One of the most unpopular things about the public school system is that people perceive it as producing “cookie cutter” students at the end of the day. For those students who do not fit the “round hole” of expectations that public schools have for their students, it often feels like someone is pounding them down into that hole anyway, breaking their unique features away in the process. Such personality traits as maintaining individuality and practicing artistic creativity are important factors in developing your personality as an adult, but they are not often rewarded in the public school system. For these reasons, parents often look for homeschool online solutions that will successfully allow their children to learn core competencies while maintaining their own individualities.
What does it mean to homeschool online?
You may be wondering what exactly comprises homeschool online. Traditionally, homeschooling has involved a parent deciding to teach his or her children the material that they would learn at school. Over the course of time, companies have developed an entire legion of resources designed to help parents carry this out, including specialized textbooks, novel units, mathematics instruction sets, and other ancillary materials. These are available for parents to purchase and use with their children while teaching them at home.
Challenges to homeschooling older children.
As children grow older, the complexity of many of their subjects increases. It is much easier to teach science to elementary students in a kitchen than it is to teach it to secondary students, for example. Such lessons as dissection and chemical reactions are a challenge for parents to teach in the home. This is one reason why some parents engage in homeschool cooperatives to pool resources, giving parents with expertise in particular areas responsibility for teaching all of the children in the cooperative in that subject area. However, it is difficult for a parent to teach advanced chemistry and physics or the niceties of art history with just the materials in the home, even if they buy the right textbooks.
This is where homeschool online can help augment what parents do with their children. If you do not have the money to install a set of Bunsen burners in your home, you can still teach your children what happens when different chemicals interact through the use of online resources. Online schools like K12 and collections of instructional videos like Khan Academy allow parents to download them and show them to their students over and over. The purpose of the videos is to teach the necessary concepts with as much interactivity as possible.
Criticism to homeschooling.
There are several potential downsides to homeschool, of course. Critics indicate that homeschooling keeps children out of situations in which they need to grow socially. The ins and outs of learning to interact with others, the critics argue, are worth the educational shortfalls that take place in the public education classroom. Learning is just as much about learning interrelations as much as it is about content, this line of thinking goes. However, just because you do not see a bunch of people at school every day does not mean that you are not going to grow socially. Children have the opportunity to attend other social settings besides school, such as church or other religions institutions, activities like Scouting, recreational sports or other clubs, and simply knowing the people in your neighborhood. Putting all of this together helps children form social relationships while taking care of their instructional business online each day.
Another criticism about homeschool online is that it robs students of the ability to gain the auditory and visual input that classroom instruction provides. They argue that simply reading materials online and completing assignments is not a full learning experience compared to sitting and interacting in groups before putting together a cohesive response.
The answer to this objection is a complicated one. After all, talking to people in order to produce solutions is a skill that all children need to develop in order to grow up and become successful adults. However, many public school classrooms spend a considerable amount of time in interactive group activities, slowing the time that it takes to emerge with final products. Teaching directly and moving forward takes less time and definitely allows those students who are more gifted to progress more quickly. However, those in the classroom that are not as swift can get left behind in the process, and these gaps can add up over the course of a grading period, unit or classroom year.
The question then becomes a philosophical one. Is it the responsibility of students who are intelligent to wait for those who are struggling before moving on to the next concept? Or should they be permitted to move on and learn the next concepts while their classmates still receive remedial attention? It is a difficult question to answer, but most questions like this are hard for social policy planners to answer. This, after all, is why so many changes in education have taken place in the last 40 years. We simply do not know the precise formula of innovation and inclusion to get every student from Point A to Point B, instructionally speaking. If we did know the formula, education would be a much easier process, because we would know exactly what to do for each student. However, we simply do not know exactly what each student needs, and the precision of when you homeschool online is that there are applications that target each student on the basis of questions that she has missed on the prior assignments. Putting those needed competencies in front of each student streamlines the educational process.
To homeschool online – not for every student.
The bottom line is that to homeschool online may not be for everyone. The public school classroom is not for everyone either, though. Giving people a variety of options helps each of them find the most successful path toward self-actualization. Allowing people to select from a multitude of paths means that they can all move forward toward an adult future that takes the best of their personalities and allows it to drive them in the right direction.