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If Your Child is Struggling in School, is Online School the Answer?

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Many students have trouble succeeding in a traditional school setting. This can happen for various reasons, from learning disabilities to bullying. When you find your child struggling, you probably first talk to the school about what is going on.

For example, if you have a disabled child, here are some ways you can advocate for them:

If they are facing bullying, here are some strategies that you can try:

However, if you have tried working with the school staff to assist you in your child’s struggles and it isn’t working, you may be considering other options. Sometimes, this can include moving to another school, homeschooling, or online school.

Before you decide to remove your child from a traditional school and put them into an online school, Connections Academy recommends asking yourself the following questions:

1. Why are you seeking an alternative educational method? 2. Will the online school meet your child’s individual needs? 3. Does the online school offer a high-quality curriculum? 4. Will the school provide opportunities to succeed and grow offline? 5. Are you prepared for direct involvement in your child’s education?

As you consider these factors in what is best for your child and their education, you can speak to them about what they would like out of their education as well.

Going to fully online school is a big responsibility for both you and your child, as you will be more in control of their schooling environment while they are studying at home.

Benefits of Online School

If you are considering moving your child to a new school due to problems at their current school, it may be difficult to locate another school nearby. In this case, online school can be a good option, since your child can learn from the comforts of your own home, instead of having to travel a long distance.

Also, online school is a good alternative to homeschool because it means that your child will still have access to a teacher when they need to ask questions, and you don’t need to learn all the material yourself. This can be especially helpful at the middle school and high school levels when your student is taking difficult coursework.

Online school can also reduce bullying, since your student won’t be seeing other students in-person. This can help if your student has been bullied in the past, so that they can focus more on their studies than on the social aspects of a traditional school.

According to Learning Liftoff, some of the benefits of online school include:

  • Students Learn at Their Own Pace

  • Introverted Students Can Join in Discussions

  • Students Have Individualized Schedules

  • Students Have More Learning Options

  • Students Have Fewer Distractions and Obstacles to Learning

  • Students Enjoy a Comfortable Learning Environment

  • Parents Are More Involved in their Children’s Education

When students take part in online school, it allows them to move through the coursework at their own pace, without all the social pressures of being in the school building. Students can also receive more individualized instruction from their teacher than they would otherwise.

Having the option to put your child into online school can give you the flexibility that you need to help your child overcome barriers to learning that they may be experiencing in a traditional school.

Problems with online school

During the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us got some experience with our kids taking classes online. Some students thrived in this environment, while others struggled. When my daughter was in online school, she had a good experience overall, although she struggled in some classes when she didn’t receive grades and feedback in a timely manner.

Some of the problems with online school, according to National University, are:

  • Ineffective Time Management

  • Lack of Instant Communication

  • Not Receiving Timely Feedback

  • Not Receiving Clear Instructions or Expectations

When your child is taking classes online, it is important for them to be a self-starter. Either that, or for you to monitor their activities closely. If your child isn’t managing their time effectively, they may not get assignments completed on time.

One of the top reasons that students fail with online school is that they simply don’t log into the class platform as they should. If they simply stay home all day and don’t focus on their studies, this can lead to loads of problems, as the school isn’t following up with them the same way as they would in person.

According to e-student,

Building strong self-motivation and disciplinary skills is key to succeeding in an online learning environment. Additionally, face-to-face communication with professors can be substituted with online communication, and peer-to-peer activities should be promoted between online students similarly as it would be in traditional classrooms.

So, if your student doesn’t have good time management skills, then online school might not be the way to go.

Students also need to be self-starters when it comes to reaching out to teachers for feedback or if they have questions. Often, communication will be through email, so this leaves it up to the student to reach out to the teacher, not the other way around.

Finding an online school

If an online school option sounds like the way to go for you and your child, it is easy to find an online school program, as there are many available.

Most school districts offer an online schooling option, perhaps even through the school that your child currently attends. You can look at your school district website to find out what type of online options that they offer. Some online school options are available at the state level as well and serve students from multiple school districts.

When you are unhappy with your current school or district, there are many additional fully-online, accredited programs available as well. You can easily do a google search to find out what is available in your area.

According to Very Well Family, some of the best online schooling options are:

  • Best Budget:

  • Most Customizable:

  • Best for Structure: Time4Learning

  • Best for Community: Connections Academy

  • Best Free: Khan Academy

  • Best for College Prep: edX

  • Best for Math and Science: CK-12 Foundation

These schools each cater to different age groups and schooling needs. Some are available K-12, others are broken down by different grade levels.

When you are choosing a new school for your child to attend, you can look at reviews of the school from other families, to see if children with similar needs to your child have been successful there. You can also look at the school’s performance data on state testing, which should be available on their website.

Before you decide on a school, you can research multiple school options to see which one will be the best fit for your child. You can ask questions of the staff prior to enrollment, to ensure that the school will be able to meet your child’s needs. This way, you can make sure you are choosing the best possible school for your child.

If you decide to choose an online school for your child after weighing the pro’s and con’s, I highly recommend you research all your school options closely, so that you will pick the school that provides your child with the best education possible.


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