Online high school programs offer tremendous advantages – flexibility, the ability to work at home and at your own pace, and portability – the ability to carry your school with you wherever you go. One of the challenges that many students face in an online environment is managing their schedules and completing their work in a timely manner. This particularly affects students who are coming out of a traditional public or private school environment. While getting rid of the scheduling requirements associated with a traditional school can be enormously freeing, it also creates a whole new set of responsibilities that can take some time to master.
This is not a bad problem to have. Every adult is expected to be responsible for their own schedule, and mastery of this skill is key to advancement and promotion in every profession. An online high school program gives students additional opportunities to truly master this skill. While there is some extra work and effort involved, it does pay off in the end.
Many parents and students in traditional schools don’t realize just how much they rely on the external support provided through the school – hard, fixed deadlines for all assignments and constant reminders of them every time you walk into class, and how big the gap is when those external supports are not there. In an online school where you can work at your own pace, there are no hard fixed deadlines. There are no reminders announced in class, or posted on the whiteboard. There are reminders, but it’s much easier to ignore them, just put them off to the side, or hit the delete button.
What many students and parents also do not realize is that the amount of work in an online school is the same as that in a traditional school. Course requirements are set by national standards that all schools have to comply with. A typical high school week consists of about 25-30 hours of instruction (5 six-hour days), and an online high school requires the same amount of time. Online schools allow students to work on their own schedule and pace; they do not however reduce the workload required to graduate.
Learning to effectively manage time in an online school environment is a necessary skill that every online student has to master. In the next article in this series, we will cover some techniques that can easily be applied to help students master this skill.