Is Online Middle School a Good Idea?
Online education for high school, college, and adult students has rapidly become an acceptable option worldwide.
Unsurprisingly, online schooling has also captured the attention of many middle school parents who are considering weighing the advantages for their own pre-teen children.
Factors to Weigh When Deciding
While online education is not for everyone, the range of programs offering personalized learning with a flexible schedule are intriguing for many families.
The decision to place a middle schooler in an online school will depend on the child’s learning style and the family’s lifestyle, among other factors. Family circumstances, personal characteristics of the student, and the quality and type of online school itself each have a part to play in making the decision.
Each family’s individual circumstances will influence the choice for an online school for the middle school years.
For example, students in families who travel frequently are often drawn to online schooling. The ability to travel is crucial for students pursuing pre-professional endeavors in athletics or performing arts. These students need flexibility with class and testing times as they train, travel, and attend competitions, tournaments, performances, and auditions year-round. Online schools allow students to pursue these passions while keeping students on track to complete middle school and transition to high school easily.
Sometimes it is a parent who must travel frequently for professional obligations, with extended stays in various places around the world. An online school allows these families to stay together as one or both parents travel far from home. With an online school, middle schoolers can accompany their families and log on to classes wherever they may be.
Or, a family may live permanently or temporarily in a remote location, where local schools are not able to provide the depth or breadth a student seeks. Online schools provide the academic challenge these students crave.
A high quality online middle school, especially one connected to a brick or mortar school with a long history of success, like Dwight Global Online School, is often ideal. Dwight Global is a private, accredited online middle and high school part of Dwight School, a 150-year-old K-12 International Baccalaureate network of schools with five campuses around the world.
Another factor for some families are students with medical or health issues that require home stays or frequent doctor visits. An online school’s flexible scheduling can make all the difference in a student’s success and ability to keep up with school work, and thrive in the process.
Access to reliable technology and the internet is, of course, also imperative for a middle schooler’s success in any online school program.
What types of middle school students are best suited for an online school?
Passionate and independent students thrive in an online learning environment. Private online schools have created comprehensive programs designed to build skills and competencies for talented preteens and teens.
Middle schoolers who are self-directed, organized, and who take ownership of their education are good candidates for a high quality online middle school.
Those who enjoy engaging with learning and are comfortable with technology also do well in online classes. Students with a drive and curiosity to pursue pre-professional endeavors in athletics or performing arts are pleased to discover that online schools provide an opportunity to get a top notch education and ardently work on their craft at the same time. Traditional schools are hard pressed to provide this, and students enrolled in them find they need to make a choice between academics and their passions.
Sometimes, a student is academically accelerated, and prefers an online personalized course of study over a traditional school set up. Online schools with customized learning and personalized timetables can be the perfect arrangement for these families.
Quality of the online school itself
Online schools present a wide range of instruction, methods, and success. When researching online schools, note the level of academic challenge, tuition fees, test scores, graduation percentages, and, in high schools, college placement. Accreditation is important for transferring credits back to a traditional school, or, when the time comes, to colleges and universities.
Many public school districts in the United States now offer online classes for free. Some online schools offer only asynchronous classes, with little or no live interaction between classmates and teachers. Online charter schools are increasing in number, as well. Recent educational research shows mixed results for some online schools, and interested families would be wise to ask questions and research comprehensively.
Other online schools, like the accredited Dwight Global, which was ranked number 2 in the Americas by Newsweek in online high schools, are independent schools with a history of academic excellence, faculty experienced in online learning, high graduation rates, impressive test scores, and successful college placements worldwide.
Before you enroll your middle schooler in an online school, check the following:
- Is the school accredited?
- Are faculty experienced in online teaching?
- Does the school provide a customized curriculum?
- Does the school include live, synchronous experiences?
- Are courses augmented by social and academic opportunities online?
- Is strong support available from faculty, advisories, study sessions?
- Are after-school clubs and extracurricular activities offered?
- Do students have the chance to pursue leadership opportunities?
- Are there opportunities for social and emotional learning?
- Are in-person opportunities available throughout the school year?
Middle school is a time of growth and change for young teens, and the best online schools can offer options and solutions that have previously rarely been available. For more information about middle school placement, contact Dwight Global today.