How Online High School Can Help Struggling Teens

4 min to read
How Online School Can Help Struggling Teens

Raising a healthy teenager is tough even under the best of circumstances. They can face overwhelming pressure to meet the expectations of friends, family, and social media. 

What if, on top of those challenges, your teen is having a hard time academically or socially in the classroom? Many families are discovering that online school for teens can help struggling students get back on track and set them up for success in college, work, and life. 

Signs That Your Teenager is Struggling in School

Difficulties at school can show in many ways and have a multitude of causes. One red flag of a struggling teenager is something that experts call disengagement. More simply put, disengagement means that a student has pulled back in both interest and participation in the classroom. 

One-third of high school students reported being disengaged at school in a 2018 Gallup survey. A group of researchers, have identified signs that they call the “ABCs of student engagement”:

  • Affective Engagement – students who take a strong interest in what they are learning in class

  • Behavioral Engagement – students who participate in class and turn in assignments on time

  • Cognitive Engagement – students who take an extra interest in learning even outside of class

What Causes Student Disengagement?

It’s clear that disengagement can lead to negative behaviors in students. If you see the signs in your teen, it can be helpful to look for reasons why they’re checking out. Here are some possible causes:

  1. Coursework that is too challenging or not challenging enough

    Lessons that don’t meet students at their learning capability or aptitude can crush motivation in teenagers who’ve fallen behind, as well as with those who are advanced compared to their peers. 

  2. Unidentified learning disorders or neurodiversity

    It’s not unusual for learning disorders that affect reading, writing, or math to be discovered in high school. The same goes for a diagnosis of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other forms of neurodiversity that can affect learning

  3. Depression, anxiety, or stress 

    A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report noted that almost one-third (29%) of students say they experienced poor mental health in 2021. Such distress is a known contributor to problems with school and grades. 

How Can Online School Help Struggling Teens?

Finding the best high school environment for a disengaged student takes time and research. Online school for struggling teens is an option to consider. Getting a high school diploma from a tuition-free online public school offers flexibility, choice, and support not always found at brick-and-mortar institutions.

Here are some distinct elements that a Connections Academy®–supported online high school offers to help struggling teens overcome obstacles to learning:

Flexible Schedules and Learning Spaces

Online learning for teenagers allows them to design their school schedule and learn in the physical environment that suits them best – at their own pace.  Maybe they have better focus and concentration in the evenings or at the library, for example. Online coursework can be accessed anytime and from anywhere with a wi-fi connection. 

More Course Choices

Students who are interested in course subject matter are more engaged in learning. Online high school typically offers more electives, such as game design and marine biology, than are commonly available at similar, brick-and-mortar schools. Career Technical Education (CTE), Advanced Placement (AP®), and honors courses are also options for students looking to prepare for college or career. The digital curriculum keeps students engaged and meets rigorous state and national standards. 

One-on-One Attention

Whether your teenager is having a hard time keeping up at school or is academically advanced and looking to reach higher, dedicated teachers are available for one-on-one support and guidance. Students and parents can reach out to teachers by phone or email with questions or concerns.

A Safe Learning Environment

Bullying and peer pressure at school can trigger anxiety and depression in teenagers or worsen it. When students can study in a safe, online environment where socialization is customized to their individual needs and interests, they can rebuild their confidence and achieve success in high school more readily.

Fewer Distractions

From noisy peers to social anxieties, as well as a host of other distractions, there’s a constant barrage of stimuli at school that can distract your teen’s still-developing brain. You can expect their frustration and mental workload at school to be significantly affected by these external factors. Fortunately, online school for teens can significantly reduce distractions and offer more on-task time to its students.

If you’re still wondering if online school is right for your struggling teenager, take our quiz or get our free eGuide

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