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Distance Education: Is It For You?

Online High School can be a great option, you just need to know if you are right for it.

Distance Education: Is It For You?

           In the past years, lots of parents have come up to me with a lot of questions about online - distance learning, something that for the student-athletes that we work together with is a very important topic. Therefore, I have decided to touch this topic and give a clearer idea to those that find themselves, parents and students, deciding whether or not they are moving their education to this unique method.

First of all, I need to go over the options students have for education as of now:

  • Traditional Education (Brick and Mortar): The most used educational method in the USA and the world.
  • Distance Learning (Online or Home Schooling): Student and his/her family choose for different reasons to do a distance education.
  • Mix of both

Distance Learning was first created and used in the 1990’s in the rural areas where students did not have an opportunity to go to traditional schooling. This way they could receive high-level education from their own home, at first, with the aforementioned homeschooling, and with the rise of the internet, online education.

Is important to keep in mind that online education is for you or your child if:

  • The schools in your area do not fit your academic level or interests. Transportation is an issue.
  • You travel frequently because, for example, your parents work
  • You do not fit socially into the classroom (bullying, etc)
  • You are not challenged and bored with the traditional school system. Your grades are dropping.
  • You have a health or physical impediment.
  • You have an exceptional talent for athletics or arts, and traditional school is not allowing you to dedicate the time you need to achieve your goals.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF DISTANCE LEARNING:

POSITIVES

  • Go at your own pace vs the class
  • Schedule tailored to your needs: More time to dedicate to your talent
  • Do your work at any place (traveling in competition, training center)
  • Save money vs regular private schools (transportation, fees, meals, etc)
  • No negative peer or group pressure to perform.
  • Fewer distractions (could be a negative also)
  • With the right program and grades, you will have the same college options than traditional schooling

NEGATIVES

  • You are on your own most of the time
  • Less sense of responsibility (easy to fall behind)
  • Less monitoring
  • More distractions
  • No support system other than your parents, online counselor
  • Miss out on social/school life / extracurricular activities (unless you are getting that somewhere else)
  • Less time with your school friends

Students that succeed with the online educational system do so because:

  • They have a High sense of responsibility for their education
  • They are Self-challenged and motivated to chart your own path
  • They are very comfortable with technology
  • They are getting your social interaction somewhere else.

Making the transition towards the online educational system should not be forced and should be a decision well thought. One of the main reasons student-athletes do so is due to the fear of falling behind his fellow competitors and the need to require more time for training and competition to achieve his/her dream goals: Professional or top college team.

Lastly, a concern for parents is that with the boom of some educational systems, they may fall into the wrong one that could jeopardize their child’s future. According to Niche.com and Consumer Affairs ranking websites, these are the top Online Educational High School Programs:

Niche 

STANFORD ONLINE

LAUREL SPRINGS

CONNECTIONS ACADEMY

 

Consumer Affairs

Whitmore School

Laurel Springs School

K12

 

photo 
Thomas E. Anderson
President & Founder at  University Sports Program



 

 

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