I love online education! But you can probably guess that I’m a little biased: I help run a mostly online College, sit on committees about online education, give talks about online education technology, and telecommute! However, you might not know that my 10-year-old daughter has been enrolled in online public school this year. It’s been fascinating being on the other side of the fence, and not just because I am finally learning some American history (I’m from New Zealand)! The experience has reinforced my love for online school. She works on her laptop on her online public charter school, and I telecommute 4 out of 5 days of the week. It’s pretty sweet. So if you’re thinking about taking online classes for aromatherapy or working toward a holistic nutrition degree online, here are my top 11 reasons why I find online education the best fit for my family:
1. All the interaction you could wish for! Chat with your classmates in synchronous live chat sessions—or email or message them. “Friend” your favorite classmates on Facebook or school specific social networks (ACHS offers the private network MyACHSConnect for students and graduates). Go on field trips—virtual or otherwise. Go on special summer sessions or study abroad programs and meet the friends that you’ve made online. The possibilities and connections are endless. Some of the best friendships are forged online these days! And you never have to encounter the class bully along the way. How is that for win win?
2. No Commute. That’s right. No longer do I have to get up at the crack of dawn to drive an hour in traffic to get my daughter to school and then to my office. Instead we can get up at a reasonable hour (which research has shown improves sleep patterns and learning in adolescents!), and we both telecommute!
3. No alarm clocks needed. Online education is, for the most part, asynchronous. Not a morning person? No problem! Sleep in and start studying once YOUR brain turns on—not when it’s convenient for someone else. Or if you’re an early bird, get up at 4 a.m. and study before dawn!
4. Learning that meets you where you’re at. Online learning lets you focus your time where YOU need to. Are you really familiar with a topic already? In an online classroom, you can breeze through that module as a refresher and spend your time where you have something to learn. Still confused after you’ve read the textbook? Use extra resources to ensure you understand the material before you move on. Most quality online classes provide additional resources if you need to hear a theory or topic from a different point of view or watch a video. Still confused? Email, call, or message your teacher. No need to sit there with your hand up in front of 200 people!
5. Real teachers and professors. If you’re attending a reputable school, you’ll have a qualified professor or instructor for every course. They’ll be there to answer your questions, help you through webinars and live lessons, and grade your work. Note that some of the lesser quality institutions substitute with unqualified graders or leave you in online chat rooms with only other students to answer your questions. In that kind of environment, you don’t have a chance to get your questions answered. Be sure to ask what the ratio is at any school you’re thinking of attending. At ACHS, the maximum capacity for our undergraduate online classes is 35 students, and the maximum for graduate classes is 20—so you know you won’t be lost in the crowd.
6. No wasted time. No switching classrooms, no time waiting for recess, no time looking for parking. Simply log in, and you’re in class. And you can complete your projects and assignments on your own time—so go ahead, whip up that essential oil blend for your online classes for aromatherapy in the middle of the day, or wait until you can use it in your nighttime bath—whatever suits you best! Online education gives you back hours into every day that you can spend learning or living a healthier life!
7. Fewer (or no) sick days. That’s right. In my family, we went from a kid who was constantly sick (despite all the immune boosting natural remedies) to a kid who HAS NOT BEEN SICK ONCE THIS ENTIRE YEAR! Not only is she sick less often because she’s not exposed to all the germs at school, but the few days when she’s felt under the weather, she can still get to school via her laptop in bed, spend the day resting, and probably avoid coming down with something yucky going around! I’ve also managed to avoid the bugs this year—a big reason being that I’m not catching what she’s bringing home from school. Additionally, I’m not exposed to anything at the office. Telecommuting may be the best way to avoid the next pandemic!
8. Save money with online education. Not only are online schools a little cheaper than on-campus, you also save on gas, wear and tear on your car, parking, lunch out, the inevitable takeout when you’re running late to get home… you get the idea.
9. Eat healthier. Yes, this has been a weird and wonderful side effect of telecommuting and online school. We’re not tempted to drive through Starbucks because we were too late to get a proper breakfast at home or pick up takeout because we’re running late. We can eat a decent breakfast, pop things in the slow cooker for dinner, and have a proper lunch. Because we’re not running into the grocery store every couple of days on our way home, we’re eating less convenience food and junk food. We’re relying more on the organic fruit and vegetable delivery service we use, beef shares, organic buying club, and online GMO free shopping service. It’s so much easier to resist temptation when you know you can’t even eat something for two days. If I want some cookies, it’s easier to bake them than go to the store. And if baking feels like too much of a bother, we’ll usually satisfy the sweet tooth with some fruit instead. This is particularly beneficial for anyone working toward a holistic nutrition degree—how can you have time to whip up a holistically nutritious meal when you barely have time to zoom through the drive-thru everyday? What better way to incorporate what you’re learning in your online degree in holistic nutrition than experimenting with your holistic cooking in your own kitchen with your own family!
10. No bullies! They are not just a problem in elementary school. Bullies are people who try to intimidate us, to force us to do what they want. They don’t make you feel good about yourself, even as an adult! I encountered a grown up one today at one of our vendors—proof that they are indeed everywhere. As you can imagine that did not go over well with this stroppy kiwi! But it was a useful reminder that bullies are everywhere! In an online classroom, any “bullying” is right out in the open for everyone—you can’t be anonymous in your online classroom. That puts most people on good behavior! Plus, a good online teacher keeps an eye on class discussions. He or she will make sure that off-topic conversations or comments that do not meet the standards of conduct are dealt with properly.
11. More confidence = more outgoing behavior. We were worried that our daughter, quiet to start with, would become even quieter. However, online school has actually had the opposite effect. She now puts her hand up to talk on field trips with 70 kids! Learning gives you confidence. And confidence is confidence no matter where it comes from. Do you sometimes hesitate to jump into a conversation about chia seeds? Or want to alert your friend who takes her toddler to McDonalds once a week for a “treat” that she might be setting her kid up for health problems later in life? If you’re not confident that you can discuss the theories and pros and cons persuasively or be taken seriously about something your passionate about, whether its holistic nutrition, aromatherapy or herbal medicine, maybe a degree or even just a single course is a great place to start. You can build your knowledge and your confidence in an area you’re already passionate about.
What’s your favorite thing about online education? Or what’s your biggest concern? Leave a comment with your thoughts!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the CIO of American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own and I only recommend products and services that I personally have reviewed and believe will be good for my readers. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
 Science Daily. (2014, January 15). Later school start times improve sleep and daytime functioning in adolescents. Science Daily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140115122215.htm
 At ACHS you can earn your entire Master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition for an estimated $19,923.49, including all textbooks, tuition, and fees—a lot of money, but less than comparable on campus programs. Plus, we do not receive public funding.