Because I have children with various learning challenges, I’ve sought out and considered various educational options. My children have attended public school, been homeschooled, and they have attended a virtual (or online) charter school.
There has been much discussion and debate amongst parents who homeschool about the trend towards online charter schools. Some homeschooling parents have enrolled their children in online charter schools mostly due to financial and time constraints. Statistically, most homeschooling families who try to use online charter schools end up opting out of these programs and returning to homeschooling.
What Is The Difference Between An Online Charter School and Homeschooling?
There are several differences between homeschooling and virtual schooling, although your child will be at home for both options. If you decide to homeschool your child, you are responsible for your child’s education. This means that you decide the curriculum and monitor progress. You are also responsible for complying with homeschooling laws in your particular state or country.
When your child attends a virtual charter school, the school uses your tax dollars to pay for your child’s tuition. Your child must also study the charter school’s curriculum, and keep in touch with the teachers hired by the charter school. Basically, it’s like public school at home.
Special Needs Children Need Special Consideration
If your child is handicapped, or has other special needs, it may be advantageous to consider a virtual charter school depending upon the area in which you live. For many years, we lived in a very rural area, and I homeschooled my children. I asked the school to provide special education services which they agreed to do. The next year, they declined to offer these services. Because of where we lived, it would mean traveling for several hours each day to obtain the services that my children needed like speech therapy and occupational therapy.
I discovered that there were several virtual charter schools available in our state which would provide services for my handicapped children. I enrolled the children in the school and they were able to get the services they needed, and yet they were at home and didn’t have to travel long distances to school.
Several years after this, we moved to a state where there weren’t virtual charter schools. However, the school district was willing to provide special services for my children, and we lived close to the school. I found out that our school offered many great programs and options for handicapped children who attended the public school, and I enrolled two of children who were multiply handicapped in the local public school.
I think it’s wonderful that there are numerous educational options available for children today. If your child is very unhappy or not doing well in his or her educational studies, perhaps he or she may do better in another educational setting. For you child’s sake, it’s worth the time and effort it takes to consider all of the options available.