The number one concern most families have when making the switch from a brick-and-mortar school to a cyber-school is socialization. When will my children get the socialization skills they need? Are there any socialization opportunities? Will my child meet new friends? These are all questions we hear fairly often.

When families decide to enroll into PA Leadership Charter School, we like to be very upfront: as a student and as a family, you will only get out of the cyber school experience what you put in. Also, what you do in your free time may make or break your cyber school experience.

Attending a cyber school means that children will be learning and completing their school work from home on their computer. They will no longer have a school-scheduled recess, lunch time in the cafeteria, or see their friends every day in the halls like they do in a brick-and-mortar school. However, this does not mean that cyber school students are isolated, sitting in front of a screen all day long, or have no friends, hobbies, and social opportunities.

One of the many reasons students opt for a cyber charter school is because their schedule does not allow for them to be in a traditional setting, or that they find that a traditional brick-and-mortar school day consists of lots of “wasted time.” Students find that with PA Leadership’s flexible schedule, they have more time in the day to focus on pursuing their passions, which may include dance, music, acting, horse-back riding, or competitive sports. Families can personally choose to participate in neighborhood groups, clubs, and classes, homeschool co-ops, faith-based activities, or travel that may otherwise not be available due to a traditional school day.

PALCS, although it is a cyber school, still offers many different socialization opportunities throughout the year, and a variety of clubs and organizations for students to join. From Minecraft Club to Student Government and Book Buddies, students from all ages meet both online and on-site for fun and engaging activities at least once a month. PALCS also has many field trips throughout the year, as well as a Junior and Senior Prom, semester dances, school-wide picnics, and other holiday events. See blog posts from some of our events this year.

In addition to PALCS events, online classes and chats, PALCS students can also certainly see friends from their original brick-and-mortar school after school hours, on nights or weekends. Students make new friends at PALCS in live lessons, at field trips, and instant messaging students in their class. In the same way modern technology enables us to connect to friends and family at any time, kids will certainly be able to interact with their friends any time by phone or computer, in addition to seeing them in person.

Another common reason families may opt for cyber school is the flip side of socialization: unhealthy social environments. Families may find trouble in their current school, like bullying, drugs and alcohol, or safety issues.  PALCS gives families the opportunity to choose what positive social activities to participate in, and remove ones that may be harmful. Each family has a choice in the best social opportunities for their child.

If you are worried about your child losing the positive social aspect of a traditional school setting, but you know that a cyber charter may be the right fit for you, then we recommend talking to your child. What are their hobbies? Interests? As a parent, you should encourage your children to join clubs and participate in extra-curricular activities that they enjoy. We will offer networking tools and activities, and your family can select what works best for you.

At PALCS, we understand how important socialization is. Not only is it a crucial part of a child’s development, socialization is also key to building and maintaining healthy relationships. There are many other places and activities in addition to the school setting where children can get the essential social interaction that they need. With a top-notch, individualized education, and social interaction that helps them grow, your child could thrive with PALCS.