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Has your teen been struggling with certain courses — or entire subjects — at school? Perhaps they failed a recent English exam, they’re struggling to grasp the fundamentals of accounting, or they’re currently feigning illness to avoid a history test? If any of these scenarios ring true for you, you’ve probably considered recruiting the help of a local tutor for help.
While tutors are fantastic in many situations, eLearning through a virtual high school is also worth considering.
What Is Virtual Schooling?
Virtual schooling means students learn online exclusively. Students can sign up for accredited high school courses, in lieu of, or in addition to, attending in-person classes at a brick-and-mortar high school.
What Are the Perks of Virtual Schooling?
First, virtual schooling is just as legitimate and effective as in-person schooling. An accredited high school can help students complete the necessary courses in their curriculum to graduate with a diploma. The courses are taught by trained and certified teachers. The courses end with proctored exams. Upon completion, grades are directly forwarded to students, to their regular day school (if they have one), and to postsecondary application processing centres (if necessary).
Another perk of virtual schooling is asynchronous learning, meaning students can access lectures, slides or tests according to their schedule. For example, if a student has failed a high school course and they want to retake it, a virtual high school could give them the option to re-sit the course whenever they’d like — such as in the evenings, on weekends or during the summer holidays. This flexibility can help students hone their self-discipline and time-management skills.
Further, virtual schooling presents students with unique digital experiences that they wouldn’t encounter in a brick-and-mortar location. These include navigating online tests, working through simulations and participating in discussion forums.
What Are the Challenges of Virtual Schooling?
While flexibility — for most — is a wonderful thing, for some, it may result in procrastination. Taking the time to work through online courses requires some self-vigilance and moderation. That said, reputable virtual schools will often monitor students’ progress and will check in intermittently if they find work to be faltering.
Virtual schools require a stable internet connection (15Mbps at a minimum). This can be challenging for some families, especially those in rural locations. Some ways to enhance your internet connection include locating the router near the computer, investing in a booster, or directly plugging into the router with an ethernet cable. You can also ask other household members to limit gaming or streaming when students are learning.
What Are the Perks of Hiring a Tutor?
A tutor is a private teacher who meets with students to offer after-school assistance with coursework. They can meet students at home, in a public place or online via videoconferencing apps. University/college students often offer tutoring services to high school students in order to make money during the school semester.
For some students, having an in-person tutor can encourage them to keep on track. Tutors are often scheduled for a set time every week, which can offer a sense of routine and balance. Some students may benefit from having a more personal, one-on-one learning experience, too.
What Are the Downsides of Hiring a Tutor?
Tutoring can be costly, especially with no immediate end or pre-set goals in sight. Further, tutors generally aren’t regulated or licensed. So, as a parent, you can’t always be certain as to their credentials — though, online reviews and word of mouth are great ways to check for green flags.
Compared to virtual schooling, tutors cannot offer exams or help with updating grades. Instead, tutors are simply able to offer a boost for some students who are struggling in certain areas by helping them to prepare for full subjects or an upcoming exam.
Ultimately, consider the end goal — are you looking to help your child complete a course and pass an exam? Or are you looking for casual assistance? Doing so will allow you to ascertain whether in-person tutelage or virtual schooling is the best fit for your teen!