In 2003, 1.1 million households in the United States educated their children at home. Parents choose to educate their children at home for many reasons, and many parents believe their kids get a better education at home than they could have in a public school.
But educating your child at home is a daunting task, and for many parents, it’s tough to do it completely alone. Luckily, online classes are here to help. Online learning is a great option for parents who are home-schooling their children.
But it’s not just for the kids—it also provides parents with education and training they need to become better educators for their children. Here are six ways online classes can benefit both parents and home-schooled child.
Supplement the materials you’re teaching. Whether you’re teaching science, math, or reading, an online class can help students learn about a topic in greater depth. By taking online classes in a topic you’ve already covered, kids can gain a new perspective on the subject.
It can also help them understand difficult concepts in greater depth. Parents can participate by checking students’ schoolwork, demonstrating concepts covered in class, and designing hands-on activities and projects that complement online classwork.
Develop parents’ teaching skills. Parents can benefit from online classes as well. Online education classes aren’t just for certified public-school teachers; many online classes are open to anyone.
Taking a course in K-12 education can teach parents the same strategies the pros use to develop critical thinking skills; develop effective lesson plans and curriculums that complement a child’s natural learning style; and even prepare older children for the SAT’s.
Learn about childhood development. Childhood development classes can be helpful for parents who are home-schooling young children. These classes can give home-schooling parents a deeper understanding of how their child’s brain grows and develops, and how different teaching strategies apply at different stages of development.
Many online childhood development classes are available to all students, from professional teachers to parents and daycare providers.
Let your child learn what you can’t teach. Maybe your child wants to learn how to design a computer program, speak Italian, or write song lyrics.
If you don’t have the skills to teach your child, you don’t have to send her off to school—you can enroll her in an online class and let her learn at home.
Online classes provide enrichment beyond what most parents can offer on their own, and they give home-schooled students the ability to pursue any interest in-depth.
Help your child prepare for college. College preparation is an important part of any child’s high school education. And when it comes to college prep, getting feedback from expert educators can be invaluable to your child’s readiness.
An online class can help students prepare for the SAT’s, brush up on essay writing, and more. Give your child peer and teacher interaction. Life can be lonely for a home-schooler, especially if she doesn’t have outside activities that bring her in contact with her peers.
Online schools provide a way for home-schoolers to interact with other students all over the country, all without leaving home.
Home-schooled children can develop friendships, compete with other students, and learn in group situations with other students at their grade level—an opportunity many home-schooled children don’t get at home.
Online teachers are often very accessible as well, and are available to answer questions and offer further help via email, forums, and live chat.
Home-schooling isn’t easy. But with online education, parents have more support now than ever. Students can enroll in an entire online high school, or simply take a few classes here and there when they’re needed.
Parents can take classes as well to develop their own teaching skills, and the online format makes these classes easy to fit around any parent’s busy schedule. If you haven’t looked into online education for your home-schooler, now is a great time to get started.
Jennifer Williamson is a Distance-Education.org Columnist and an education writer in Pennsylvania.