While waiting for my daughter I was inundated with verbal opinions from teachers and a home school Mom (who used to be a teacher, but left because the school was “restricting the curriculum”) about their thoughts on online learning and its affects on their schools budgeting. I used this as an observation opportunity to see what people really think about online learning. What an eye opener of a conversation!
There really is a hush-hush segregation amongst some home schooling families. Segregation can be defined as “the action or state of setting someone or something from other people or things or being set apart/ the enforced separation of different racial groups in a country, community, or establishment” (via dictionary.com). As parents I thought we were hypothetical teaching our kids to be better adults? Guess I was wide of the mark because this is complete contrary to what I’ve observed.
In my opinion, there are “pure” home school parents who would never, short of the penalty of death, NEVER, use an online program to sustain their curricula. These people are so stern that I’ve witnessed them actually steering their children away from others who do online learning. They believe in being in complete control and totally off the grid. There is another group who feel they could never do with out the support an online learning experience brings. The community provides them with a great sense of resources and relationships which can not be replaced. Then there is our family which is somewhere in between those two worlds.
So, incase there are some of those “pure” home school parents reading this, I’d like to take this occasion to speak up for those of us who do online learning. Don’t be anxious, we won’t bite, our children won’t revolutionize your children and we are just like you – we decide our children’s education, we want an enhanced education for our kids and we want more control over the learning environment. So here are some of the hundreds of reasons why our family does online learning:
Provide federally based curriculum and courses already designed.
Provide a built in network of other students in the classes and chat rooms.
Provides contact with a state certified teacher who can help guide and share their experience.
Freedom (and actually we have been encouraged) to add topics and lessons and expand upon what is provided.
Tuition Free (if state funded)
Opportunities to socialize at school gatherings and through online classes
Major flexibility in scheduling the schooling day – even allowance for block scheduling.
How does this compare to a “pure” home school occurrence? For our school the distinction is we have a one class 30 minute seat time which can be done with a multitude of class choices anytime between Monday and Thursday and we communicate with our teacher once a week through an email question/answer.
Now here’s my disclaimer: NOT all ONLINE programs are the same. We only use those that are approved by our state and have passed the riggers the OSPI has provided. We are not in favor of diploma mills, but are for superiority in educational choice. And we have several friends who are “pure” home schooling who support our decision and see no difference.
When you think my kids and all other online learners are taking away a state certified teachers job because we go to school online, make sure your research is accurate. That is a false statement and we are fighting for the same funding you are. We are all in the same vessel – we want educational alternatives and quality education for our children. The examples I provided above are not some whimsical ideas, they are instances which have actually happened to our children and I.
Next time as parents we teach our children about empathy, honesty and not participating in segregation – maybe we should mention including not only all sexes, sexual preferences and races – but also all forms of education – What else should we add next? Music people listen to, movies watched, jobs people do, pets people own, clothes people wear….you get my point right?