Is Flexible Learning Ideal for Kids?

This year, millions of kids are going back to school. However, a good number won’t. Instead, they will take advantage of the flexible learning options that various educational institutions now offer.

This raises an essential question many parents want to ask, “Will this kind of arrangement benefit my children in the long run?” The answer is yes.

Two Kinds of Online Learning

Many parents and even experts often use the terms “hybrid” and “blended” interchangeably to describe the growing trend of online learning for kids. However, they don’t have the same meaning:

  • Blended learning means integrating technologies to supplement face-to-face education. For example, teachers may send notes or assignments online. They may use videos or exclusive portals to improve a child’s knowledge of a specific subject.
  • In hybrid learning, the school combines both online and face-to-face learning. The lessons kids receive at home will be the same if they attend face-to-face classes. This also means that teachers should be capable of providing similar learning experiences for students inside and outside the classroom.

A school may offer one or both. Parents can find online charter schools that focus mainly on the hybrid model. These schools promote individuality and flexibility, allowing online learners to get the most of their education.

The Different Benefits of Online Learning

There are various reasons for moms and dads to consider either of these setups for their kids. Here are two of them

1. Not All Kids Do Well in School

The traditional educational system often sees kids in black and white. It’s either they do well, or they don’t. If they don’t excel, it could mean that they don’t have the academic capabilities. However, the reasons can be far more complex than that.

A lot of kids, for example, experience social challenges. These are the ones who are likely to end up eating alone in the cafeteria or playing by themselves during recess. These are children who may struggle to find a partner in lab experiments.

It’s not that these children do not want to be social. Instead, they may find interacting with people awkward. They have a hard time expressing themselves, or they don’t know how to begin a conversation.

Poverty may also make children less equipped to deal with school. According to Child Fund, those who come from low-income households are more likely to enter a learning institution with a readiness gap.

This means that even before they become full-fledged students, these children are already at a disadvantage. In turn, they get low test scores, struggle with reading and writing, and lag behind their peers.

Online learning cannot remove all the barriers that cause a child to perform poorly in school, but it can get rid of some of them. For example, shy kids won’t have to be compelled to spend a lot of time interacting with other children. Those who come from low-income homes can focus on themselves than on the performance of their schoolmates.

2. Every Child Is Unique

When it comes to quality education, many countries look up to Finland. It consistently ranks as having the best learning system in the world. The World Economic Forum cites a lot of reasons:

  • The country sets the bar so high for its teachers. Anyone who wants to be part of the industry needs to be at least a master’s degree holder. Because of this, the government doesn’t see any reason to “grade” the teacher. If they don’t perform well in school, they become the responsibility of the principal.
  • They create a conducive environment for learning. Schools don’t start until around 9:00 a.m. Many studies have already shown that waking up early can be harmful to kids. The country doesn’t have tutors, which can further stress the children. While they may have homework, school-related stuff at home is limited to only half an hour.

Most of all, unlike other nations, including OECD countries, Finland does not provide standardized tests, save for one at the end of the senior year, which is also voluntary.

Many Americans already call for the ban of these types of tests mainly because they don’t reflect the real capability of children. Every kid is unique, which means not all students will excel in math, science, and English. Instead, they may be at their best when they are in a more creative atmosphere. Unfortunately, there’s no standardized exam for that.

Tests can also create inequality in the educational system. As mentioned, poor kids are less likely to excel in these types of exams.

Online learning doesn’t stop standardized testing as long as it’s part of the country’s curriculum. However, it creates an avenue for both teachers and students to customize the teaching and learning process. This can give a chance for kids who may be struggling in school to cope.

Hybrid learning isn’t for everyone, just as the traditional educational system may be more of a burden for others. However, giving parents options can provide kids more opportunities to learn more effectively.