Online school for your 13-year-old?

The popularity of distance learning is exploding, especially in K-12 education. With over 2 million students enrolled nationwide, and 25 states offering full-time online education, distance learning is becoming more important than ever. Below is the story of Lyndsey Fry, a 17-year-old who went from an online high school diploma to being accepted to Harvard. What do you think of Lyndsey’s story?

MSNBC

October 1, 2010

Online School for Your 13-Year-Old?

Lyndsey Fry has a message about kids who attend school online: “We’re not slackers.”

The 17-year-old hockey phenom from Arizona moved from online high school diploma to Harvard. Now her younger brother Wesley seeks a similar goal — to graduate from the same virtual high school.

“It will be a whole new experience,” said Wesley, 15, who forayed into virtual learning this fall. “I’ll miss my friends, my school. But I won’t miss getting up early, especially to catch the 6:30 a.m. bus.”

Kidding aside, the Frys’ choice of online schooling is serious stuff: The fastest-growing trend in education has more than 2 million students enrolled nationwide, said Susan Patrick, president of the International Association of K-12 Online Learning, an advocacy group in Vienna, Va. In the U.S., 32 states provide virtual learning, with 25 states offering a full-time online education, she said.

“Some people think that online learning is just a piece of software, but it’s much more than that,” said Patrick. “What we’re trying to do is to make the online option available to every student. And students are interested.”

Reasons behind the growth spurt:

  • Online education, or remote learning, offers greater flexibility for students with extracurricular demands, like elite athletes, child actors, children with disabilities or illnesses.
  • Virtual school also helps young people who want more independence with their classes, or want to spend more time with their families.
  • Remote learning provides another option for parents who want to home-school but don’t have the expertise or time to do so.
  • Traditional schools are starting to offer online courses and using their own teachers to complement curriculum.

Full article available at http://goo.gl/bMhL

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