Is there anyone who has insights into Stanford Online High School (OHS) full-time vs other options in California. I have some specific questions that I could use clarity for.
My son has the option to convert to full-time in 9th. He is bright, hardworking (tested to be gifted and his interests span both humanities and STEM; more in the realm of STS: science, tech & society).
- How do OHS full-time students balance taking "interesting" OHS-only courses vs traditional AP courses (do they take them outside of OHS in which case I have a huge concern about workload and stress).
My son liked OHS for its interdisciplinary and interesting courses: History and Philosophy of Science, Democracy, Freedom, and Law, etc. Although I know every child’s path is unique, I worry that if my son picks OHS full-time for the interesting courses (and I fully support that approach to learning), is he going to find himself stretching to fulfill APs outside OHS? OHS does offer APs in specific subjects but their OHS-offered courses for that subject are more interesting to my son. For example, even though AP courses in history are offered, their specialized on Globalization and Imperial Exchange course is more interesting to my son. Same goes for other subjects too. As of now, he has very specific ideas of doing advanced coursework in Math, CS, History+Govt, Economics, and one of the Sciences (I assume this translates to about 8 APs). I recognize some specifics will change as he grows, but the concern of doing OHS full time with interesting and highly rigorous courses and then realizing that “oh I need to prepare outside OHS” to take AP exams in these subjects is a huge concern as a parent.
- What type of support does OHS provide for identifying and conducting either Scientific or Social Sciences related research?
I find that schools like Nueva, Basis, Harker, all have research tracks part of the curriculum with school support (so it is not like kids are struggling to balance coursework and an independent research project). My son is a studious / scholarly type student (he does scouts for being with friends but isn’t into athletics or fine arts), so school support for research projects is important for his intellectual growth.
- If the above isn’t provided by OHS, how helpful have the OHS advisors been in identifying opportunities that students can self-pursue (like emailing profs, applying to programs etc)?
Concern here is that as parents we are not in academia with research contacts, and have no idea to help him find opportunities. Despite him being ultra-bright, we were never able to guide him in any science fair projects (and I know routinely his classmates, children of doctors, scientists had these cool, advanced projects). I felt bad that I had no idea how to guide or help him. I am hoping a high school will have better support in place for his potential.
- Is it true that students (even gifted ones) do not get As in OHS since their rubric requires exceptional work to secure to get an A, while these students are more than capable of getting an A in schools like Basis, Harker, Bellarmine, or those in a public high school with dual enrollment with a community college?
To be honest, this is not the top most concern for me, but adding in here for completeness. I know many in my friend circle with older kids have made high school selection choices with their kids based on the fact that they don’t want their smart child to lose confidence in formative years.
I realize my email comes across as a parent who is deeply involved (and perhaps overly concerned - yes, he is my first). Up until recently I was blissfully unaware letting my bright child explore open courses in all subjects without worrying about whether he is securing any high school credit or “spiking” like his gifted peers. But now that I’m looking at high school options for him, the reality that we live in silicon valley with helicopter parents is dawning on me. I don’t want him accidentally selecting a high school and ending up super stressed or getting into a high school where there isn’t systemic support for scholarly/research interests and getting frustrated.
Side note: He doesn’t seem to have a big preference between online or in-person only schools so OHS being an online-only school isn’t a concern since twice a week, he has in-person extracurriculars.