Online Education Good Option to Consider for Some Military Families
By George Borchers
It goes without saying that military families make many great sacrifices. Of them, youth having to say goodbye to classmates, endure tough transitional phases and become re-acclimated to new schools during a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) are ones that some families may know all too well.
These moves are stressful, especially for children. During a PCS things can be hectic with housing relocation, packing, out-processing briefs, etc. Add the search for schools to enroll at and scrambling to gather academic transcripts and that heightens the anxiety. One in four military families move across county lines in a given year, compared with one in 12 civilian families (RAND Research Brief) and as the Director of Education for a high school, I've heard many such families express frustration over the issues that impact their children's education. Following are a few examples:
- My kids are really nervous and angry about having to meet friends all over again. Being the new kid isn't easy.
- When my kids are uprooted and moved to a new school, there seems to be a different set of rules and regulations from state-to-state and it's hard to keep up with them.
- My children have lost credits and/or class standing when we've switched schools as we found out that some credits didn't turn out to be transferrable.
- The loss of credits has caused my kids to repeat grades and cover subjects and topics they already have been taught. They lose motivation learning the same thing twice.
- My student had to delay his or her graduation and/or college application process. They had a goal of graduating at a certain time and enrolling at a college that their friends were going to start at. Now they are behind on that goal.
For families that can relate to one of the points made above or have concerns about them, online high schools - such as Olympus High School - may be a good alternative. There are over 1 million children in military families who move an average of once every three years (MI Public Policy Initiative "Families on the Move" Study) and not all of them have to undergo these issues. Having the security and flexibility of an online education
program can alleviate such concerns.
With online learning, the program travels to the county - or the country, if it's a foreign PCS - with the student. Web connectivity is the only thing required. At Olympus, a student can finish a course in as few as eight weeks if they need to catch up on coursework quickly after falling behind during a PCS move. They can also take as long as a full year if they need the extra time during a long moving process or to work a job, for example. Flexibility is the key. Dual-credits and summer school are also offered for students wanting to get ahead on college credits or get caught up on credits over the summer.
No student should have to be in a school environment where they don't feel comfortable. If looking at a traditional brick-and-mortar school during a PCS move, it's important to make sure there are good support systems in place that will help the child adapt and will notice if they begin to struggle. The world of education is changing and while online learning may not be the fit for every family and student's situation, it is valuable to know that it's an available option at the part-time and full-time level.
One concern may be lack of support, but no matter where or when the student logs on, helpful one-on-one support and services are readily available at most online high schools - such as Olympus - where you can lay a strong foundation on which to build your future.
George Borchers is Director of Education for Olympus High School, a private, online high school with accreditation from the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools. The school offers a broad curriculum of high school classes throughout the United States and certified instructors who are subject matter experts. To learn more call 866-883-0522 or visit www.olympushighschool.net or www.facebook.com/OlympusHigh.
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