6 Keys to Online High School SuccessJuly 22, 2011
Quality online high schools offer flexibility and a variety of learning modalities to suit the needs of a variety of students. In many ways, homeschooled students who use accredited online programs may have a greater chance of success than those who attend a public or private schools. The secret to that success often lies in the choice of schools and the individual learning approaches they offer.
Let’s look at 6 keys ideas for online high school success.
#1 – Pick an Accredited Online High School. – Only consider schools certified from accreditation groups which are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and your state department of education. Many colleges and universities as well as employers only recognize diplomas from accredited schools. Many government jobs and federal college loan repayment programs will only honor graduates from accredited high schools.[i] (This applies to both brick and mortar and online schools.) Accreditation will only be given schools which meet and maintain a set standard of educational excellence.
#2 – Set up a Learning Schedule that Works with Your Time Requirements. – Traditional schools work on a fixed schedule. They start in the morning and end in the afternoon, five days a week. Unfortunately that does not provide the optimal learning opportunities for many students. Kids who travel or face certain health challenges may not fit into the allotted learning times and they miss school. Other kids learn better in the evening or if there are breaks between learning sessions. Some students need more time for one give topic and less for another. Online high schools offer flexible schedules that can be customized to work with each individual student.
#3 – Look for a Variety of Learning Modalities. Many studies have been done over the last two decades showing how individual students learn in different ways. A study comparing teaching styles in two universities, one in the United Kingdom and one in South Africa, demonstrated how mismatched learning and teaching styles can discourage students and lead to underachievement. Online high schools use different teaching techniques including streaming lectures, interactive online programs, virtual labs, reading, and one-on-one support to help every student can excel.
#4 – Provide Consistent Parental Support – A study from the Michigan Department of Education stated that “decades of research show that when parents are involved students have higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates.” They also found that family participation in education was twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status. Home-schooled students who use online high school programs and have parental support have the technology, expertise, encouragement, and support they need.
#5 – Choose a Curriculum that is Motivational and Fun. – Learning should be interesting and enjoyable. The best accredited online high schools weave computer games into world language and other courses, offer a variety of interesting electives, and use a variety of virtual learning experiences.
#6 – Participate in Community Homeschool Groups – High school is a pivotal time to develop social skills. There are many homeschool groups which provide bully-free environments for a wide range of activities including sports, arts, spiritual, and social events.