One of the questions I get asked most often when people learn I completed high school as a full-time distance education student is: “Why?” or “How did you get started in that?” The simple answer is, I wanted to. However, my story is not quite as simple as that.
I started attending my first online school at the beginning of Grade 9. My family had recently moved provinces and my new school wasn’t a good fit for me. I was often bored in class and found myself finishing tasks and assignments well ahead of the class; I needed a change in pace. While I was brainstorming different options for schools with my parents, my mom briefly mentioned online school as an option.
The prospect of online school and distance education immediately caught my attention.
I spent that summer researching different online schools, what they offered, their delivery platforms, and what I needed to do in order to be a successful distance education student. I also had to convince my parents that I could handle managing a large portion of my studies on my own, a reversal of the common roles in families with school-aged children.
I came up with many reasons as to why distance education would be a good fit for me; these reasons ranged from “I can learn at my own pace and take a wider variety of courses” to “if I’m home all day, I can cook supper for you.” Ultimately, I won my parents over and I began studying online in the fall of 2012.
My studies were going quite well, though I had to make one major sacrifice with my choice of online school: I was no longer in French Immersion. For the first time in my grade school education, I was learning everything in English. Since one of my major reasons to becoming a distance education student was to reduce boredom in my day-to-day activities, I was unhappy with this shift in language.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted to go back to studying in French Immersion, which is how I found ADLC. At the beginning of the 2013 academic school year, I started routing the majority of my courses through ADLC. One of my teachers pointed out that I was one course away from being a full-time Vista Virtual (VVS) student, so at the beginning of the next school year, I moved my English to VVS and finished high school as a VVS student.
By moving my last class to VVS, I had access to all my teachers and learning resources in one location. I found this helpful when it came to asking for help and preparing for exams. Through VVS, I was able to study all my core subjects in French, as well as pursue other classes that interested me, such as Spanish and Art. I can honestly say I was never bored again.
Being a distance education student presented many challenges as well as many benefits for my high school years.
My four years of distance education were difficult, but extremely worth the struggle. I learned many things through my studies at ADLC and VVS that I don’t believe I would have learned in a more traditional school environment.