in the private online learning realm. We offer affordable tuition, payment options including 0% payment plans; and loyalty, military, sibling, and paid in full discounts for eligible families.

Ready to learn more? Our admissions counselors are ready to answer all of your tuition and enrollment questions!

Learn what parents and students have to say about the Laurel Springs experience.