Ask Endochick – Online School

I’ve been meaning to tackle an “Ask Endochick” question for sometime, so I’ve pulled up my e-mail and found one sitting in limbo. This is a simple one and will not take long to answer.

“Dear Endochick:

My 17  year old daughter was newly diagnosed with endometriosis after surgery to take out a cyst. Her periods are irregular and VERY heavy. She missed a lot of school last year from the pain. Her bleeding can last for 9 days!! Sometimes 13!! She will sometimes spot throughout the month, experiencing back and leg pain. She’s prone to migraines during her “time of the month,” and these can be down right nasty! She’ll get nauseous and moody, and very sensitive to light and noise. The other day a pop-up for a high school home study program came on my computer and I clicked on it out of curiosity. It looked promising. While I worry about pulling her away from her friends, I wonder if this will offer her body the necessary respite it needs to heal. Do you have experience or suggestions regarding online education for students with endometriosis? – Sharon”

Sharon –

First, while the flexibility of home study will provide your daughter the opportunity to set her own schedule, let me emphasize that endometriosis is a chronic, incurable condition. No matter how much respite you provide, your daughter’s body will never fully heal from the disease as it will never be eradicated until science discovers a cure.

With that out of the way, let me tackle the meat of your question – online education. I selected this out of several “Ask Endochick” questions that are waiting to be answered because I do have experience with online education. I battled endometriosis while in college, both undergrad and graduate school, and took a mixture of old school classes and online classes to fulfill my degree requirements. I also worked as an online mentor to help incoming freshman taking their first online classes.

What did I learn? I remember a Tuesday morning that should have been a normal Tuesday morning, but that quickly turned into a Bloody Tuesday on my way to Psychology. By the time I walked across campus, I had bled through my pants. Thank goodness for January and my coat. I was able to change but not make it to class, or any class that day. Or the next. The cramps were horrific. For two days, I was in hell. Every month, the same thing.

Then came online learning. My period came and I could sit at my desk with a heating pad, my Midol, my pajama pants, and I could still focus on my work. My grades and my participation did not suffer.

That is the key. Participation. As silly as it sounds, traditional classes still count participation points. If you show up, raise your hand, answer some questions, etc., you will get varying amounts of points added to your grade. When factored into your quizzes, tests and paper grades, these helped to make up your overall scores. With online learning, participation scores are made through posting on message boards or blog/journal entries and comments.

For the most part, online participation can be done when you feel like it. I had a class where all blog posts needed to be posted by Friday and you had to comment on two of your classmates posts by Monday. That was it. There would be days I wouldn’t feel like posting my blog assignment until Friday and commenting until Monday evening. And other times, I was on the ball earlier in the week.

And in many online classes, you are allowed and even encouraged to work ahead. Traditional classes, this practice is not encouraged. I took one online journalism class that required a number of articles to be done by the end of the semester. But the professor never said I couldn’t do them ahead of time. Since I worked for a newspaper at the time, I worked it out with the professor that I would submit my newspaper articles for class credit. After submitting them to my professor, I fulfilled the class requirement within the first two weeks of class.

Sharon, my experience with online learning is solely college. My own sister finished the last year of high school via an online high school due to a medical condition, and there are some things you need to consider before making that leap to home schooling your daughter.

1) Make sure the school is accredited. Research the school and make sure they are legit are backed by the Better Business Bureau.

2) Make sure colleges will accept the school. Not all online schools are recognized by colleges and universities. Before making the investment, make sure it’s worth it.

3) Make sure your child is self-disciplined for independent study. Once a student’s in high school, they should be responsible for their own educational success. If they need constant prodding and reminding, home study may not be the best fit unless you will be home and able to provide that.

4) It’s easy for chronically ill people to feel isolated, and when they remove themselves from social situations like school, they are more likely to feel the emotional effects of their illness. Making time to reconnect with friends is important.

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