Blog

20 Students Discuss Their Online Schooling Experiences

As online schooling gradually gains more traction, it’s becoming the preferred mode of education for millions of students across the globe. Parents are also encouraging their children to attend online classes due to the virtual schooling system’s flexibility, safety, and efficacy.

At Cambridge Home School Online, we provide a quality British online education across four homeschooling programs: Primary Prep/Key Stage 2 (ages 7 to 10), Lower School/Key Stage 3 (ages 11 to 13), Upper School/IGCSEs (ages 14 to 16), and Sixth Form/AS & A-Levels (ages 17 to 19). Our MA/PhD qualified subject specialist teachers go the extra mile to help students secure top grades, enjoy good mental health, and develop both personally and socially.

While academic growth is extremely important, it’s not enough. We also ensure that our students get a chance to play their favourite sports, enjoy new activities and hobbies, do volunteer work, develop new skills, and grow as individuals.

Earlier this month, we released a blog that offered a closer look at what parents say about Cambridge Home School Online. We shared their reviews, helping you understand why we’re the top consideration for thousands of parents across the globe. In this blog, we’ll focus on students.

Over the past year, we’ve been routinely speaking with 20 students and inquiring into their online school UK experiences. We’ve collected their responses and built connections to help you gain more insight into their perception of virtual learning at our institution. Continue reading!

Students Reflect on Their Academic Journey

a student attending her online class

We were particularly interested in understanding what students had to say about their academic journey. They were excited about their academic growth at Cambridge Home School Online, particularly the support they received from their teachers. Most students discussed their initial apprehension when joining our institution. They were slightly nervous about the transition to online schooling. However, the switch turned out to be more seamless than expected.

We take great pride in this. As an institution, we’ve worked hard to create a system that enables students to adjust particularly well to their classes and the online learning pace within a matter of days or weeks at most. Our MA/PhD qualified teachers deliver engaging, retentive, and well-paced lessons. During the first 2–3 weeks, the pace of the classes is further regulated to prevent students from feeling overwhelmed. This makes it easier for students to acclimatise to online learning.

Students also highlighted the benefits of being taught a well-rounded curriculum. In most conventional schools, teachers use the national curriculum. While effective, it’s unfortunately too prescriptive and subject to political turbulence. It also fails to cover more educational breadth and depth, which is necessary to help students develop an academic edge and learn more intently. With superficial concepts and knowledge, students generally perform poorly on their exams. This can be linked to a weak curriculum.

Our independent curriculum retains the best aspects of the national curriculum and introduces new elements to help students cover more ground. They receive a well-balanced, comprehensive, and nuanced education. This goes a long way in helping students secure top grades on their examinations.

According to Emma, a 15-year-old Cambridge Upper School Student, “My mom wanted me to learn a new curriculum since the old one wasn’t detailed enough. She chose Cambridge Home School Online for me since they’re the only online British school with their own curriculum. I didn’t know this would make such a big difference but it did. My grades improved, and I felt like I was gaining more knowledge. My teachers were covering new topics and subtopics that helped me understand my courses better. The new curriculum helps me out loads.”

Emma is one of our many students who agree that curricular changes play a big role in improving their academic performance.

Recommended Read: How to Secure Top Grades in Your IGCSE Exams in 2022

Students Reflect on Our Low Student-Teacher Ratio

a student interacting with her teacher

At Cambridge Home School Online, we maintain a particularly low student-teacher ratio. We deliver lessons to 8–10 pupils in small groups. This approach helps us ensure that each student receives ample individualised attention from their teachers. When the student-teacher ratio is too high, this becomes impossible.

As many as 30 students are taught in a single classroom in some institutions. There are simply too many students in class. Teachers struggle to track each pupil’s progress and keep them engrossed in the lessons. By reducing the student-teacher ratio as much as possible, we boost in-class interactivity, concentration levels, knowledge absorption, and knowledge retention. Students perform exceptionally well and thoroughly enjoy the small, involved and interactive classroom environment.

According to Sam, a 13-year-old Cambridge Lower School student, “I’ve made really good friends in class. At my previous school, I had to wait for really long before the teacher accepted my question. Sometimes, I would raise my hand and keep it up for really long before the teacher noticed. Even then, my question would be ignored. This doesn’t happen at my new school [referring to Cambridge Home School Online].

Every time I ask a question, my teachers accept it right away or within a few minutes. Their answers are also more detailed. They help me understand the lessons better. I’m really happy with this as I ask a lot of questions in class. My mom tells me that’s my learning style, and she picked Cambridge Home School Online for this reason.”

We would agree. As Sam highlighted, some students have a very specific learning style. This isn’t generic. In fact, it’s more peculiar. Some students prefer asking many questions in class as it helps them build essential connections and clarify their concepts in a more individualised way. Some students also choose closer attention from their teachers. We make sure both of these boxes are carefully checked off.

Since our student-teacher ratio is low, our teachers understand each pupil’s learning strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. They deliver more individualised lessons, helping students work on their weaknesses, further polish their strengths, and become better learners. This level of attentiveness is lacking in most conventional institutions. By carefully and consistently maintaining it, we improve learning outcomes at our institution.

Recommended Read: 5 A-Level Biology Revision Tips: 2022 Edition

Students Reflect on Their Mental Health Journey

a student being coached by his teacher

Mental health struggles are common among students of all ages, especially older pupils. Despite their frequency and severity, these cases are overlooked. In most conventional schools, students are overworked. Their academic burdens are piled atop personal and social struggles, which affects their mental health.

As an institution, we believe that schools are responsible for helping students enjoy a healthy school-life balance. Our teachers and counsellors go the extra mile to achieve this goal. We provide one-on-one success coaching and pastoral support to each student.

Jeremiah, 18, recently discussed his schooling experience with respect to his mental health, “I often struggle with anxiety. Most of my friends do too. At my previous school, I was told to develop thicker skin and learn how to deal with my problems on my own. I didn’t get the support I needed, which really messed up my mental health.

At Cambridge Home School Online, I’m so grateful for my supportive teachers and empathetic counsellors. Any time I’m struggling, I can open up to my counsellors and expect zero judgment in return. They’re very good at understanding where I’m coming from and creating a support plan for me.

Most students may not say it out of fear or judgment but we all struggle with mental health in one way or another. Whether it’s anxiety, stress, or anything else, our mental health can easily decline. When you receive support from your school, you can manage your academics and personal life better. I know for a fact that my grades have improved since I know how to manage my problems better. I have my counsellors to thank for that.”

Good mental health is imperative. We equip each student with the support and guidance they need to get back on track and stay on track. Out of the 20 students we interviewed, each of them agreed that a healthy school-life balance has helped them enjoy good mental health. How do we achieve this? We grant students more flexibility.

Students aren’t given more than they can handle. We still maintain academic rigorousness. However, we make sure that our students don’t feel overwhelmed. In conventional schools, students drown in heaps of additional work. The thought process is that their performance will improve. Unfortunately, it deteriorates. We make sure this doesn’t happen at Cambridge Home School Online.

Students Reflect on Their Skill Development Journey

a student attending online school

We believe that the skill development process is essential. In addition to absorbing academic knowledge, students must also develop new soft and hard skills. We take great pride in planning skill-building activities for our students.

“My teachers give us lots of fun activities that make classes more interesting. They also help us learn soft skills like respect, empathy, time management, and teamwork. I love these activities. I used to struggle with completing my exams on time, so the time management activities have helped me out loads,” Kimberly, an 11-year-old student shares.

This is a glimpse into our focus on selecting individualised activities for students. As stated earlier, our teachers pay close attention to how students are progressing in class. Using this insight, we help them become better learners. We spoke with Kimberly’s teacher to understand her perspective.

“I set up unique skill-building activities for each student. Kimberly had been specifically struggling with completing her coursework, homework, and exams on time. Her parents also addressed this concern in our last parent-teacher meeting. At her last school, Kimberly failed to perform well as her time management was poor. I set up time management activities to help Kimberly turn this weakness into a strength.

Any time I plan individualised activities, I make sure the rest of the class will benefit from them too. While the time management activity set was compiled for Kimberly, other students were able to polish their time management skills too. In the past, I’ve also planned conflict resolution activities for younger students.

Students have learned how to collaborate with their peers more effectively when working on group projects. They’ve also learned how to handle conflict if it arises. At Cambridge Home School Online, we believe that building these skills is extremely important. They go hand in hand with academic growth,” Kimberly’s teacher commented.

By focusing on each student’s skill development journey, we make them more confident, self-aware, and well-rounded learners.

Recommended Read: How to Polish Your Time Management Skills From Home

Should I Make the Switch to Online Schooling?

a teacher delivering a lesson

If you’re considering switching from conventional (in-person) schooling to online learning, you’re on the right track. This transition is becoming increasingly common globally, especially in the UK. However, we strongly recommend taking your time, doing your research, and making an informed decision.

Today, parents can choose between hundreds of online schools. These institutions don’t promise the same level of attention, care, academic rigor, and mental health focus. At Cambridge Home School Online, we retain a healthy balance to help students become excellent learners. We also simplify and streamline the transition for students.

Over the past few years, our students have enjoyed impressive academic success. In June 2021, 86% of our IGCSE students secured A*s and As in their target subjects. 83% of our A Level students secured two As and a B or higher, as requested by top universities. Moreover, all students who applied received offers from some of the best universities across the globe.

If you’re ready to make the switch for your children, take a closer look at their admissions process and term dates. You can also utilise the following resources for additional insight:

Trusted by thousands of parents across the globe, we’re one of the leading international online schools. Let’s get started!