In recent times, a new form of education has been picking up pace. This is online education we are talking about. Since the turn of the millennium, online schools have slowly grown and taken a respectful place in the education scene around the world.
Today, over 3 million students attend online schools in the United States itself, with many more throughout the world. These provide a viable alternative to the traditional brick and mortar schools, and also serve as a supplement to home schooling, or in some cases, can even be the only home schooling required.
Many parents ask how good is k12 online school. The answer is, different students have different experiences with online learning, as can be expected. However, the feedback is majorly positive, and the steady growth of online k12 schooling has only complemented this fact.
This article is a comprehensive guide for parents and students looking to participate in online schooling, and the K12 online school in particular.
How Does K12 Online School Work
With the advent of modern online education, an array of opportunities opened up for parents who were considering home schooling for their children. Home tutoring may be required for a variety of reasons, and online K12 schools provide the right tools for this.
K12 was conceived and began operations in the year 2000. Since then, it has risen to become one of the best and most widely preferred online K12 schools in the States. It offers quality and comprehensive education to students from grades Kindergarten to 12th grade, including some college preparatory courses.
The primary formats of learning they provide are online and offline, through K12 powered schools. The pedagogies and methods of teaching are similar in both, and adhere to the standards set by the state.
You can opt for K12 in three main forms, through state-wise schooling basis in an online or offline format, as a supplement for classroom teaching, or as a private home-schooling method. Whatever your requirements may be, K12 can give you a solution for it.
Another promising aspect of enrolling with K12 is that they develop and provide students with interactive learning software, such as games and educational flash applications for storytelling and more. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of K12.
Pros and Cons of K12 Online School
In this section, we will take a look at the pros and cons of attending K12 online schools in detail.
 Various learning modes to suit different students
K12 offers both online and offline schooling, and the online portal lets you choose between public and private schooling. They have tie-ups with schools in different states.
Additionally, you can opt for self-paced lessons or take live classes with other students on an online platform. You will be able to interact with other students and the teachers, to clarify doubts, clear concepts and more.
 College and Career Preparation
With K12, you even get additional counseling and preparation guidance for applying to colleges, picking a career path and proceeding with applications and more.
Students can opt for all major career sectors such as IT, finance, healthcare, education, science and more.
 Curated Study Material
As someone opting for an online schooling system, you might have concerns about the textbooks and other study material. But K12 has this sorted. They provide textbooks and workbooks, assignments and other course related material to students.
This material is developed and approved by their expert council of educationalists and teachers. The syllabus and curriculum are also approved by the same panel and is designed in accordance with the guidelines set by the education state board.
 Standalone Courses
If you do not wish to take the entire grade package from K12, but instead only want to study a specific course, say for better concept clarity, exam preparation, skill development and so on, you can purchase a single course on K12 and study it.
K12 offers a wide range of individual, or standalone courses and subjects. They also have an offer, courses for ACT-SAT preparation and other college entrances.
 Self-Paced Learning
The online format of learning on K12 allows you to schedule your own classes, and the video lectures are made available on your website portal. You can select a time slot for the class and study as per your convenience.
This is especially useful for students pursuing extra-curricular activities, preparing for exams, attending day and night school both or just want to study as per a fixed schedule.
 Partner Schools
K12 has a trusted online platform for global education, and people anywhere in the world can log on to this and study. The online school has teachers, academic coaches, college counsellors and more mentors.
Their network includes three main online private schools which you can enroll into. These comprise of two K-12 schools and even one university-backed school.
Two of the partner schools are mentioned here:
Keystone’s online academy features over 170 courses that you can avail access to. Students can choose between pre-recorded classes with teacher support and assistance or live classes with other students and teachers in real-time.
Keystone offers all major subjects taught in schools such as science, AP, history, social sciences, arts, literature, languages and more. There are even a few co-curricular courses available.
(ii) K12 Private Academy
This online academy is accessible to students globally, and includes numerous NCAA recognised courses for sports and athletic eligibility criteria.
Furthermore, the syllabus design and course content development is approved by the K12 education panel and is in sync with the state guidelines.
The examinations are aligned with the standard regulations and are as valid as the certificates from any traditional school.
 The costs associated with the full year programs are considerably high, and might not be affordable for everyone.
 The live classes can be managed better, and the online learning lessons put students at the disadvantage of less social interaction and bonding opportunities.
Do Colleges Accept K12 Students?
The examination pattern in K12 is designed in strict compliance with the state requirements and regulations for testing. A school graduate who completes their education from a K12 school is equivalent to any students who is schooled in a traditional brick and mortar school.
In fact, K12 has a partnership with the George Washington University High School, or the GWUHS. This is a high school academy, which accepts students from grades 8-12. This school even helps with focussed college preparation in the later grades.
Therefore, all degrees awarded to high school graduates from K12 schools are recognized and accepted in most colleges. Some colleges might request additional documents or ask the students to take an additional test, but this is not usually the case.
How Much Does K12 Online School Cost?
K12 offers students a variety of learning packages. You can pick the one that is best suited to your child’s needs. To make learning more accessible to everyone, they allow you to either make a one-time payment or make pay the entire amount in 12 monthly instalments.
If you wish to purchase the live lesson plans, which comprise of a real class environment experience, you will have to pay something in the range of $450 to $950 depending on the details of which plan you purchase.
Alternatively, you can purchase recorded lessons, which are schedulable. A one-time payment plan here will cost you $260. If you wish to pay in instalments, you will have to pay $24 each month, for 12 months.
K12 has both semesters wise and year wise courses. In addition, you can also opt for the individual courses, for $30 per month. They also offer tuition-free education through public schools in over 33 states.
The exact pricing details can be obtained from the website, including details of discounts for siblings and so on.
How Do I Enroll My Child?
Although K12 has a standardized enrolment process, the steps to follow might vary between different states. The general enrolment process has been described here.
There is an easy five step process you can follow. The steps for this include:
[Sep-1] Creating an account for the parent portal/ registering on the school’s website.
This step allows you to access and track your online application. You also get real-time updates and links to important information and announcements.
[Sep-2] Basic Registration and Filling Forms
This is the second step and involves the simple task of filling out the required information about the child. The fields require only basic information.
[Sep-3] School Selection
This is the part where you go through the list of available schools and select the one you want to. There are multiple options and modes of learning as discussed earlier in this article, so you can select the one that suits you best.
[Sep-4] Admission Questionnaire
Here, you need to fill in some more detailed information about your child, and you will also be contacted by the school. The enrolment consultant will offer you to engage in telephonic conversation to discuss further details.
[Sep-5] Document Submission
This is the fifth and final step in the enrolment application process. You need to upload documents such as proof of residency, birth certificate of the child and so on.
How Long Does It Take To Switch To K12 Online School?
As this is a major decision, it does take some time to carry out. There are a few steps involved. Once you have selected the school and registered, you need to first complete the enrolment process, which will also include document submission and more.
After this, you need to prepare to attend school; this would mean having access to a computer with an internet connection, stationary, textbooks and other material that may be needed for the course. In most cases, the books are provided by the school, but this may vary from state to state.
On the whole, the entire process could take anywhere between 2-6 weeks or a bit more. You should also consider the transfer certificates and other such documents in case you are transferring from a regular school to an online school.
Factors to Keep In Mind
Although online schools are flexible and allow you to modify quite a number of the parameters during the study, it is still better to consider some important tips and keep them in mind while choosing an online school.
There are numerous online learning programs and it can be quite confusing to select one. Hence, the factors mentioned here will allow you to make a better and more informed decision.
#1 Trustworthiness and Accreditation
This is one of the most important factors to consider for your child’s future. If the school you select is not accredited, there is a high probability that colleges and employers will not accept the online degree you receive from them. Hence, do your research and find out how trustworthy and reputed the school really is, despite how they advertise.
#2 College and Career Resources
Since most parents and students aim for a college and a job after completing school, it’s quite important that your school prepare you well in advance for these.
The right school will have assistance and guidance programs to help you and counsel you in picking a career path and preparing for college.
#3 Technical Support and Assistance
Another important consideration, the level of technical support offered by the school is something which can go a long way in making your user experience good or bad. Since the entire process is online and requires computers, you might frequently face trivial to major issues with the platform.
In such cases, a good school will be able to provide you with 24×7 online assistance. A not so ideal school will lead to you being irritated and wasting your time over such issues.
#4 Pricing Plans
With the multitude of schools available, and each school having numerous packages and pricing plans, it is worth looking at the tuition fees for the programs you require.
You should also take note of additional fees that you might be required to pay during the academic year, so you can plan your budget accordingly.
#5 Teacher Support and Feedback
To ensure that your child gets regular feedback on their progress and academic development, look for a school that has a high teacher involvement and guidance rate.
The major differentiating factor in online schooling is the lack of student-teacher interaction. This can be really influential on the success of your online learning journey, so try to find a school that offers this.
Related Article: K12 vs Connections Academy Compared | Which School Is Better?
#6 Courses Offered and Faculty
This might be one of the first things you want to find out about a school, as there would be no point in getting ahead with the admission process if the school doesn’t even offer the courses you wish to study.
All schools mostly offer the same or similar courses, so this will not usually be a problem for essential courses, but might be an issue for non-conventional courses.
It is also a good idea to take a look at the faculty, their qualifications or experience, and their availability to solve doubts and assist your student and more. This is just to have confidence that your child is in good hands.
#7 Class Management and Timetables
Different schools have different methods of teaching and arranging classes throughout the week. Although most usually follow the timetables as regular schools, some might not be compatible with your schedule.
Some schools also have schedulable courses, or self-paced courses that you can take at your own convenience.
This can be helpful for students who require financial aid. The scholarships available vary between different schools and states and offer different amounts of financial aid. The exact details will be available on the school’s website.
So, How Good Is K12 Online School (CONCLUSION)
K12 is a trusted and popular online school, which provides quality education through a holistic curriculum and interactive environment. Online education can have many benefits, and since they follow state guidelines, your schooling provides you with all the opportunities any traditional school would provide.
Furthermore, the academic calendar for the K12 online schools are also designed according to the regular schools, so you will have vacations and examinations and so on, at the same time as students attending traditional schools.
So for parents who cannot or do not want to enroll their children in regular schools, whatever the reason may be, and are worried about how good the k12 online school is, you need not worry as this can be a really good alternative.