Common Myths of Online Education for Grades K-12
As time and technology move forward, online learning has developed into a plausible answer to a child’s K-12 education needs. With the convenience of accessing online courses from home, right on your laptop, it’s no wonder that more parents are turning to online schools like Laurel Springs for elementary school, middle school, and high school programs for their children. Making the decision to enroll your child in an online school can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially when it’s difficult to envision exactly what happens when your child “does school” in a virtual environment. Lack of challenging coursework, socialization opportunities, and access to competitive colleges and universities are just a few of the misconceptions that exist surrounding online K-12 education. This article is poised to help clear up some of these common myths.
The Myths vs. the Truth of Virtual Learning
- Myth: “Online Education is Easier than Traditional Schools.”
While working at home instead of in a classroom every day seems like it would be easier, the coursework for virtual learning requires just as much time and attention as in-class assignments. In addition, students need to practice a high level of self-discipline and responsibility when enrolled in online courses since it’s up to them to stay on top of their workload and submit their assignments by the submission dates. Giving students the responsibility of managing their own school schedule allows them to better self-advocate for their education, which translates to other aspects of their lives as well.
- Myth: “Instructors Aren’t Available to Interact with Online Students.”
Every online school is different. Some programs provide synchronous learning, where a teacher is leading the class virtually, and others are asynchronous, allowing students to learn the material independently and work at their own pace. At Laurel Springs School, students are introduced to their teachers at the beginning of their semester and provided office hours in which these teachers are available for one-on-one interaction. Students decide which method works best for them to communicate with their instructors, who are available to help guide students through their coursework and provide a deeper level of understanding of the material, if needed.
- Myth: “It Is More Common for Online Students to Cheat.”
For many years, cheating in online courses was a concern, but technology has evolved to address this concern. There are browser-blocking functions, keystroke tracking, and other monitoring tools functions that prevent cheating during tests and other assignments. In fact, these online technologies sometimes make virtual classrooms more cheat-proof than traditional classrooms. Online education tends to have different ways to evaluate students. Cheating even becomes too much of a hassle when the courses utilize frequent assessments, video presentations, and lively interaction during classroom discussions. For example, at Laurel Springs, we require mid-term and final exams to be proctored by an individual not related to the student. This proves the student’s independent understanding of the material by removing any advantage they may receive in having a family member present during the exam.
- Myth: “Universities and Employers Won’t Recognize a K-12 Online Education.”
This myth is one that may have had more validity years ago, but as technology advances, more colleges and even workplaces are going virtual, and this style of learning is becoming more accepted in K-12 education as well. Of course, there are disreputable online courses and institutions, so students and parents will want to do their research to verify the school’s credibility before signing up in order to avoid wasting time and money. However, there is a rising number of online institutions with accreditation and wider acceptance among colleges and universities. Laurel Springs’ transcripts are recognized by universities and colleges all over the world, giving students global access for furthering their education.
- Myth: “Online Schooling Lacks Interaction with Other Students.”
There is a stark contrast between spending your day among a classroom of your peers and spending it working independently on your schoolwork. But, students don’t have to sacrifice socialization when they enroll in an online school. Students have many paths for building their social network of friends. At Laurel Springs School, not only are students able to interact with their peers via online discussion forums in their classes, or group project work, but they also have the opportunity to join clubs, which meet on a monthly basis and are focused around the hobbies and interests of the students. These methods of online communication can sometimes be easier for introverted students to converse and bond with fellow classmates.
- Myth: “Online Schools Aren’t Accredited.”
While this statement may be true for some, a considerable number of online institutions have taken the steps to gain accreditation and partake in the rigorous process of renewing this accreditation regularly. Attending an accredited online school, such as Laurel Springs, ensures students will receive reciprocity of credits, making transferring to another school or applying to college more seamless.
Laurel Springs School: Working Beyond the Myths
While online schools are still working to be widely accepted in the world of formal education, programs like those offered by Laurel Springs School provide a challenging curriculum that students can complete independently and tailor to their own personal schedules. And with the skills they learn, such as independent motivation, discipline, and proficiency with digital technology, their education becomes the foundation for them to grow and flourish on their own in college and beyond. To learn more about your child’s educational options at Laurel Springs’ online private K-12 school, give us a call or send us an email.