Online homeschool gives parents the chance to have children learn at home without designing or teaching classes. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it the best option. For some, online homeschools can feel invasive and lack the freedom of parent-led learning. Alternately, busy families who have a remote working, at home, parents see online school as a workable solution, not unlike independent study. However, it’s essential to assess the downside of choosing online homeschool before you make a decision. Online homeschool has limitations many homeschool families prefer to avoid, but it’s not all bad news, and it lacks the freedom of independent study. Depending on why you homeschool and how your children learn, online schools can help. Additionally, other options offer online schooling without the same limitations as a fully scheduled online homeschool program. You have to commit to their schedule, or your student won’t pass the grade they are working on.
Is online homeschooling a good idea? Online homeschooling isn’t the best idea. Because it defeats much of the purpose of homeschool, an online homeschool is limited. Like independent study and traditional school, these students go through prefabricated courses designed for the average student. Thus, there’s not much difference between this method and sitting in a traditional class. The subjects are not tailored to the students’ individual needs, and parent involvement is minimal.
Five Reasons You May Not Want Online Homeschool
Homeschool is a truly outstanding way to educate children. When parents and guardians directly guide learners, they don’t get left behind or miss any crucial information. Homeschooled children do better on standardized tests and tend to be more civic-minded and functional adults as well. Moreover, being able to self-pace teaches both confidence and discipline.
Independent study offers the same self-paced learning with minimal school oversight. Meanwhile, it also allows for more customization and options to consult professional teachers as needed. Here are five reasons to stick to these highly functional systems instead of using an online homeschool program.
- Schedule- Many online homeschools are simply traditional schools in a digital format. Your student will still need to get up, be n class at specific times, and turn in assignments on the school’s schedule. Rather than having the freedom to study at their own pace, learning is limited to the exact times and curriculum set out, with projects and work due per the teacher’s standards.
- Limited Time With Teachers– Online homeschool limits teacher engagement. The class sizes tend to be larger, and one on one time is less than you might hope. Rather than learning at home with a parent or having outside conferences with an independent study school teacher, kids get the time they have in a class-divided by all the other children are also asking questions.
- Testing- Online homeschool testing can be somewhat oppressive and strict. The conditions are anxiety-producing, and often tests are timed. While some students may do fine, others will lose out due to stress or be forced to take a subject over if they fail to meet the requirements.
- Learning Style– Depending on which system you use to break it down, there are three to eight distinct learning styles. Regardless of which model you prefer, there is one thing they all have in common: a solid belief that not all people learn best using the same methods. Hands-on learners need to touch, build, and be a part of lessons. Meanwhile, visual learners will certainly remember pictures and charts better than they’d recall how to build a model. Online homeschools set curriculums are not tailored to different learners. Instead, they incorporate whatever the curriculum designates as important. The result is that many learners fail to appropriately absorb the information where it doesn’t suit their educational needs.
- Privacy Problems– Privacy isn’t something most homeschool parents worry about, but you should if your student is attending live online classes. Unfortunately, some things that are no issue at home are a serious problem for teachers and other students. Just recently, a nine-year-old boy was suspended from school in Louisiana for having a BB gun in his room. Whatever your opinion on guns, the fact is that he was within his legal rights to have it there. Moreover, this fourth grader wasn’t waving a gun around. It was just sitting in the same room as the boy logged in for class. This brings to light numerous concerns for parents of virtual learners. Guns aren’t the only thing in a home that could trigger this reaction. For example, a playful dog stealing an adult’s towel as they walk down the hall after a shower could have severe consequences for both the student and the adult. Live online classes are not the best option.
From test stress to overworked teachers, it’s not hard to see how online homeschool is a less than ideal option. Parents who want a genuine homeschool experience can find plenty of curriculum help online. Meanwhile, those who want the structure of a traditional curriculum can get it while still giving their kids and families the freedom of independent learning.
Online Homeschool Alternatives
If you prefer a structured traditional school-like approach, consider independent study as an alternative to online homeschool. Your home learner gets all the benefits of the school structure, without some of the limitations of online homeschool. While these systems are very similar, the difference is that the child will do actual pencil and paperwork with textbooks or non-interactive classes online.
Choosing this system eliminates privacy concerns and gives parents the chance to sit down with their learners to help guide the process. If your child thrives on traditional school work, then giving them this alternative will still keep them out of a classroom. Best of all, there are many fine options for Independent study schools. Below are three high-quality options for learners who prefer this style.
American School of Correspondence– This fully accredited high school offers students a traditional diploma. As a pioneer in distance learning, you’ll find ASC easy to work with, and all the materials your children need are included. The cost-effective program offers independent study, general high school, or college preparatory schooling options for older students in home learning families.
Citizens High School- A self-paced, two courses at a time system allows CHS students to really focus on each subject. There are no time limits to this study program, but rather it is based on how fast your home learner absorbs the information, making this school ideal for students who need more or less time on most courses.
Seton Homeschool– Home education positive parents who want their kids to benefit from Catholic school education will love Seton. Offering classes from pre-K to 12th grade, you can follow along throughout the entirety of your student’s school career. Moreover, Seton offers consultations with parents to customize the curriculum to suit individual needs.
Integrating Online Learning Into Homeschool
There’s no reason your homeschool student shouldn’t do some classes or parts of them online. In fact, there are plenty of superb online resources offering lectures, testing, and subjects through the computer. The difference is that these are chosen and monitored by the parents, instead of fully structured by an outside organization. Resultantly, you still get the customized learning that makes homeschool so beneficial.
Using an online resource is not the same as online homeschool. Instead, think of it as a tool where your student uses the internet to learn. These tools offer the same flexibility as pencil and paper homeschool and do not have time limits or schedules that your family must adhere to strictly.
Although it’s fine to have a student in online homeschool, it is essentially the same as a regular school with teachers, grades, and curriculum. Online homeschool students are more likely to have homework and other projects that mimic traditional school. Unfortunately, many learners fail to thrive in this environment.
Alternatively, choosing a more malleable independent study curriculum gives a student the chance to set their own pace and get the benefits of professional educators experience. Without the intrusive requirements of online homeschool daily schedules, your child is free to work at their own pace and still get a traditional diploma upon graduation.
If you are looking into homeschooling, you probably already understand the many benefits of choosing this supportive, involved, and tailored approach. An online homeschool option is more suited to families who want their children to do independent study at home. However, those who prefer independent study may benefit more from going that route than choosing a hybrid program that follows a traditional school schedule.
Most homeschool parents want to be more directly involved in choosing their children’s education and prefer to direct it personally. Rather than a general approach to inundating as many children as possible with the same information, homeschool offers kids the chance to learn at their own pace and pursue subjects much further based on their interests and capabilities. Similarly, the independent study approach also gives children a better chance to study at their own pace.
Parents who want to homeschool and have the assistance of an outside educator should consider hiring a tutor or using independent study academies instead. By doing this, you get the best of both worlds without the limitations of online homeschools.