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Virtual Schools: A Very Real Opportunity

Updated on December 4, 2010

Virtual Schools: A Very Real Opportunity for Your Child to Learn

Virtual schools offer a very real opportunity to broaden your child's education and, if variety is the spice of life, then a child educated in two lands is highly seasoned, indeed. Young children are extremely adaptable and assimilate to whatever way of life that you present to them. They have the ability to immerse themselves in the mannerisms, language and mores of the people who surround them, even if those people come from two different worlds. This chance to be truly bi-cultural is an important one and not be overlooked.

As the mother of a six year old boy who was born and is being raised in Munich as a German child, I feel I have the responsibility to let him live his "Germaness," which is why he has attended German pre-schools since he was in diapers. On the other hand, I would be doing him a great disservice if I didn't (at least try to) inundate him with his American heritage as well... But how?

One of the most obvious and overlooked methods is to supplement your child's "foreign" education with one from back home. This is actually a lot easier to accomplish than you might think. In fact, the nearest school might just be as close as your computer if you enroll your child in a virtual school. A virtual school has all the main characteristics of a real school. The main difference is that the "classes" are conducted online. Virtual schools, which are popping up all over the world, offer children a very real opportunity to learn based on your native country's curriculum. This opens a whole new bag of books for kids living abroad.


A Few Books to Help You Home School Your Child

Now don't get me wrong... I am not suggesting that you forgo by any means, an education in the land you are living in for one that is delivered over the World Wide Web. First of all, there are just too many things that children learn from social contact with their peers that are vital to their future success. Second, you would not be taking advantage of all that was available to you to help you raise a truly bi-cultural person if you didn't enroll your child in a local school. What I am suggesting is that you combine the two.

In this day and age almost every kid is of the internet era. Children, especially teens, are completely fluent in the language of instant messaging, chat and emails which are the main forms of communication applied by virtual schools. Virtual schools also offer two things that you won't find in private, International Schools abroad; high price and high pressure to "keep up with the class." One of the main traits that I noticed in researching this article is that most virtual schools offer education at a go-at-your-own-pace.

How Does a Virtual School Work?

Virtual schools have a set curriculum just like any other school, the difference is when classes begin and end. Flexibility is the key word here. Time zones are usually not a factor and children can log on and get their assignments anytime that is convenient for them. Just as with "real" schools, the world of virtual schools is highly competitive which helps to raise the standards in education across the board. Depending on your needs, you can enroll your child in the full curriculum, or just the classes that you think they need for reinforcement like math or reading and writing.

Many of the virtual schools will also let you download and study examples of their assignments as well as their curriculums, so you know exactly what your child will be studying in advance. You can also get an idea of the various styles of teaching that the different schools employ. Something, that is usually impossible to do before hand in a real wooden desk and chalkboard school. Lastly, most virtual schools are completely accredited. If your child were to complete an online education he or she would also be the proud recipient of an internationally recognized diploma. This is an extremely attractive bonus.

You should consider enrolling your child in a virtual school if you would like:

* To reinforce your child’s reading and/or math skills

* To reinforce your child’s understanding of your native tongue’s grammar and spelling

* To broaden your child’s knowledge base

* Your child to understand your native country’s history

* Your child to receive credits and/or a diploma from a school in your native country

* To expose your child to new opportunities for exploration and discovery

* To enable your child to make new friends around the world

If you'd like to learn more about Home Schooling your child then check out the below links:

Homeschool This is the number one online community for homeschooling and should be your first avenue of research.

Home School  Another very informative and useful resource.


Article by Anne Alexander Sieder

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