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For various reasons, a parent may decide that her child’s educational needs will be better served at home. She may consider homeschooling, which is an option many families find both fulfilling and effective. However, some parents consider an option that wasn’t available many years ago: online public school. This option allows children to be enrolled in the public school system yet learn at home. An additional draw is that online public schools are free, so the parent doesn’t have to pay for a curriculum.
Online public school may be a good option for a parent who wants to homeschool but is unsure of her ability to teach her own child. For example, a parent may not have enough time to teach each day or she may not feel qualified in some subject areas. While there are many resources a homeschool parent may use to ensure that her child gets a quality education, including curriculum options that show a parent how to teach and cooperative education groups, she may prefer an online public school that provides the curriculum and access to certified teachers. Online public schools often even provide free computers and Internet access for their students.
A parent may decide to enroll her child in an online public school when traditional schooling fails to meet her child’s needs. For example, her child’s class may be moving too quickly for her or too slowly, or the child may be experiencing trouble with bullies. Sometimes a parent may be concerned about negative influences in traditional school settings, such as peer pressure, drugs, and smoking. She may wish to have more influence over whom her child socializes with and when the socializing occurs.
Some families travel frequently or have a wide variety of activities they pursue in addition to education. These families may also enjoy the flexibility online public schools can provide. Their children can log on and learn no matter where they are, as long as they have access to the Internet. This option may also work well for a child who has medical issues that require him to miss school a lot. With online public schooling, there’s no need for a child to miss school just because he has to stay home for the day; even if the child is too ill to do school work on a particular day, he can still catch up easily when his school is at home.
There are some drawbacks to online public schools. Among them is the fact that parents don’t have as many choices in terms of what to teach their children and when to teach it. Though they may be given some course choices, they will have to adhere to the standards set by the school. Additionally, some parents may worry about eye stain and possible repetitive stress injuries caused by spending a lot of time on a computer.
Personally, I believe that the classroom interaction is the best choice for a child during their learning years, especially when they are young. Home schooling is not a bad idea, either. Online classes for children are just not personal enough. They don’t get that hands-on experience that is needed at a young age.