Is Private Online High School Right for You?
Parents have a great deal to consider when researching and settling on an educational model for their children today, now that online schooling is a viable option in most states around the country.
What are the options, and how can parents make sure they are making the right decision?
The pandemic opened up new educational options for families who previously chose between enrolling their children in their own public school near home, or sending them to a private day school or boarding school.
Two new options are increasingly available: online public schools tied to a student’s local district, and online private schools like Dwight Global Online School.
If you like the idea of flexibility in terms of learning location, then online school — public or private — may be the right choice for your family. Students who are motivated, organized and self-initiated thrive in an online setting.
Public online schools are often connected to local school districts, and are free to attend. Private online schools are similar to private brick and mortar schools: the schools charge a fee and offer different education programs and flexibility in scheduling.
What is online school like? How does it differ from a traditional, brick and mortar school?
What are the differences in the two types of instructional models, and what are the differences between private and public online schools themselves?
By The Numbers
More students are attending online schools, particularly online high schools, than ever before.
In the fall of 2020, 48.1 million students attended U.S. K-12 public schools. Because of the pandemic, by February, 2021, 43 percent of these students were enrolled in remote instruction.
Many of those school students were surprised to discover they preferred online learning to traditional school settings, and started looking for online schools.
When exploring schools, it is wise to consider several factors before making your decision:
- Social opportunities
- Strong community environment
- Parental involvement
Traditional brick and mortar schools – both public and private – fit well with families who are settled in one town, with activities nearby.
Some students, however, are required to travel to different states or countries in order to seriously pursue performing arts or a sport. Or, it may be that parents’ professional careers or family situations require frequent or distant travel. Online schools present an exciting option in providing families the flexibility they need to maximize their daily schedules, and work and study while pursuing passions.
A tennis star at the highly ranked, accredited Dwight Global, for example, may prefer to start their day with a long run and start classes later in the morning. A singer or actor may need to complete their coursework first thing in the day, to rehearse later in the afternoon or evening. Other students use the flexibility to join online classes from various locations around the world.
Private and public online schools vary in academic programs, delivery of lessons, scheduling flexibility, strength of community, cost, class sizes, and accreditation by outside sources.
First, if looking for an online high school, check to see if it is an accredited online school or ranked by an outside source, an important indicator of excellence. Lack of accreditation could pose problems when colleges or universities don’t honor high school credits from an unaccredited online school. Flexibility in scheduling and faculty support is also a factor that differs from online school to online school.
For many, online education means increased flexibility with no learning time lost. Online schools allow students to proceed with coursework in the ways that work best for them.
Social development plays a significant role in the school experience. Both traditional schools and online schools offer face-to-face interaction with peers and teachers, with online schools providing that interaction virtually.
Whether exploring public or private online schools, be sure to check for live classroom and extracurricular experiences which offer the most in the way of social interaction in and out of the classroom.
Students and teachers at the best online high schools meet regularly for virtual discussions and extra-curricular activities, allowing strong relationships to form. Some online schools, like Dwight Global, which is connected to The Dwight Schools worldwide, also provide in-person opportunities throughout the year. This hybrid approach is ideal for creating student-teacher and teacher-teacher relationships.
Strong Community Environment
Also look for a warm, caring, and strong school environment, and one that offers a true community. These elements are crucial for optimal learning, no matter which educational model you choose.
Dwight Global is known for its strong community, vibrant student life program, and experienced faculty who have deep experience with online education.
Private and public schools differ in the cost to families, whether they are online or in person. In some states, public schools now offer free online schooling. Private online schools are similar to in-person private schools in their fee structures: they vary from school to school, and sometimes offer scholarships.
An online school is a wise choice for parents who want to be involved in their child’s education on a daily basis, particularly for elementary or middle schoolers who need more supervision with technology or lessons during the online school day.
High schoolers at online schools require less daily parental involvement in terms of curriculum, but parents can become involved in other ways. An excellent online high school will have a strong and connected parent organization for interested parents to join and attend events.
Want to know more? Learn details about the personalized online programs available at Dwight Global here.