A growing number of students take advantage of summer to earn credits before the next school year begins and — probably without even realizing it — to combat summer brain drain.
Students who take online courses from state online schools or other sources, learn and earn graduation credits and still have time to go on vacation with their family and hold a summer job.
Typically, online summer programs offer a variety of courses, from algebra to chemistry to world languages and electives. Students who complete course work earn credit that can mean they have more time during the school year for Advanced Placement courses or to be in band, choir or other school activities.
Summer is also a great time for students to stay connected to formal learning while in informal environments like at the cottage, state park or beach. Taking an online course during this three-month break gives middle and high school students an opportunity to get ahead in a high-interest subject area, or retake a course.
While summer school isn’t the only way to combat summer brain drain — a summer job or volunteering also help students from losing as much as two to three months of math and reading skills over the summer, as various studies show — the flexibility of online learning makes it possible to earn credits in advance of the next school year without missing out on a family vacation or spending time with friends during the summer.
Learning online can be anytime, anywhere — a student can take a laptop up to the lake and get online a couple hours a day while earning high school credit in English, math or in a variety of electives such as film studies, oceanography or personal fitness.
There are many advantages to taking an online summer course, including:
- Take NCAA-approved courses;
- Fulfill a prerequisite to take AP classes;
- Build flexibility in scheduling;
- Develop real-world skills;
- Study anytime, anywhere;
- Create excitement about learning;
- Recover credits;
- Accelerate learning;
- Expand course offerings for students; and
- Amplify 21st century learning.
Summer school enrollments among state online programs are growing much faster than the overall annual rate of online courses with an 8.8% increase between summer 2013 and 2014 and even more dramatic 18.34% increase between summer 2014 and 2015 (Keeping Pace, 2015).
Summer online learning provides students more choice and its flexible nature allows for a summer of relaxation and fun, and a summer of learning.