What is a Virtual School?

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Virtual schooling is a relatively new concept that allows your child to attend school from home, with certified teachers and a set curriculum. Three out of four school districts provide a virtual schooling option, and many states run virtual schools that abide by the rules and regulations governing traditional public schools. As with any schooling option, there are pros and cons; and when you’re determining whether or not virtual schooling is right for your child, it’s best to take a look at your child’s personality and learning style.

About Virtual Schools
Virtual schooling is one of the fastest growing education opportunities for students in grades K-12. Currently, about 40 states participate in some form of online learning or virtual schooling, with 30 of those states offering full-time options. Most virtual schools are tuition free and run by a state initiative, though there are private virtual schools that offer a more diverse course curriculum and have some fees associated with them.

There are several advantages involved with online virtual educations. In general, students who attend virtual schools tend to receive high scores on standardized tests; and virtual schools are held to the same accreditation and regulations as traditional public schools. Virtual schools:

  • meet state and federal requirements for education standards.
  • allow students to learn in a comfortable environment, with the support of a qualified teacher.
  • involve parents in their child’s education.
  • provide a great option for homebound children, due to handicap or other circumstances.
  • lessen the chance of bullying and other uncomfortable social circumstances.
  • allow students to attend extracurricular activities and field trips planned by the school.
  • provide one-on-one communication and instruction from a teacher.
  • allow students to work at their own pace, without being left behind or becoming bored with concepts.
  • if run by the state, are free for students in a specific geological area.

While virtual schools offer many pros for students, some of the requirements and standards may be considered cons, such as the:

  • attendance requirements.
  • minimal amount of social interaction the child will receive, in comparison to a traditional school.
  • self-start attitude and attention to detail that the child is required to have.
  • computer and other technological requirements, which are supplied by the family.

Some Cautions Regarding Virtual Schools
When considering a virtual school, parents should first speak to their school board about the options their district offers. When choosing and enrolling in a virtual school, make sure the program is accredited and will provide your children with the education required by state and federal laws.

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