Is Online School Right for Students With Health Conditions?
Written by Cindy M.
What can you do when your teenager doesn’t have enough energy and time in the day to well manage his/her health condition(s)? I experienced this situation the summer before my son’s freshman year in high school. Ongoing symptoms, medication issues and frequent health care appointments caused a lot of lost class time during eighth grade. As a result, my son was regularly doing current homework, make up homework and trying to get healthy. His health did improve that following summer; however, freshman year was looking to be the same dizzying rat race.
I had to ask myself, “If this situation exhausts me at times, what is it doing to my son? Could he even get healthy and stay healthy in a traditional school?” When my answer was, “I’m not sure,” I started looking for an online high school.
Since each student’s situation is different, I can only share my journey, in the hope that it can help you develop your own plan for researching online schools.
My search criteria were as follows:
- The school needed to be fully accredited (preferably regional accreditation).
- The school needed to have a high-quality curriculum.
- The pace of learning needed to be flexible.
- The amount of actual study time needed to allow for “just being a normal teen.”
Before my search I asked my teen and myself the following questions:
- What is and what isn’t working in his current school situation? Why?
- What does he need to be successful in school and be healthy (or as healthy as possible)?
- What are his extracurricular and social interests? Does he need to be in a traditional school setting to get these needs met?
When I started researching I was surprised how many online schools exist. I made a list of the schools that met my search criteria. The list was remarkably short. I called each school on the list and asked to talk to an actual school representative who could answer my specific questions. My list got shorter. Why? I figured, if I had to interact on a regular basis with personnel at my son’s current school, the chances that I would need to talk occasionally with educational personnel at an online school was pretty likely. If I couldn’t talk to one when I was researching schools, I didn’t have confidence I would be able to talk to one if an issue arose.
I made my choice. Whitmore School.
The course content was challenging, but could be done anytime day or night. If my son had a health care appointment or experienced a downturn in health, he could rearrange his schedule or just take the time he needed to get well. The school’s 100% self-paced, mastery system insured my son never got behind. He recently graduated with a quality education and many wonderful typical teen experiences. However, the most important skills he gained from the Whitmore School system was taking care of his health while meeting the demands of life’s work (school, etc.).
I wish you the best as you explore how online high schools can help your teen during this exciting and challenging time in his/her life. You know your son/daughter best. Have confidence in your ability to choose a “best fit school” for him/her, no matter what high school you ultimately pick.
Whitmore School is a fully accredited private online high school. If Whitmore School sounds like it could meet your student’s academic needs, click here for more information.
Mom of Ryan M. – 2017 Graduate