Today, scholars and their families have the opportunity to choose from a variety of schools and educational models. Children are no longer confined to attending the traditional public school in their neighborhood. Now, scholars and their families have choices! As we mentioned last week, independent study has become an increasingly popular choice because it offers flexibility and choices that can meet scholars’ personal needs.
Independent study offers families so many options that at times it can seem overwhelming. Families interested in independent study have to sort through hundreds of choices to find just the right fit for their children. To avoid that overwhelming feeling, we recommend some strategic research. What are some important factors to consider when choosing an independent study program? What questions should families ask about independent study programs? How can families know if they are choosing the right program for their children? Here are a few simple ways that scholars and their families can find the independent study program that best meets their individual needs:
Independent study allows scholars to learn outside of a traditional classroom. When talking to each school’s representatives, it’s important to ask each one about the various options they provide. For example, some independent study schools offer a single program of study. Others, like Compass Charter Schools (CCS), offer an online program and a homeschooling option, which provides more curricular choices and flexibility. It’s important to know what type of programs are offered so that can you focus on finding a school that best suits your children’s needs and learning style.
It’s very important to find independent study programs that are accredited by reputable associations. These associations help schools assess their programs and courses, in order to plan, implement, and monitor improvements. Accreditation fosters excellence in education and encourages school improvement through ongoing evaluation to ensure scholars are well prepared for their future. In fact, many colleges and universities give priority to scholars who attend accredited schools.
There are several accreditation associations throughout the country. CCS is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC), which provides assistance to schools worldwide, primarily in California, Hawaii, Guam, Asia, the Pacific Region, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Having WASC accreditation allows CCS to maintain high academic integrity through evaluations by fellow educators. The accreditation also helps our school set a clear purpose and defined goals to ensure successful learning for our scholars.
One of the main reasons why families choose independent study is for flexibility. However, each school sets their own terms for flexibility. Some programs require a consistent schedule for learning, others require in-person meetings and more. When reviewing independent study programs for your children, be sure to consider your family’s lifestyle. Do you travel often? Are you busy with extracurricular activities or work? It’s important to take these factors into consideration so that you can choose the right program.
CCS is a virtual charter school. Our staff members connect with scholars through video chats, text messaging, emails, phone calls and more. No in-person meetings are required. This helps our staff become more easily accessible, and build stronger relationships with their scholars. Plus, it helps scholars and their families save time and other important resources.
Other flexible benefits for scholars at CCS include having the ability to create a custom learning schedule. Is your family planning a vacation? No problem. CCS scholars can work with their teachers to complete their assignments ahead of schedule to avoid falling behind. To help stay organized, our scholars also keep a weekly log of the time they spend learning. This allows teachers to ensure that each scholar is spending the necessary time studying and completing their assignments.
The purpose of independent study is to allow scholars the freedom to learn in an environment that best suits their personal needs. As the name suggests, it gives children the opportunity to work independently to become innovative, creative, and self-directed learners. It’s crucial that scholars and their families receive substantial support throughout their educational journey.
While researching, it’s important to consider the level of support each school can offer your family. While scholars are able to work independently, they still need substantial support from teachers, counselors and many others. CCS is an innovative virtual school, so scholar and parent support is easily accessible. Credentialed teachers and staff are just a phone call, email, or virtual classroom away. In addition, CCS is to proud to have an amazing counseling team that supports scholars and their families. Our counseling team works closely with scholars to help them stay on track, meet graduation requirements and excel in their studies. CCS also offers a college counseling team for high school scholars. They help scholars research schools, register for college testing, and they can even help scholars find scholarships. Our counseling team also hosts virtual workshops to encourage scholars to develop healthy study habits and routines.
Overall, there are many factors to consider when choosing the right independent study program for your children. The key is to strategically research each program by asking questions and considering the important factors shared here. Then, you will be on your way to finding the right independent study program for your family.
J.J. Lewis - a blog sharing the journey throughout SDSU's MA.EL. program.