Private Online High School--Reality Check

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cowdogman
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Private Online High School--Reality Check

Post by cowdogman »

We live an area with very good public schools. It's the main (probably 90%) reason we live where we do.

When school went online last March our experience with our high schooler son was mixed. Some teachers adapted quickly and were tech savvy. Some didn't and/or weren't. It was fine as a temporary fix, but we wondered what would happen in the fall.

After a lot of ponderous dithering our school district decided in July to go with online classes. I understand why and don't disagree with the decision, altho I would have also supported the other option (e.g., limited in-person teaching a couple days a week, with half the students on Monday/Tuesday and the other half on Thursday/Friday).

Our school district has (even before COVID-19) classes that could be taken wholly online. The classes are offered by an outside company that provides online classes to schools nationwide. My son took 3 or 4 of these last year and thought they were good/challenging and he did well in them--he has good self-motivation/work habits.

So when our school district decided to have only online classes this year we looked into private online high schools. Our thinking was that if our son is going to study online then I want the curriculum and the teachers to be online oriented/experienced. Plus my son has only two years left in high school and I suspect that COVID-19 will be impacting schools for that whole time--and so the decision to switch to private online school would see him thru high school in a relatively short period of time.

Further, my son wants to be a musician (cellist) and practices 5 hours everyday--and it is very common for student musicians (and some student athletes--swimming, tennis, hockey) to do online high school.

So we made the switch and my son has started school already. The program is self-paced but he has a teacher for each subject to talk to and ask questions when he wants to. There are no online classrooms, no attendance and no set completion schedule for the academic year (altho he is required to finish within 12 months--my son plans to finish generally in line with the normal academic year). So far we have been impressed--and feel like we have much more control over our lives.

Also, my son wants to go to Northwestern University in Chicago (he has been studying with a cello teacher there) and so I called Northwestern admissions to run the idea past an admissions officer. He was very positive about the idea. He mentioned that his geographical area includes Southern California and a number of prospective students there are actors (Northwestern has a great theater program) and a lot of them are in online high schools so that they can pursue acting jobs during the day.

But I have this nagging feeling that I'm missing some significant downside to online high school.

Any thoughts?
Last edited by cowdogman on Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Chuck107
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Re: Private Online High School--Reality Check

Post by Chuck107 »

I can't comment about today's educational system, but if I had the option in "my" last two years of HS to do it online, I would have gladly.
circa 11th grade 1971
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livesoft
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Re: Private Online High School--Reality Check

Post by livesoft »

It is a grand experiment and may change the way education happens in the future. My guess is that one won't know what one is missing until later. I will also guess that it won't matter.

I'll give a random analogy: There are families that stay in one place and their children do not move from a home for their entire years in school. And their are children of families who move say every 2 to 3 years and thus the kids go to many different schools. Neither way is "better" and there are advantages to both ways. I think online vs in-class will turn out to be OK with their own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
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wanderer
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Re: Private Online High School--Reality Check

Post by wanderer »

"Normal" social interaction would be lost with on-line only classes. This would include both the good interactions as well as the bad interactions.

Good, in my mind being the interaction with other students, and teachers during class discussions and lab classes, band trips, and casual time. This is learning to socialize and relax with others, learning about our commonalities and differences, learning from the ideas and challenges of others, and building "team work" skills.

Bad, in my mind is the petty social status games and bullying that occurs in any human organization. Learning to deal with this during high school might be negative, but if not learnt in HS, when?

Maybe we are just sensitive, as we have grandchildren, one who struggles socially, while the other is very outgoing. One does very well on individual assignments and studying alone, but struggles to manage when asked to work with others in "traditional" school. The other has been very moody and resistant to the on-line learning. This Covid isolation and related stress has been challenging for both (and their families and siblings in different ways.

So my thought would be to watch how your child adapts and ensure there are other activities for maturing socially.
stoptothink
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Re: Private Online High School--Reality Check

Post by stoptothink »

Chuck107 wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:54 am I can't comment about today's educational system, but if I had the option in "my" last two years of HS to do it online, I would have gladly.
circa 11th grade 1971
If online would have been an option in my day (the 90's), I may have have graduated high school before I reached puberty (as it was, I graduated shortly after my 16th birthday). Wouldn't have done anything for my social skills, which are just as important, but I gladly would have started college a few years early. My kids: there is no doubt in my mind that online only would be a disaster.
ActionJackson
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Re: Private Online High School--Reality Check

Post by ActionJackson »

We have home schooled our kids even since they left pre-school. That isn't exactly the same as online school, but the online classes/schools are always an option but are not the best fit for our family. We know some parents that do an online academy/school, some really like the choices they made, and some have been so-so. The good thing has been that if you don't like a system or curriculum, for whatever reason, you switch to something that does work for you and your kids. In your case though, you are in the last stages of schooling so you might not get the benefit of the flexibility. At this stage I think it depends on what type of learner your son is, is he just a survivor in online mode or does he thrive in the format.

If there was something seriously wrong with online/home schooling, then we wouldn't do it. Socialization isn't a difficult task and I would imagine your son already has a good handle on that by now.
AnEngineer
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Re: Private Online High School--Reality Check

Post by AnEngineer »

livesoft wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:58 am I'll give a random analogy: There are families that stay in one place and their children do not move from a home for their entire years in school. And their are children of families who move say every 2 to 3 years and thus the kids go to many different schools. Neither way is "better" and there are advantages to both ways. I think online vs in-class will turn out to be OK with their own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Moving kids seems to lead to measurable negative impacts. A quick search finds a lot written about this, as an example:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/won ... -an-adult/
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cowdogman
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Re: Private Online High School--Reality Check

Post by cowdogman »

Yes, socialization is an issue, but my son has numerous online friends from the various music camps he has attended over the years. Plus if the local youth orchestra ever starts back up (on hiatus due to COVID) he has a bunch of friends there.
Chuck107
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Re: Private Online High School--Reality Check

Post by Chuck107 »

stoptothink wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:33 am
Chuck107 wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:54 am I can't comment about today's educational system, but if I had the option in "my" last two years of HS to do it online, I would have gladly.
circa 11th grade 1971
If online would have been an option in my day (the 90's), I may have have graduated high school before I reached puberty (as it was, I graduated shortly after my 16th birthday). Wouldn't have done anything for my social skills, which are just as important, but I gladly would have started college a few years early. My kids: there is no doubt in my mind that online only would be a disaster.
Great for you, exactly what does that have to do with my comment?
Alas, I find moderation of this forum too restrictive for my tastes, farewell.
core4portfolio
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Re: Private Online High School--Reality Check

Post by core4portfolio »

livesoft wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:58 am It is a grand experiment and may change the way education happens in the future. My guess is that one won't know what one is missing until later. I will also guess that it won't matter.

I'll give a random analogy: There are families that stay in one place and their children do not move from a home for their entire years in school. And their are children of families who move say every 2 to 3 years and thus the kids go to many different schools. Neither way is "better" and there are advantages to both ways. I think online vs in-class will turn out to be OK with their own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Almost nailed my situation. i wish to stay in one place for stable environment however spouse want to move once in 2 -3 years.
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Isabelle77
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Re: Private Online High School--Reality Check

Post by Isabelle77 »

AnEngineer wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:44 am
livesoft wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:58 am I'll give a random analogy: There are families that stay in one place and their children do not move from a home for their entire years in school. And their are children of families who move say every 2 to 3 years and thus the kids go to many different schools. Neither way is "better" and there are advantages to both ways. I think online vs in-class will turn out to be OK with their own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Moving kids seems to lead to measurable negative impacts. A quick search finds a lot written about this, as an example:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/won ... -an-adult/
As a kid who loved moving a lot, I need to comment on this article. There is a gigantic difference between moving often because of poverty, family disruption, mom's new boyfriend, not being able to make rent, etc. and moving with a stable family due to a job opportunity. This "study" doesn't take account any of the reasons why these families moved.
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Re: Private Online High School--Reality Check

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