I have taken a few full or partially online courses. I enjoy the social interaction of a regular classroom setting. When I was a child and too sick to go to school a tutor was sent to my home or my hospital room. Academically I did better with a one-on-one tutor, but I hated missing out on a regular school day.
I worry about teenagers and other students that forgo traditional school for online school. Part of school is learning social skills as awkward or as painful as that can be. You have to interact with people in the workforce and everyday life as an adult and you learn those skills in your youth.
My mom had to fight for me to be able to attend public school. She battled for me like a warrior. The reason I am so “normal” today is because of the skills I learned in school. She had to fight for me to be able to go out for recess or go on field trips. Throughout history parents and students had to fight to be able to be included in traditional school. We need to remember it is a privilege to be able to go to school.
Growing up we meet a lot of our friends in school. Some of my best friends I met in grade school, middle school, and high school. Kids who do online school may miss out on those kinds of friendships. In a social media, video game world, children are already losing the face to face contact that helps them learn social skills.
For those that feel awkward or uncomfortable by going to traditional school, remember life is not always comfortable. Ride out the bad, because it will pass. Every teenager feels awkward and some hide it better than others.
I’m the aunt of two teenagers, one of whom is in full time online high school and the other is part-time. I see my worries play out first hand. Both lack real friendships with kids their age.
Having choices about traditional, home schooling, online, or specialty programs is a great way to be able to have options. I just want you to be aware that people like myself had to pave the way for the right to be educated in a traditional school setting. It was very hurtful at times to not be included with my peers.
Public schools need to address the issues that are causing students to turn to online school. Schools need to adapt to today’s kids, their interests, and shorter attention spans. They need to get to the point and make learning fun. Today’s students are very much a generation that wants things instantly. Kids today have different kind of demands and teachers need to adapt to the technical world. It makes me thankful that I grew up in the time I did. No social media, YouTube, cell phones, or online video games to distract me from the real world.