Home schooling has many advantages, from the academic, social, moral to the religious point of view while several parents cite other child-centered reasons (like their children’s health or safety).
When we first started home schooling – over 13 years ago in 1998 – the term online schooling were two words unspoken together. Just like the iron horses in the early part of the 19th century or an airplane in the beginning of the 20th century, the internet was still underdeveloped.
But to quote an old song – we don’t live there anymore. We are now in the era where everything is possible and acceptable. Just like studying outside the school, in front of your computer at the very comforts of your home. This is called online schooling.
Thinking of entering online schooling can arouse discomfort for some. This is quite understandable since it is not the usual way of learning just like those people who have tried airplane as a way to travel for the first time. However, with the reputation online schools are gaining, the way students learn is transforming in an “unconventional way”.
If you are one of those students who are considering this relatively new form of learning, here are the things you should know. The pros and cons of online schooling:
Pros of Online Home Schooling
- No time wasted traveling. Whether you live in the most remote town in the United States (provided you have an internet connection) or at the top of the tallest building in your city, you can always be on time to study your lessons. Online schooling eliminates the time you have to prepare to dress up for school. It also removes the time you have to spend sitting on the taxi or waiting for the green light. With online schooling, your home and your classroom are the same.
- Can attend to home needs anytime. For people who need to attend important things around the home, online schooling works best. For instance: you have a baby to take care of or you have a several things that must be done around the house. If before you have to find ways to squeeze all the items in your “to-do-list” for one whole day, now online schooling will give you more time on other things as it eliminates the time you have to spend on preparation for school.
- No more classmates to suffer through. When you get online schooling, the classroom is all yours. You don’t have to fight on your seat, you don’t have to get along with a group, and you don’t have to be nice or rude to others.
Cons of Online Home Schooling
- Online school competence. There are many online schools to choose from. The question is: would you be able to land on a job after you have spent all your time and money on your chosen online school? One advice is: do research on the competency of several online schools and consider the credit they can give once you step into the working world.
- Personal competence. Can you learn on your own or should you require a board and a talking professor to absorb the lesson? There are some students who are better studying alone. There are some who are not. If you think you are capable of learning without the need of the actual classroom discussion, then you can consider online schooling.
- Environment cooperation. Is your home fit for studying? Can you concentrate with all the destructions you can get in your home? Many homes are not fit to become a school. It may be because there are children around, or the neighborhood’s dogs are always barking, or your home is simply not conducive to learning.
All these only say one thing: home schooling is not for everyone. Do more research and consideration before entering home schooling program. If you think you are fit and you can benefit more on home schooling, then it is all up to you.
These reasons (or a combination of them) have been what most homeschooling families respond with when asked about online homeschooling.
Perhaps most homeschooling families enjoy the flexible time homeschooling gives them and the interaction they can have with their children. There are, of course, certain difficulties and questions regarding homeschooling and online home schooling addresses the most common concern – grading your children and keeping them up to par with most colleges’ standards.
The real question most parents want answered is why they need to bother grading their children’s homeschooling. The answer is simply because you may want to know if your children are learning something and if they are at par with children their age.
There are several ways you could find out if your child is learning or progressing in his or her lessons. One is through simple tests or exercises you can find in books. Another is through standardized exams you can find online or with the help of school officials that you know. Standardized tests help you find out if your children are doing fine and are at par with their peers. Standardized tests come as subject-specific tests and testing your children with these exams will help you determine what subjects they need to give more attention to, if there are any at all.
Grading your children’s progress includes giving exams or tests and most, if not all, children find tests as a waste of time. This is a very important factor to look into. Most parents find other alternatives or how to make an exam more enjoyable for children. Some of the alternatives include mixing playing with testing. Another alternative is to give rewards (such as seeing that new movie) whenever a child gets a perfect score in an exam. There are several alternatives and it’s up to you to play to what you think will make your child happier.
Another factor that could help you decide if your children need to take these tests is if you think they need to experience them. Most colleges require a rigorous standard type of exam (meaning college aspirants are pressured with regards to time) and children who haven’t experienced being pressed for time might have some difficulties passing these kinds of tests.
Another factor to be looked at is how the test results will be used. Tests are designed mainly to find out if your children need more help with one area of one subject and where they excel the most. That is not the sole reason though. Other reasons include knowing how your children react to pressure and failure or success. These are important things to evaluate as they influence your children, especially their values.
Another reason is to find out if your children learn from their mistakes. This can be a good gauge of your children’s progress and be a proof that they are indeed learning with homeschooling.
Another factor for your decision is how teachers and school officials view testing. They will definitely have different ideas and different sides with regards to the need to test your children. Other school officials will probably cite the need to monitor the progress of your children and knowing where they need help and where they can excel. Other officials will have a different opinion stating that testing should not be done as tests and exams are not the only gauge and way to monitor one’s growth. Both sides will have strong arguments and listening to their sides might help you on deciding which side is right.
Of course, there are parents who do one-on-one homeschooling (meaning they personally teach their own children) that find testing their children is unnecessary. It is because most of them are seeing the progress of their children up close. They can see where their children are having an easy time and what subjects they need more time with. It is one of the advantages of teaching your own child rather than hiring paid help but you should also realize that there are other things you can’t teach your children that they may need to know.