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How to Deal with Online Harassment

August 21st, 2020 by

How to Deal with Online Harassment

Today’s world is changing rapidly, and one huge area of contention that previous generations did not have to deal with is the online world. 

How to deal with online bullying and harassment

While the internet and constant use of devices offers a number of benefits to today’s students and adults, it also brings with it many risks and some downsides as well. Online harassment, also known as cyberbullying, has been increasing in recent years, and we can only expect it to increase further as the world becomes more tech-savvy and digitally focused. In 2016, over one-third of middle and high school students reported having been cyberbullied, and a 2017 study found that almost half of all Americans, both students and adults alike, have experienced online harassment themselves. Knowing how to protect yourself, what to do when you’re harassed online, and how to cope with prior harassment experiences will help keep you safe and secure in an online realm for years to come.

What Is Online Harassment?

Online harassment includes a variety of approaches by “cyberbullies” to undermine, threaten, humiliate, or generally harass another individual. Online harassment can take place through text messages, instant messages, social media accounts, emails, websites, and more. The intent may be to simply upset or humiliate another person, but it can also be taken to another level of identity theft, reputation damage, and revealing personal information for the intent of harm.

What Are the Effects of Online Harassment?

While harassment of any kind is unacceptable, when it takes place in an online arena, it can feel impossible to escape the fear, frustration, and stress that accompanies the harassment. A victim of online harassment is essentially never out of reach, as threats and bullying can come through their cell phones, emails, and personal social media accounts. At its most minor, online harassment can bring about feelings of stress, isolation, sadness, humiliation, and anxiety. At its worst, feelings of overwhelming depression, withdrawal from loved ones and once-cherished hobbies, increased substance use or abuse, and even suicidal thoughts or actions can stem from online harassment. For those who struggle to cope with their experiences on being harassed online, long-term psychological and social effects can be long-lasting and extremely serious.

How to Deal with Online Harassment

So what can you do—whether you’re a student, parent, or teacher—to get ahead of and deal with online harassment that affects you or those you love?

Keep Records

While the internet is notorious for holding onto information basically forever, when you want proof of the harassment, you don’t want to have to search high and low for it. Take screenshots, save conversations, and do whatever it takes to keep thorough records of the harassment that took place. Date conversations if they aren’t already dated, and keep them organized so that you have easy access to them if and when you need them.

Speak Out

While you should try to avoid engaging a cyberbully, speaking out against what’s happening is incredibly important. Bullies don’t like to be called out, and although you probably don’t want to get them more riled up, taking a stand to call attention to the problem can be hugely beneficial in dissolving it. Keep in mind, however, that bullies often harass others for their heated reactions, so be wise in the way you speak out and don’t encourage or egg on their unacceptable behavior. If you are worried about speaking out in a public way, at the very least you should talk to a trusted adult who can help you make a plan on how to handle online harassment.

Protect Yourself

Prevention is always the best option, but if you’ve already been harassed online, do whatever you can to protect yourself moving forward. Block the cyberbully if possible, and consider taking a break from social media, texting, and other internet activities. While this shouldn’t be a long-term solution—you can’t avoid the internet forever—it can help you to cool down and remove the opportunity for the other party to continue to harass you. You should also try to minimize the amount of personal information you make available online, as well as optimize privacy functions on all of your online accounts. Certain websites allow you to contact them regarding online harassment so they can look into the problem and possibly kick the person off the website for breaking the rules of that website. It’s also important to look out for others online who may be getting cyberbullies. Some people have no problem reporting problematic behavior while others may be a little more timid or apprehensive about doing so, but cyberbullies need to be held accountable and held responsible for their unacceptable behaviors. If you see online harassment taking place, help your fellow man out and report the issue.

Get Help Coping

If you’ve been a victim of online harassment and are struggling with the repercussions, trust that you are not alone. It is completely normal to have a hard time dealing with what you’ve experienced online, and it’s important to face it and process it properly. Because of the possible long-term challenges of online harassment, you need to allow yourself to work through your feelings and fears in a productive and effective way so that your experiences being cyberbullied won’t negatively affect you for years to come. Talk to a parent, a teacher, a school counselor, or another trusted adult if you need help coping with cyberbullying, and know that you are not alone and it is okay to have a hard time with what you’ve gone through.


Why Online Schooling Gives Your Student the Advantage

May 27th, 2020 by

Online schools have been growing in popularity for years. While some people were skeptical of their legitimacy at first, they have proven to be a great addition to the vast educational opportunities available to students today. Online schools offer many benefits to both students and parents, and they truly set students up for success in whatever path they take after graduation. 

happy online high school studentUnique Course Offerings

Traditional schools can only offer classes for which they have the physical space. They also need local teachers to take on any courses. With online schooling, teachers can be located anywhere in the country, so long as they are certified in the state they’re teaching in, and physical classrooms cannot limit the course offerings. While all online schools will offer the traditional core classes to its students, they may also offer unique and interesting classes that not only foster a love of learning, but also give them access to a wealth of knowledge that they would not get at a traditional school. Students may take courses in unique subject areas that lead them to pursue jobs and careers in fields they wouldn’t have even known about otherwise. (more…)


Here’s Why Fun Education Can Be Beneficial Education

May 20th, 2020 by

Children today are busier than ever, both physically and mentally. They play sports, go to after-school clubs, and participate in family events. At the same time, they’re constantly connected via the internet, social media, and a variety of screens and devices. Because of this, it can be challenging to keep them engaged in their learning and help them stay focused on their education. One great way to embrace this challenge rather than fight against it is to aim to make learning more fun. Everyone loves to have fun, and if you can teach your students something while they’re having fun, everyone will be better off. Here is our take on why fun education can be beneficial and effective for students of all ages.

It’s More EngagingGirl learning from home having fun

Simply put, fun things are more attractive to students. They’re far more likely to want to play a game or do something interactive than sit as a desk and listen to a lecture or read a textbook. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to embrace a more engaging curriculum and approach to learning that is still incredibly effective and brings students a great deal of benefits. Utilizing engaging and fun ways to teach will keep students involved and more actively listening to lessons, keeping them far more engaged throughout the entirety of the lesson and unit. Fun education can involve games, hands-on activities, and even utilizing technology to teach, all of which are sure to capture and maintain a student’s attention. (more…)


Coronavirus Safety in Education

March 18th, 2020 by

The world is flooded with news on the coronavirus right now. People are scared and confused, and there is much uncertainty in how the coming days, weeks, and months will play out. The best way to move through this pandemic is with education, confidence in your knowledge, and as much preparation and proactivity as possible.

Awareness

Everyone is aware of the virus that’s going around as it has affected just about every facet of everyday life, from school to work to stores and extracurriculars. It’s important to be aware of the changes that are taking place with the virus, business closings, health recommendations, and so on. However, you should be cautious not to overindulge in media consumption, as it can cause unnecessary fear, anxiety, and stress. Remember that not everything you hear on the news is completely true and you should be cautious about who and where you get your information from. Stick to news outlets that give you direct facts, such as local news stations, local health authorities, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Be aware and informed, but know when to turn off the TV, set down your devices, and simply embrace the opportunity to slow down for a bit.

Prevention Tips

As with most sicknesses, prevention is absolutely the best course of action. Preventing the spread of the disease is the entire point behind all of the quarantines and social distancing that has been put into effect across the globe. If you can avoid getting the coronavirus in the first place, you’ll minimize spreading it and keep those around you healthy. Take care to practice these prevention tips to keep yourself and others as healthy as possible.

  • If you feel sick, stay home. Even if you suspect allergies, a cold, or something entirely unrelated, there is no need to spread germs of any kind during this time. Don’t run errands, take public transportation, or even go to a playground with your kids. Stay inside your house or in your yard and avoid contact with others. Remember, even if you get the coronavirus and have minimal symptoms, you could put someone else who is high-risk in a very dangerous situation by not following prevention protocol.
  • Wash your hands. You’ve probably heard this a thousand times in the past week, but it’s because it’s extremely effective. Use soap and scrub for at least 20 seconds, and avoid touching your face.
  • Disinfect surfaces and high-touch objects. Germs transfer primarily with direct contact, but the second most common way to pass along germs is through surfaces and objects. Door handles, light switches, sink faucets, phones, tablets, remotes, and so on can harbor germs and be a breeding ground for sickness. Be diligent about disinfecting them all regularly with a disinfectant spray, wipe, or solution. Traditional cleaners will likely do the trick, as will 70% isopropyl alcohol. Be sure to wash your hands again after disinfecting!

Safety Tips if You Do Get Sick

If you begin feeling sick, don’t panic. Remember that the majority of cases are extremely mild and feel like the flu or a bad cold. However, it’s important to take action quickly to prevent spreading sickness to others, whether it is the coronavirus or not. Here are a few tips if you start feeling sick.

  • Isolate yourself from family members as well as you can. This can be hard if you have young kids or if it’s one of your children who is sick. But keeping the germs contained to one person and one area of the house is ideal.
  • Call your doctor first. Don’t jump in your car and run straight to the doctor’s office, urgent care, or emergency room. Chances are, even if it is the coronavirus, the symptoms will be mild and the best way to recover is at home with plenty of fluids and rest. You don’t want to put others at risk by going to the doctor if you don’t need to, and hospitals need as much space as possible for those who are seriously ill and need round-the-clock care by medical personnel.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. Use a tissue, ideally. If that’s not possible, cough or sneeze into your elbow or arm rather than your hands.
  • Wear a facemask when you’re sick if you have to be around others.
  • Disinfect surfaces regularly.
  • Be aware of the incubation period of coronavirus. While studies are not completely conclusive, doctors believe that the time from exposure of germs to the appearance of symptoms can be as short as one day and as long as 14 days. That means that others around you may have the virus as well but haven’t shown symptoms yet, so be diligent to continue hand washing, disinfecting, and other preventative measures.

Be Prepared & Stay Positive

It’s important to be prepared both physically and mentally for long-term social distancing and quarantining. You should have plenty of school supplies for kids to do distance or digital assignments, plenty of food for a long-term stint without grocery shopping, and plenty of household supplies to avoid going out for a while. This is not to say you should be hoarding supplies or panicking if you don’t have a small stockpile of supplies, but being prepared is ideal, especially for families with young children and the elderly.

And of course, stay as positive as possible. This is not an ideal situation and we all know that, but being upset or frustrated or super negative about it isn’t going to help anything or change the situation. Begin preparing yourself for being at home for the long haul, and do what you can to keep spirits up amongst your kids and your other family members. Do your best to stay busy and entertained, but also try to enjoy a bit of a break from the norm and embrace some extra time with your family.

 


How Do Online Classes Work?

March 3rd, 2020 by

Virtual learning is on the rise. Not only are some states and schools requiring students to take at least one online class before they graduate from high school, but several students are opting to complete their entire education online. Online classes offer countless advantages to students, including flexible scheduling, self-pacing courses, unique and positive learning environments, and the acquisition of several important skills that are important for success later in life. Although they are increasing in popularity and availability, online classes are still an enigma to many students and parents, leaving room for misconceptions and confusion regarding how online classes work.

Here at San Diego Virtual School, we offer free public online courses for both middle school students and high school students. Our school is fully accredited and nationally recognized, meaning you get a real high school diploma upon graduating and are prepared and qualified to attend any college or university in the country. Not all online schools have this accreditation, however. At the same time, not all online schools have complete curriculum programs either. Online classes are only as comprehensive and beneficial as the school behind them, so be sure to enroll in an accredited and nationally recognized school should you choose this educational outlet.

While we can’t speak for other schools, here is an overview of how online classes work at San Diego Virtual School.

Self-Directed Learning

Most brick-and-mortar schools follow a traditional style of educating where the teachers lecture and the students listen. Occasionally, there will be opportunities for students to facilitate their own learning or to actively engage in the material they’re learning, but more often than not, teachers teach and students learn. In online classes, there is far more self-directed learning and independence than in traditional schools. While there may be videos for students to watch a lecture or a presentation done by the teachers, a lot of the information comes from reading text and interacting with activities. Because students don’t have a designated class time to work on assignments with a teacher present, they are responsible for completing their assignments on their own, meaning they take on more personal responsibility and independence than their traditionally educated peers.

Individualized Approach

Because of the focus on self-directed learning, we are able to offer a more individualized approach to learning than most traditional schools. We have students with varying backgrounds and academic needs, and we meet each and every student right where they are. Some students are aspiring athletes or performers with unique schedules, some are academically advanced and want to be challenged, some have learning struggles that make certain classes more difficult, and some are previously homeschooled students or students in a military family. No matter what needs your child has academically or in terms of scheduling, SDVS is a great place to take online classes and get a quality education completely online.

Timelines & Flexibility

Students who take online classes at SDVS are not required to log in to their classes at any specific time. This is very different from traditional school, of course, but we’ve found it more beneficial to our students in many ways. Not only can they complete coursework on their own schedule, but our flexibility gives them more freedom in other parts of their life, such as getting a job or attending athletic practices. Additionally, students have to improve their time management skills, as well as their abilities to self-motivate and discipline themselves to get their work done. We do set deadlines for our students, but they can complete their assignments on their own schedule and at their own pace, helping them grow in independence and self-reliance.

Interaction & Communication

One of the biggest concerns of parents who are considering online classes is the interaction their children will get with their peers and with their teachers. Our students interact in our virtual classrooms quite frequently, and they actually get a significant amount of experience with collaboration and working as part of a group. They are given ample opportunities to improve their written communication skills since that is the primary way they will interact with their peers. At the same time, our students are able to communicate with their teachers directly almost any time they want. Unlike at a traditional school where students have to meet with teachers at designated times, our teachers are available to your child during a large portion of the day so any questions can be asked and answered in a timely and thorough manner.

Location Independence

While our programs are only available to those who reside in the greater San Diego area, students can complete their coursework from anywhere. You may be at home, at the library, or at a local coffee shop, but as long as you have internet access, you can log in to your classes and submit your assignments. If you are a child of a military service member who travels frequently, you can still do your classwork on the road. Additionally, if you are an aspiring athlete or a performer of some sort and you travel often to compete or perform, you can still access your schoolwork and meet the required deadlines.

To learn more about how online classes work or to learn more about our programs, get in touch with San Diego Virtual School today. We can get the enrollment process started and answer any questions you might have regarding your child’s education.

 


How to Not Forget Everything You Learned in Class Over the Break

March 3rd, 2020 by

Spring Break is something that all students look forward to. It’s a sign that students are on the home stretch toward summer, and it’s a nice break from school to enjoy warmer weather and a quick refresh before charging toward the end of the school year. However, just like all other breaks from school, Spring Break tends to bring about a period of forgetfulness in which students return from the break not remembering what they learned just before it. This is especially troubling at this point in the school year because exams, final projects, and semester-end papers are due after Spring Break, meaning students don’t have weeks to catch up and remind themselves of past lessons. As we move toward the spring and the end of the school year, Spring Break is on everyone’s calendars and people are making grand plans for their week off. Be sure to utilize some of these tips so that you don’t forget everything you learned in class during the week of Spring Break.

Get Some Rest

Students are notorious for one of two things during their breaks from school: sleeping incessantly or packing their schedules so full that they don’t sleep at all. We don’t recommend either, but it is a good idea to get some rest during your Spring Break. That may mean going to bed earlier, sleeping in a little later, or simply giving yourself some relaxing days of just hanging out at home. You don’t want to go back to school feeling more exhausted than you were a week prior, so make sure you give yourself a chance to catch up on sleep and have a few lazy days. Getting enough rest will also benefit your memory, as a well-rested mind is better able to recall information learned previously. Being well-rested will also reduce your stress levels, which will also contribute to a better memory.

Journal

Not everyone is a writer or an avid journaler, and that’s fine, but it can be a good practice to journal from time to time. It’s more about putting your thoughts on paper than writing a masterpiece, so don’t feel like you have to be incredibly thoughtful and careful in your writing. Simply record what you’re thinking about, how you’re feeling, or what you’ve been doing. It’s good for your mind and soul to write down your thoughts, and it has proven to be beneficial in memory recall and mindfulness as well.

Take Time to Read

Reading is good for everyone and at all times. Sure, it would be best for you to read a textbook or educational material, but any novel, magazine, comic book, or blog will benefit you. Keeping your brain active and working on your reading skills will help you remember more and keep your mind from getting too lazy or lethargic. If you go to the beach or on a vacation somewhere, be sure to bring a book or two. If you’re staying at home or in town, consider going to the library to check out a new fiction book or graphic novel.

Teach Someone Something

Studies have proven that the more you repeat something, the better you know and understand it. The goal of all learning is to turn information into knowledge, and a great way to do that is to teach someone something you’ve learned. It might be something from school, such as how to do a complex math problem or how to diagram a sentence. It might be a physical skill, such as how to change a tire or how to throw a baseball properly. Any sharing of knowledge will help both you and the person you’re teaching, and it will be especially beneficial if it’s something you need to know for school. Explaining something to another person will help you to understand it more completely, and you’re far more likely to remember it once you’ve taught it to someone else.

Review Notes

This is probably the simplest and most straightforward way to not forget what you’ve learned in class over the break. Repetition is key when it comes to memory, as mentioned above, and what better way to remember what you learned at school than simply reviewing your notes. Remind yourself of the high points that your instructors covered and focus on understanding the main ideas behind each concept. Once you think you fully understand something, put your notes away for a bit. Then, a few hours later, try to recall the things you were studying. If you can’t, review again and try to recall the information again several hours later. Remember that the more you review and remember now, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to study for exams, write papers, and complete final projects.

Be Mindful

Even if you don’t have your notes with you constantly or have a very busy week planned, try to be mindful and intentionally think about what you were studying and learning at school during the break. Again, the more you recall information and the more it’s repeated, the better you’ll remember it long-term.

Keep Your Brain Working

As you try to rest and relax over Spring Break, also ensure that you’re doing things to keep your brain working. Do a word search or a crossword, complete a Sudoku, or do a puzzle with your family. Don’t just stare at the TV or video games for an entire week and expect to have no lapse in memory when you return to school. Just as you need to be mindful of what you’re thinking about, be conscious of how you’re spending your time and take part in activities that keep your brain working.


Why Virtual Schools Are the Future

February 12th, 2020 by

Many colleges have begun offering online courses, but with each passing year, more and more K-12 students are making the change from traditional schooling to virtual schools. Some students and schools are utilizing part-time online schooling programs, where students are in a classroom, face-to-face with a teacher at times, and other times they are working on a computer to complete assignments and interact with their peers. But as we embark into a new decade, experts everywhere believe that virtual schools are our future, and that belief is strongly held for many reasons. The advantages that virtual schools offer are significant, and traditional schools simply cannot compete. Here are the main reasons that we believe virtual schools are the future of education in the US.

More Versatile Course Offerings

Running an online school is significantly less expensive than running a traditional school, meaning that more funding can go towards quality educators and more course offerings. Since online schools don’t need the physical space to host unique classes, they have more versatility and fewer restrictions on what types of classes they can offer. At the same time, students can take just about any class they want online, as long as they can find a school that offers it. They will no longer be limited to the courses offered at their local public school or a nearby private school.

Technological Advancements

Students of today are far more comfortable with technology than students who graduated even just a few years ago, so they are far less intimidated by learning new devices or working on a new platform. At the same time, technology is constantly advancing, both in terms of physical devices and software programs, and students are great at embracing these advancements and figuring them out quickly. With more and more advancements in our future, virtual schools will have even more opportunities to connect with students and provide them with excellent educations.

Focus on Collaboration

Go into just about any workplace and you’ll see a focus on teamwork and collaboration. Traditional schools are not great about integrating these things into curriculum programs or daily lessons, but online schools are. They focus a great deal on collaboration and getting students to connect with one another, even though they may never even meet face to face. Virtual schools focus on preparing students for the real world and for life beyond school, and they view collaboration as an absolute must for any class.

Improved Communication

Nowadays, students seem to communicate constantly, but much of that communication is on their devices and is often not in proper form or even complete sentences. As the world shifts to a more tech-focused place, written communication skills are becoming increasingly important, and virtual schools address that head-on. Students must write to their classmates and instructors with proper sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation, meaning they will improve their written communication skills significantly.

Increased Digital Literacy

With technology at their fingertips, the youth of today are often irresponsible or unhealthy with their use of technology. Virtual schools understand that and acknowledge it, but they also seek to address it in a positive and constructive way. Online schools teach students about healthy and responsible use of technology, including social media, online resources, and more. Digital literacy is incredibly important and it must be addressed and dealt with appropriately and respectfully, and virtual schools are at the forefront of doing exactly that.

More Individualized Approaches

Many people are under the assumption that virtual learners get less one-on-one time with instructors, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, students at online schools probably get more one-on-one time with their teachers because they can access them more easily and don’t really have another option but to ask their teachers for help when they need it. Because of this, teachers know their students well and can take a more individualized approach when teaching certain concepts. They can also pinpoint learning styles very well and can instruct students accordingly, making the most of teacher-student interactions and helping students grow, learn, and develop faster than students in traditional schools.

Real-World Applications

Perhaps the most significant reason that virtual schools are the future is their real-world applications. Online students learn real-life skills that they’ll need to succeed in a career, and they are able to apply their knowledge of concepts to real-world situations and problems. They foster problem-solving and critical thinking far better than traditional schools, and they allow students a realistic glimpse into specific trades, career fields, and industries, offering them a leg up on other job applications with different educational backgrounds.


How to Develop Online Study Habits

February 12th, 2020 by

Online school has enormous benefits for students. From flexible scheduling to positive learning environments to the acquisition of new and important skills, there is no denying the advantages of virtual learning. However, just as with any educational experience, online schooling comes with its challenges as well. One of the biggest challenges that online students face is how to study well. Since personality responsibility and self-discipline are a huge part of online schooling, some students can struggle to stay on top of their studies and maintain their grades before they master skills like time management, self-motivation, and superb studying skills. SDVS is passionate about not only giving our students a quality education, but also about preparing them for the future by giving them opportunities to learn, practice, and master new skills. In order to establish good habits, those habits must first be developed. Here are our top tips for developing online study habits that will eventually lead to mastery of these skills and improved studying capabilities and grades.

Make a Schedule & Stick to It

Time management, like many other skills, is mastered with practice. Online students should be diligent about creating a school schedule that includes time to watch or read lessons, contribute to class discussions, complete assignments, and study for tests. And more than anything else, they should stick to this schedule. This single tip can mean a world of difference for students’ grades, focus, and ability to retain information. Staying consistent with a study schedule will not only improve self-discipline, self-motivation, and focus, but it will also help you remember what you’re learning better, making it easier to do well on assignments and exams. It’s okay if your schedule changes from week to week or month to month, but be sure to lay out a schedule whenever needed and stick to what you set for yourself.

Stay Organized

The fastest way to derail productivity is with disorganization. Let’s say you sit down to study and complete homework and you can’t find your study guide. Or that book you need is nowhere to be found and your notes have water spilled on them. Organization is a huge part of success, both physically and mentally. If you can’t find or keep track of your study materials, how will you study effectively? At the same time, if your workspace is a mess, it’s easy to get distracted or frustrated by it, and you can easily lose focus by paying attention to all the clutter in your area. Keep your schoolwork organized and keep your work area clean and tidy, and your study sessions will be much more productive.

Know Your Learning Style

This is a huge part of studying, especially for online learners. It makes a huge difference when it comes to preparing for exams, especially given the study materials you may have or need for your classes. If you are an auditory learner, for example, then reading through notes on your computer likely won’t be super effective. It would be better for you to listen to a recording of someone discussing the topics or even to read the notes out loud to yourself. If you’re a visual learner, listening to a recording may not be helpful, but watching a video with a demonstration would likely be very beneficial. Know how you learn best and tailor your studying according to that. This will not only help you establish better study habits, but it will also make your studying more effective.

Get Ahead

Staying on top of your schoolwork and even getting ahead will only benefit you. Since you have more flexibility as an online student than you would in a traditional school, you can really work hard to stay ahead of the game whenever you have extra time on your hands. This can give you more time to tackle more challenging tasks or concepts, which will be beneficial if you need more study time or have a lot of questions. Getting ahead in your schoolwork is also a great idea for virtual students who have very unique schedules. Maybe you are an athlete or performer who has to travel a lot, or maybe you only have a few days each week or a few weeks each month to complete schoolwork. If that’s the case, getting ahead will give you a much-needed break from school when you have to focus on other things for a little while.

Ask for Help When Needed

One of the most important parts of growth, whether personal, academic, or professional, is recognizing when you need help and asking for it. Teachers are available for questions at any time, and they would always rather you ask a question or request a more thorough explanation of something than you not ask and continue to not understand something. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance in anything school-related, especially if there is something that you just can’t quite make sense of. The more you ask for help, the more likely you are to not only understand the material better, but you’re also more likely to improve your critical thinking skills so that the next time around, you may be better able to figure out something difficult on your own.

At San Diego Virtual School, we are passionate about teaching our students to be smarter, better, and more responsible individuals. Developing online study habits is an important part of being a student, and those good habits will translate to your later years after high school graduation, so it’s important to master those skills now and reap the benefits for years to come.


What Is Virtual School?

January 8th, 2020 by

Virtual schools are becoming more prominent and common-place all across the United States. While they used to be rare and have low attendance, they are now increasing in enrollment year after year as more and more students have positive experiences and enjoy the many benefits of virtual school.

But what exactly is virtual school? Also known as online schools, virtual schools are public schools that are state-funded and free to students, but they do not require physical attendance of students as everything is completed online. Virtual schools are not private and are not considered homeschools, and they are required to fulfill the same requirements as a traditional public school. This includes state testing, certified teachers, standard curriculum and course programs, and more.

Virtual school teachers must be certified in the state they’re teaching in, and although they work remotely, they have the same responsibilities as teachers in a traditional school setting. Virtual school teachers must be accessible to their students to offer guidance, support, and instruction. They must track academic progress and attendance, they assign homework and grade tests, they communicate with students and parents regularly, they work with their school administration to improve academics, and they complete professional development courses and training programs related to their jobs.

All virtual schools are required to follow state-specific programs and have their students meet requirements for graduation. While the curriculum programs may vary based on the school, students must meet state standards in order to graduate with a high school diploma from an online school. Although there is flexibility in scheduling and when students complete coursework, they are still required to adhere to a semester-based schedule where they submit assignments, take tests, and complete activities according to deadlines set by their teachers.

Not all virtual schools are of the same quality, so if you’re exploring an online school for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to look at the legitimacy of the school. Some smaller online schools offer correspondence or supplemental classes, while more prominent virtual schools offer full course programs and a real high school diploma. Be sure to look at the accreditations of the virtual schools you’re researching. Some may have no accreditation at all, while others, like San Diego Virtual School, are fully accredited and recognized by three major accreditation organizations.

Benefits of Virtual Schools

You likely understand the basics of what a virtual school is, so let’s take a look at the benefits of these schools. As mentioned, not all virtual schools were created equal and not all virtual schools are the right fit for every student. However, if you’re interested in enrolling in an online school, you should be aware of the most significant benefits and how they’ll impact you during and after your time in school.

Flexibility

Probably the most common reason that students enroll in a virtual school is the flexibility. You don’t have to drive or ride to school, you don’t have to show up to a specific place at a particular time, and you don’t have to spend countless minutes wasting time between classes or completing busywork that won’t benefit you. Virtual schools allow students to log in to their classes at any time and from any place, as long as there is an internet connection. Students can complete their assignments at any time they wish, provided they submit them by the set deadline. This means that students with unique schedules can complete coursework on the weekends, at night, or even when they’re away from home. The flexibility is perfect for families with busy schedules, such as those with an aspiring athlete, talented performer, or military service member who may not have a normal schedule.

Soft Skills

Employers nowadays agree that they can train most individuals on the technical aspects of a job. What they cannot do is teach adults the soft skills needed to be successful as an employee. Young adults today are missing some key skills that are keeping them from getting their dream jobs and becoming the successful adults they once hoped to be, but many of these skills are acquired by students enrolled in virtual schools. Online learners master the skills of self-discipline, time management, critical thinking, self-motivation, problem-solving, collaboration, personal responsibility, and so much more. Many students in traditional schools don’t have the opportunity to master these soft skills, but virtual learners do, and that benefits them a great deal both during school and after graduation.

Positive Environment

Although online students are not physically present with their peers and teachers during class, online schools often foster a far more positive learning environment than traditional schools. Because virtual students don’t have the distractions or frustrations that come with traditional schools, they are far more likely to be focused on their work and encouraging toward other students. Additionally, teachers are accessible to help students at any time and they are incredibly supportive and helpful both during class time and in general correspondence. Due to the nature of the virtual classroom, students don’t experience social anxiety, bullying, or any other physical or emotional distractions that can so easily derail their academic progress in a traditional classroom.

If you want to learn more about virtual school or if you are interested in enrolling your child, get in touch with San Diego Virtual School to have your questions answered. We look forward to showing you all of these benefits and more as you experience the amazing advantages of an online learning environment.

 

 


New Year Habits to Help You Be a Successful Student

January 8th, 2020 by

New Year Habits to Help You Be a Successful Student

As the first semester of the school year comes to a close, students everywhere are reflecting on their recently completed courses and looking forward to the second semester. With every New Year, students make resolutions and set goals to stay on top of their studies and help them become better and more successful students. If you’re among this motivated, disciplined, and determined group of students who aim to be more successful each semester, here are a few good habits you should embrace this New Year.

Get & Stay Organized

Organization is half the battle when it comes to academic success. How can you study your notes, turn in your homework, and be prepared for an exam if you can’t find your notes, the homework assignment, or the study guide? Figure out a new organizational technique if your last one didn’t work, and do your best to fine-tune your organization to make it work for you. And be aware that it’s not just enough to get organized in January—you have to stay organized throughout the semester. This might mean cleaning out binders and your backpack every so often, cleaning up your study space weekly, and ensuring you are staying on top of organizing all of your school things.

Study Consistently & Don’t Cram

Make it a point to study consistently and not just right before a big exam. Cramming for tests isn’t as effective as most students think it is, but what is effective is studying regularly throughout the entirety of the semester. Go over your assignments regularly and ask right away if you don’t understand something. When you do have a big exam coming up, spend a little bit of time each day leading up to the exam reading over notes, assignments, and study guides, and you’ll be far more prepared for your exam and far less stressed than if you only crammed the night before.

Take Notes & Use Them

You may think you’ll remember everything your teacher said and everything you read throughout a particular class, but that’s just not the case. Take notes and be thorough in your notes. Make references to images or sections of your textbook so you can read further to refresh your memory when you’re reviewing later, and notate anything you’re uncertain about so you can learn more about it during your study time.

Stick to a Schedule

Whether you attend a traditional school or an online school, having a schedule and sticking to it is a vital part of being successful in your studies. Sticking to a schedule might mean you set aside time each night to do homework as well as a set time each weekend to review notes. Or it may mean that you schedule your school time in blocks of time that are conducive to your personal schedule. Just be sure to establish a schedule before the semester begins and stick with it until summer.

Stay Active

Being active is an important part of staying healthy, and being healthy will directly relate to how successful you are in school. If you’re constantly sick, you’ll have trouble focusing on assignments and may struggle to keep up in your classes. Getting enough physical exercise is good for your physical and mental health, and it can be fun to socialize in group sports and other physical activities. Be sure to include physical activity into your schedule and stay consistent with being active all semester long.

Get Enough Sleep

Middle school and high school students are notorious for not sleeping enough. Being unrested and exhausted is not good for any part of your life, but especially school and academic success. If you need to set an alarm on your phone to remind you to go to bed at a certain time each night, do so. Turn off your devices and lights and get in bed at the same time every night to make it easier to get used to a set sleep schedule, and don’t sacrifice sleep unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Get Involved in Class

Discussion-oriented classes are extremely beneficial, and they are usually more enjoyable than lecture-based classes. But if you don’t get involved in the discussion and actively listen, you won’t get nearly as much out of the class, and you’ll likely find yourself missing out on very important information that you need to know.  Getting involved in class will not only help you learn more during your actual class time, but it will also help you establish good relationships with your teachers and peers, meaning it will be easier to ask questions and get extra help when you need it. Another important part of being involved in class is asking questions. Don’t be afraid to ask something during class time or in a separate email or correspondence with a teacher. It’s better for you to clear up any confusion right away rather than go weeks without fully understanding an important concept.

Be Forward-Thinking

This habit applies to the short-term future as well as the long-term future. Plan ahead in your classes and be sure to look ahead on the calendar to know when you have tests, quizzes, and big deadlines for assignments. You’ll be able to plan better and won’t be stressed out due to procrastination and last-minute work. You should also be forward-thinking in the long-term. What do you want to do over the summer to improve your academic success? What do you want to do after you graduate from high school? Think about what you can be doing now to help set yourself up for future success.