Traditional brick-and-mortar high schools in Ontario tend to not offer much flexibility. The majority of students commute to school at 9 am, take classes until 3 pm, go home, and repeat. Then, if they are involved in sports or extracurricular activities, they will spend even more time at school.
This rigid routine may work for students with enough time to treat school as a full-time job, but not for busy students, including mature students, who have obligations outside of school, like families and jobs.
These students aren’t often able to fit school into their crowded schedules without making compromises and are often better off enrolling in an online high school that offers full and part-time enrollment. When students enroll at one of these high schools, they don’t have to prioritize school over their other obligations or vice versa. They can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Taking one or more courses at a high school that offers full and part-time enrollment doesn’t only benefit busy students who don’t have the luxury of being able to treat school as a full-time job, however. It also benefits students on the other side of the spectrum—overachieving students hoping to treat school as more than a full-time job.
These students can take courses in addition to the ones they’re taking at their home high school, perhaps because they’d like to graduate early, or because they’d like a more customized learning experience.
Here’s a look at the advantages of taking high school courses at a fully accredited online high school, like OES, that offers both full and part-time enrollment.
The need for work-life balance—the concept of achieving a healthy balance between work, school, and other personal and professional obligations—has become increasingly pressing at a time when we are all juggling many things, wearing many hats in our homes. Busy students and mature students alike often struggle to find a healthy work-life balance.
It’s all too easy for students to get so caught up in their schoolwork that they don’t set aside enough time to see friends and family or take good care of themselves. In fact, according to a study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, a whopping 74% of secondary students in America do not regularly get enough sleep. The numbers are likely similar in Canada, where lack of sleep is an epidemic among teens.
The Sleep Foundation recommends that teenagers get 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Worldwide studies show, unfortunately, that only 53% of teenagers sleep less than 8 hours per night.
Lack of sleep is one consequence of not maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and another dangerous consequence is stress. People who don’t have a work-life balance report higher levels of stress, and stress can lead to a litany of interpersonal and health problems. It’s important to point out that stress can lead to difficulty sleeping and difficulty sleeping can lead to stress.
Health problems brought on by high levels of stress can include
- Depression and anxiety
- Increased risk of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems and illnesses
- Substance abuse
- Long-term disability
- Premature ageing
No one’s high school education should prevent them from maintaining a work-life balance, so it’s important to be mindful of the pressure you are putting on yourself. Even students with excellent time management skills can struggle to find a work-life balance when their main school of registration doesn’t offer a flexible education.
At OES, we value flexibility and teach time management skills for students to ensure they can juggle their many obligations and responsibilities without becoming overwhelmed.
Promoting Work-Life Balance through Self-Paced Learning
OES promotes work-life balance by offering a flexible online education, full or part-time, that doesn’t pressure our students into prioritizing school above other obligations, professional, extracurricular, personal, or otherwise.
Busy and super students can benefit by enrolling full or part-time at OES because we encourage self-paced learning, which greatly helps our students productively manage their time. With self-paced learning, busy and super students have more control over their studies. So do mature students.
A busy student with a demanding job can put aside their OES schoolwork, when they have an unusually eventful workweek, without being academically penalized. A super student can plow through OES material when they don’t have exams at their home high school to cram for. A mature student doesn’t have to worry that by preparing for an exam they may have to miss their kid’s piano recital.
Self-paced learning empowers our busy, super, and mature students—who include all types of learners—to fit their education around their lives, not the other way around. Our students work with their instructors according to their own timeline, taking as little or as long as they need to move through each course unit, so long as they complete their work by certain deadlines.
Work-Life Balance for Super Students
Super students should maintain a work-life balance to stay super.
Let’s say a super student, Michael, is particularly adept in math and would like to take math-related online grade 12 courses in Ontario in addition to the courses he’s taking at his school of registration (home school), where he’s registered full-time. Michael may enroll in OES part-time to take one or more online math courses while still having enough time to excel in the courses he’s taking at his home school.
At OES, we offer a wide range of online math courses. Let’s say Michael enrolls part-time at OES to take MHF4U: Advanced Functions. When Michael’s schedule at his home school demands more of his time than usual, he may put aside the work he must do to complete MHF4U until later.
If he grows bored with the pace of the courses he’s taking at his home school, he may plow through the MH4FU course material as quickly as he’d like. He won’t have to wait until a unit expires to start the next one. He may control his own speed and even graduate ahead of his peers.
Let’s say a different super high school student, Chloe, would like to dedicate more of her time to the debate team while still completing a full course load at her home school, where she’s enrolled full-time.
If she were to do so entirely at her home school, her grades might suffer. Replacing one or two of her courses at her home school with one or two similar courses at OES would potentially be a much better option for her, as it would grant her more control over her own schedule. If her next debate is on Wednesday, she can afford to put off doing her OES homework until Thursday.
For both Michael and Chloe, enrolling part-time in OES courses may help them manage their time better than they would otherwise; and when you can manage your time, you can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Work-Life Balance for Busy Students
Enrolling part-time in self-paced OES courses may also help busy students with jobs, families, and other invaluable obligations to maintain a healthy and productive work-life balance.
Let’s say a busy secondary student, Amy, is struggling to juggle her responsibilities at school, work, and home. Her single father is a nurse who frequently works night shifts. On a typical day, Amy wakes up at 6 am—around the same time her father arrives home from work—to make breakfast and pack a lunch for herself and her younger brother before riding the bus with him to his elementary school and dropping him off. Afterward, she takes a different bus to her high school. When the bell rings at 3 pm, she takes yet another bus to her part-time job at a movie theatre.
Amy’s schedule is exhausting. She’s exhausted. To excel at all her responsibilities, she’d have to be more than human but alas she, like everyone else, needs sleep. As a result, her performance at school and work suffers. She has so many things to do every day, it’s impossible for her to do every one of them as well as she could if she weren’t so exhausted. Enrolling part-time at OES could be a lifeline for Amy.
Work-Life Balance for Mature Students
Enrolling part-time at OES is also a lifeline for mature students. We facilitate lifelong learning for mature students by offering the flexibility they need to balance work and life.
Many mature students pursue their secondary education part-time, so they have enough time for their careers and family. But a part-time education is not the same as a flexible education. Mature students who study part-time at traditional brick-and-mortar secondary schools in Ontario still tend to have little to no control over the pace of their studies. They have to move through each course unit at the same speed as the other students in their class, with no flexibility.
The traditional secondary school system in Ontario is designed for teenage students who can treat school as a full-time job, not mature students. The system is based on two assumptions that don’t apply to mature students: (1) students always have enough time for school and (2) students aren’t capable of managing the pace of their own studies.
At OES, however, we understand that (1) mature students frequently do not have enough time for school and that (2) they are more than capable of managing the pace of their own studies.
Why Enroll at OES Full-Time
It makes a great deal of sense for students to take courses outside of their brick-and-mortar home schools by enrolling in OES part-time. It also makes sense for mature students to complete (or improve upon) their secondary education by fitting OES courses into their hectic schedules. What we haven’t touched on yet, however, is why it makes sense for students to enroll at OES full-time.
The credits you take at OES count toward your OSSD, meaning you could complete your entire secondary education with us. Doing so works well for Ontario students wanting to attend secondary school full-time outside of their boundary maps or school districts.
But other students can also benefit by enrolling with us full-time, not only because we value flexibility but also because we offer a large course variety and a customized learning experience.
Michael, the math whiz, can take the kind of advanced math courses at OES that he can’t take at his main school of registration. Chloe, the debater, can dedicate even more of her time to her debate team by taking classes full-time at OES. Amy, the busy student, doesn’t have to spend so much of her waking life taking buses when she does all her schooling at home, online, at OES.
The Bottom Line
All sorts of students can benefit from enrolling in an online high school that allows full-time and part-time enrollment. Indeed, doing so may be the way of the future, as more and more students, teachers, and parents are realizing that online high schools offer what traditional, brick-and-mortar high schools don’t: flexibility, a customized learning experience, and a large variety of courses to choose from.
Taking courses online at a school like OES may take some adjusting. Despite the pandemic, most secondary students, after all, are more accustomed to taking courses in-person than online. But more flexibility means better work-life balance. A customized learning experience means a high quality of education. And a large course variety means a promising opportunity for students to study what they’re most interested in, and to take courses that directly prepare them for college and university.
If you’re interested in enrolling either full or part-time at OES, see here.