5 Questions to Ask When Considering a Virtual School

4 min to read
Parent working with child using laptop for online school

Among the difficult decisions parents make, choosing the right school—or learning method—is often near the top of the list. With the growing number of options available, it’s important to explore each possibility and ask the right questions for schools before you make a plan for your child’s education, especially if you’re considering online school.

What Is Online School?

Tuition-free online public schools, like Connections Academies, are fully virtual, K-12 schools with a curriculum designed by experts and delivered by teachers who are specially trained to teach online. It’s a well-rounded experience that empowers each student to learn the way they learn best.

Learn more: “How Does Online School Work?”

5 Questions to Ask Online Schools and Yourself

Here are some school questions to ask to help you determine if  is a good fit for your family:

1. Why are you seeking an alternative educational method?

The first step in considering an alternate education method is to clearly define your family’s overall educational goals. This will help you better understand if a particular virtual school will work for you and your children. Are you looking for a more challenging curriculum? Greater control of your child’s education? Increased scheduling flexibility? Acceptance into a four-year college? Take some time to reflect on your goals as a family before you jump into the process.

2. Will the online school meet your child’s individual needs?

Every child has their own unique learning preference. Does your elementary-age child perform better with hands-on lessons? Is your child an auditory learner who needs extra time to complete reading assignments? Perhaps your child requires an accelerated pace for some subjects but not for others. When evaluating what questions to ask online schools, consider what options are available for personalizing your child’s learning experience and help them thrive.

3. Does the online school offer a high-quality curriculum?

Another important add to your list of questions for school: What type of curriculum do they offer? Online public schools like Connections Academy are required to meet state and national education standards. Beyond these benchmarks, most parents also want a curriculum to challenge and prepare their children for success in life. Be sure to look for an online learning program that is accredited regionally and by AdvancED, the world’s largest education community and premier accreditation organization. Additionally, look for a school with a curriculum that:

  • Builds a solid foundation in core courses like reading, writing, and mathematics
  • Develops 21st-century critical-thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Uses high-quality materials from leading educational publishers
  • Engages students with interactive learning tools and other creative resources
  • Offers opportunities for gifted and talented, honors, and AP classes if your child needs additional challenge

4. Will the school provide opportunities to succeed and grow offline?

Kids need a well-rounded learning experience with opportunities to experience success and a sense of accomplishment, so look for a school that integrates hands-on projects like painting, playing music, building things, and conducting experiments into academic lessons. A virtual school should also offer a variety of ways for classmates to connect socially, as well as a robust program of extracurricular activities, community activities, and field trips.

5. Are you prepared for direct involvement in your child’s education?

Before deciding to enroll a child in an online school, parents should give serious thought to the level of involvement required. Take into account how much time you are able to spend monitoring and coaching your child’s online education. You may want to talk to other parents about their experiences with online learning—and be sure to ask more online school questions about training and support for families.

Consider these five school questions to ask when deciding if online school is right for your family. And if you’re still on the fence, check out this quiz: “Is Virtual School Right for My Child?”

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