Q&A: How Can Students Socialize While Attending Online School?

Answer: It is possible for your child to have many of the same social experiences as their brick-and-mortar peers while attending online school. Social skills are just as important as academic ones, especially for children in their adolescent years. While your child won't be sharing a classroom with fellow students, it is possible -- and highly encouraged -- for you as the parent to set aside time for them to socialize with others in their age group.

There may be groups in your area specifically for students enrolled in online school settings. Often times, these groups will meet and attend field trips together, or perhaps participate in extracurricular activities such as music, art, foreign language, etc. It can be a very a positive experience for online students to meet together weekly or monthly to share about their studies and connect with other "non-traditional" students.

It's important for parents, in their role as instructional coach, to schedule breaks for their children during the school day. One suggestion is to coordinate times on a daily or weekly basis to meet with other families at the park or library. This will help students who are enrolled in online schooling feel less isolated, and they will most likely look forward to this time with their peers.

Depending on the area in which you live, there may also be activities available to your child through local schools. These could include after-school clubs, summer camps, science fairs, competitions, plays, and more. Try contacting local libraries, school district offices, community colleges, or the virtual school your child attends for a list of different classes and activities available in your area.

Christi WilsonChristi Wilson is a credentialed teacher of highly-gifted students in Northern Nevada. She has 11 years of classroom teaching experience, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in education leadership, and has even taught K-12 education online. A mother of three busy boys, she knows how important it is to keep students engaged in the classroom and interested in a lifetime of learning.