Friday, August 8, 2008

Online Learning:

By Mimi Rothschild

Growing with Online Home-Schooling

If you've ever wished that you could home-school your children but lacked the confidence in your own academic abilities to take control of one of the most vital areas of your child's life, help is at hand. You can now home-school your children, and you don't have to be an expert teacher. Whereas parents used to have to stay home and virtually become full-time teachers if they wanted to home-school their children, online home-schools are now available so that you can stay home with your children while they benefit from a professional teacher's guidance, as well as your presence.

Online home-schools are expanding throughout America, and many parents are taking advantage of the flexibility that these institutions offer, as well as the chance to be personally involved in their children's education. Due to this change in the face of education, there is a move toward giving home-school children the same status as publicly schooled children in some states' legislatures. This would mean that online home-schools would receive state funding for the children who attend them. This is excellent news for online home-school institutions, which are at present severely limited in the number of students they can accept due to lack of funding.

Many parents find home-school to be a valuable alternative to public school. Often this is due to their children being involved in activities that prevent them from attending a public school regularly, as in the case of children who may be involved in sports, acting or music. Home-school can also be vital in ensuring that a sick child does not fall too far behind even if he or she has to stay at home for long periods of time. Other parents simply prefer their own influences being the primary ones in their child's life rather than the ones they would find in the public school system.

Online home-school allows the parent to use online lesson plans and tools to assist their child's learning, but they also give them the independent assessment that comes with having their children's work graded by a professional. There are also some extra benefits to online home-school: some home-school institutions provide computers and printers free to their students.

The expansion of home-school onto the Internet has heralded a revolution in home-schooling. It is now easier than ever to ensure that your children are learning the skills they need to get along in the world, and to be even more enriched by their home-school experience.

How Virtual Learning Enhances Home Schooling Efforts

Virtual learning is a growing trend in the United States today. Home schoolers are adopting virtual learning as a supplement to the home school curriculum, and some are even embracing an entire virtual learning experience. Virtual learning involves “classrooms” that are entirely online, with interaction between students and instructors taking place through e-mails, Internet message boards and online chat rooms. Home schoolers are quickly discovering the benefits of virtual learning, and many home schooling parents incorporate this method into their daily home school routine.

The process of virtual learning is a powerful and exciting alternative for home schoolers and public educators alike. Virtual classrooms can combine home schoolers and public school students in an environment that nurtures learning and facilitates a love for education. Online classes meet the challenge of social interaction many home schooling families face by allowing for connectivity with other students. This exposes home schoolers to new instructors with different ideas. Can virtual learning be considered the wave of the future for home schooling?

Signs point to yes. Virtual learning is becoming more acceptable by the public at large as well as the home schooling community. Parents are quick to realize that a virtual learning environment is well suited to the goals of the home school setting. In order to succeed in an online class, students must be self-directed, self-disciplined learners who are able to stay on target and do the necessary work for the class: all thing home schooling parents attempt to instill in their children. Therefore, virtual learning becomes a natural extension of the home schooling principles. Many parents who home school have already overcome their initial worry and find that online classes do not prove more distracting than enriching, and therefore are embracing this new teaching method.

Educators who use virtual learning in public settings point to parental involvement as one of the deciding factors in the success of an online student. Again, home schooling has a natural advantage: parents who home school are automatically involved in their children's education. Virtual learning can open up possibilities to home schooled students that their parents might not have otherwise been able to offer. There are online classes on just about every subject imaginable, and home school students can take advantage of this wealth of resources available on the Internet to enhance the quality of education they receive. The barriers previously presented through the challenges of home schooling are being knocked down one by one, and virtual learning goes a long way toward this goal. Home schooling parents should not neglect the possibilities presented by online classes.


Mimi Rothschild is a homeschooling mother, writer, children's rights advocate, and Founder and C.E.O. of home education company Learning by Grace, Inc. She and her husband of 28 years reside with their 8 children right outside Philadelphia, PA.

Rothschild launched Learning By Grace, Inc. because she believed that our nation's public school system has failed parents and students. Learning By Grace, Inc. offers online education through a multimedia-rich curriculum to PreK-12 children across the country and throughout the world.

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