Sophia Barsuhn, from Minneapolis, wrote this when a senior at MNOHS this year.  An avid reader, writer and gamer, she graduated from MNOHS and attended Hamline University.

Photo of Sophia Barsuhn

I remember when I first started attending MNOHS, and whenever people asked me, “Where do you go to school?” and I would say, “I go to school online,” their face would go blank for a moment, and then they would ask, “How does that work?” I could never find the words to explain how online school worked, and I got very, very tired of people asking me. I expected people to stop asking me at the end of tenth grade; surely everyone I knew would have heard by then that I was in online school. But it’s the middle of my third year at MNOHS, and people still have not stopped asking. This blog entry is, in part, a way to explain to people what it’s like to go to an online school.

Online school is, in some ways, a lot like a brick-and-mortar school. Teachers and counselors and students, all working together. Six classes and an abundance of work. But unlike a brick-and-mortar school, you learn a lot more. At least, that’s been my experience. There’s no time wasted with kids who talk too much, nor are there any teachers who’ve just given up trying to make kids learn anything. It’s the most fantastic thing, to learn something new every day and feel like my life is being enriched. Even with math, I feel like I’m learning something of value. I’ve never felt that way before. It’s amazing.

Of course, it’s harder to stay focused when you’re going to school online. There’s a world of distractions; YouTube tops the list for me. But I’ve started setting a timer for forty-five minutes and working non-stop, then I get ten minutes for a break, then forty-five minutes for another class, and so on until I’ve done something in every class each day. It keeps me focused, and it feels nice to have a schedule.

I am going to miss MNOHS when I graduate. I’ll miss being able to work wherever I want to; I’ll miss the teachers; I’ll miss the classes. But I think that MNOHS has taught me how to learn more than anything, and is that not a necessary life skill?

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