Our modern high schools, which have kids going to class all day, five days a week, do a poor job of truly preparing our kids for an adulthood which doesn’t look like 9-5. There’s little flexibility in what a teen can study, how they manage their days and how they get real life experience.
This article in the LA Times gives me hope that our young kids, when they are teens, will have more choice and more flexibility in learning what they need for their adult lives. Online classes certainly are no panacea for education. However, if more and more “traditional” schools recognize that online classes can be just as good, or even better, then that’s one step closer to being accepting of other alternatives, such as work-study, mentorships, self-study, and attending community college instead of high school.
In other words, the more flexibility public high school students have in their programs, the more choices and the more acceptance high school homeschoolers will have.
Even the UC system is getting on board with accrediting online courses. And an increasing number of high schools are offering kids the flexibility to do at least some of their classes online while attending traditional classes and extracurriculu activities at the high school campus. This kind of hybrid between traditional classes and independent study is exactly what many students crave. Being able to tailor their schedule according to their daily rhythms, learning styles and level of understanding is what high school kids need to prepare them for the “real world” where the skill of knowing how to manage their life is the one of the most important of all. And I mean really manage their life, not manage someone else’s to-do list that was given to them.
All in all, I think this is a step in the right direction. It may not be the perfect solution, and it may be a reaction that has nothing to do with trying make education “better” (in other words, it could be due more to the fact that technology exists, businesses want to sell their product, or teachers attempting to reduce their overloaded schedules). But no matter what the reason for it happening, online classes and increased flexibility are good for high school, and for homeschoolers.