SparkNotes Blog

Surviving Your First Year of Internet School

Thanks for such a detailed and helpful guide, MutantFrogsAreOnTheLoose!—Sparkitors

Maybe you’re fed up with lazy classmates, maybe it’s for religious reasons, or maybe it’s because of that small incident involving sardines, Crisco, and the school fire alarm (I’m innocent, I tell you, innocent!). Whatever the reason, you’ve decided to give internet schooling a try. Well, you’re in for a fun-filled year of rainbows and unicorns. NOT.

I’m not trying to freak you out, but you likely have no idea what you’re getting into. I’m in my 3rd year of  online schooling, and though it’s worked out well for me, I’ve seen several of my friends start, only to suffer from burn-out, eyestrain, and insanity within a few months. So here’s a little guide on how to survive your first year of internet school.

Know the local laws: Every state and county has different laws about internet schooling, so go to the local school board, talk to the person in charge of home-schooled students, and find out what you need to do. One of my friends almost got kicked out of the homeschooling program because she didn’t realize she still needed to take a standardized test at the end of the year. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get answers about issues like getting a diploma, going back to school, or taking AP tests.

Make a schedule: Staying organized is essential to your success. Make a class and homework schedule and stick to it. Try not to procrastinate, and reward yourself for completing projects and assignments ahead of schedule.

Take a break: Don’t get stuck to your computer screen. Take a walk, play a game, or talk to a friend—it’s important to break up the monotony of your day. But try to stay away from Facebook and online games, as they can be incredibly distracting (and addictive). As strange as it sounds, try out an online Fitness and Health class if it’s offered— it may involve running, push-ups, or other exercise routines that will help you stay in shape.

Have fun: Don’t be afraid to try out a class that wasn’t offered at public school! For example, when I started FLVS, I decided to try out Chinese. In FLVS, we’re allowed four weeks to try out a class, and if it doesn’t work out, we can quit without receiving an F. My friend also tried out Chinese, and it didn’t work for her. I, on the other hand, am starting my third year, and I love the language. So go ahead and take chances.

Now you know a little of what to expect. Online schooling is hardly easy, and it’s not for everyone. But if you choose to give it a try, you’re in for a really great experience—and more time for chatting on SparkLife!

Anybody else doing internet school this year? Tell us about it!

Related post: Making the Most of an Online Education