Online Elementary School

Updated on April 27, 2012
B.J. asks from Rochester, MN
10 answers

My hubby was talking to a coworker about how our 8 year old son is strugling in school and a big cause of that is that there are so many kids and only one teacher. The coworker said that he has his kids going to an online school and his kids do great. He then talked to a coworker and he said that exact same thing. It seems that online schools are a big hit. I have done a bit of reaserch and am now thinking of trying it. Anyone have any expierience or thoughts? Thank you!

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So What Happened?

My other question is this. The whole story is that out school is in a better part of town. Most people have money to send there kids to fancy preschools (I home schooled my son for preschool). So when he started school he was ready to sart reading, but did not know how to yet. He know all his numbers and letters and could do a bit of addition. A good 90% of the kids in his grade came into kindergarden reading at a 1st grade level. So when I say he is behind he is behind most kids in his grade. There is a country school about an hour away that I went to as a kid. When I compaired where he is and where kids in his grade are he would be at the higher end of his grade in a school like this. I am not sure if I should leave him in the shool he is at and have his strougle or take him to the other school. I'm afraid in the country school he might be chalenged enough. Hence why I was looking at an onling school. Anyway HELP :)

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answers from Washington DC on

Sorry to be the naysayer, but I heard a program on NPR about the poor performance of students on on-line schools. It might be good for some very self motivated students who have parents who supplement with some homeschooling, but I don't think I'd rely on that alone.

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answers from Chicago on

An online school isn't going to be better that any other kind of school if your son doesn't have you to guide him.

There isn't anything more wonderful than one-on-one attention! I would ask yourself if you are ready to homeschool him? If so, why not just look for a good curriculum? One that fits his learning style and what you feel you can do?

We homeschool, and it's wonderful. I would not online school because the reason we took her out of public school is that we needed a currriculum that fit her learning style and interests.

Keep looking! And just do what you feel is right.

I also don't know why so many people worry about the social aspect of school when you go to school to learn! I think homeschooled kids are just as social or non-social as public schooled kids--every child has his/her personality. There are plenty of public schooled kids who go to school every day and have trouble socially. The good thing about homeschool is you can guide your child in that aspect as well.

Good luck!

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answers from Provo on

We've been trying k12 out - I kind of have mixed feelings about it. Part of the reason we tried it was 1) I don't have to do as much 'lesson planning' and 2) It's free. Yes, I know you can home-school for very cheaply, but it does take a little more energy to piece things together without a structured curriculum - I've done it. It's not unheard of for a curriculum to cost up in the thousands. Online School has it's pros and cons - I do supplement it. We use some of the curriculum pretty diligently (History and Language Arts - my son loves those). Math and Phonics I've just explained it to him and he has taken the unit assessments and passed them all (most at 100%, occasionally a 90% or so). I think if you're looking to use an online school in the same way you would a public school (ie. plop your child in front of the computer/books and expect them to be 'taught' and than 'pick them up' at the end of the day)...I don't think it would be very effective. Maybe you can talk to mom's in your area that have done it? I think we will probably do it 'part time' next year (pick which subjects we want to use). That way I can supplement it a little easier. Sally R. mentioned a study showing poor performance by kids in online schools. I think many people who do consider an online school are doing it because their child is struggling in school - which may explain it a bit? I don't know...there could be many reasons :). All school situations have pros and cons. At this point, I am glad that I have the opportunity to devote more of my time and energy to figuring out my sons other issues than stress too much on the academic side of his learning (we're in the diagnosis process - he has severe anxiety and possibly ADHD and/or SPD). Because of the severe anxiety and difficulty on one/at home learning has been wonderful for him. He does have a few social activities that are much less overwhelming for him than a day at school. You can always try it out - you don't need to stick with it :).

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answers from Milwaukee on

Hi B.,
I actually teach for an online school, although we don't have elementary school students. There are a few things to think about: how well does you son like using the computer? That's going to be important for him. I would guess he's also going to need to learn how to type--most 8 year olds don't know how to do that yet, so that may slow him down initially. Also, you're going to need to be very involved. I've seen over and over again that the kids who do well in online schooling are kids whose parents are constantly checking their progress and helping as needed. I would imagine this is especially true at the elementary school level. Last of all, does it suit your child's learning style? Would he prefer a more active or interactive environment or does he like to work independently? Online school is going to be more independent work than what he's likely to see in a face-to-face school. One more thing: he's going to have to read the directions, rather than listening to the teacher, so if he struggles with reading he'll need extra help from you to make sure he understands assignments. I hope that helps you as you consider what to do :)


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answers from Kansas City on

A grandson tried this and next year will go back to school. He liked it but said it was 'harder' than school. He took accessment tests at the local place and still did PE at the school. He is very smart and so did fine with some help from his mom. He was 10-11 years old this school year. I think one drawback that I observed is that you can get pretty slow at things and I know homeschool is to work at your own pace but then again IF you go back to school you need to move at a faster speed. For good students or those needing more help I think it would be good but I still think the regular method of homeschooling is much better for learning and teaching.



answers from Washington DC on

I just read your SWH, which brings up some questions for me.

When say he is struggling in school, do you mean he is not learning/ having a hard time grasping new material, or just that he is near the bottom of his class?

To me (as a teacher and as a parent) the comparison BETWEEN kids is less important than the growth with EACH kid. For example, many people would say my son is excelling in kindergarten because he's easily at the top of his class academically. HOWEVER, he probably hasn't made more than a year of progress this year, he just came in already knowing a lot. He may have actually made LESS progress than some of his classmates, so I wouldn't say he's excelling even though he's well above grade level.

If your son is making good progress, enjoying school, and learning every day, I'd leave him where he is. However, if he's actually struggling... like finding it hard to learn new things, or not enjoying school, it's time to consider something else.

I'm not sure I think the online programs are GREAT for young kids, but if YOU have the time an inclination to guide him and teach him through the online program, it might be worth a try.

You can probably give it a try this summer when he's out of school. If it feels right, continue in the fall. If not, send him back to school but he'll have had the summer to catch up.




answers from Minneapolis on

I have also been interested in the online schools. We haven't switched to it yet so I am very interested to hear more about it from people who are actually doing it.

For students doing the k12 school, how much time is spent at the computer and how much time with hands on activities and books. My son is very bored and distracted in the classroom but will sit and read for hours on his own. He is an eager learner but likes to be able to explore concepts on his own rather than just following a computer program. Testing or assessments on the computer are fine but does most of the lesson learning also happen via the computer? Or is there flexibility.

I like the appeal of the set curriculum because I don't have time or $$ to start from scratch. But we would be looking for some flexibility when it comes to learning style.

And the k12 site says they organize field trips and outings, how often does that happen?



answers from Rochester on

As an elementary teacher I am very skeptical about online schools for elementary students. To do online school students need to be very focused and very independent learners. I've worked with very few students who would be self-motivated enough to do online school. And that includes highly gifted students I've taught. Do you have the time to sit next to him and help direct his learning without doing it for him (which is harder than you think it might be sometimes)? My other concern is that you said your son is lower than all his classmates. It's possible that he just came in a little behind, but if there is a reason beyond that, an online teacher may not catch it. There also would not be specialists who could work with him if he needed extra help in reading or math. I don't know a lot about online schools, so maybe they do have ways of providing help. There is a lot of benefit to having a real teacher there at your side.

As far as the small country school, don't discredit it. Sometimes smaller is better. Take your son to visit the school. See what he thinks.



answers from Lafayette on

hmmm. well, i just recommend if you go that route, still keep them engaged in activities with other kids so not isolated.


answers from St. Louis on

Wouldn't the ideal situation be for you to teach him what he needs to know to be brought up to the level of the other kids? It would seem that if you do the online thing then he will always be behind the other kids so at some point he is going to go back and be in the same position whether it be high school or college.

Since it seems you want to take his education into your hands then leave him in school and use your efforts to bring him up to speed. That way you have more people working towards the goal of educating him.

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