Changing Schools Mid-Year? 5 Ways to Choose the Right Online High School
There are many reasons that parents look to make a school change at mid-year – a family move, teen social drama, health issues or learning challenges. If your current school is not a good fit, changing mid-year to an online school can be a great alternative for students who would benefit from a flexible school schedule, and a safe and supportive learning environment – your own home.
If you are considering making the mid-year switch, here are a few tips I considered when I made this choice for my daughter.
- Make sure the school is accredited.
Accreditation gives you the assurance that the schools you are considering meets rigorous standards. Colleges and universities look for accreditation when considering candidates for admission to higher education. AdvancEd is the most recognized accrediting organization.
- Focus on your child’s unique learning style and educational needs.
When my daughter was excelling in English, but failing math, I knew I needed a school with a flexible schedule. We found Whitmore School where students have access to their courses every day of the year, and there are no semesters. What that meant for my daughter was that she could fly through English and take her time in math. Perfect! She never felt pressured to meet semester deadlines for completing courses.
For accelerated students, this is a dream come true. They will no longer be bored by the pace of the rest of the students in a class. They become empowered to take charge of their learning. This can be very motivating.
- Make a checklist of the most important aspects you are looking for and call the school.
What is most important for your child’s education? College acceptances? Honors level courses? Early graduation? One-to-one contact between students and their teachers? Make a list and then call the schools you are considering. Note: If you can’t get a real person on the phone, this is not the right school. Having personal contact with an administrator and guidance is critical to your child’s success in online school.
- Does the school offer a new student orientation? And, What kind of continuing support do they offer?
Schools that care about your child’s academic success will offer a new student orientation, followed by ongoing support from a school counselor. Ask what is available if your child become unmotivated? How will you, the parent know if your child is working? Sometimes teens may get off to a great start, but soon begin to slack off. You want to be sure that your child does not get lost.
- Have a plan for your child to stay social and active.
Most students find that online school does not take as much time as traditional school. With more free time, your child can add multiple social and/or athletic activities. Check your local recreation center for art courses and athletic opportunities. You place of worship may offer youth group activities. Many online students enjoy volunteering or working in a part-time job. Look for local homeschool groups that meet for movies, ice cream socials or other social events. There are bound to be lots of opportunities in your community.
Go ahead – take the leap after you consider your best options.
Click here to read more about Whitmore School’s flexible mastery-based learning environment. It might just be the right choice for you.
Ellen Ray, Principal and parent of Alina, 2009 GraduateSee all blog posts