Getting Schooled about Online Schooling
I have to admit something. When I first started working at K12, my thoughts around the who, what and how of schooling at home – either offline or online – were defined mainly by the media: television shows, newspaper articles, and long-held-stereo-types. It’s fair to say that I had some serious preconceived notions and lots of questions about this whole “online education” thing. You may have had the same questions -- about socialization, community opportunities and about the quality of education.
Here I am, five years later, to tell you- I have been schooled--schooled in how online education can offer help and hope to kids and their families. I have seen parents, who, when given the opportunity to actively participate in the education of their children, can make all the difference. I have seen online education work for so many kids and families out there.
Over the past few weeks, I have come across some very inaccurate reporting by some major news organizations about online education. Although the inaccuracies in their reports should be called out, they highlight an even bigger issue to me, as a parent. The focus needs to be put back on what's in the best interest of our children - not some hunt for a bad guy.
Last year, during my seven year old son’s first grade conference, his teacher shared some concerns with me. She said “Because of class sizes and budget cuts, public school students are required to fit within a box. Any child that falls outside of that box has a harder time succeeding.”
I spent a lot of time thinking about what she said and this idea of an “outside of the box” student. She could be talking about any of our children. Gifted kids, kids with learning disabilities, mental disabilities, bullying issues, home issues, or those ‘outside of the box’ thinkers that may require a different approach to learning than what is available at their brick and mortar school. Each one of these kids could fall into this “outside of the box” category.
It’s impossible for the neighborhood public school to meet the needs of each and every student. Our kids learn in unique ways -- just look at how different each of your kids’ personalities is as proof. Applying today’s technology to current learning strategies can help create learning environments that are individualized and flexible enough to meet the needs of many of these so called “outside of the box” students.
Is online education the right approach for every child? No, of course not. But the same can be said of the traditional brick and mortar school approach. What we should be talking about is giving parents a stronger voice in this discussion and an opportunity to decide which educational approach to choose based on their own child's individual learning needs.
K12 Choice: k12choice.com