October 06, 2009,
S.F. asks from Norristown, PA on October 04, 2009
S.D. answers from Harrisburg on October 05, 2009
Learning online takes a great deal of self direction and self motivation. It is a completely different learning environment from a regular classroom or even most homeschooling situations. My biggest concern is who will be monitoring your 7th grader while he is online. Do you want him all over the internet without you knowing where he is?
My experience with cyber school, especially in situations that have not been closely monitored, has not been positive a one. I would do tons of research and think very carefully about your child's learning style and needs before doing this. Finally, this type of schooling, while is "free" through public school is the most expensive option while often rendering the lowest results.
A.L. answers from Philadelphia on October 06, 2009
We've been researching and are considering Agora Cyber Charter school. We have several friends with kids enrolled and they love it. There are not specific times of day that your son would need to be logged in, but there is a requirement as to the amount of time and number of days he needs to be on. Also, it requires a lot of parental involvement. Yes, there is an actual teacher and there needs to be contact with them on a regular basis, but you also need to guide your child. As they get older, I believe there is more work for them to do so as others said, they need to be very disciplined and focused. But you may be able to have your son do some of the work while you're at work and then you can work with him in the evenings for anything that may need your involvement.
V.F. answers from Scranton on October 05, 2009
First an foremost assess the reasons for why you want to do this. Who will your child be home with and regardless of the style you choose will they be willing to help out.
The next thing is to go to HSLDA.org and read your state laws. The other thing is that if you choose to use a state funded school this is technically considered doing public school at home. You are still reporting to them and they have certain requirements. You will not have the freedom to choose the curriculum you want. Contact a local homeschool support group for more info and see what they can tell you an reccommend.
R.C. answers from Philadelphia on October 05, 2009
Will your child be taking his classes online by himself (without you or another adult there)? My biggest concern is will he be able to learn as much as if he were in a real school? I am taking college classes online and while I know that the level of schooling is way different, the basic idea is the same. The student needs to be very disciplined and take enough time to do the assignments and tests. There is alot more reading involved because there is no teacher speaking to you. And depending on how organized the website and the teachers are, it can be very difficult to locate all the assignments and due dates.
I would say that anyone looking to do this should be willing to work with the child for most of the time. I don't know any child really responsible enough to do it alone. That really isn't an insult - I just mean that it is alot to put on a kid.
Obviously I don't know your child and all kids are different, but any child that I know at that age would have a very hard time staying focused on school work when they are home with TV, video games, bed, and whatever else they have around.
A.B. answers from Reading on October 05, 2009
Cyber school will only work for certain students. I have seen it run its course very succesfully and also know of someone on their 3rd year of 8th grade. I would have you look at the deeper reason why cyberschool is so intriguing to your oldest. It requires A LOT of dedication, organization, and independent responsiblity on the student's part. You should be able to research the options in your state, as I believe the offerings and schedule are different throughout the country. The courses are usually taught by certified teachers who can offer some individual support, though not comparable to some of the public schools out there. To answer your question though, it's my understanding that the student is independent from his/her parents so even if you work full time it should be ok, though he will need a lot of access to the computer. Good Luck in whatever you decide.
F.H. answers from Sharon on October 05, 2009
I online cyber school with a 1st and 4th grader. We actually do most of our work away from the computer. My understanding is that independence and computer time increase with grade so high school would probably have more time. We go with a school that does the "K12" curriculum and it is a very good curriculum for my elementary school kids though it is a lot of work.
My concern would be also about your youngster on the internet alone.
B.R. answers from York on October 06, 2009
Hi S.! If your son is very self motivated, cyber-schooling works great and can allow him to move at a faster pace and delve more deeply into subjects that interest him. I've seen cyber-schooling work out for bright kids with physical ailments that keep them out of school, for kids who need faster pacing and more challenges, and for kids who have social issues with other students. However, as a 7th grade teacher in a regular public school for the past nine years, I've seen FAR more students who waste the opportunity.
Here's the typical situation: The student is not completing school assignments, fails one or two marking periods, or begins to have so many discipline issues that suspensions are making him miss school and fail. Parents enroll student in cyber-school. The student starts out doing okay, but once the novelty wears off (for parent and child), his enthusiasm wanes and he eventually refuses to log on and complete assignments. Lack of supervision leads to long, lazy days in front of the TV. Parents get sick of the student being home in their care all day. Student returns to public school after one or two marking periods, having failed cyber school and more out of control than ever. If this is your situation, please don't go the cyber-route. I've seen too many parents use it as a last resort and then give up on their kids when it doesn't work out. Seventh grade is too young to give up!
M.B. answers from Philadelphia on October 05, 2009
I've actually been doing some research on this option for my daughter (2nd grade now). I know where we are (in PA) there are a lot of different options for the online schooling. Some require more specific times for logging on, being part of online discussions or lessons, and are basically more strict with having to do certain work at certain times. Others are more flexible, and while they do provide a curriculum and certain things must be accomplished at each level, you are able to set your own pace much more and can do most of it as it fits your schedule. For both types, some of the work is online, but there is also work done away from the computer. The general time requirement per day is about 5 hours. Depending on the program you chose, your son might be able to do some of the offline work on his own while you were at work, and then you could work with him on other portions and supervise online access when you got home.
I think it's definitely a big commitment from the parents and the child, and it is probably not a good fit for everyone, but for some families and situations it might be ideal. I would search for programs available in your area, and once you find one or two that sound like a good fit contact them and see if you can get in touch with a couple of families using the program and go from there.
Good luck with the decision.