Christian Online Schools: the good, the bad

Negative 1

One disadvantage of Christian online schools may be the fact that it is NOT for everyone.  Some students have difficulty working independently, some have poor study habits.  But starting 9th grade with Christian online school as a choice, builds these necessary college skills early on.  In a traditional school, students must follow a daily structure, with homework, test schedules and projects assigned on a daily basis.  Sometimes this does not work well with young minds either.  Students who have trouble maintaining a strict schedule may struggle with the freedom of Christian online schools.

Positive 1

Even though students may struggle with working independently at the beginning, it is a learned skill, one necessary in college and the workplace.  Students often find that being more “in-control” of their schedule; what course they work on that day, when and how long, is a great motivator.  This is a BIG plus with Christian online schools.  Expectations are easily met, accomplishments are instantaneous.  Students develop self-confidence and independence by working at their own pace, on a schedule customized to their needs.  Many online schools allow students to see the course syllabus for the entire year up-front, similar to taking a college course.  They know exactly what is expected of them.  In other words, there are no surprises, no added work at a teacher’s whim.  In choosing an online school, look for one with “open enrollment” any day of the year.  One with a schedule providing class instruction 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to complete courses under the weekly supervision of a “live” teacher.  With a flexible schedule, attendance isn’t an issue.  Students who may have illnesses preventing them from attending classes will not fall behind with daily work or miss homework and project deadlines.

Negative 2

Another disadvantage of Christian online schools can be inadequate teacher-student contact.  When a person takes online classes at home, he must be able to focus on learning the material without the benefit of verbal interaction with the teacher.  In a traditional brick and mortar classroom, a student interacts with both the teacher and fellow students, in a controlled learning environment.  The student listens to lectures, asks teachers questions, and benefits from the questions asked by other students as well.

Positive 2

With a Good Christian Online School such as Christian Educators Academy, students don’t have to go to school in a controlled environment to have day-to-day contact with teachers and other students.  Kids today are internet, email, and “texting” experts.  Online communication is a part of their everyday world.  Teenagers can also be moody, not wanting to talk to anyone for days, and suddenly, they feel the need to talk to anyone who will listen.  When students take online classes using live teachers for grading and interaction, they can listen to the quick-time lessons on their schedule and pace, take notes, and ask email and internal site structured questions to a teacher.  Many students use a laptop computer, and enjoy learning in any environment.  Some online schools will schedule “phone” tutoring, using whiteboard demonstrations to assist students with specific needs.  A good online school will also have a student-to-student forum, allowing students to interact with other students taking the same class, or any class offered by the school.  Online schools that do not use computer generated grading systems also allow teachers the flexibility to adjust assignments to meet the individual needs of every student.

Negative 3

A person who attends a brick and mortar school has daily contact with teachers and understands daily and weekly assignments.  They must be prepared to keep up with the assignments and deadlines, and are given constant reminders of when assignments are due.  In a traditional school, students must rely on the teachers for their schedule and instruction.  When enrolled in an online course, students are responsible for completing reading assignments and other homework, without the frequent reminders of teachers regarding due dates and deadlines.  Students may fall behind or fail the class, if they have to be online at a particular time for instruction.

Positive 3

In contrast, a Christian online school student can often procrastinate, postponing reading assignments when they are having a “bad” day or week; without falling behind or failing assignments.  It is easy to catch up on assignments or advance ahead of schedule.  Some online students are athletes, musicians, or entrepreneurs who may need more time to complete assignments on some weeks or months, but they have an abundance of time on other weeks or seasons.  Online schooling gives students more freedom and control.  With parent support and a good online administrator, students are more accountable to themselves, with a schedule that works for them.  Students know their progress on a lesson-by-lesson basis.  No more worrying about what their current grade is, or if they are passing or failing.  Assignment feedback is usually within 24-48 hours, instead of weeks it may take a traditional teacher to grade essays and assignments.  Students are not mandated to keep a traditional teachers schedule nor do they have homework assignments that can fill up their weekends.  As long as all work is completed with 365 days, students stay on track, complete all assignments and can move on to the next course for graduation.  Another positive of online schooling is students can also work much faster.  No more waiting for other students to catch up; they can work at their own pace.  Online students often finish courses way ahead of schedule, allowing them to take additional classes and graduate early.

Negative 4

Students attending a traditional school have 4 years to graduate.  Students have access to guidance counselors for college support.  The usually have a graduation ceremony with a diploma.

Positive 4

While most online schools do not have graduation ceremonies, parents can plan special graduation parties where all family and friends may attend.  Many online students plan trips or a graduation cruise.  Online schools provide official diplomas as well as accredited transcripts.  One of the best advantages of an online school over traditional, however; is many students can graduate in 3 years if they choose, enrolling in colleges ahead of their peers.  They are eligible to take “dual enrollment” classes in their junior and senior year, giving them an advantage with the college experience.  A good online school offers ongoing guidance support, with a 3-5 year graduation plan to help students obtain success with their college and career goals.  Unlike traditional schools, online schools have a very low drop-out rate.  90% or more of Online school graduates continue their education, attending colleges and trade schools around the country.

Summary:

Although there are many other advantages and disadvantages of both traditional and Christian online schools, attending an online school is a practical way to complete your high school education.  Online offers an alternative to public schools and the expense of private schools.  Most online schools offer a wide range of subjects, both honors and standard courses and credits.  A good online school will allow students to take up to 8 or more courses per year.

While traditional schools provide supervision and more structure, Christian online Schools allow students to learn from their own homes, with direct supervision of qualified educational professionals.  Students do not have to worry about attendance, peer pressure, dealing with bullies, drugs, overcrowded classrooms, or homework.  Teachers can be more flexible, working with each student individually.  Students work at their own pace, on their own schedule, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  They become more independent, self-confidant and more in-control of their own educational goals.