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More teens going to school online

Skylar Watchorn likes the flexibility of going to class whenever he wants -- even if it's at 3 a.m. on a Wednesday.

"You can do your classes according to your schedule, you don't have to put in your eight hours in a row," the Frazee 17-year-old said.

So he decided to enroll in Insight School of Minnesota, an online public high school that serves students from all over the state.

Insight School officials will be in Detroit Lakes for an information session at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 5 at Lakes Brewed Awakening.

An overview of the curriculum, courses and activities will be presented at the session. Those who are unable to attend can join a live Webinar at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 20 at

Online education has been a growing trend not only for working college students but also for high schoolers.

The 2009 "Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning" report shows that more than 28,000 Minnesota high school students took online courses in 2009-09, a 19 percent increase from 2007-08.

Students may enroll in online classes with Insight School either full-time or part-time.

Corbin Kent, 16, is another local student from Frazee currently enrolled in the school. He said he likes the flexibility of the classes in addition to being able to take more challenging courses like game design and flash animation.

Insight School Public Relations Associate George Fiddler said one of the advantages of online courses for young parents is they're able to work during the day and also take care of their children.

Additionally, some students value the flexibility more than others.

"Some have ADHD and find it easier to study and to do their homework when they feel best," he said.

Many students can catch up with some credits and others may fall behind, which is a disadvantage of committing to independent learning.

"You can get behind if you don't manage your time very well, but you can also get ahead in some classes and not have to worry about them for a few weeks," Kent said.

The sophomore began his online courses last fall and plans to continue full-time for at least another year before deciding whether or not he wants to go back to Frazee-Vergas High School to spend senior year with his friends.