Academic journal article Education Next

Finding Time for Tennis and Thoreau: My Online Education

Academic journal article Education Next

Finding Time for Tennis and Thoreau: My Online Education

Article excerpt

California to Vermont. Most of the time I was home I was boarding at a tennis academy.

I have been able to travel all over the country to compete and train because online schooling has afforded me extra time. But don't think online schools are not as challenging as traditional ones. At Kaplan, students choose their course loads, and each course has a syllabus of 8 to 12 modules. Each module includes lessons, quizzes, and a final test or two. In my AP English class, each module typically covered a specific genre and focused on a central novel. By the end of the year, I had read 12 literary classics, exploring each one by analyzing its components and comparing and contrasting it to other works of literature. My junior year I took six classes: three APs, two honors level, and an SAT prep course. I pushed myself academically while I trained and competed athletically.

Although one might think an online school experience would lack student-teacher interaction, Kaplan courses require regular contact between students and teachers. At the beginning of every semester, each teacher works individually with each student by phone, e-mail, or both to create an outline of dates and assignments. With my tennis schedule, attending to my schoolwork isn't always easy, but with clear deadlines, courses become manageable.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

My teachers have been my companions while I travel, whether it's my physics teacher giving me computer passwords at 11 at night or my history teacher taking time on a holiday to explain a concept. Questions I have on everything from homework to college and my future have me calling them to talk at least once or twice a week.

I've formed lasting friendships with teachers I've never met in person. …

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