Making the Decision to Move My Teen from a Traditional School to an Online School
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A month ago, I decided to move my teenage daughter from a brick-and-mortar school to an online one. Her anxiety was causing her to not even make it to school, and she was at the point of failing. Before the school year started, she had an Individualized Education Program (IEP) due to Emotional Issues. In Virginia (I assume almost all states work the same way but could be wrong), they want to place the child in the least restrictive school environment where she can flourish. After discussing my daughter’s case, the IEP team found that it made sense to move her to a Comprehensive Services Site (CSS). A CSS is a smaller school that has a therapeutic element that the regular traditional schools don’t have. Even in that setting, she was not doing well.
For a couple of months, I looked at all the options:
- Resident Programs
- Private Schools
- Boarding Schools
- Military Schools
- Online Schools
After getting information from schools from all the options, and talking to the different experts during the Family Resource Meeting (FSM), I decided that the online school was the best for my daughter. If you are wondering, an FSM is:
“The Family Support Meeting (FSM) process is focused on the family and their team creating a plan to get the family’s needs met and to ensure safety for all family members. Teams consist of individuals agreed upon by the family, including both natural and professional supports. CPPC partners hold to the principle of “nothing about us, without us.” In other words, FSMs cannot occur without the family present. In fact, families are in the driver’s seat and lead the decision-making process.”
From Community Partnerships for Protecting Children (https://www.cppcmaine.org/family-support-meetings)
I started googling, talking to Mental Health professionals, and watching YouTube videos to understand the different online schools. There are usually three types:
I preferred to go with the Private Online High School after looking at some of the Top Online High School lists. I enrolled her in The Keystone School that follows the K12 Program. Currently, I am in an online MBA program, and it’s very similar. Before making this decision, I sat down with her and told her that I would give her one semester to show me that she would excel in an online school setting. If she doesn’t show any effort, then I would place her back in a traditional school.
Since she started, I have seen her studying and working hard to the point that I sometimes have to tell her to take a break. I work from home 85% of the time, so I am around in case she needs anything. It also helps because she can take care of her dog and with things around the house as well.
I have thought of starting a parenting hub for parents who have teenagers who are not doing the things they need to do because there is nothing to help them. When I searched, it wasn’t easy trying to find the information that I needed for my family’s situation.
Things are improving with my daughter, and seeing how well she is finally doing in school made me realize that I made the right decision in putting her in an online high school.