Education on demand when and where it best suits the student is one of the reasons online high schools have become an increasingly popular choice in recent year. However, this kind of flexibility that simply isn’t possible in a traditional public high school doesn’t mean there is no structure at all. To the contrary, students must maintain active regular engagement with their virtual eLearning courses in order to reach the ultimate aim obtaining their high school diploma. While a student enrolled in an online high school doesn’t need to sit in physical classrooms from morning until mid-afternoon each weekday, they do still need to follow the virtual school’s engagement guidelines. Are there attendance requirements for online schools? The short answer is yes, though how it works at any given virtual high school might be different.
One of the most basic distinctions between online schools or specific online courses depends a broad choice the school makes between synchronous and asynchronous eLearning. If courses are offered on a synchronous basis, it means all students taking the course must be logged in at the same to create a kind of virtual classroom using either live chat or videoconferencing software to receive real-time instruction from a teacher. This approach is basically creating a classroom online that students can connect to from anywhere. While it removes the inconvenience of having to go to a physical school building to attend the class, it does not remove the inconvenience of having to attend the class at the same time as everyone else.
Asynchronous eLearning, on the other, removes both the physical and temporal constraints of learning. In this approach, students have the flexibility not only to engage in their high school learning where it makes most sense (as long as they have a good internet connection and device with a web browser), but also when it makes most sense to them, whether that be early morning, midday, at night, on weekends, and so forth. How much flexibility as to the when will vary by online school, and virtual high schools accredited by a state government are going to structure their guidelines around student engagement requirements in order to meet the state’s standards for high school education. At Achieve Virtual, our model is largely asynchronous eLearning, although there are opportunities for real-time interaction with fellow students and instructors.
In the Achieve Virtual model of online high school, a student who wishes to maintain full-time status is required to log into each of their classes for at least one hour a day on five different days of each week. A full-time student who takes five courses through Achieve Virtual would need to spend a minimum of five hours logged into each class per week through the LMS (learning management system), which is called itslearning. And students can’t try to cram all their time in at once. It has to be spread out over five days in each week, but it’s up to the student to choose which five days will be “school days” for each class they take. And the timing of those hours on any given day of the week are totally up to the student in terms of what works best for them.
Night owls can do their school work at night. Morning people can hit the ground running as early as they like. Students who work part-time or even full-time can still maintain full-time student status. An hour per day per class five days of the week. It’s a simple formula that still provides enough structure by requiring a consistent level of engagement throughout a week and an academic year.
Also keep in mind that simply “attending class” isn’t enough, whether you’re in a traditional public school or an online high school. There will still be studying and homework that needs to be accomplished outside the minimum time requirements of classroom attendance. The key to success in any online high school is for students to work out a regular schedule of when they will do their schoolwork and to stick to it. This simple step in of itself has a huge impact on their success. And the good news is that tacking this self-regulation issue now will set them up for success in college as well, where students need to be more self-motivated in their education.
When parents are looking for alternatives to a traditional public high school for their children and they don’t want to pay private school tuition, public charter schools or online high school are worth looking at. Which one is right for you depends on what will best suit the learning needs of your children. Some charter schools cater to particular types of students while others have shaped their curriculum to focus more on particular subjects or the arts. But if what you’re looking for is maximum flexibility in there where and when of your high school student’s studies, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better model than the structured eLearning of Achieve Virtual Education Academy’s online high school.
Achieve virtual is fully accredited by the state of Indiana and is managed by the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township in Indianapolis with its 12+ years of experience in online learning. Students enrolled at full-time status pay nothing at all and enjoy the support of highly-qualified teachers on their learning journey.
All a student needs to participate in Achieve Virtual is a computer (desktop, laptop, or even a good tablet) and a solid high-speed internet connection. You don’t even need textbooks because the courses have been designed to provide all learning material online. The exception to this are AP (advanced placement) courses that do require textbooks, but the books will be mailed to you free of charge. Ready for online high school? Start the enrollment process now or contact us if you have questions!