As the parent of a gifted child, you’ve already done considerable research over the years to provide your student with a quality education. As they transition to high school, you may be looking at virtual school for all the benefits it provides the gifted student. Before you decide, be sure to assess your child’s needs, skills, and temperament. Online learning requires some maturity and self-discipline. Is your child prepared?
Is There a Need for Online Learning?
There are several practical reasons an online learning environment may be a requirement for your child. Since some elite prep schools now offer online learning, you may have found a school that fits your criteria that isn’t near your home; attending online may be a viable alternative. Family travel may also make attending a traditional school impossible. Or you may want to consider online learning if your child is an elite athlete or gifted musician, or if you’ve discovered that supplemental enrichment activities don’t fit well within the traditional school day. Regardless of the need, if there is one, virtual high school provides a solution.
Is Your Child an Independent Learner?
Evaluate whether online learning is a good match for your child as an individual. Online learning requires independence, self-motivation, discipline, and organization. It also demands proactive communication. Your child needs to post to message boards and discussion groups, interface with classmates, and ask teachers for help, often through email or chat. This will be a change from your child’s past school experiences where teachers might note a quizzical look or wandering eye and call on a distracted student. Now it’s up to your child to stay focused and actively participate. While many of the skills they need for virtual learning can be nurtured and strengthened over time, your child may need some initial support and guidance to grow into an autonomous learner.
Are They Tech Savvy?
Online learning management systems are user-friendly with intuitive interfaces. For most digital natives, there’s barely a learning curve at all. However, an occasional glitch in internet service can frustrate some learners. Children with rigid personalities might also expect teachers to all use the tools the same way; they may not. Having an open mind and a plan B for tech issues can ensure a great learning experience that brings enjoyment, knowledge, and success.
Are They Well-Organized?
While most in-person schools organize and schedule work for students, to keep up with the pace and independence of online learning, your child will need to be well organized. There are calendar tools and apps that can make this easy to accomplish. If your child is already good at managing their time, that’s a strength that will serve them well; if they are not, you should be prepared to step in and assist.
Do They Usually Comprehend Assignments with Written Instructions?
Another unfamiliar aspect of online learning is the amount of written instruction. Teachers are available and will explain course content, but there are also many more assignments that will contain written instructions and require your child to follow them to complete their schoolwork correctly.
How Will They Supplement Their Interpersonal Relationships?
One of the concerns parents have with a virtual setting is the lack of face-to-face time children have with their peers. While digital natives seem quite comfortable developing relationships with online classmates, you may want to consider ways to help your child connect with friends. Whether they choose to meet students attending the same online school or friends they’ve known for years, help them remain active with peers in extracurricular sports and activities. The classroom is hardly the only place to make friends.
Are They Interested in Online Learning?
With more than 60% of US High School students taking some form of virtual class today, online learning has become commonplace. Shifting to it more permanently may seem a stark change to you, but it may seem completely natural to your child. Have discussions about your child’s options and expectations. Before you make a final decision, make sure it’s the best one for the whole family.
Online high school for gifted children can provide a more enriching experience with more advanced courses, flexible schedules, like-minded peers, and self-paced learning. If you think it might be a good option for your child, consider Gravitas. As the online extension of The Stony Brook School, we can provide your gifted child with an exceptional educational experience. Our entire program is backed by the latest empirical research from the Harvard University Human Flourishing Program. Contact us today to learn more.