I’ve heard about those mothers of a large brood of children who manage to get the home clean, cook meals, read to Bobby and Jimmy while Lucy is still trying to make it to the bathroom on time, just as Ruth just spilled spaghetti lunch all over her and the floor, while still having time to create a curriculum for each and everyone of her kids. Okay, maybe I haven’t heard of them. However, when it seems like you have a ton going on, it helps to have options as a homeschooling mom.
One of these options is online public school. This is where the student follows the curriculum set up by their local/state public school system and completes his assignments from home. Many homeschool students and non-homeschool students have chosen this option for many reasons. Other have decided against it for their family. Here are the reasons.
1. Convenient structure. While creating your child’s curriculum sounds creative, it is a great deal of work. I am a mom who has little interest in formal education. It took me almost seven years to complete my bachelor’s degree, and it was quite a headache for my professors who did not like my “think outside the box” attitude. As Natalie Portman once said, “I love learning, studying…not so much.” So when it came time for me to start thinking about creating a curriculum for when my children start school, I cringed. I think it’s great that a homeschool mom can use curriculum that’s already been set in place. It really helps beginning homeschool families get into the groove of homeschooling.
2. Time management. While the philosophy of some styles of homeschooling say that kids need to learn at their own pace and there shouldn’t be much structure to the learning environment, imagine an employee showing up to work late because of those same reasons. As children mature into adults, they will be faced with much more responsibility that is specifically time dependent. Deadlines, due dates and quotas become a part of life, and they will need to prepare for it. The structure of online public school allows kids to understand that an assignment has to be turned in on this time and that we have to do this many amount of hours of this activity.
The structure will also help you, as the parent, organize your time around school. It’s easier to plan for the day when you know that you have this assignment to do, rather than motivating yourself to create an assignment for the day or week.
3. Records. Online public school provides students with a high school diploma and a record of transcripts. They are also eligible for many state scholarships offered exclusively to public school students. These options allow students to make easier transitions to college and their prospective careers.
1. Invasive Schooling. Families often seek to homeschool for the freedom of choosing their curriculum, subjects and structure of teaching. Some might feel that those freedoms will be taken away with a set curriculum designed by a group of people. Some children do not learn in the manner that public school teaches and simply bringing it home may not solve any problems.
2. Time management. Let’s face it, if time and structure were the only things that mattered for a good education and a productive life, there wouldn’t be so many problems with the public school system as there is. It has been debated whether the type of structure presented in schools is appropriate for developing minds. Children don’t all learn at the same pace and can be unwilling to sit for hours doing book work. Most students can be found asleep within two hours of school or distracted, which doesn’t provide much support for the structure of the public school curriculum. Homeschooling is very different from public school in that it is meant for individualized learning. Most of what’s provided for schools is intended for a large group of learners.
3. Material. Some families have personal reasons for not wanting to participate. Often parents seek homeschooling as an alternative to the failing methods of the public school system. Students may be learning things in school that some parents may not morally agree with, believe doesn’t promote academic success, or just isn’t what their child is interested in learning.
I can recall, as a student, feeling that certain subjects were holding me back from learning what I needed to. We can see how the STEM courses are being less and less grasped in schools, while arts and humanities courses are still being promoted when a student may never have any practical use for them. Homeschooling allows you to choose what your children learn that you will feel will make them successful. If you want them to become an engineer, you can find the necessary tools to train them to do so without waiting for the PTA or the school board to decide to incorporate that into the school’s curriculum.
4. Records. While the online school program would give your child a high school diploma, transcripts and records, not many parents see much benefits to this and often find them hindrances. Many colleges provide aptitude tests for students to enter without a high school diploma. The high school diploma also comes with the requirement to take standardized tests. Some people find focusing on passing these tests hindrances to their homeschooling. Parents may not agree with the public school’s grading system. I’ve been in several classes throughout high school and college, where I didn’t have to do anything to pass. I’ve also been in classes where teachers felt pressure to fail certain students based on non-academic reasons. Most home schools would not allow this. It’s a sad fact, but sometimes grades are up to instructors and don’t provide a fair assessment of what the student has achieved.