So you’ve weighed out the pros and cons, counted the cost in terms of sacrifice and personal career advancement and decided that the benefits of homeschooling your child far outweigh the price you might have to pay. Good for you!
Now you have to figure out WHAT you are going to teach and HOW you are going to teach it. You may or may not have been a good student yourself, and that may have been quite a few years ago. Do you think you have enough of a grasp of mathematics to be able to teach it to your child? Is a home school course online the best approach for your child?
These are the next set of questions that need to be answered to determine where you go from here.
What type of learner is my child?
There are so many different types of children, from one household to the next and even within the same household. And the best way they learn things can vary greatly as well.
Some students need personal interaction and close oversight. Others do well on their own, and can learn in an online environment. You just set them in front of a computer, connect them to the website and off they go!
Some students really thrive in a classroom setting, where they interact with other students in the learning process. And still some students, need hands-on involvement in order for their brains to comprehend the lesson. Most students are a blend of all these things and have different needs in different subjects.
Science for example, can be a curriculum taught in an online forum, but watching a lab done may not bring the learning home as well as participating in the same project. These are things that may not be fully understood in the beginning, but can be discovered as the process unfolds.
Throughout the education of your child, your approach may very well take some twists and turns until you find the best scenario that’s most perfectly suited to your child. That’s okay!
A brief history of homeschooling in the United States
Most people these days think of homeschooling as a new thing, a fad or a trend. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Homeschooling was the norm until somewhere in the mid-1830s when schooling in a formal classroom became the new approach to education. At first it was geared toward the more affluent, and limited to certain races and classes.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that things began to change and families began to consider going back to the way things were. There are many different reasons for this, but one of the earliest motivations was to combat the secular nature of the public school system.
In the school year 2011 – 2012 about 3% of US children were home schooled, and by 2016 the number rose to approximately 1.7 million students. Although one of the concerns was that this format might not be successful, studies show that most home schooled children scored at or above the national average. As far as higher education is concerned, many homeschool students now are entering into Ivy League schools. Homeschooling works and is back to stay.
Homeschool courses online: overview
It’s hard to say exactly when homeschool courses became available online but the simple fact that the Internet did not even become commonplace in most American homes until the mid-1990s, means that even the oldest programs have probably been around less than 20 years.
This approach has many benefits, since the curriculum and teachers come with it as a package deal. Most children and young adults these days are very proficient with this technology, more so than they’ve ever been before. However, with all the positives regarding this approach, there are also many negatives to be considered as well.
The pros and cons
When your child is on the computer all day, how do you know they are spending their undivided attention to the curriculum alone? Are they going to Facebook? Snapchat? Instagram? How do you monitor this?
As much as this approach can free you up as the parent, there is still oversight necessary. There are some programs you can purchase and load onto your computer that can monitor this for you, but nothing works better than your presence and involvement to ensure they stay on track.
Although there are teachers and tutors that usually come with these online courses, many times those overseers offer their services in the evenings and teach live classes during the day. This means that questions submitted by your child are not always answered in real time. That can slow things down and complicate matters and your involvement in this process is recommended as well.
And then there’s the cost, as you can imagine these courses are generally not cheap. The more teacher/tutor involvement, the more expensive they can be.
Summing it all up
While it may seem a little overwhelming at first, it’s just like anything else: the more time you spend at it the simpler it becomes.
That is why I have decided to set up this website. My goal and objective is to help you as the parent who is considering this possibility for the first time. I may not be an expert at the subject, and Lord knows that I’m not, but I have learned a few things along the way that I would like to impart to you to make your journey a little easier than mine was.
Stick with me through this, send questions or comments, and let’s make this a forum for all of the parents who are seeking an alternate way to educate their children in our day and time.