Should your kids learn online?

Weigh the pros and cons of leaving the analog classroom behind with these seven steps.

By Hank Pellissier

How do you assess whether online learning is right for your children? By starting with the basics — how happy they are in traditional schools and how comfortable they are using technology — these seven pointers can help you as you think about making the switch.

1. Are your children happy, successful learners in traditional school settings?

2. If not, ask them why.

3. Do they like computers and electronic interaction?

4. Can your kids maintain a vibrant social life if they're not at a traditional school?

5. Explain to your children that online learning demands self-motivation. If they resist this, don't pursue it.

6. Have your children try out some online education study samples to see if they enjoy studying online. Many cyber-schools offer lesson demos. Here's one.

7. Examine all the e-learning options carefully. Is there one that is ideal for your kids' specific needs?

Hank Pellissier is the author of Brighter Brains - 225 ways to elevate and injure IQ. He is a frequent contributor to GreatSchools.org and he has previously written columns for the New York Times, Salon.com, and SfGate.com.