How Cyber Charter Schools and Homeschooling Help Students Grow
Most educators agree: Not every child learns the same.
While some students flourish with hands-on experiences, others love burying their noses in a book. Some students master the art of leadership in group settings, while others develop the most when they work alone.
Sometimes, parents find a traditional school setting doesn’t work.
That’s why some parents are turning to home-based educations that give them the flexibility to educate their children at their own pace and with a variety of subjects. In Pennsylvania, the growing trend of homeschooling and cyber charter schools allows parents to have a greater hand in their child’s education.
The state requires homeschool students to visit a certified evaluator at the end of each school year to determine if the student is meeting state requirements. Evaluators review samples of schoolwork and make sure students have completed the required 180 days of school for the year.
Parents often see their own children learn differently or have different needs and opt to have them attend different learning centers based on their personal needs and where they feel most comfortable.
Many parents start teaching at home for different reasons. For some, they have religious beliefs they want to follow and include in their home teaching.
For others, their children don’t perform well in the left-brain society that is public school.
Some students live in school districts that don’t offer programs for gifted children. Those children can’t thrive, and other options become enticing, such as homeschooling. Students have been able to blossom and learn statistics and physics at a college level, while others have written books or have unique athletic- or music-driven schedules.
Homeschool parents only need a GED to teach in Pennsylvania. Many parents who might not be qualified in certain subjects do their part to find tutors or join homeschool co-ops.
Co-op groups that meet throughout the year help supplement home learning, either with group classes, such as choir and gym, or specialized subjects, such as foreign languages or science. Many of the classes are taught by mothers who are well versed in those topics.
New homeschool parents should be very organized and research the law and their school district requirements. Pennsylvania Homeschoolers is an organization recommended for learning about available resources.
For other parents, a home education is appealing, but homeschooling isn’t their first choice. In that case, cyber charter schools are becoming a popular option, especially since the pandemic.
Many parents have felt the disruption to their child’s school year, and what is in store for the fall is yet to be seen. There is a lot of uncertainty about what public school will look like in the fall. Now may be the time to check into cyber schooling.
Cyber charter schools operate as a public school. Instead of going to a traditional school down the road, children learn at home with the help of Pennsylvania Certified Teachers.
Cyber schools typically serve children in kindergarten through 12th grade. A rolling enrollment period means any student can start cyber school at any time. And because cyber schools are public schools, they are funded through taxpayer dollars, so parents don’t have to pay enrollment fees.
Cyber schooling may have several delivery methods for the curriculum. Students can learn in a virtual classroom with a traditional school schedule and other students in a web platform. Students also can learn through blended classrooms, where they meet with a teacher once a week to work through particular subjects.
When students aren’t in the virtual classroom, they’re at home doing homework and being supervised by parents.
Regional offices throughout the state also offer enrichment activities, such as art and music classes, as well as clubs similar to brick-and-mortar schools, such as a newspaper and photography. This gives students an outlet if they are looking for more interaction with classmates and want to meet in a social setting.
Students also come together for state testing, such as the Keystones. Because cyber schools are public schools, students are required to meet the same standards as their peers in the school districts. A diploma earned at a cyber charter school is the same as the one earned at a traditional public school.
Students who enter cyber schools come from different backgrounds. Some experienced social issues or bullying in other schools and want to focus on their academics without those distractions.
Others are looking for opportunities to accelerate or sign up for challenging courses that traditional schools may not be able to offer.
As cyber charter schools have become more in the public’s eye, the program has evolved, particularly with the curriculum. As Pennsylvania standards change, cyber schools have kept up, while still offering programs that are customizable to individual students.
Certainly, cyber schools will continue to evolve and grow as time goes on. Children learn differently. And perhaps some children as well as their parents are anxious about being put back in a crowded environment. This could be a viable option for you!