Are you considering enrolling your child in cyber school? Cyber school can be a great option for various reasons. It provides flexibility, an individualized learning environment, safety, convenience, and much more.
Yet, how do you know if it’s the right fit for your child? Many families looking for a change have to consider several factors. While the idea of no longer waiting for the bus on a cold morning is a huge benefit, there are many things to weigh before making a decision.
In this article, you will ask yourself a few questions to help you determine whether cyber school is the right option. Then, you will learn the pros and cons that cyber education offers. If you’re leaning towards enrolling your child in cyber school, you will also learn how to choose the right school model.
Let’s get started.
How to Determine Whether Cyber School Is Right for Your Child
Cyber education may be a great option for your family. Yet, regardless of what attracted you to this option, you need to consider many factors to help you decide whether it’s suitable for you and your child.
Ask yourself the following questions.
1. Are You Committed to Helping Your Child Succeed in Cyber School?
Your interest and commitment are crucial for your child’s success in this educational model. In a virtual setting, the parent has an obligation to stay home during the day while the child attends school. The purpose of this is to provide your child with academic support when they need it.
Parental involvement will vary depending on the grade level. However, if your child is younger, you may need to provide more direction throughout the school day.
Therefore, you may need to involve yourself by encouraging your child and ensuring they participate in class. Essentially, you fit the role by being your child’s learning coach. You can help your child succeed by:
- Frequently communicating with teachers and other virtual staff.
- Ensuring regular attendance.
- Helping them complete assignments on time.
Time commitment and dedication are important for parents to understand – it’s a requirement for your child to reach their full academic potential.
2. Is Your Family Comfortable With Technology?
You should know that cyber school is a virtual setting. Therefore, it does require families to have some experience with technology since most of the learning occurs online. However, the experience your child gains in technology from attending cyber school can benefit them in the future.
If you enroll your child in cyber education, you should ensure you properly set up the computer the school provides. The cyber school will offer support to assist families if you run into any technical issues.
Most parents will have a school email account they can use and check regularly. Yet, if you’re not comfortable using technology, you don’t have to let this deter you from enrolling your child.
Many cyber schools help families and students get comfortable by implementing orientation in the first few weeks. Cyber schools have designed these programs to help students and parents become fluent in how the technology works.
3. How Motivated Is Your Child to Learn at Home?
Students spend most of their time online and attending classes on a regular school day. Therefore, it will be important for your child to remain motivated to take responsibility for their learning.
Cyber school teachers expect your child to be engaged in lessons and participate in class. They should also be proactive in communicating with teachers when they need help or guidance on assignments.
You can help your child stay motivated by learning a few techniques. For instance, you can post your child’s schedule so they know what to expect throughout their day.
Taking frequent breaks throughout the day is also crucial. That way, they can get back on track and feel refreshed when they return to their lessons.
Students should also have access to a dedicated space for learning. Having an area made for learning at home keeps your child free from distractions so they can stay focused.
One way you can keep your child motivated is by creating this space together. That way, they can look forward to learning in an area you both made together.
The Pros of Cyber School
Now that you’ve had a chance to ask yourself the top questions and begin determining whether a cyber school is right for your situation, here are some pros and cons to weigh.
1. Flexible Scheduling
One of the most popular reasons why parents enroll their children in virtual classes is the flexibility of the scheduling it offers.
Students can work on assignments at any time of the day and access their lessons from anywhere the internet is available. Plus, students can work on course material at their own pace. In addition, they’ll have time to attend other obligations such as doctor appointments, sports, and other extracurricular activities.
Furthermore, flexible scheduling teaches students the important concept of time management.
Some parents assume cyber schooling accustoms students to isolation and independent academics. While your child does learn at home, that doesn’t mean they will be alone.
Online education allows students to interact with others easily. They work closely with teachers and make new friends online. Through virtual learning, your child will develop the social skills that are vital in life.
Cyber schools also provide activities outside the online learning environment, including field trips. These activities will allow your child to connect with other students from different communities and backgrounds.
3. Personalized Curriculums
The curriculums at cyber schools are customizable, ensuring your child receives an education that helps meet their interests and needs.
Each child learns differently. Some students take more time to learn a new lesson, while others quickly grasp a new concept. Meanwhile, some students require more guidance than others.
A personalized curriculum means your child will have a place that easily adapts to their learning style and fosters educational development. Therefore, your child will stay motivated in their learning endeavors, positively impacting their school performance.
The Cons of Cyber School
1. Some Students Learn Better In Person
You might find that online learning is a poor option for your child since some learn better in an in-person classroom. A virtual setting could result in lower grades, less success, and a higher risk of dropping out.
However, some students learn better in a virtual setting because in-person environments can be distracting. It all depends on the child and which situation is more challenging. Therefore, proactive interventions from the parent may need to be in place for positive results to occur.
2. More Opportunities to Cheat on Lessons
Before the internet became widespread, children learning at home often had access to answer keys in the back of their books. If parents weren’t properly supervising them, they could use these resources to provide the correct answers to problems.
Yet, thanks to the internet, cyber schools now have a similar problem. If a child is stuck on answering a question, they can simply search for the answers on Google. However, some assignments may be designed in a way that requires students to provide evidence to support their understanding.
Either way, cyber education might not present an accurate representation of learning.
3. Easier for Students to Become Stuck on an Assignment
At certain times, students may get confused about an assignment. Though having questions is normal, some issues may arise outside regular office hours.
When help isn’t available during certain times, this becomes a disadvantage. Students can always reach out to their teacher for answers. However, they might not have a chance to respond immediately.
Because of this situation, children sometimes have to wait for answers to their questions, which can become frustrating in the end.
How to Choose the Right School
If you’re enrolling your child in school, the most daunting question you may face is, “How do I choose the right school for my child?”
If you’re leaning towards cyber school, there are many questions you should ask the administrators.
1. Are the Cyber School’s Teachers Certified?
Some teachers at a cyber charter school may not be certified or aren’t certified at the appropriate level. For example, Pennsylvania cyber charter schools allow up to 25% of teachers to be uncertified. With this in mind, it’s important to ask the school who will teach your child and ask about their state certifications.
2. How Many Hours of Live Instruction?
Cyber schools often use recorded lessons that students use for individual learning. Therefore, some virtual schools may offer limited live classes. Having more live interactive lessons may be helpful to your child’s education, so it’s important to check with your cyber school about this.
3. How Does Cyber School Measure Up Against the Local School District?
Some cyber schools rank among the lowest-performing schools in certain areas. It’s critical to check and see how it will measure up against the local school district by researching online.
Determining Whether Cyber School Is Right for Your Child
Enrolling your child in cyber school is a big decision. Therefore, asking questions and examining the pros and cons of cyber school is an important step before making a final decision.
Cyber school isn’t always the best for every child. Yet, after weighing several factors and conducting research, you should be able to determine whether cyber school is right for your child.