There is a pre-conceived notion that a traditional school provides the proper means of socialization to the student. But socialization has no value if not done with a like-minded person or a person we admire or like or get inspired from. In fact, traditional schools these days, have very small recess periods and too much pressure of assignments and assessments. Students hardly get the time to do the big talk. Indulging in small talk, students can never make good genuine friends. In fact, certain extreme cases might lead to bullying as in most cases certain peer groups are more focused on finding a prey rather than studying. In general, introverts, nerds, or children with some kind of disability fall prey to such mindless acts. It really turns into a mental prison for them which takes ages to break out from. It affects not only their academics but also their overall personality. So, the fact that traditional schools make your child socially adept is not true for all, and may work the other way round for your child.
Many virtual schools today provide adequate means for the child to interact with others, be it via online tools or some real-time events. Here are some means through which students can socialize to their hearts’ content, and that too with people carrying the right attitude.
- Collaborative projects
Online schools offer the chance to students to participate in collaborative online assignments so that students can form groups with their online peers. Working together on a specific project can broaden their ideas and develop team-spirit. A healthy exchange of ideas always result in trust and genuine admiration for one another.
- Quiz, debates and group discussions
Online schools also encourage students to take part in conversational as well as educational activities such as virtual debates, quiz and group discussions. Students get to know each other’s caliber via virtual platform. They can expand their limited bookish knowledge by discussing on meaningful topics and knowing each other’s perspectives. It makes them admire one another that leads to a genuine friendship eventually.
- Discussion forums
These are yet another constructive tool to build up relations with other peers of the same online community. You can voice your opinions on various educational topics and sort out those with similar mindset from a bunch of all sorts of peers. Here you have the choice of selecting your friends.
- Field trips
Most online high schools falsify the myth that online schools rarely provide socialization activities. An increasing number of online schools provide certain real time events such as field trips, summer sessions etc. These are fun-filled activities to socialize with online peers in person as well as with the educational coaches.
- Cultural or sports events
Virtual school students are encouraged to take part in sports or arts-related events by certain school districts. Certain fun group activities are also organized by museums and recreation centers. Such organizations offer programs at a little cost. These are good opportunities for online students to disclose their identities and talents.
- Study groups
Various study groups might be created by the online community to get together and discuss their queries or important topics. This facilitates those who grasp well from group studies. In case you make good friends with online peers, you can organize your own study group with people. You can consider studying in groups with your online peers who have the same goals and mindset as you.
- Student clubs
The online community can come up with specific clubs to appeal to the specific interests of students. It is a brilliant idea to getting to know other online peers of yours who share the same interests with you. Be it science club, sports-related club, cultural club or newspaper club, the selection of the club reflects the specific field of interest of the student.
- Effective volunteering
You can form a group with your online peers to select a project to provide service to the community. You can volunteer on a regular basis for the social causes.
Such activities might just be fun for the students. But in reality, they help the students to mix more with like-minded people and develop their socializing skills in a meaningful manner. These activities might be the ultimate eye-openers for many young students and are bound to help them in their future endeavors. Maintaining genuine friendships among themselves, the students can work on their individual team-work and leadership abilities. They get mentally stimulated and more focused on their coursework with the support of other online peers. Particularly for elementary school students, extra-curricular activities are a must to build their niche and hone their creative skills. Once the sense of creativity develops right in the childhood, it remains intact for whole life.
Online school clubs are conducted via web conferencing. These online clubs intensify the students’ enthusiasm for a specific subject and help them gain deeper knowledge in a fun-filled manner.
Parents should discuss with their children as to where their interest lies and accordingly encourage them to join specific clubs or indulge in activities. They should not be forced to join activities that do not hold their interest, else it shall turn out to be a burden for them. Care has to be taken to make sure that these activities do not disrupt the child’s flow of coursework. Keeping the regular schedule in mind, the students and their parents can make room for such activities in the spare time.
It must be clear now that online schools do not discourage their students to hang out or socialize. If a child makes good friends with several online peers, he or she is free to arrange hangouts with them if they stay in the same city or town. Several online socializing tools and sites such as Facebook or Google hangouts help students to get to know each other better. In fact, such things need not be taught to children as they already are experts when it comes to using the power of social sites to their advantage! So, stop putting blame on online schools!