Q&A: Do Online Schools Offer STEM Courses?

Answer: The types of courses your child will have available to him or her depends entirely on which online school you enroll them in. Schools typically develop their own curriculum (in accordance with district and state education standards), so every academic program will be different. However, most online schools do offer some sort of STEM education.

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. The purpose of STEM courses is to prepare students for success in college and future careers. STEM courses integrate four disciplines that stimulate students to engage in higher level critical thinking. Jobs that include a heavy focus on science, technology, engineering, and math are a rapidly growing and lucrative field.

STEM courses may be offered either completely online or through hybrid learning. In a hybrid course, a portion of the class is completed online while field experiences, such as hands-on labs, are conducted at a location of the school's discretion. Some online schools may also offer students the opportunity to participate in virtual labs or simulations.

Virtual schools that offer STEM education generally have highly trained teachers lead these courses. In order to teach a STEM field, additional teacher training is often recommended. Instructors should also have a passion towards science, technology, engineering, and math, and realize the importance of integrating each of these four disciplines into education.

Students interested in STEM may also be interested in a student club called Lego Robotics. This is a popular after school or summer program that engages kids in higher critical thinking skills and emerges them in activities related to science, technology, engineering, and math. Interested individuals should contact their local schools to find out if there is a Lego Robotics club in their 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.