Distance learning is becoming more and more frequent and parents will find more than one accredited online middle school and high school when they search the Internet. Participating in these schools can have great advantages for students, though there are also some clear difficulties. One of the main advantages may be for those parents who have homeschooled their kids but are now running into material that is less well understood. By using an online middle school program, kids can continue to stay at or beyond grade level work with skilled teachers leading the way.
There can be many other reasons why kids and/or adults might prefer online middle school. Junior high is often thought of as a very difficult time socially. Small differences in the way people dress or in their learning abilities can be subject to severe scrutiny by other students, and while most kids survive these tough social times, not everyone leaves this environment without some painful emotional scars. Sensitive children, those with differing appearances, or those with learning differences can be at extreme disadvantage in this environment, and might be better off learning at an online middle school, where peer interactions are under stricter control, and where work may not be subject to the review of peers. Yet parents will still need to find ways for kids studying online to have peer social interaction, as kids at this point in time do need some social development outside of the family home.
One reason some parents enroll their children in online middle school is because they have unusual schedules that require lots of travel. Regular public and private schools frown upon frequent absences and children can miss valuable material when they can’t regularly attend. With an online school, as long as a child has a computer and an Internet connection, they can continue their education without this shortcoming. Additionally, many schools have flexible scheduling so that children can work at their own pace within a certain time frame. Many schools place a limit on how long kids have to finish a class, but within that limit, they may have much more time than is required to actually get the work done, or they can take a few classes at a time for a few focused weeks, instead of taking all core course at once.
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Parents may be attracted to some online schools because they offer excellent private education at much lower prices than do most private schools. It is possible to find an online middle school or two with no tuition, but most typically have tuition charges. These are usually thousands less in price than comparable private schools, and many offer easy payment plans. However, parents should not sign up a child for any online middle school until they ascertain the following:
- The school is accredited and will count as middle school education.
- Teachers are certified teachers.
- Teachers and staff respond quickly to students and/or parents, and return graded work quickly.
- The school has a good reputation and has been in existence for several years.
- The school has support for students who are having difficulty with certain subjects, particularly math and reading.