A Teacher’s Perspective on Traditional Homeschooling Vs. Online Schooling
When I was 13 years old, a big change took place in my life: my family moved. Suddenly I had to adjust to a new home, a new city, and a new school. It soon became clear that the public school I was enrolled in was not a good fit for me. The classes were not at an appropriate level for my abilities, and I had difficulty making friends. So I came up with a plan: have my parents homeschool me for 8th grade. I devoted months to convincing my parents and it worked. At that time, the only option I considered was traditional homeschooling, as cyber school education was still a new development in education.
To be honest, being a homeschool student was a mixed experience for me. On the one hand, I had flexibility in arranging my workspace and could focus on subjects I found particularly interesting. Unfortunately, my days lacked structure, and I would lose hours at a time reading novels and journaling. It became apparent over time that neither my parents nor I were prepared to impose a structure on my time learning at home. As a result, I slugged through the school year and then returned to public school for ninth grade.
I know that the experience I had is one that is shared by other homeschool families. At the same time, I have family members and friends who love traditional homeschooling, and have used the flexibility it allows to create exceptional learning experiences for their children.
In this article I will compare traditional homeschooling and online homeschooling, in order to help parents who are considering educating their children at home to choose the structure that will be the best fit for their family.
In traditional homeschooling, each school day is parent-led. The parent is responsible for scheduling subjects, teaching lessons, and creating or finding teaching materials. Many families choose to create a designated “school” area in their house, as well as follow a daily school schedule that starts and ends at the same time each day. Creating these structures takes additional coordination for parents.
There are a lot of resources available for homeschooling parents, including pre-made curriculums and lesson plans, ideas about how to arrange a classroom area, and hints shared by other homeschool parents.
There are many advantages to homeschooling. Parents are able to control the information their child is exposed to, and there is a lot of flexibility for families who travel a lot or have complicated schedules. Similarly, homeschooling can help students with unique learning styles, as they can make adjustments that help them achieve the optimal learning environment.
But what if a parent is not available or equipped to provide structure and leadership in a child’s education? What if a precocious child requires instruction from teaching professionals?
Today, online education can provide an alternative for parents who want to teach their child at home, but prefer to have help in structuring their child’s education. Parents also gain access to professional educators who can aid their child in his or her lessons.
Online education is still a fairly new field, and Enlightium Academy was one of the early trailblazers when it started offering online classes in 2003. Since the early 2000s, online education has become a growing field. Online students retain the benefits of being educated at home - flexibility in adjusting their environment and work time to their optimum learning style - while gaining the benefits offered by teacher-led courses and an accredited curriculum. Lessons are scheduled for each day, and students receive reminders to hold them accountable in their classes. Students receive encouragement not to fall behind in their classes, while also having the freedom to work at their own pace.
My Experience As A Teacher
As a prior homeschooler and now an online teacher, I can see the advantages of online education. My students are diverse in their interests and have chosen cyber school for a wide variety of reasons. Some students travel a lot and can finish their assignments in advance. Other students need more individual support, and they can ask me questions until they understand the material. It is encouraging to me when I know for sure that a student has learned a difficult concept. Students who want to finish their courses early have the freedom to work ahead.
Providing an education for children is a responsibility and a privilege. I consider myself blessed to have grown up in a family that placed such a high value on education, and supported me in my learning from kindergarten through college. I am now also blessed that as a teacher I get to be involved in the education of others.
Making the right decision for your child’s education is difficult. It is important to look into different options, ask questions, and pray about such an important decision.
Enlightium Academy is a fully accredited online Christian school that offers students the opportunity to be schooled at home, in their own learning environment, while working at their own pace through an award-winning curriculum.