Q:

I want to tell you how helpful virtual schooling has been to my son. Our state offers free classes online. They are true high-school classes and are not sponsored by a college. Because of the extreme emphasis in our state on having students pass end of the year tests, some teachers are only teaching to this test.

When my son could not fit AP American history into his schedule, he simply took the class online. When he took the AP test, he noticed none of the kids in the testing room were writing very much, while he was writing pages. When he spoke to them after the test, they said that they had never been exposed to much of the material because it wasn't covered in their classes.

My son is gifted and can move at a much faster pace online. He completed the one-year course in a semester because he could work at his own pace. Because our school district has purchased the rights to Virtual School, he received full credit for college admission and his high-school diploma. -- Online Success Story

A:

Schools have only scratched the surface in beginning to offer online courses. The great thing about state-sponsored courses is that they follow the state curriculum and give children, especially gifted children, the opportunity to take challenging courses while remaining in the high-school environment. They also offer a wider curriculum to students in smaller schools and in homeschooling programs.