Too often, stigmas are attached to choices outside the mainstream. Alternative methods of schooling are not excluded from such harsh evaluation. Virtual school is an alternative to the typical schooling arrangement and is often the subject of troubling misconceptions. Here are some basic truths to dispel five commonly spread myths about virtual schooling:
Virtual School Myth #1: Virtual schooling is just like homeschooling.
Virtual schooling and homeschooling are similar because the student learns at home. However, virtual schooling is distinctly different from homeschooling in that students typically work with teachers via an established public or private school. Homeschoolers, on the other hand, are independent in that they often create their own learning programs using materials that are not sponsored by a public or private school. Homeschoolers may or may not use computer technology as part of their learning while virtual school students use computers as a major part of it.
Virtual School Myth #2: Virtual school students spend all of their time on the computer.
While students use computers to learn via virtual schools, this does not mean they spend all of their time on computers. A computer is typically used to track attendance; obtain and submit assignments; communicate with teachers, counselors and other students; and access a range of course materials. Students also spend time away from their computers, reading, using workbooks, studying and completing hands-on projects.
Virtual School Myth #3: Virtual schools limit socialization for students.
Like students attending traditional schools, virtual school students have many opportunities to socialize with their peers. Some virtual schools plan field trips and social outings for their online students. And because of their more flexible schedules, students attending virtual schools often find it easier to participate in extracurricular activities or volunteer for causes important to them.
Virtual School Myth #4: Virtual schools can’t compare with the educational quality of traditional schools.
The curriculum and quality of education a student receives through a virtual school depends on the school he attends. However, virtual schools are typically held to the same educational standards as traditional schools and provide a comparable level of educational quality. In fact, many virtual schools work to provide an exceptional level of educational quality and additional options not available through traditional schools. The main difference between traditional and virtual school is that students attending a virtual school use technology to complete their schoolwork at home.
Virtual School Myth #5: Virtual schooling is only for the most gifted students.
Virtual schooling can work for almost any type of student. Virtual school students come from a range of backgrounds, and include average–or typical–learners, gifted students, and those with special learning needs. All types of students can benefit from virtual schooling. Unlike most traditional schools, virtual programs are equipped to individualize learning options to meet each student’s unique needs.