Discussing the Pros and Cons of High School Online Learning

Choosing high school online learning for your child’s education is an exciting life-changing decision that is unique to each family. It is wise to sit down as a family and discuss the pros and cons as well as costs and potential challenges you may experience along the way.

For some families, choosing high school distance learning for their students is tough decision. Such a transition is much more involved than simply relocating to a different high school, so it makes sense that families want to heavily weigh their options before diving into virtual learning. As you work to make the best decision for your student, take a look at these pros and cons of completing high school courses online.


The supporters of virtual learning have numerous positive things to report about this style of education. It is literally access to knowledge, educational freedom, electronic communication, flexibility and creativity all in one learning method. Online learning provides a tool to teach students to become self-directed learners—a skill that will last them a lifetime. In fact, whether it is a virtual elementary school, virtual middle school or virtual high school, students receive training in the digital world and become better prepared to live and work successfully in tune with technology.

Many virtual schools offer dual enrollment at the high school level allowing students to earn both high school and college credit. This helps offset the cost of a post-secondary education. In addition, students have access to resources from all around the world and can benefit from innovative school programs in both their local school districts, statewide virtual schools or part time from private programs in other states—programs that the student couldn’t possible access outside of virtual schooling. With the power of many educational institutions and programs at their fingertips, online learners can discover their unique gifts and talents and then run with them.


The primary challenges that come with virtual learning include more parental involvement, a disciplined attitude and possibly monetary contributions. While there are public virtual school programs that are free, not everyone has access to such programs. Furthermore, some parents discover through research that they prefer more individualized virtual schooling programs offered by private online schools and are fee based. The costs associated with these types of programs include not only the tuition associated with the online program but also costs for supplies, tutors, computers and other materials necessary to complete the online courses.

Parents’ primary roles in virtual school programs are that of an advocate, guidance counselor and leader. While the student will have more freedom to choose courses and methods for learning, he or she will likely still need guidance plotting out the best course of study as well as encouragement to work the program and to maximize learning.

The choice to go with high school online learning is unique to each family. It makes sense to sit down as a family and discuss the pros and cons as well as costs and potential challenges you may experience along the way. Research and effective communication can help you make the best decision possible for your child’s education.

By Elizabeth Kanna and Lisa Gillis with Christina Culver