The virtual home school is a fairly new concept, taking full advantage of today’s world of technology. Education and the internet collide and the results can be rewarding. Many families and older individuals seeking to further or finish their educational careers are making use of virtual schools. Here’s what you need to know before hopping on board!
Types of Virtual Home Schools
There are two types of virtual schools for homeschoolers – public and private.
Public online schools are growing in popularity and have become available in many states. Public virtual schools allow students to learn from home using the same state standard meeting curriculum as their brick and mortar attending counter parts. If the curriculum being used in your public school district is not a problem for you or your child, then a public virtual school may be a great virtual home school option. Private online schools are similar, but have their own curriculums.
If virtual homeschooling is something you’d like to do, these tips will benefit you:
Have multiple computers in your household; this will make it easier for everyone to complete online tasks without interfering with each other. This is especially true when multiple students are in one household, whether they use the same program or not.
Be sure your computer is up to date and your internet speed is compatible with the virtual program you plan to use.
Research the curriculum that will be used, not every program is the same. Some use their own curriculum, others make use of a particular brand of curriculum, the curriculum may not meet your state’s standards, your student may not find the curriculum engaging, etc.
If you’re considering homeschooling or going virtual with your home schooling, here are some benefits that are commonly stated by those utilizing virtual home schools.
Flexibility – depending on the virtual school chosen, log in times and time spent on the computer for various subjects can be chosen by the parent or student and worked around any schedule. Some schools are flexible on curriculum choices as well, allowing less time in front of a computer.
Record Tracking – your child’s records will typically be tracked and saved for you when using a virtual home school program. If you dislike grading papers and record keeping, this little perk offered by these types of schools could be a major benefit and time saver.
Communication – most virtual schools are very open for communication between staff and parents, as well as students to students and parents to parents via forums. Some even offer local events and field trips so your family can connect with other virtual homeschoolers.
Affordability- Private virtual schools may get pricey, but depending on the materials involved many cost much less than having your child attend an actual private school. Public virtual schools are free of charge.
Lesson planning – virtual schools offer lesson plans that are laid out for the parent and child; saving you time, but still allowing you the option to skip or redo specific lessons as needed.
Accreditation – be sure to check out the accreditation of the virtual school you choose; many are accredited, ensuring your child’s educational efforts will be recognized!
Take your time when trying out new methods of homeschooling, but remain open minded – you never know what works best for your child until you try new things.