Why Online Learning Works For My Child

My son walked across the stage and he was in denial.

With the growing awareness of brain science, many universities are embracing the idea of “brain science accelerated learning.” Although online education is an innovative technology option for those who just can’t get to campus, it was not developed for those who could not get to their local college. Although any educational environment has significant benefits and drawbacks, online learning is one such initiative that doesn’t feel like a “cutthroat” online “university.”

For those who lack the time, money, or sheer love of attending their local college and classrooms, online learning is a great alternative. Thankfully, I’ve found that it works for my child. My son is just 11 years old, which gives me the luxury of allowing him to attend private charter schools in the evenings and on weekends. However, his schools are located in various parts of Georgia. I always find myself needing to reach out to schools in the upcoming weeks for help. I do not have access to an email; I never have. It can be difficult to explain if a class requires them to complete a sample assessment for 8-week exams. I really do not have the ability to watch them through online portals, but my child can do it himself, thank goodness.

My son was one of the first students in his class to use e-learning. The course materials were streamed to his laptop. I did not allow him to conduct class because he needed to brush up his typing skills, but he was able to read his materials, create and upload his responses to teachers’ videos, and watch class videos to answer questions. During class he watched pre-recorded live courses, which gave him that required cognitive stimuli. It worked for him. His teacher remarked, “My students understand concepts better and become more engaged.”

Remember, the functionality of the technology is why it works. This does not apply to those who just want to be bored. I have never enjoyed my job as a stay-at-home mom, so I’m not adverse to putting my family first. My son has never participated in extracurricular activities that would burden him with more responsibilities, like weekend sports or musical events. Yes, he plays basketball, but I would never encourage it during the weekend because he would need a mental break (regardless of how much fun he might have). Those roles have always been handled by his grandmother, who has just as much, if not more, availability to him. Still, that does not mean I am not hopeful. He just has so much potential to excel in whatever he chooses. The next college he goes to is the decision for him.

Depending on how much money we’ve already spent, I don’t even worry about his success. I’m more concerned about his well-being. I want him to be satisfied with his education and not have to deal with extra stress that comes with attending college. We had to move from one east coast location to another when his school opened for the year, but that is how the cookie crumbles. I simply don’t worry about getting stuck in traffic and being away from him. How can we ask him to navigate a multitude of skills with just 11 years of life experience? His teachers, parents, and classmates all help tremendously, but they could not fill the void of him not being in the classroom. That is why I am particularly thankful he has used online learning.

The greater good is, for those who do face new challenges with online learning, many places are dedicated to helping students who have disabilities. I recently enrolled a young woman who was actually born with a wheelchair and immobile legs. Her parents enrolled her in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Center for Learning Disabilities’ Charter School of Distinction. I found this to be a wonderful option, and I am truly thankful she found a school she loves. In essence, she is educated and gets to enjoy the learning environment, but she also has what she needs to succeed — an independent lifestyle.

My son is 11 years old, but I don’t want him to wait too long to achieve what he wants to accomplish. I love technology. I’m interested in it. However, I don’t make every decision about my children’s education myself. I want them to feel comfortable using it to move forward, too. Online learning does just that. It teaches patience, and I know my son will feel more confident and comfortable with his entire life as a result.

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