Is Online School Right for Advanced Students or Students with Disabilities?
Whether your child flies through class material at a dizzying pace or struggles to connect with new concepts, school is likely to be a challenge for children who do not learn in the same way as the rest of their peers.
Teachers in bricks-and-mortar elementary schools try to offer differentiation to each student. Differentiation is an individualized approach to learning that lets teachers shape lessons around a child or small groups of students at similar levels. Some groups get more complex work, while other groups focus on strengthening skills. But this approach is not guaranteed or even always possible in a traditional classroom. Some students become bored while others fall behind.
Online School for Gifted and Advanced Learners
According to the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ latest available data, there are 3.3 million students in gifted and talented classes out of 50 million total students attending public schools. Just a tiny fraction.
The criteria for being admitted into gifted classes and the number of seats available varies by state and school system. The process is not transparent, leaving many families feeling confused and locked out of access to advanced learning.
Online school can provide advanced learners with additional opportunities for accelerated and individualized learning by offering:
- Personalized pacing. Since online school makes one-on-one learning possible with phone check-ins and chat sessions with a teacher, the student can vary the pacing of the classes in a way that is better suited to his or her needs. This means that your student can take longer on some material to learn even more or move faster through lessons.
- Deeper dives. The student can dive deeper with the teacher and material, learning more about certain topics of interest.
- Additional courses. If your advanced learner has mastered the basics and wants to branch out and add languages, arts, or computer programming, online school gives students this flexibility.
Online School for Students with Learning Disabilities
Your child can attend online public school and maintain his or her Individualized Education Plan (IEP) as a student with a disability. According to the most recent Department of Education data, there are just over 6 million students nationwide identified with an educational disability affecting learning. How can online school benefit students with learning disabilities?
- Flexible pacing. Students who need to take more time on coursework are not moved along with a classroom full of other students. For a student with a specific learning disability like dyslexia, this means that he or she can work on building the foundations of reading, taking the time to learn decoding skills in a more confidence-building and nurturing home environment.
- Distraction-free setting. Students with ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety disorders, or sensory-integration issues may find school buildings and classrooms challenging. Fluorescent lighting, cafeteria smells, chatty peers, classroom transitions, and intercom announcements are additional burdens for students with learning disabilities that can be totally eliminated by studying online.
- Controlled peer interaction. Because this is online school with interaction mostly occurring on the computer, in-person get-togethers with peers can be planned, supervised, and contained to specific times. This is especially important for children who may need extra support because of social, emotional, or developmental issues.
What is a twice-exceptional student?
A twice-exceptional student has a learning profile that combines elements of both giftedness and learning disability. Imagine a highly intelligent ADHD child or a gifted math student who is also dyslexic. These students do not fit neatly into the gifted classroom or with special needs designations, and schools often do not offer specialized instruction for them. Online school can provide a unique mix of challenging academics and supportive teaching that can help these students thrive.
So, is online school right for your child? The answer will depend on your child, your goals for your child, and the available options from your local school district. To learn how you can participate in shaping your children’s education with more opportunities to provide meaningful input, visit the website for Connections AcademyⓇ online public school. Or to learn about online private school, visit International Connections Academy’s website.