The pros and cons of online schooling for pre-teens
Thursday, March 18, 2021
The pandemic has impacted almost every area of our lives. Work has changed, with many adults now working from home or pursuing freelance options. Many students are learning virtually or doing hybrid classes on alternating weekdays.
Each household with working parents and online students has developed differing opinions about whether online schooling should continue, even after the pandemic is over. Now that they’re adjusted, some parents might wonder whether their kids should keep learning online, or even if it could help them avoid the drama of middle and high school. Here’s what to consider before making a long-term decision.
Is Online School a Good Option for Middle-Schoolers?
Middle-school students already have a challenging time. Many are going through puberty and trying to navigate their social and school lives. The hormones and drama can be overwhelming enough for them.
However, these students also discover their likes and dislikes, strengths, and creativity in new and meaningful ways. Online school for middle-schoolers — without being constrained to a physical building — could allow them to thrive. Yet, without their peers around them to support them, it might also be challenging for them to go through online schooling.
COVID-19 has shifted the way students are learning. Here are some of the pros and cons of online schooling for pre-teens so you and your middle-schooler can make a better decision about the possibilities of virtual learning in post-pandemic life.
Pros of Online Schooling
Students all across the country have been learning online for about a year now. Many are used to waking up, opening a laptop, and greeting their teachers and peers virtually. Online education can have multiple benefits for middle-schoolers, especially those willing to put forth an effort.
Below are the pros of online schooling for middle schoolers.
1. It’s Affordable
Online schooling is very affordable. This is not an advantage you should overlook. While students will still need to purchase their school supplies, like notebooks, pencils, and folders, many families often already have the equipment necessary for online learning.
Many virtual schools are part of the public education system, which is free to opt in to. Books and other materials necessary for the classes are sent directly to your home.
2. It’s Flexible
Traditionally, online courses offer flexibility that physical schools cannot provide. Students can often complete their work or participate in classes on their own time. As a middle-schooler, your student may still have to log in to their class at a specific time each day. But without having to catch the bus or drive to school, there’s more flexibility in the mornings.
Other learning components, like reading or completing assignments, can be done on their own time. As long as the deadline is met, your child can work any other time of the day. They can set their own priorities and catch up later if necessary and they can work from anywhere.
3. Your Child Misses Fewer Days
Gone are the days of having to miss school because of an upset stomach or a non-debilitating illness. Students may not feel well in the morning, but they can complete schoolwork later in the day after some extra rest. With the structure of online classes, students can take the time needed to feel better.
This reduces the number of absences for that student. Although there are still required live classes, the teacher will often record themselves for absent students, so they can watch it and never really miss a class.
4. There’s Increased Parental Involvement
With virtual learning, you can be directly involved in your middle-schooler’s education. In the traditional school setting, you are separated from your child and don’t know directly what they’re learning. However, with online schooling, the teaching comes to your home, and you know exactly what your child is learning.
You can learn along with your child and help them when they ask you questions about their schoolwork. Plus, you’ll have increased communication with the teachers.
5. There Are Fewer Distractions
Without peers and other sights present in a physical school, your child will be presented with fewer distractions. In a classroom full of students, some kids may be interruptive, and the teacher has to correct the bad behavior. Each time that happens, time is taken away from learning.
Plus, your child won’t experience physical bullying, which can be a distraction as well. Additionally, there will be no wasted time with bus rides, weather delays, and other time-consuming activities in a school.
Cons of Online Schooling
Although there are many benefits to online schooling, there are some disadvantages as well. Students who need in-person interaction and instruction may not be able to adjust to being online 24/7.
Here are the cons of online education.
1. Students Need Discipline
If your child goes all-virtual post-pandemic, they’ll need to develop a discipline to get their schoolwork done. Plus, they would need to be disciplined enough to participate in the online session when you’re not home.
2. It Can Get Lonely
Your child may experience loneliness if they’re stuck at home all of the time. Physical schools allow for more social interaction, which is a needed skill for pre-teens. Especially for kids who aren’t very social, online schooling can become like isolation.
3. Screen Time Increases
Do you already have to take away phones or tablets because of excessive screen time? Online schooling won’t help. Since everything is virtual, your child may end up looking at a screen for at least a few more hours a day just to do their schoolwork.
4. There’s a Limitation of Space
Having more than one child doing their schooling online could pose an issue if you live in a smaller home. Curricula are designed for specific age levels, so it could become a distraction for your middle-schooler if they hear your first-grader learning addition rather than pre-algebra.
The Future of School
Fortunately, you and your child have options when it comes to schooling during post-pandemic life. Online school for middle-schoolers could be an excellent choice for your child. The best thing to do is go over these pros and cons with your child to ensure they get the education they need, as well as the experience that feels right for them.
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