Virtual charter schools are becoming increasingly popular and well-known for parents and children due to the current times and switch towards online or partially online schooling. These schools are similar to traditional public schools in that they are online-only or online and face-to-face learning environments, have no admission criteria, and are publicly funded so they tend to be inexpensive or free to access. How good or bad can these be for your child? To best determine that you’ll need to know and weigh the pros and cons. Here are some of the pros and cons of virtual charter schools to help you understand their uses or benefits.
Pros of Virtual Charter Schools
Much More Flexible
Especially when it comes to high school when kids have to juggle many responsibilities and time-consuming tasks at once, traditional in-person schooling can be very difficult and increase stress levels due to taking up so much of their time. Working from a virtual charter school frees up some time and can even make school take less time each day or week than it does in traditional schooling. They can also have more freedom to choose their own schedule and alter when they have to work when doing it online.
Since virtual charter schools are publicly funded, they are free for families to opt into participation. You do have to spend some money on supplies, but it can often be just as much or less than what you spend on traditional schooling anyways. Equipment costs are a part of the schooling sometimes, but many virtual charter schools use that equipment cost to cover any books or curriculum requirements that can be shipped to your home for your child to utilize. Other than that, you’ll need to purchase school supplies that you’d purchase anyway.
Homeschooling Without Parent Burden
If your child already wants to be homeschooled or you want them to be home for schooling, you’ll probably struggle with the burden and requirements that your state has for parents homeschooling their children. Virtual charter schools handle things like state testing requirements, curriculum needs, measurements of progress, mandatory state reporting or record-keeping, and so on. This takes that burden off of you and make the process easier as well as let them be at home in a homeschool environment.
Cons of Virtual Charter Schools
Structure Is Easily Lost
To advance to the next grade or finish classes, students need some level of structure and discipline in their studies. Most virtual schools don’t have work deadlines or due dates for assignments which can make it hard for children to understand or keep structured and easy to lose track of staying on pace. Structure is something that you’ll need to help younger children with or even handle on your end for them, and for older children, you’ll have to remind them or know if they’re capable of putting together or maintaining this discipline.
Too Much Home
Being at home more and with the freedom of time can seem great to parents and kids, and some more opportunities for family bonding can seem like a perfect idea. But too much home is a possibility and quite a realistic consequence of having your child at home so often. It can quite possibly cause an increase in tension between family members and a shift in the family dynamics as well as struggles for each individual to have their own time to breathe and be on their own. Being alone sometimes is an important part of the development and finding themselves.
Increased Screen Time
An online school means more time in front of screens during their day than usual, which has its fair share of damage to the mind and body as well as other concerns. A virtual charter school could impact your child’s health due to time in front of electronics. They can be able to balance this screen time by reducing other areas of their screen usage and managing schoolwork to be a smaller portion of their day as well as including breaks. But to many experts, the damage is already done in spending this time in front of screens in the first place.
This information can help anyone considering or using virtual charter schools to understand what parts are helpful and what parts can be drawbacks to their uses. This can help you to better inform a decision to switch your child to a virtual charter school option and it can help to better consider that decision to make the best one for your child’s needs or your own preferences as well. When you read through this list of pros and cons you can think about what is most important to you and your child for their education. Some kids do well with certain learning environments that others don’t, so really it’s all up to your own family.