Summer school is an excellent way for students to improve themselves and learn new skills. Among many things, it offers dedicated programs that allow students to earn extra academic credit, which can give them an advantage over their classmates, or simply a leg up to catch up where they were lagging behind.
And now, thanks to the internet, you can attend online summer schools – from the comfort of your home. However, for many students and their parents, the idea of an online summer school might be new and somewhat confusing.
You might be wondering whether signing up for an online summer school means sacrificing your summer vacation. Whereas others might be confused about more other stuff like the type of courses, common challenges faced by students, and popular myths surrounding online summer school.
Fear not as we are here to answer all your questions and give you a better understanding of online summer schools and what to expect.
What is an Online Summer School?
To put it simply, an online summer school is similar to a summer school, but you take the classes online.
Now, for those of you who don’t know, a summer school is a school or program that provides classes and lessons during the summer vacation. It allows students to further their studies and get ahead of their classmates who are relaxing in the summer weather. Or to catch up with them.
Enrolling in an online summer school can provide a lot of varying benefits for all types of students.
Any student can spend his/her time at the online summer school even if they are homeschooled.
Infact, regular schools can also join online summer schools to enhance their learning.
It keeps the students in the flow of studying, albeit with less pressure than usual.
Secondly, online summer school offers regular schoolers a way to experience online studying. It will give you an experience of what it’s like to study in an online school. Furthermore, since the program only lasts a couple to weeks, you don’t have to dedicate an entire school year to explore alternative studying approaches.
It also caters to students who are not able to attend a physical summer school. For example, you might be traveling out of town during the summer vacation or you might be an international student attending from your home country, or while travelling the school’s country.
In that case, an online summer school still allows you to stay in touch with your studies and improve yourself while you are away.
What Type of Courses are Offered?
Online summer schools offer a myriad of programs for different students with different needs. We will try to sum them up into three main categories:
Credit Recovery Courses:
Some summer schools offer credit recovery programs dedicated to students who weren’t able to pass or clear one of their subjects the first time.
As such, these summer schools aim to teach the students the forgotten or not even learnt concepts so that they can catch up with their classmates who have already passed those subjects.
These types of programs are targeted at studious and academically-inclined students who wish to stay at the top of their class. Here, the students will learn new concepts planned to be taught after the school re-opens from summer vacation.
You also have online summer school programs designed to make students familiar with concepts they are going to learn in the next grade.
For example, suppose the student is currently in the last year of middle school. In that case, they can attend a summer school to familiarize themselves with topics and subjects that are taught in the first-year of high school.
Getting familiar with the topics beforehand allows them to comprehend the subjects much more quickly when they are being taught in class.
These aren’t generally related to promoting academic progress and functions more like personal enrichment courses or vocational-electives. Students who attend these programs often chase a better understanding of more complicated, new or unknown concepts.
Popular Myths Surrounding Online Summer School
Many misconceptions are surrounding online summer schools that keep students from signing up with these programs. Here is a look at a couple of these myths and why they are wrong.
Myth 1: Joining an Online Summer School Means Losing Your Summer Vacation
This is not true! In fact, on the contrary, joining an online summer school gives you the option and flexibility to go on a holiday or a vacation to your relative’s place and still be in touch with your studies. Or to New Zealand, that makes no difference.
The students are also free to set their own schedule and study in their own time.
So let’s say you want to play around during the day and study in the evening. Or you want to get your studies complete in the day so that you can go out at night. Both scenarios are possible since you are making your own routine.
Myth 2: Online Summer School is Just for Credit Recovery:
While there are online summer courses for school credit recovery, it isn’t the only type of available program.
If you are an exemplary student who cleared all your exams, even then, you can benefit from joining summer school. You can sign-up for courses on advanced topics that are going to be studied after the school re-opens. This gives you a competitive edge over your classmates.
Also, suppose you don’t want to keep studying academics related topics.
In that case, you can join an online summer school program that explores off-topic subjects you have always been passionate about. These can be vocational subjects like web-designing or bookkeeping. You can also learn self-enrichment courses like film-making, photography, dancing, and so on.
Myth 3: Online Summer School is the Same as Homeschool
It is hard to compare the experience of homeschooling to that of an online summer school. In case of homeschoolers, the parents need to do research, create a study plan, purchase a course curriculum, as well as teach the students.
However with online summer schools, the students simply need to enroll in an online program, and then they can begin learning the course. In this case, the parents serve the role of an overseer, making sure that their kids are following their study schedule.
Apart from this, homeschooling offers an excellent way for students and parents to explore new subjects, and even prepare for advanced courses – both of which being the reason for attending an online summer school.
But a student can’t get extra credits or recover credits by doing homeschooling. For this, they need to attend a summer school.
Myth 4: Online Summer School is all About Spending Time in Front of Your Computer
We all know that spending too much time in front of a computer screen is bad for your health, especially for your eyes. This is why many parents and students refrain from online schooling.
However, it is a misconception that enrolling in an online summer school means the student has to spend all their time in front of the computer.
Many of the lessons and course work are meant to be completed off screen. Furthermore, the intensity of online coursework is graduated depending on students’ age.
For the most part, the students will be required to solve workbooks, visit libraries, and do hands-on science experiencements – all offline. The computer only provides a platform where the teachers, parents, and students get to manage and track the assignments.
Myth 5: Online Summer School Limits Social Interactions
Students and parents often think that online learning means a very limited social interaction, however this can’t be further from the truth.
Yes, the opportunity for physical interaction and face-to-face conversations are reduced. However, the students can and do engage in a healthy social relationship with their classmates via instant messaging apps, SMS, and even video calls. They can also talk with each other on the phone, all of which helps to foster socialization skills.
Furthermore, when attending an online summer school, the students have the opportunity to schedule their study time according to their own preference. This allows them to engage in extracurricular activities, and volunteer work, helping them to make new friends and building meaningful relationships.
Where to Find Online Summer School Programs?
There are tons of online summer school programs available in the market. Some of these are organized and sponsored by the local schools or a school district. Then you have online summer school programs provided by universities and even private companies.
All these courses are readily available online. But also do your research and pick an online summer school program that best suits your needs and requirements.
For example, suppose you are looking for a K-12 summer school program that will help you earn extra credits. In that case, you can check out the K-12 Private Academy.
Or, if you are looking for a summer school just to explore some of your interested topics, then check out this list of 81 online summer courses.
Lists offering summer schools are endless and it makes little sense listing them all in here. As the popular ones you can check out:
In a few select areas, the online schooling environment is vastly different from how things are handled in a traditional brick-and-mortar school. As such, the students need to know what to expect during the transition so that they can be prepared and take full advantage of their online summer school program.
The Effects of New Found Freedom
First and foremost, students will have much more freedom compared to a traditional school. They will now be able to decide when to study what topic, and how much time they want to invest during each study session.
This can be a problem for some students, especially younger ones or ones that rely on external factors to motivate them.
With traditional schools, the students engage in face-to-face interaction with the teachers and their classmates. This helps them to stay organized and motivated to complete the coursework.
However, in the case of online schooling, the student needs to self-motivate and practice self-discipline. Organizing a timetable for studying is crucial for staying up to date with the course and completing it on time.
It should be understood that online schools don’t give you the ‘freedom’ from routine study. Instead, it gives you the freedom to create your own personalized timetable and study at your own convenience – routinely.
Need for Effective Communication
Unlike traditional schools, there are no direct interactions between the students and the teachers during an online class. This is why it is crucial for the students to actively reach out to the teachers after a lesson to clear out their doubts and ask any questions.
Furthermore, it is expected that each student is going to approach the online course in their own time and at their own pace. Communicating this work style with the teachers is also important in order to get proper help and guidance.
Dealing With Distractions
Studying from home, especially online, can offer a lot of distractions.
Since students are using the internet, they can be tempted to visit a social networking website, or just start playing video games on the computer.
Furthermore, when you are at home, and studying from your one room, it might create a mood for relaxation rather than studying. This mostly happens to students who are doing online schooling for the first time.
The problem can be further exacerbated if you live in a noisy neighborhood or have a roommate/sibling who doesn’t give you privacy or space when you’re studying. And the situation can’t be overcome with sheer willpower alone! You need to create a system that minimizes these distractions.
For example, if there is too much noise, get noise-canceling headphones.
Tell your roommate or sibling not to disturb you in a set period of time. This is where having a schedule comes in handy.
But above all, start building your self-discipline as it is one of the most important characteristics for online schoolers.
Online summer schools offer a great way for students to stay in touch with their studies while enjoying their summer vacation.
There are dedicated programs directed to help students stay on top of their class or even explore vocational subjects and personal enrichment courses. It also offers an option for credit recovery and gives students a second chance to relearn a topic or subject they had difficulty with.
But that being said, students who are accustomed to traditional schooling might find the online schooling environment a bit different and challenging. It requires self-discipline and great organizational skills to complete the program and not get distracted since there are no teachers to supervise you.
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