There is an argument I’ve often heard in the homeschool community that having your children take online classes isn’t really homeschooling. Well, I beg to differ. While there are so many options for online classes ranging from a la carte classes to “all-inclusive” programs designed for homeschoolers to public schools online…. In the end, they are ALL homeschooling and here is why!
Where to Start
Some parents need help of where to begin. For them, a cyber school or an online public school gives them the “curriculum” and “structure” they need without thinking too much about it. With this said, this type of schooling allows the parents to follow what is given; however, supplement additional content when they feel it is appropriate. Parents can always go above and beyond what is available from a cyber school/online school to enhance the homeschoolers experience. This is one option, that feels safe, for new homeschoolers to begin their journey!
Structure a la carte
As parents begin to feel more confident, they might switch over to an a la carte program, such as Open Tent, where students can pick and choose what classes they want to take online. This gives parents structure; however, ultimately, they are in charge. They can decide what they want to do on their own and what they want to hire out for. They might decide to allow someone who specializes in science to teach their child high school biology OR that they simply don’t want to have to deal with evaluating their children’s writing. This allows parents to either have some “free time” to work with their other children OR work from home, yet it allows parents to still be in control of their child’s education. Honestly, it is the best of both worlds.
Yes, It’s Real Homeschooling
I think the biggest issue with people looking down on the idea of online “school” (consortiums, programs etc.) as “real homeschooling” is that it discourages people, who are using those programs, from seeking support and encouragement from the homeschool community. When we are educating our kids at home, no matter what kind of program we use, help, support, and other moms to talk to is key in our success! NO one should ever feel left out no matter what you decide to do as a family. Every single homeschooling family can decide what is best for their child to learn successfully. This is what homeschooling is all about – reaching the needs of our child’s learning styles. What we need to do as homeschoolers is extend a hand to each other instead of discriminating against those who choose a different path! At the end of the day, we all have the same goal – a solid education for our children!
Eva Goldstein-Meola is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium.