I’ve always been an overachiever. In elementary school, I was that kid who got excited about worksheets and did extra credit for fun. But traditional classrooms bored me. I finished homework assignments days before they were due, and spent hours reading a book in class because my work was already done. School wasn’t fun for me anymore. I felt trapped as the class worked on nouns for weeks or multiplication for months.
When it was time to transition from elementary school to middle and high school, I chose a charter school that embraced online learning. I worked at my own pace in computer labs, with specialist teachers on hand to offer one-on-one assistance. Rather than sitting in a classroom where the whole class couldn’t move on to a new subject until every kid understood, I zipped through my online classes. Learning became fun again.
At my new school, I learned more in a week or two than I had in months in a traditional classroom. By sophomore year, I was two years ahead in math and a year ahead in science. Because I was so far ahead in my classes, I had the opportunity to take math and science dual-enrollment courses at the University of New Mexico. This not only put me ahead of the game credit-wise, but also prepared me for college.
Online learning offered me flexibility since I could work from home and didn’t have to be in a classroom five days a week. My flexible schedule allowed me to have a part-time job, where I learned valuable workplace skills. Going to a charter school where courses are offered online showed me that a nontraditional learning style benefits many kinds of students. I saw students who had struggled academically in a “regular” classroom thrive in an online environment. Different students learn in different ways, and online schools embrace this concept. The traditional model of education is outdated and ineffective for some students. The way we learn is changing for the better, and online or blended courses are a big part of this change.
Southwest Secondary Learning Center
University of Oklahoma