The Personal Advantages of Online, Virtual School

September 20, 2012
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Most parents want the best education for their children, but they often are unsure on what IS the best education. I may not have found the best, but at least I found a form of education that can satisfactorily support my needs and standards. I found that virtual, online schooling, for me, has a great many benefits over physical schooling.

I was considered gifted, but also quite troublesome, from a young age. In my first elementary school that I attended at least a full grade in, I was allowed to take math courses two grades higher than my classmates despite my early disciplinary issues. But when my family moved to Temple City after third grade, I couldn’t adjust well at my new school, causing me to be disliked by my educators and peers. My educational advancement decreased due to an increase of behavioral problems. In sixth grade, I stopped attending my school’s GATE program for gifted students, because I considered their events boring and not suitable for me. My parents tried to find a better school for me. They entered me into the Early Entrance Program (EEP), a program that provides opportunities for preteens and teenagers to attend university. In order to get into EEP, the applicant must obtain a B or higher grade in two predetermined university courses taken over the summer. I found them difficult compared to the extremely easy academic courses at elementary school, so I couldn’t get in. We tried again to get into EEP the following year, but that didn’t work out either. My family and I wanted me to get academically advanced faster, but that was difficult at public school. And so my venture into an alternative schooling began.

My parents first considered private school after my experience with EEP didn’t work out. But private school was expensive and my parents’ choice for private school required uniform wearing, courses in religion, music courses, and other courses that were not normally needed for high school graduation. I complained. “This horrifically expensive school (I was very picky in the financial decisions that I could have control over) requires doing extra work which I don’t want or need. This school doesn’t satisfy my needs and I don’t get advanced by a grade or anything! I strongly disapprove!” I was against private school from the start and realized that I needed to find a free school that satisfies ME.
I remembered that when I was researching about EEP the previous year, there were advertisements about schooling virtually. The idea of going to school virtually was appealing to me. “Dad, Mom, I WILL NOT go to a private school. There are better alternatives,” I suggested, “I can go to school online!”

The first virtual school that I considered was iQAcademy, because its ways of teaching and socializing were interesting and appealing and because it was the free online school with a website that I came across. After more research, my parents and I settled on CAVA, because it had more experience in virtual schooling. And from there my experiences in online education began.

From the first day I attended virtual school, I thought it was easier than physical school, because going to and from school physically was time-consuming and boring (but good exercise). Going to school virtually was very quick if there are no technical problems, but those didn’t occur too often, so I was satisfied. I thought to myself, “I can ace virtual school!” and later said so to my parents. As I spent more and more days attending school online, I began to notice more benefits and positive aspects of virtual school.

I’ve always thought that, for me, homework is a waste of time. The goal of homework is for students to practice and review. So for most students, homework is necessary, because they need practice with the material. But I learn faster than others and don’t need what homework provides. During the EEP applicancy program, I attended university classes with other students of my age. I got a look at what university classes are like. In college, professors don’t give you much practice in the form of homework assignments. They expect you to study course material yourself, but people who are accustomed to having practice and review assignments handed out to them would do less well on exams or papers. I learned this firsthand. I scored badly on my first university test, because I was relying on “homework” and not used to independent studying. That’s why I also consider learning virtually to be preparing me for college in a way, since I can just do the assessments and essays and only do the “homework” (ex. student guides) in the topics I need practice on. Virtual schooling allows me to be dependent without unnecessary homework assignments. That is also a reason why virtual school is more difficult for students who need the homework, because they’re not used to virtual homework or don’t do much of the “homework”, causing them to have lower test and quiz scores. For me, at least, virtual school’s homework system, instead of making school difficult, is making school easier and much more favorable.

With physical schooling, there’s always a schedule. School begins at this time. You have these classes at these times for this long, lunch and recesses at these other times and lengths. Then school ends at another time. In virtual schooling, it is way more flexible. I can finish a lesson in a suitable amount of time for ME. I don’t have to wait for slower students to catch up like I do in physical school. That means that I can get more classes done in less time. I also can set up my own breaks. I can take breaks whenever I want: 3 breaks in one hour or one break in 3 hours. Likewise, I can also choose how long the breaks are: one minute, ten, or an hour.

Because I can spend less time on “homework” and classes overall, eliminate the time needed to transport to and from school entirely, and also set my schedule, I can save large amounts of time. That allows me time to go to more lessons, causing me to learn more than is possible otherwise. For me, more information can be learned in less time as well as less frustration caused by going to virtual school over physical school, causing virtual school to be a great choice.

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