The novel coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic forced many schools to go remote and/or eventually adopt a hybrid model for combining both in-person education and distance learning. Many more students and families now have some experience with online high school than before the pandemic. This means nearly every student now has at least some idea of how virtual school can (or could) work. While many students discovered it wasn’t ideal for them, just as many found out they thrive in an online learning environment. When it works well, there are significant benefits and opportunities. This article will reinforce some of the many reasons why an online learning program may be the right choice for many students.
When you think back to the beginning of the pandemic when schools shut down with very little time to prepare for online learning (in many cases only a week or two at most), it should come as no surprise that many students simply weren’t getting a quality education. It’s important to keep in mind everyone was doing the best they could in the midst of a very real public health emergency.
It’s amazing schools even had the option to use the technology of the internet to do as much as they did—something that simply wasn’t even possible a few decades ago. Most learners had more online education to deal with in the fall of 2020 when a new surge of infections took place. The remote learning was somewhat better in many cases, but still not ideal. This point cannot be understated—emergency online school during a pandemic should not be the yardstick by which all virtual education is judged.
The main reason for choosing virtual learning is one of its primary features—receiving an accredited education without having to physically go to a traditional brick-and-mortar school building each day. Of course, not all online schools are created equal. At Achieve Virtual Education Academy, we use Indiana state-certified teachers to deliver a rigorous academic curriculum aligned with state standards. We provide students with a variety of innovative learning materials and good resources.
Our teachers are heavily involved in each student’s learning experience and prioritize tailoring instruction to fit each individual student’s needs and learning style. In fact, Achieve Virtual students often get more one-on-one teacher support than they would get in traditional school.
Students participate in a virtual classroom from the comfort of their own homes, or anywhere else the internet access is available, using a laptop or desktop computer (tablets and phones are not appropriate for teens in an online high school program). There’s no school bus ride, and there’s no making up snow days late in the year when you’d rather be enjoying vacation.
As you can probably tell from the previous paragraphs, pursuing some or all of your diploma requirements in an online high school has a huge benefit in terms of flexibility compared to traditional school. Think about this flexibility first in terms of timing and an overall schedule. The traditional public school calendar runs from September to June with numerous days off for holidays, teacher workshops, and other events. A virtual school does not have a set “school year in that way.” Students enrolled in a virtual high school have the freedom to develop a schedule that works best for them and their families, rather than having to adhere to a prearranged, inflexible schedule.
A personalized schedule allows students to work at their own pace, giving them the time they need to get a thorough understanding of each subject. There is also the added benefit of concentrating on what truly interests them by choosing subjects from a wide range of courses not typically offered in public schools. Due to the flexibility online high school provides, many students also enjoy being involved in outside extracurricular or volunteer activities, or pursuing their athletic or creative talents and passions, without being stressed or over scheduled.
You can easily see why this flexibility you get with online high school is very appealing. For teens in high school, the flexibility might be used to work at a job during some of the regular school days, which they wouldn’t be able to do within the rigid schedule of traditional school. For students who have challenges with the social environment of in-person education, online high school removes most if not all of that pressure.
Another reason online high school can make sense is when homeschool students hit high school and parents need additional support beyond what they can provide. Other students may have a medical condition preventing them from attending traditional school. Whatever the motivation may be, the flexibility of pursuing a high school diploma in an online program makes more and more sense to a growing number of students.
While the computer is used as a tool for teachers, parents, and students to manage and track assignments, communicate with each other, and deliver interactive school materials, students in virtual schools do not actually spend all of their time on the computer.
Many assignments consist of offline activities, such as reading physical textbooks, using workbooks, and doing hands-on science experiments – which is similar to a traditional school setting. Students may also socialize and collaborate with their peers on a regular basis. Virtual school provides students plenty of opportunities to interact with one another online and students often communicate in other ways as well, such as through IM (instant messaging), texting, talking on the phone, and going on field trips.
Admission to your online high school education experience at Achieve Virtual happens through a registration and application process. On our website, you’ll see buttons on every page that say either “enroll now” or “begin application” and all you have to do is click one of those to get the process started. Students can be enrolled with either a full-time status or part-time status (in order to make up one or more credits needed for graduation). Full-time Indiana learners pay no tuition at all to participate. Part-time students outside of MSD Wayne Township pay a modest per-course fee, though high school students should check to see if their regular public school is willing to cover
some or all of those fees.
Need more information to know whether online high school is right for you? Explore the pages of our website, where you’ll find plenty of details about what it’s like to take classes and study with Achieve Virtual and what it takes to be a successful online learner. If you still have questions, feel free to call us directly at 317-988-7144 and we’ll be happy to speak with you. And when you’re ready to discover how online high school can be a better fit for your lifestyle and needs, we’re ready to welcome you with open arms—virtually, of course!