It seems that more and more parents are switching to an online homeschool curriculum these days. Also called a “virtual school” this option for giving your child an education at home has its benefits – as well as its disadvantages.
If you have been considering online homeschool for your children, learn more about the pros and cons of this learning method below.
Pros for Online Homeschool Curriculum
Little planning for parents: If you are a homeschooling parent that doesn’t know where to begin, or don’t feel you have the ability to create a homeschool plan for your kids; an online homeschool curriculum may be your best bet.
By going to a virtual school, your children have all their learning materials and plans mapped out. You should still be involved, working with the teachers and mentors to assist in any way you can.
Less time needed each day: Sitting down to complete an online homeschool curriculum typically requires less time than traditional homeschooling. There’s also no set up and tear down for parents! Most virtual schools take about four hours a day to complete the daily assignments.
Set your own hours: Online homeschool is more lax on when you start and finish your day than public school. While there may be some times that your child needs to attend a live class, most days it’s up to you to decide when your student does his work.
Very cost effective: Online homeschool curriculum is paid for with the same funding as public school. Books and other materials are shipped to your home, and online access to teachers and session is free. This can save homeschooling families a tremendous amount over purchasing curriculum each year.
Cons of Online Homeschool Curriculum
Less social interaction: This may be the one negative to online homeschool curriculum that many parents fear. If they are home with adults and maybe a few siblings every day, will their social skills suffer?
With some planning, you can connect with other homeschooling families in your area to organize field trips, play dates, or study sessions. Enrolling your children in “extracurricular activities” such as sports or music lessons is another great way they can get the socialization they need.
More screen time: Since many of the online classes require your student to stare at his computer or tablet, this can increase eye strain and reduce the time spent outdoors or away from technology.
It’s true, there is no P.E. involved with most virtual schools. It’s up to the parents to ensure homeschooled children are still getting enough physical activity each day.
Doesn’t meet individual needs: Because online homeschool typically fits into the “one size fits all” mold similar to public school, you may find your child struggling. A tutor or mentor on the side can help, but it may be better in the long run to find a more individualized homeschool curriculum.
Easier to plagiarize: When your child is left unattended to do their work, it’s easier to look up answers online or consult with friends. There’s no teacher in the room to ensure that all students keep their eyes on their own papers (screens) and that they don’t refer to other materials for the answers.
Online homeschool curriculum is an advantage for some families, but others may see it as something they don’t agree with. Take time to evaluate the benefits and disadvantages before you decided to rule out a virtual school program.