Selecting a great school is one of the best moves you can make to help your child succeed throughout their life. But as we learn more about how children learn and retain information differently, it becomes apparent that the traditional school model doesn’t work well for many children.
Private online schools can work better to overcome many learning challenges and academic barriers for many families.
Throughout the pandemic, private online schools became very popular to address gaps in education that may have stemmed from the shift to homeschooling. They are particularly significant with older students, such as middle school and high school, who can work with more independence.
Private online middle schools offer many benefits, such as:
- Increased safety over public schools as students have minimal physical contact. In addition, this option can be a great way to prevent the transmission of illnesses.
- The ability to study within the comfort of one’s home and flexibility in the schedule to accommodate any family activities. This option often results in students being less stressed, well-rested, and focused while working on their online education.
- Accessibility to high-quality online courses that can be personalized to meet student goals, preferences, and learning styles. Private online middle school often has course materials that successfully address how different students learn.
Private online middle schools offer these benefits to middle school students but also address some of the shortfalls of other learning experiences. For instance, they do not require as much parental involvement as homeschooling, benefiting working parents. And they are often cost-effective while still delivering a superb learning experience.
When looking for the right private online middle school, here are a few tips to help you find the best option for your middle school student.
- Give yourself time. Develop a timeline that allows you to transition your middle school student to their academic career. This timeline will help you stay on top of researching options and ensure you have time to complete registration requirements before starting an online program.
- Consider your motivation. There are several reasons to shift to an online academy. But before making any decisions, it’s worth considering why you think it’s the right option for your student. So, it’s good to consider what you want your child to get from their online middle school education. You must then also consider your budget and the culture. Even though classes are online, your child will need to feel comfortable within the culture.
- Get Advice. If you are considering moving your child to a private virtual school, you likely aren’t the only one. All parents recognize the value of advice from other parents. Therefore, it’s worth checking with other parents to see if they have positive or negative experiences with any particular virtual school. You may be able to narrow the field simply by finding out more about the experiences of other families.
- Do your research. It’s often not good enough to just talk to other parents when making this decision. After all, your child’s performance in online middle school will set the tone for high school performance and beyond. Many online school programs will arrange video calls for you to interview staff to learn more about what the school offers. You can also learn from researching websites, reviewing online testimonials, and requesting more information from the virtual academy. While doing your research, it’s also worth looking at how transparent the school is. For instance, are they willing to refer you to other families to learn more or facilitate a conversation with any instructors? If not, that can be a red flag. If they are unresponsive to your inquiries, it can also be a warning sign that it might not be a good fit for your child.
- Ensure the school offers the options you need. Parents may decide to pursue online education for their children for many reasons. Whatever the reasons, the school you choose must have the options that work for you. For instance, if you need part-time course offerings, a hybrid schedule, or summer school options, verify this is a possibility before deciding. The last thing you want to do is pour a ton of effort and energy into finding the right school only to learn that it won’t meet your or your child’s needs.
- Review academic review sites. Many resources are available for parents looking into private schools, even private online school programs. You can enter search terms into any search engine and come up with links to school websites, profiles, and reviews from attendees. These review sites are often much more objective than reviewing the material a school provides. And they can provide a trove of useful information about the course material, instructor quality, and technological requirements. These sites can give you an impartial assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of any private online middle school program.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to identifying an academic model that works for all middle school students. The reality is that each student is unique, and some thrive in person while others shine in an online learning environment. And others may need a combination schedule.
But as a parent, it’s your job to ensure they have access to quality education, no matter how they learn. And selecting an online private middle school often comes with the same concerns as selecting any good school.
Ideally, the virtual academic environment should provide a better education than most public schools, as it offers students a bit more flexibility to learn at their own pace. And they can do it on your family’s terms. These tips can help you select the right private online middle school for your child – and set them up for future academic success!