Three Reasons to Consider Online Schooling for Your Child
Students’ Mental Health Can Benefit from Virtual Learning
Students face the potential of anxiety and stress brought about by attending school. While many factors contribute to a student’s mental health profile, the online school model offered by Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy provides reasons parents should consider virtual learning for their children.
Juggling school, extracurricular activities, sports and events complicates even the best-organized family schedule. A more flexible school day offers the ability to achieve greater balance among all these elements — which in turn reduces anxiety—a key benefit of online schooling.
School safety has always been a concern for parents and students. Attending school from home now provides a safe learning environment completely in the family’s control. Familiar surroundings and situations contribute to a more comfortable and focused environment.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers in England suspected young teens schooled remotely might be experiencing more anxiety. They conducted a study of over 1,000 students between the ages of 13 and 14 (many of them at a high risk for developing anxiety disorders). Initially, they worried the added isolation may be causing added stress. The results were the opposite. In the girls monitored, 10% of them dropped in anxiety and stress levels during the time they were studied. And even more significantly, 18-26% of boys from the same age group also experienced a decrease in anxiety and stress.
Self-paced instruction removes the pressure of competing with peers and allows students to focus on the particular subjects they struggle with. Moving at their own speed puts students in control and allows them to better meet expectations.
A study of 5,000 adolescents in Japan, believed to be one of the first to look at the relationship between online classes and mental health after schools reopened post-pandemic, also found a positive link.
This study found that online classes associated with lower rates of mental health symptoms and negative emotional symptoms.
The study’s authors suggested that the relationship between online classes and mental health may be at least partly explained by the creation of a daily routine and the element of social interaction involved.
Negative Social Issues Diminished
Peer Pressure – With the need to “be like the other kids” not being reinforced over and over, virtual students have greater freedom to be themselves, perform at their own level and explore personal interests and opportunities.
Bullying – The virtual student is separated from the scenario of being physically bullied. They are able to become part of a new community that gives them a fresh start without any history.
Coupled with the other benefits of virtual education, the positive impact on the students’ mental health provides a compelling argument for parents to consider online school.
Jessica Bishop is with the Student Support Team for Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy (OVCA).