Attending an online high school can be a smart choice for a teen that has special needs, struggles with traditional schools, is advanced, or simply prefers to work at his own pace. Some teens need to learn from home because of medical problems or career requirements (such as childhood acting). Here’s how to help your teen succeed in an online high school diploma program:
1. Decide whether or not online high school is the right choice for your teen. Online high school isn’t the best choice for everyone. If your teen thrives on social interaction or needs outside encouragement to accomplish work, he may do better in a traditional high school program. However, if your teen is self-motivated or an adult is available to supervise during daytime hours, online classes may be a good fit.
2. Research online high schools. Not all online high schools are equal. If you want your teen’s high school diploma to be accepted by colleges and future employers, make sure he graduates from an accredited high school diploma program. The most widely-accepted diplomas come from schools with regional accreditation. Some good online high school programs are also accredited by the DETC. However, realize that diplomas from DETC accredited schools are not as widely accepted as diplomas from regionally accredited schools.
3. Choose the online high school degree program that fits your teen. There are many different types of accredited online high school programs – some programs are based on online tests, some programs match students with personal mentors, some programs are project-oriented. Many online high schools are private and charge for tuition and books. Some online high schools are run by states or local school districts. Online charter schools, for example, are public schools open to local teens. Online charter schools are both accredited and free – they may even pay for your teen’s internet connection. Research your options and choose the online high school that fits your teen the best.
4. Monitor your teen’s online high school progress. Once your teen begins an online high school program, keep an eye on his progress. Many online classes lack the structure found in traditional classrooms, and it can be easy for teens to get behind. Even if your teen is enrolled in a program with daily assignments, he may need your supervision to stay focused. Ask your teen about his school work and let him know you are available to help.
5. Celebrate your teen’s success. Earning an online diploma is a big accomplishment. When your teen graduates from his online high school, take the time to acknowledge his success. He may not be able to walk across a stage, but you can treat him to a special dinner or throw a party in his honor.