The world today is a difficult place to navigate at times. There is a strong pull of tradition and the way things “used to be”, while at the same time a shift in “thinking differently” with the aid of technology. If you’re a parent today, then you know school is an incredibly different place than it was a decade ago. From cyberbullying and the rise of social media to a literal change in learning (common core for example), students today face challenges no generation before them has had to encounter. This is why we want to talk about alternative learning, especially with regard to cyber schooling. These tools can help your child get the education and learning styles they need to succeed.
Reasons for Alternative Learning
There are hundreds of reasons that could make alternative learning a great option for your child. When cyber school was first becoming an option, the best candidates where those needing an adjusted pace. That could mean a disability that required a slower, more hands-on approach. Or it was an option for those academically gifted students who needed more of a challenge and were interested in a more intense workload.
But today, the world is getting bigger. Our academic resources are shifting. And kids are growing up entirely different than those before them. Reasons a child might choose cyber school today include:
- Being part of a military family or one that is always moving
- Suffering from a chronic illness or disease
- Wanting to pursue non-traditional careers, like those in the arts as a means for a shorter school day with flexibility to train
- Extreme athletes
- Suffering from mental illness (depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, eating disorders, etc.)
- Going through a difficult time at home (divorce, grief/loss)
- Issues with bullying/cyberbullying
- Anxiety about school in general (especially with new active shooter drills)
The Benefits of Cyber School
Half the battle of getting an education to “stick” is creating a conducive environment. For many kids, the traditional school system is needed due to routine and normalcy. Others may find themselves more engaged in learning if they feel safer and less stressed in the home.
Keep Your Own Pace
Generally speaking, cyber schools allow the curriculum to be worked at the individual’s own pace. This removes the pressure of deadlines and allows a child to work quickly through the things they understand while getting extra time to work through concepts they quite don’t get yet.
The most talked-about benefit of cyber school would have to be the flexibility it creates. Cyber school gives students and their parents control when school is actually in session.
Safe Environment and Open Enrollment
For the most part, a child’s home often feels safe and comfortable for them. Social anxieties that can come up in traditional school settings are wiped away in a cyber setting. Cyber schooling options are also great because most will accept a student at any point in the year!
When your child is just one in a class of 25 or 30, it can be hard for them to get the one on one help they need. As regular teachers have deadlines they need to meet, they tend to move on as soon as the majority of the class understands the current lesson. Cyber school removes the other kids in the room, giving your child space (and confidence) to ask questions about the material he/she may not understand. This allows for a more immersive and complete educational experience.
All the Tools You Need
The program you sign your child up for will provide all the necessary tools they could need for their education. Many parents worry about extra costs – which is a big deterrent and keeps many who would benefit from cyber school in the traditional format.
We Know, You’re Worried About Their Social Skills
Other than finances, the second biggest deterrent that keeps kids from cyber school is the concept of creating “social skills”. And while we understand why that would be a concern, it’s important to remember that the social norms of today are entirely different than they were even five years ago. And if you think about it, even those going to traditional schools aren’t immune to the same concerns. With the age of the internet, just because kids are in a school setting doesn’t mean they’re getting the benefits of socializing.
But that doesn’t mean socializing isn’t an aspect of cyber-learning. Your child will be introduced to and encouraged to interact with their other classmates. Cyber schools also have clubs, field trips, and other interactive activities that “normal” schools offer. Meaning that there are more than enough opportunities for kids to meet others more like them!
In a Sense, It Prepares Your Kids for Higher Education and Work
The last thing we want to touch on is that in a sense, cyber schooling is great preparation for any higher education or work that could come their way in the future. Cyber schooling forces kids to prioritize time management, productivity, and engagement. While parents still need to be highly involved in regard to supervision, this way of alternative learning starts preparing kids now for learning and work environments they may face later in life.
Cyber Schooling and CPA
While CPA is not a cyber school, we do talk about utilizing the tool for those children suffering from mental illness. As you would when choosing any school for your child, do your research and ask questions. Most programs will allow your child to try the program through a summer school option, which can be a great way to test if this is the right move for your child.
We know how hard it can be to help your kids succeed. Let us help you navigate that blur of a line and help you be the best parent you can be. Cristina Panaccione and Associates has one location in the South Hills and one office in Robinson Township. We are currently accepting a limited number of new child and adult patients, so check out our videos to learn more about how we can help you!
* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.
Dave Lori – LPC
Dave has had the honor and privilege of working in the mental health field for the past 20 years. His experience ranges from family-systems work to individualized-focus. His clinical orientation ranges from client-centered, solution-focused, humanistic and Existential approach. Dave believes in providing a strength-based, supportive, authentic and non-judgmental approach to the therapeutic process. We all face various challenges and have the ability to reach our personal goals given the independent choices we make each day.