Many families have heard about virtual schooling but aren’t really sure how it works. Virtual schooling, also called cyber schooling, is an alternative educational option that allows students to learn from home, using computer technology as a primary resource. Each cyber school has its own processes and procedures, but many allow for flexible learning and scheduling as well as individualized education. Here is some basic information about cyber schools:
The roster of enrolled students at a virtual school is likely to be varied. Some of the students who enroll in virtual schools were previously homeschooled while others come from a traditional school environment. Many cyber schools enroll students from kindergarten through grade 12, and you will typically find everyone from the average learner to special needs and gifted students in a virtual learning environment.
The bulk of virtual school learning happens online. Students log on to complete their coursework, which often involves reading, listening to lectures, observing teacher demonstration and participating in interactive lessons. Curriculum options vary from school to school, however. Many virtual schools also incorporate offline learning opportunities, such as offline reading, hands-on activities, and on-campus labs. Some arrange field trips and events at which cyber school students, their parents and educators can interact. Though the setup of cyber schools can vary, they typically provide comparable educational opportunities and apply many of the same standards as expected at a traditional school.
Public or Private
As with traditional schools, there are different options from which to choose. Public virtual schools are run by or associated with a public school system while private schools are run by an organization completely separate from the public school system. Each school sets its own enrollment criteria. Some schools may only accept students in the local area while others enroll students throughout the state or across the country.
Often, students can attend virtual schools free of charge. This is usually the case with public cyber schools. These schools usually provide a free education as well as educational materials for each enrolled student. Many also provide the computer equipment each student needs to learn, making it possible for families to choose this option without incurring any additional expense. Private virtual schools typically charge tuition, much as traditional private schools do. Likewise, families may be required to pay for materials, books used as part of the program and education-related fees. In some cases, however, online private school costs can be lower than those of a traditional private school.