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Online High Schools for Equestians?

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  • Online High Schools for Equestians?

    I am a Junior in high school and I am starting to think that traditional schooling isn't for me. Being a working student, I am away from school a lot and while I am a straight A student, it is very difficult and stressful to keep up when I am gone. The school is not always supportive, and does not recognize riding as a sport. In addition to the inconvieniences, I also do not enjoy the day to day routine of traditional school and feel out of place with my classmates who attend class on a regular basis. I plan on working as a professional in the future and want to give myself the best chance possible.
    Has anyone had any luck with online homeschooling? What options are out there for high schoolers? Please share stories/advice!

  • #2
    Don't know what area you're in, but if you're in the greater NYC area, you might want to look into the Professional Children's School. Good program that works very well with riders - I know Reed Kessler graduated from there last year, and I have a few friends who either went there or currently are students there.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
    Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

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    • #3
      Another possible option is to see if your high school would allow you to attend college early and count those courses towards your high school requirements. There are many college today that offer stud nets the option of taking online and/or in class courses. This route gives you the ability to complete high school and continue your education, take courses on your own timetable, and attend classes if and when you want. It has worked well for a number of students.

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      • #4
        Have you searched online? I do not know of any of them personally, but I have heard of "online" high schools, generally marketed towards...um...learning disabilities? People who can't focus in a school room environment. I've seen some commercials for them, anyways, and know of a youth who was booted from his school for consistent drug use who used it to graduate. Not a glowing recommendation, obviously, but then again, I'm not sure why parents are letting a 16/17 year old travel so much that it's conflicting with school.

        YMMV.
        COTH's official mini-donk enabler

        "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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        • #5
          TheJenners, I know that when I was in high school (at a normal public school), I missed tons of school for horse shows. My parents allowed it on the condition that I kept my grades up (which meant straight As in all my courses, which were all APs) and didn't miss school on days when I had labs for science courses, etc. We never went to FL during the winter, so I didn't miss large chunks all at once, but I certainly had shows where I might be in school for 2 days, miss the rest of that week, and repeat the following week. I also missed a whole round of exams to go show in Ecuador (as luck would have it, the east coast got slammed with a blizzard shortly after I left and when I returned, I was the only senior in my class who ended up not having to go to school for some extra days to make up exams). My parents made it quite clear that even if I wanted to turn pro, that I was expected to go to a good college and get a degree first. I think missing that much school forced me to learn good time management practices and how to prioritize. My assignments were turned in before the normal due date, same with exams. I even did that my freshman year of college for finals one semester; IHSA Nationals conflicted with exams so I took all of mine about 2 weeks early.

          I missed a lot of school and go to a very good public university on scholarship, so it worked out really well for me. As you said, YMMV
          Last edited by supershorty628; Jan. 13, 2013, 02:37 PM.
          http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
          Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
            TheJenners, I know that when I was in high school (at a normal public school), I missed tons of school for horse shows. My parents allowed it on the condition that I kept my grades up (which meant straight As) and didn't miss school on days when I had labs for science courses, etc. We never went to FL during the winter, so I didn't miss large chunks all at once, but I certainly had shows where I might be in school for 2 days, miss the rest of that week, and repeat the following week. I also missed a whole round of exams to go show in Ecuador (as luck would have it, the east coast got slammed with a blizzard shortly after I left and when I returned, I was the only senior in my class who ended up not having to go to school for some extra days to make up exams). My parents made it quite clear that even if I wanted to turn pro, that I was expected to go to a good college and get a degree first. I think missing that much school forced me to learn good time management practices and how to prioritize. My assignments were turned in before the normal due date, same with exams. I even did that my freshman year of college for finals one semester; IHSA Nationals conflicted with exams so I took all of mine about 2 weeks early.

            I missed a lot of school and go to a very good public university on scholarship, so it worked out really well for me. As you said, YMMV
            My daughter became a working student/catch rider to a trainer in Missouri the summer going into junior year. The twist on that is that we live in So. Cal. The local school district allowed for Independent Study while she was away. So that is what she did when she traveled. She wanted to graduate from a regular high school, so she made it work. It took a ton of dedication and time management. She took a full load of AP and honors classes. She ended up being recruited for a NCAA riding team and what impressed them was her ability to get off a plane and show the next day and still handle the school work. Not all on-line schools are equal and that is important if you plan to go to college.

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            • #7
              I don't know where you are from, but in PA we have cyber charter schools which are an alternative public school you can do entirely online. K12 is one of the curriculums and appears to be available to other states as well. http://www.k12.com/ I don't know anything about the actual program but it says right on their site that one of the reasons for the school is to provide an alternative to students pursuing arts, music, and sports.
              Flickr

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              • #8
                Laurel Springs is an accredited online school in CA. They seem to have a number of young actors, tennis players and equestrians enrolled. We switched from K12 to Laurel Springs because we found Laurel Springs to be even more flexible about scheduling than K12.

                Both are worth researching and I believe K12 is the one that many of the public schools use. If so, you are still in your public school system, I think they pay and maybe even supply the computer. We are overseas and so couldn't tap into that system (I tried to convince them that since I am a FL state resident and my husband is a WA state resident, that they should let us in. LOL Didn't work.)

                Laurel Springs is private so you do pay tuition. We like it better as it suits my daughter's crazy schedule a bit better.

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                • #9
                  It depends on what state you live in and what the homeschooling regulations are for that state. I homeschool my kids (not because they ride, but that's irrelevant) and in NY we cannot enroll in K12 as a "high school". You can use K12, but you would be "homeschooling" and have to follow the homeschooling regulations -- which is not hard, but it's important to know them. The same would apply to any other online school in my state.

                  A lot of homeschooling juniors and seniors enroll in classes at local community colleges that meet their schedule, interests and goals. While it's possible you may be able to do this and still be enrolled in "high school", you need to find out for sure - the credit-bearing college courses may not meet all your high school requirements for graduation, or if they do, it may require you enrolling full-time (including things like P.E.) which may not improve your situation.

                  In my state, most homeschooling kids don't expect to receive an actual "high school diploma" so trying to meet the high school requirements are not necessary. Obviously applying for colleges after that point is a little different, but still do-able.

                  How do your parents feel about homeschooling?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by EquitationRider View Post
                    In addition to the inconvieniences, I also do not enjoy the day to day routine of traditional school and feel out of place with my classmates who attend class on a regular basis. I plan on working as a professional in the future and want to give myself the best chance possible.
                    Trying not to be a judgemental old person here, however, that's probably how this will sound.

                    I had a conversation with younger member of my family over the holidays, he's a bit older than you, already out of high school. I heard a similar bit from him about why he didn't do well in school, despite being so smart. I doubt that you are the wreck this kid is since you apparently have the self discipline ride well enough to do the working student thing.

                    Besides the book knowledge, much of high school is learning to do what you really don't feel like doing on someone else's schedule. Something my erstwhile family member hasn't quite figured out and has bit him the posterior. Just keep that in mind.
                    Visit my Spoonflower shop

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                      Have you searched online? I do not know of any of them personally, but I have heard of "online" high schools, generally marketed towards...um...learning disabilities? People who can't focus in a school room environment. I've seen some commercials for them, anyways, and know of a youth who was booted from his school for consistent drug use who used it to graduate. Not a glowing recommendation, obviously, but then again, I'm not sure why parents are letting a 16/17 year old travel so much that it's conflicting with school.

                      YMMV.
                      I guess it is because some parents understand their childs need and want to become a professional in the horse world and maybe her WS position is once in a lifetime?

                      My lovely little sister, who is a WS for Will Simpson (at fifteen and her mother lives in a different state!), does Laurel Springs I believe.. And they are very forgiving if she has to turn in something a little late because she has had a crazy schedule. She gets good grades and makes it happen! They are a little pricey, but her mother swears it is worth it because the past online schools they tried were not so willing to work with a horse show schedule! Lauren Springs is what a LOT of girls in the Zone 10 circuit use who show regularly and attend high school. Also very accepted by Universities.
                      www.thetexasequestrian.com

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                      • #12
                        Lots of good points here -- as I understand the OP she is in the second semester of her junior year and is a very good student. Many juniors (DD was one) have already accumulated all the high school credits they need for graduation by the end of their junior year - they may have senior year requirements but nothing else. Even when student still need credits, many high schools are now responsive to early college entrance - and give high school credit for successful completion of college courses. In addition, many GOOD accredited colleges and university have at least some of the curriculum available online. There is no reason that an A high school student cannot handle college courses - and it seems to me a better step in continuing education than online high school courses

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by red mares View Post
                          Much of high school is learning to do what you really don't feel like doing on someone else's schedule.
                          I recently read an article about how many college students feel they have above average intelligence and basically have an over-inflated sense of self worth and are unwilling to "start at the bottom" and work at a career from the bottom up for low pay.

                          In the OP's case, sounds like she has her sh!t together, balancing work and riding with her goals of going pro.

                          It's when the parents enable their self entitled kids, particularly after they have graduated ("But Mom, I just need some $$ help for a few more months..." then they sit around playing video games or Facebooking) is when they have a problem.)
                          A quick tutorial on interval training: Conditioning your horse for eventing

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                          • #14
                            My son was enrolled in the Texas Tech University online High School. This is a high school that is run through the education department of Texas Tech. Accredited and very good and very reasonably priced.

                            I looked up the site http://www.depts.ttu.edu/uc/k-12 This is an independent school district so you don't need to worry about accreditation. Again I would vouch for it.
                            Last edited by marianne; Jan. 13, 2013, 09:22 PM. Reason: adding more information

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                            • #15
                              http://wa.insightschools.net

                              in WA we have an online high school. I'm not sure what the residency requirements are though. You could look into it.
                              A horse will save me

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                              • #16
                                A great Online school is Connections Academy. They are in most states. everything is electronic, good workbooks and lots of time management for you. Contact me for more details if you'd like. Post looks bad now 'cause I am falling asleep. But OCA has helped me a lot.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by red mares View Post
                                  Besides the book knowledge, much of high school is learning to do what you really don't feel like doing on someone else's schedule.
                                  Pretty much. I'm in college now and finally figured out that the only point of high school is to learn to do things you don't want to have to do, simply because someone else told you to. That is also a lesson most people will use way more often than the pythagorean theorem.

                                  BUT I also say that as a young woman with ADHD who had an extremely difficult time absorbing material in the memorization and lecture form that it was given to me. So I see both sides of the coin...I get how learning to do something I don't want to do is an important lesson, but it was also hell for me and prevented me from absorbing material.

                                  OP, you have some really good suggestions here. I'd go the college class route first and see if your school would accept online college course work. Also look within your school district for alternate programs. I have a friend who had severe anxiety issues centered around school, and her county offered an alternate program that catered to a wide variety of people (some drug problems, but also everything from school anxiety to dyslexia to ADD.)

                                  Do you have a teacher or advisor at school you like and get along with well? Before doing anything I would really consider discussing it with a school counselor, an advisor, assistant principal...someone who knows the school system. I get that right now you really want to be a professional, but it would be rash to completely rule out college and in order to keep college an option, you have to think about how alternate programs will look on a college transcript.

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                                  • #18
                                    I use Florida Virtual School, but I have been told by NCAA coaches that the best program to use if you would like to eventually ride on a team is UNL Independent Study High School because it is the easiest to get approved with the strict NCAA eligibility rules. FLVS is a great program, and the work is challenging but fair. They do make sure that you actually turn in work each week, compared to some programs where they just let you get behind. Best of luck, let us know how your search goes!!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Rel6 View Post
                                      Do you have a teacher or advisor at school you like and get along with well? Before doing anything I would really consider discussing it with a school counselor, an advisor, assistant principal...someone who knows the school system. I get that right now you really want to be a professional, but it would be rash to completely rule out college and in order to keep college an option, you have to think about how alternate programs will look on a college transcript.
                                      To be honest, the high school guidance counselor is probably not the person to ask - it would be a college admissions officer. There were almost 2 million students homeschooling in the US last year - and many of them go on to successful college careers. Some traditional, some non-traditional (e.g. part--time college while working full time). So if college is in your future (in some shape or form), definitely talk to the admissions offices of colleges you are interested in attending for some real advice.

                                      There are also many families that consider the time *wasted* at school to be a significant factor in their decision to homeschool, so it's not exactly a new idea. The fact the the OP doesn't enjoy the structure of a school setting is pretty normal from a homeschooling perspective.

                                      As with everything, there are good ways to do it, and not so good ways. Many homeschooling families don't consider an online experience to be *rich* enough by itself, but for someone who is busy with another interest and needs flexibility - a working student, for example - it might be exactly the right choice.

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