Students come to online school for a multitude of reasons, and often after trying several different types of schooling. Academic needs, personal reasons, career aspirations, health, and family needs can all play a role in a student’s choice to try online school or homeschooling.
Sometimes, a student’s parents will decide that a change is needed, and will research alternatives. Other times, it’s the student who requests a change and researches alternatives to traditional school. In fact, one common question that we often hear from students is: “How can I convince my parents to let me do online school (or homeschool)?”
For Kelsey Willcox and her family, the decision to homeschool, and later, to enroll in K12’s online school, was largely made by Kelsey. She attended a public “brick-and-mortar” school in elementary grades. Then, in 6th grade, Kelsey requested that her mother, Pam, homeschool her instead.
This worked well for her through middle school, but as the time for high school approached, Kelsey was ready for another change. A motivated and gifted student, Kelsey also enjoys a number of different hobbies, including music, theater, and traveling. She realized that she wanted some of the benefits of traditional high school, especially grades, teachers, transcripts, and the opportunity to take AP classes. However, she still wanted to maintain the flexible schedule and opportunities to explore her other interests and passions that she had enjoyed as a homeschooler.
Kelsey said that when she discovered K12, “it seemed like a very happy medium for me; to be able to have the flexibility in my schedule that I wanted, a personalized, tailored curriculum, and still be able to prepare myself adequately for college.”
“I was very involved in the decision to start online schooling because I have always been very proactive in my education,” Kelsey says. “I honestly kind of directed it more than my parents did. They just wanted me to do what I felt would be right for my education. So I definitely was very actively involved as we were looking into online school as an option.”
How can other students be involved and proactive in their education, like Kelsey? Let’s Homeschool High School interviewed three current and former homeschoolers who offered some thoughts and advice to other kids who want to try schooling at home. We’ve compiled the basics into the following list.
5 Tips to Convince Your Parents to Homeschool
1. Make a list. Why do you want to homeschool or enroll in online school? What are your needs? Do you need to catch up in school? Are you a student who wants to be challenged with advanced classes? Do you need a flexible schedule to work or pursue other interests? Do you want to get out of a negative school environment? Make a list of your reasons and what you hope to get out of online school or homeschooling.
2. Be realistic. Online school and homeschooling require students to take on greater responsibility and accountability for their own education. It will be up to you to stay motivated and on top of your work, without a teacher in a classroom looking over your shoulder. Be realistic about whether you can do that.
3. Do your research. Look into the options available in your area. There are many different schooling options out there, including different homeschool curriculums, independent study options, and public and private online schools. Each of these offer different benefits (and drawbacks) to students, depending on their needs. Some may require a greater time commitment and increased structure, while others are more flexible. Some, like online public schools, are free, while other options can have higher costs associated with them. Learn what’s available in your area and the requirements for each.
4. Talk to your parents. Discuss your concerns and wishes with your parents. Explain why you think online school or homeschooling is the right choice for you. Share your research with them and which option you think would be best for you.
5. Understand and address your parents’ concerns. If your parents aren’t convinced that homeschooling is the right choice, listen to their concerns and calmly discuss with them. Are they concerned that they don’t have the time or experience to teach you? Perhaps an online school where assigned teachers are there for support would be a better fit than traditional homeschooling. Are they concerned that you won’t be prepared for college? Do some research into college acceptance for homeschooling and online schooling students. Many, many students go on to great schools, and even say that they feel better prepared for college than if they had attended a regular school!
Ultimately, you will still need your parents on your side in order to enroll in online school or homeschool. However, if you take the initiative to research your options, are able to present solid reasons for wanting a change, and show that you are ready to take on an active and involved role in your education, you may very well have a better chance of convincing them to give it a try.