Online vs. Traditional School: Which Is the Better Choice?

4 min to read
Online vs. Traditional School: Which Is the Better Choice?

When it comes to K-12 school, gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all model. Today, more and more families are adopting non-traditional methods of education to help their children succeed. And with the rise of virtual options, parents and students are questioning the more rigid formats, asking the question: Is online school better than in-person?

It’s not a simple answer. When debating online vs. traditional education, there are several factors to consider and explore.

K-12 online school may be the best choice for your family if you are looking for:

  • More accommodation of your child’s learning needs and preferences 

  • More parental involvement 

  • Personalized programming 

  • Scheduling flexibility 

  • Access to an accredited public-school education from nearly anywhere

Online School vs. Traditional School

Parental Involvement

At a traditional, brick-and-mortar school, parental involvement is often limited to things like reviewing homework, attending parent-teacher conferences, or chaperoning field trips. Many parents are out of the loop on their child’s academic performance until the end-of-term report card arrives home, leaving parents and students little chance to course-correct.

When asked why online schooling is better for their families, many parents discuss the options they have for being involved in their children’s education. As Learning Coaches, parents (or other trusted adults) may choose to support a student’s learning by structuring the online school routine or reviewing lessons and grades as often as they wish. They are able to consult with online school teachers in regular meetings and, when needed, play an active role by helping to monitor attendance, progress, and comprehension. While every family does online learning a bit differently, educators agree that it’s a good idea to assist with organization and time management, encourage students, and praise them for their hard work.

Scheduling Flexibility

While parents have little to no control over a traditional school’s schedule or learning environment, online school parents can set the daily routine and have the flexibility to cultivate an effective learning atmosphere for their children.

Is online school better for students who need more flexibility? Some parents think so. Online school students still often attend fixed-schedule events, such as real-time lessons in the virtual classroom, but they have a much higher degree of flexibility concerning where and when they complete their studies. This allows them to enjoy family time, medical appointments, hobbies, travel, sports, and other activities without missing school or falling behind in their studies.

A parent and child researching online school vs traditional education.

Personalized Learning

Many brick-and-mortar, in-person schools can’t offer as much personalization opportunities as online schools can. It’s not that the educators aren’t dedicated or willing to assist students individually, but the logistics of managing a classroom full of students makes it difficult—or nearly impossible—to do so. As a result, traditional education tends to take a “one-size-fits-all” approach, with fewer opportunities for individualized instruction available. These schools may offer accelerated and honors classes for eligible students, but course selection may be limited.

For parents wondering why online school is better than traditional for their family when it comes to personalized learning:  Teachers can provide extra support to bolster specific skills and can adapt instruction to each student’s specific abilities, interests, and learning style. When needed, they can provide one-on-one support by telephone, email, or in the virtual classroom. Learning from home, online school vs. traditional education students can move more quickly through lessons they grasp easily or go slower in courses that are more challenging.

In addition, with a high-quality online school, students of all ages can participate in online clubs and activities and choose from a wide variety of electives to enhance their academic program and pursue their interests. Parents can further personalize a child’s education by incorporating real-world, hands-on activities such as community service, scouting, 4-H, and fine or performing arts into the learning day.

Safe Learning Environment

Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar schools, online school offers parents the ability to control their child’s learning environment. Parents can ensure their student is learning in a safe, secure atmosphere that is free from the bullying, distractions, and peer pressure that is sometimes found in a traditional classroom setting.

In addition to all of these benefits, many satisfied online school families tell us that educating their children at home can be extremely rewarding. Parents enjoy witnessing that “aha!” moment when students understand a new concept or solve a problem. They also tell us that learning together helps them grow closer as a family.

Online School vs Traditional School: Which is Best?

All things considered, there isn’t one right answer, because choosing the right school option for your family should be based on the individual circumstances of each student. So, consider your options carefully before making a decision. To learn how you can be more involved in your student’s education, visit the website for Connections AcademyⓇ online public school. Or to learn about online private school, visit Pearson Online Academy’s website.

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