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Joyfullyblessed

High School-Online School vs Public School-Pros & Cons?

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Hello Everyone, 

I was wanting to get some input regarding the pros and cons of online schooling vs public school. This is for high school. I have several things I have considered and written down, but want to see if there are things I’m missing possibly. 

A little background: We chose to have our son do online schooling for 9th grade with Alpha Omega Academy (fully accredited program). Overall, it’s worked pretty well. As with anything, there are pros and cons. We are now at the point of the year where we evaluate what we want to do for the following year. And, of course, we are getting lots of advice. Many feel that our son needs the true high school experience, in a classroom, with the ability to have more social interactions (ex: sports, dances, clubs, etc..). While I understand that to a point, I also know that he can play sports, attend youth group, and be with other activities that provide the social interactions everyone is so concerned about. 

Anyway, I’m just looking for thoughts. Our son is happy with whatever choice. He’s easygoing, loves working at home, but is also willing to try out public school if that’s the choice. His grades are good with the online school so far, and his standardized tests just came back with very good results. So, he’s adjusted well. 

So, share some pros and cons with me. Thoughts, ideas, etc... I’m curious to hear and see if I’ve missed something possibly. Thank You! 😁

 

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"True high school experience"?? Piffle. Worst.argument.ever. for sending a child to school.

The goal is to rear well-educated, mature young people who are ready to go into the world, not to spend four years in high school, for crying out loud. And since you know there are resources for the social things, then you have to ponder how important a "true high school experience" is to the future of your ds. Was it all that important to *you*? It wasn't to me, nor to my dh.

I wouldn't recommend sacrificing the excellent education your son will receive at home for a "true high school experience." Also, you might consider refusing to listen to advice from non-homeschoolers. 🙂

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I would check if your public school is willing to accept his 9th grade transcript from Alpha Omega Academy. Also for the “classroom experience”, your son can get that experience from dual enrollment at community colleges.

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You and your DS should look at the pros and the cons of what is available to him.  What is the atmosphere in the Public high school with regard to drugs and bullying? What is the rigor of their courses? How successful are their graduates at getting into top tier universities?  The same for the "online" schools, with exception of drugs and bullying.  Socialization is very important. Rigor is very important.  We are overseas and my DD has been in "online" (Asynchronous courses) starting with 6th grade and she is headed to UNC in Chapel Hill.

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7 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

I would check if your public school is willing to accept his 9th grade transcript from Alpha Omega Academy. Also for the “classroom experience”, your son can get that experience from dual enrollment at community colleges.

 

+1 for that extremely important suggestion.  They may or may not give him credit for 9th grade courses completed elsewhere. They may require examinations to validate some or all of those courses.  Depending on your State law, he may be required to take EOC (End of Course) examinations) in one or more of those courses.  High School is not a good time to be changing around so if you are going to do it, do it now, before he is deeper into high school.

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My random thoughts:

1. "Many feel that our son needs..." -- time to shut the door on engaging with those "many" who feel they have the need or right to advise you on how you and your husband raise and educate your children. It is not their job to comment, esp. if they are too blind to see that your educational choice is working well. 

2. Does your public high school even allow students to transfer in partway through? Many public high schools don't accept credits of homeschooled students -- or sometimes even the credits of other public high school/private high school students moving from another state or another school district -- unless the student takes the end of year test for each and every course to verify that the credit was actually learned/earned. Some schools don't even do that, and only accept the student as a 9th grader, requiring the student to start over.

3. Since you are wise and re-evaluate each year to make sure you are making the best educational choices for your children, and since you know what groups and activities are available to you outside the home to give your child social interactions and exploration of interests, 
and since homeschooling is working well for the child and the parents, then "don't fix what's not broken". 😉

Edited by Lori D.
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Thank you! ALL great things to consider. Yes, I should know by now not to allow others to sway my opinion of what is best for our son, especially when it comes to schooling. I knew posting here would help me consider things I had not yet thought about. 👍😁

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1 hour ago, Ellie said:

"True high school experience"?? Piffle. Worst.argument.ever. for sending a child to school.

The goal is to rear well-educated, mature young people who are ready to go into the world, not to spend four years in high school, for crying out loud. And since you know there are resources for the social things, then you have to ponder how important a "true high school experience" is to the future of your ds. Was it all that important to *you*? It wasn't to me, nor to my dh.

I wouldn't recommend sacrificing the excellent education your son will receive at home for a "true high school experience." Also, you might consider refusing to listen to advice from non-homeschoolers. 🙂

I'm going to respectfully disagree and say that it depends on personality type. Both my dh and I are extremely social and even as adults work in people related careers. I'm being honest when I state that I would have hated being homeschooled for high school. There were too many daily interactions, as well as choir, club, dance participation, that I would have missed. I grew up in a small town and life revolved around the churches and schools. It would have been incredibly difficult to find social opportunities outside of the school system. My oldest is completely happy homeschooling. My youngest is the same personality type as me. We are definitely looking at high schools for him. It depends on the needs of the child, but I think the high school social experience is a valid consideration. My goal is to raise a happy, healthy, functioning adult. For some individuals, social experiences are a critical part of their well being.

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I have three high school-aged kids.  One is extremely extroverted.  *sigh*. I have been focusing on giving them the opportunity to experience stereotypical high school things while homeschooling.  *another sigh*. 

For example:

  • DD17 is going to prom this weekend.  She's going with a group of girls that she's good friends with.  DS16 will probably go to homecoming dance this fall with his girlfriend.  DD14 and dd11 have also been to dances through their friends' church.  
  • DS16 plays on a competitive high school football team, so he's had the whole experience - stinky jerseys, eating out with the team after games, traveling with the coach and teammates, running though that silly paper thing on the football field while everyone is screaming...  *rolling my eyes*
  • DD17 also does high school track & field, so she's made a lot of friends there.  At least the track kids don't run through the stupid paper thingie...
  • I make sure they can do friend stuff - sleepovers, going bowling with friends, etc.  I try to be really accommodating.  I take their friends places with us.  I make them dinner when they come over, etc.  I definitely make sure our house is open for friends to come over. 
  • DD14 goes to a ballet school, is in a small dance company, etc.  So she gets a ton of social interaction.  She also takes theater.
  • DD17 and dd14 have been taking a class at an enrichment center this year, so they get to experience a classroom, homework, classmates that annoy them, etc. 
  • I do my best to ask if they want a class ring or class necklace...if they want a jacket from their sports league, etc.   

So far, NO ONE has asked to go to high school.  In fact, I think if I suggested it, they would run away and hide.  They get to hear all the stories from their friends texting/complaining every day.  I think their friends enjoy telling them about the "horrors" of high school.  lol

Edited by Evanthe

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I am with Ellie and think 'high school experience' is a terrible reason to send a kid to public school.  Sounds like you have him involved in many social things so he will be fine.  

My son DE for junior/senior years of high school.  He went to vo tech in the morning and did high school at home and worked a few hours every afternoon.  He loved vo-tech and he adjusted very well.  And same when he started CC...he did fine.  He has had no social issues at all.

He does much prefer his face to face learning experience over the on line stuff he had in high school.  But overall it was worth it. 

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The door may have shut on enrolling him into public school (see above about credits).  Our oldest is happily being homeschooled (entirely--not in a charter) through high school.  The only reason we're considering something different for our next in line is because he has SN and will likely need services beyond graduation. Qualification for those services here (based on our interviews with the agencies) is highly dependent on a paper trail of IEPs, etc.  He is also more willing to work for others than he is for me. 

The other things we are considering with our children down the line:

1. Putting them into a public school online charter would allow them access to the early college program for which our current state of residence would pick up the cost of an associate's degree.

2. Putting them into a b&m high school with a IBD program would allow them to receive an international baccalaureate.  An IB diploma may be a decent choice if a child of ours is interested in studying abroad or is interested in a university that awards credit for IBDs. 

Our default position is "homeschool is best". 

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4 hours ago, Arcadia said:

I would check if your public school is willing to accept his 9th grade transcript from Alpha Omega Academy. Also for the “classroom experience”, your son can get that experience from dual enrollment at community colleges.


This.  Our oldest did an online accredited program for 9th.  I made sure I picked one that had the same state accreditation as the public schools (and he took the same EOC exams), so that *if* he went to public school it would be an easy switch.  And it was.  The principal and guidance counselor went from looking downright frightened at having to give me bad news to beaming and ready to accept him.  It was a good experience: small school, mostly teachers with high expectations, and a willingness to be flexible with what he wanted out of his education there.  He did dual enrollment (it was much cheaper through his high school than as a homeschooler), and has positive memories of his experience.  We had gotten to a point where homeschooling was not the best option to meet his needs and I'm glad we had the school to fall back on.

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Good Morning, & many thanks to everyone who responded. 😁

Evanthe: Are your children actually playing at the local high school (football, track)? I don’t think (could be wrong) we have that option here. Maybe you’re talking about them playing for a recreational league, at the high school level. I jus found that interesting and was curious. Thanks! 

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On 4/24/2019 at 7:00 AM, Joyfullyblessed said:

Good Morning, & many thanks to everyone who responded. 😁

Evanthe: Are your children actually playing at the local high school (football, track)? I don’t think (could be wrong) we have that option here. Maybe you’re talking about them playing for a recreational league, at the high school level. I jus found that interesting and was curious. Thanks! 


Not Evanthe, but yes, our DSs played on the local public high school's tennis team and each earned a Varsity letter. And a number of students from our big homeschool group have been on public high school swim teams.

Homeschoolers ARE allowed to participate on public high school teams (but not private high school teams, oddly) in our area. Students have to "try out" and have enough skill to be competitive on the team, so things like basketball, football, soccer, and baseball are tough to get on unless your homeschool student is really outstanding in that sport. Also, we pay the same fee as the public school families, and we have to turn in a transcript every 4.5 weeks to show that our students are completing enough credits and have a high enough GPA to meet the state-wide sports eligibility requirement for all students in order to play sports.

I do think it's important for homeschool high school students to have opportunities outside the home for exploring and developing social interaction skills -- volunteering, part time job, sports, extracurriculars, church/youth group activities, community organizations/activities, after school clubs or special activities, etc.

Some other great extracurriculars to consider getting involved with during high school:
- YMCA's Youth & Government (weekly meetings practicing bill debate; at semester's end, attend the 2-3 Mock Legislative event at your state capital)
- Model United Nations (attend weekly meetings to prepare; at semester's end, attend the 2-3 day Model UN event)
- JSA (Junior State of America) conferences -- political discussions and model legislative events
- Mock Trial (attend weekly meetings to prepare; at semester's end, attend the 2-3 day Mock Trial event)
- Civil Air Patrol or Sea Cadets (even if not interested in entering the military, these open up opportunities for scholarships or special events)
- 4-H -- not just livestock but also groups on rocketry, ham radio, pistol/archery, dog training, etc.
- math competition team such as Math League, Mathletes, etc.
- speech & debate team
- robotics team
- annual/regional science fair projects group
- community youth theater group (even if not interested in being on stage, lots of cool backstage and tech positions)
- community youth orchestra or choir
- "lessons" for an activity in a group -- martial arts, dance, fencing, etc.

Lots more ideas for extracurriculars in these past threads (all linked on PAGE 5 of "High School Motherlode #2", the big pinned thread at the top of the high school board):
Advice for extracurriculars
What extracurricular activities for the high school years?
High school socialization (activity ideas)
DS is so, so lonely (activity & social suggestions for teens)
Best recreational level extracurricular opportunities (suggestions for all ages)

Edited by Lori D.
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9 hours ago, Joyfullyblessed said:

Good Morning, & many thanks to everyone who responded. 😁

Evanthe: Are your children actually playing at the local high school (football, track)? I don’t think (could be wrong) we have that option here. Maybe you’re talking about them playing for a recreational league, at the high school level. I jus found that interesting and was curious. Thanks! 

 

They do sports through a homeschool sports league.  They travel and compete against mostly private schools (with multi-million dollar stadiums - lol - my son and I have some funny stories about that) and other homeschool leagues.  Our homeschool league is actually really competitive.  The football team has been state champs in the past and last year they were state semi-finalists.  The volleyball team competed at a national level a few years ago.  The baseball team is supposed to be really good.  

Yeah, we're not allowed to play with public schools.  We're in Texas.  

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Just now, Evanthe said:

 

They do sports through a homeschool sports league.  They travel and compete against mostly private schools (with multi-million dollar stadiums - lol - my son and I have some funny stories about that) and other homeschool leagues.  Our homeschool league is actually really competitive.  The football team has been state champs in the past and last year they were state semi-finalists.  The volleyball team competed at a national level a few years ago.  The baseball team is supposed to be really good.  

Yeah, we're not allowed to play with public schools.  We're in Texas.  

Dang, you have enough homeschoolers in your state to have an entirely separate league?!? I guess we don't really need that since we are allowed to play on public school teams in WA, but wow, that's amazing. I doubt there would be enough homeschoolers to even accomplish a league in our state.

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8 minutes ago, FairProspects said:

Dang, you have enough homeschoolers in your state to have an entirely separate league?!? I guess we don't really need that since we are allowed to play on public school teams in WA, but wow, that's amazing. I doubt there would be enough homeschoolers to even accomplish a league in our state.

 

Lol.  Yeah, homeschooling in Texas is enormous.  We moved here about 10 years ago from Missouri and we were shocked.  Never saw anything like it...  It's like half the state homeschools.

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21 hours ago, Joyfullyblessed said:

Good Morning, & many thanks to everyone who responded. 😁

Evanthe: Are your children actually playing at the local high school (football, track)? I don’t think (could be wrong) we have that option here. Maybe you’re talking about them playing for a recreational league, at the high school level. I jus found that interesting and was curious. Thanks! 

 

Another scenario for anyone who is curious... In my state (MN) homeschoolers can participate in sports, theater, debate, basically anything at the public schools; BUT kids are not allowed in sports at the high school level if they are enrolled in an online program. I just found that out recently and thought it was interesting.

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I think the pros and cons are very individual. 

First off I'd check to see if he would be admitted, as mentioned above.

Then I'd be talking to each other. What are your family goals? What does he want to do? What are his interests and priorities? What opportunities do you have in your own local hs community? 

My son entered this year for 8th and will be continuing  PS for HS. I had planned to homeschool all the way through, maybe doing Vo-Tech as a half-day program in 11th. But our hs community is VERY small in the upper grades, he never had any good hs friends despite us being involved since he was 4 (and me working my butt off to build a community). The ones that were close to his age weren't all that friendly, at least not to him and some not ones I'd really want as his friends. He did have some friends w/ Scouts but since he was at home that only brought him so close. He chose to do all honor's courses and although they don't do it the same as I would have done the work is solid. Often I hear people locally talk about how crappy the schools are but then do little to any work hs'ing, choose easy programs, and have kids well behind the curve on skills, even in highschool. Sometimes homeschool is more academic but it is not always. He's become very tight w/ his one friend from Scouts and now is in that friend group. His best friend is a good kid from a good family that dh knows very well from Scouting. I've been very pleased for him all around.

On the other hand, I'd love my daughters to stay home, just love it. There are freedoms that hs affords that ps does not, the ability to more closely tailor their education and match it to the kid. I think that is very beneficial (and one of the reasons I kept ds at home but he's transitioned just fine). I want the quality time with the girls. But we'll see what they think as they get older, I just don't know. We have a fair chunk of girls hs'ing at the age of my daughters, so maybe they will have a bigger community and not feel so isolated. 

Personally, I always felt I would have liked to hs b/c I hated the social stuff but I also hated living in a small town b/c there were so few opportunities, so perhaps I would have resented it, who knows. 

 

 

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Here hs'ers can technically participate in ps activities but are barred from any competitions, which effectively means that they can't. Noone wants a teammate that can only play part of time, this applies to sports and music. We have rec. track and swimming up through highschool (iirc) and rec. teams for other sports, not to the level of some places and not for those that are really serious but it is something. 

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Our public school allowed part time enrollment (2 classes a year) this was a great solution for us. It helped out source the AP and higher math courses and sciences. And yet we still had structured time for other homeschooling course (although by junior/senior year most of those were at the community college). He was eligible for all clubs and sports at the public school (which was also an option even if he wasn't part time)

 

 

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