Blended Learning Options Not Working Out? A Complete Guide to Changing Schools Mid-Year
There are many reasons that parents look to make a school change at mid-year such as a family move, teen social drama, health issues, or learning challenges. And today, many parents are finding that the Covid-19 options through their school are not working out. If your current school is not a good fit, changing mid-year to an online high school that specializes in virtual self-paced mastery learning can be a great choice. Students benefit from a flexible school schedule, and a safe and supportive learning environment – your own home. Plus, self-paced mastery learning means that your child will not fall behind this academic year.
If you are considering making the mid-year switch, here are a few tips I considered when I made this choice for my daughter.
1. Make sure the school is accredited.
Accreditation gives you the assurance that the schools you are considering meet rigorous standards. Colleges and universities look for accreditation when considering candidates for admission to higher education. Cognia, formerly AdvancEd, is the most recognized accrediting organization.
2. 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. Self-paced learning was perfect for her! 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.
3. 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 an online school.
4. 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 becomes 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.
5. Have a plan for your child to stay social and active.
Most students find that online school does not take as much time as a traditional school. There is no wasted time walking the halls to the next class, or wasted time as the teacher settles the class down to get started. With more free time, your child can add multiple social, artistic or athletic activities. Many communities have worked out social opportunities that conform to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines. Check your local recreation center for art courses and athletic opportunities. Your place of worship may offer Covid safe youth group activities. Many online students enjoy volunteering. The National Honor Society has aggregated virtual volunteering opportunities through Points of Light from nonprofit organizations around the world: many of which support Covid-19 projects. Read more here for ideas in your area: Points of Light Engage.
Whitmore School, accredited by Cognia, (formerly AdvancED), offers four Diploma Programs for students wishing to enroll full-time to earn their high school diploma. Additionally, students looking to get back on track to graduate on time can enroll in individual courses and take up to 12 months to complete their course. There are no semesters, and as such, students enroll and begin any time and work at their own pace.
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