Virtual schools are becoming popular nationwide and are increasing in numbers. Many parents and students have found themselves drawn to the virtual classroom concept for a number of reasons.
The siblings share a “classroom” at home where they are educated via one of the largest K-12 online virtual schools in the Oregon Department of Education. Mill City-based Oregon Connections Academy provides guided instruction for students in an online setting.
Heidi Bumanlag, Chloe’s mother, says that one benefit of the virtual classroom for Chloe is that it allows her to work on a more independent level. Chloe often hears her friends complain about homework, getting up early, long commutes. These aren’t issues that Chloe and her siblings have because they get their homework done during the school day, and have no need to travel to class.
Virtual education isn’t an all-or-nothing option for many students. In fact, many schools have some classes that are offered online to accommodate a complete curriculum for certain grade levels. Students may combine these virtual classes with their brick-and-mortar classes to have what many refer to as a “blended schedule.”
In 2013, approximately 5 million students were taking courses online. This includes any student who takes one or more class online, with or without physical classroom instruction.
Research has noted a consistent increase in the number of students enrolled in online classes nationally. In the 2008-09 school year, approximately 175,000 students were reportedly taking online classes, whereas 316,000 were enrolled in classes through the internet during the 2013-14 school year.
Parents value the high quality, yet unique, learning experiences offered to students taking these courses. They are intrigued by the pace at which students learn, and the volume of insight they gain while doing so.
Virtual education opportunities are benefiting parents and students across the globe.
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