Homeschooling Trends - Benefits Of The Virtual Classroom For Parents

The conventional school system is controversial to many people. Some find that it is not able to meet the needs of 21st century children while others experience a lack of control over the educational process, as well as find it unsatisfying. In most countries education is mandatory; however, for a large number of parents homeschooling has become the preferred teaching method.

What is homeschooling

Homeschooling is the popular name of the process of educating inside the home. It can be for a longer or shorter period of time. It usually happens under the guidance of a parent or an online tutor. Homeschooling is a legal alternative to traditional education in many developed countries. Today, homeschooling is a progressive trend. That is the reason why many families choose the virtual classroom as a supportive e-learning channel, or in situations where they are legally not allowed to homeschool their children.

The homeschooling movement began in the 1970s with the educational reform of John Holt and Raymond Moore. Originally it was offered as an alternative to traditional schooling.
Homeschooling is currently legal in many countries worldwide including South Africa, Canada (under regulation), USA (under regulation and varies by state), Colombia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Austria (under restrictive conditions), Belgium (it is a constitutional right in fact), Denmark, Estonia, France, Hungary, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, etc.

According to the National Household Education Survey Program 1.77 million students were homeschooled in 2012. This was an 18% increase since the last study in 2007. The age range of homeschooled students was 5-17 years old. Of these students, 51% were female, and 49% were male while 68% were white, 15% Hispanic, 8% black, and 4% Asian or Pacific Islander. And the trend towards homeschooling is increasing every year.

One of the reasons why parents choose to homeschool is that they can ensure a safe learning environment. Some also do it for religious or moral reasons. Others are simply disappointed with the traditional school system, including its approach and the qualifications of the teachers.

With its various techniques and possibilities, the virtual classroom remains a reasonable choice for many homeschooling parents. It’s worth noting that in the homeschooling process not every parent is an online tutor. In fact, there is rarely a person who can offer diverse knowledge in every major subject. That is why homeschooling parents choose different online tutors and a variety of online courses to fill the educational gap. That’s where the virtual classroom can help.

Benefits of the virtual classroom for homeschooling parents

Parents choose to homeschool for different reasons. It is either an informed and responsible decision in the countries that allow it, in addition to the traditional system, or an inevitable choice when faced with their children’s special needs.

Whatever the reason, the virtual classroom offers a lot of benefits to homeschooling parents. One interesting statistic shows that homeschooling parents typically are well-educated and have an income above the federal poverty level for their family size. Moreover, the National Home Education Research Institute reports that children who are educated at home typically score 15-30% higher than public school students on standardized academic achievement tests.

Among the top features that the virtual classroom offers homeschooling parents are:

  • A safe environment
  • A controlled educational process
  • The comfort of their own home
  • Worldwide exposure that guarantees the best possible online tutors
  • Like-minded people within the online group
  • Premium tools in the classroom that offer premium knowledge

The advantages of online learning for homeschooled students

Social skills

Although there is no typical homeschooled student, all of the students need to feel part of a group. Whether they are homeschooled for a lifetime or for a short period of time, they need to get socialized. The virtual classroom plays a crucial role in this process. Furthermore, it makes it possible to balance cultural diversity and the motivation to join the online group.

A variety of online tutors

The virtual classroom can offer many online sessions and online tutors. Depending on the goals of the student and their parents, the homeschooling family can choose the best tutors as there is no geographic or time restriction. In the virtual classroom there are just the students and their will to learn.

Multicultural environment

Virtual classrooms provide a global reach. Both tutors and students can log in to the online session from all over the world, which also means that one class may consist of a wide range of nationalities. Therefore, the online sessions give students the chance to learn to be more tolerant of different types of people, in addition to expanding their knowledge.

A monitored and engaging learning experience

Computers and the internet have become valuable tools for homeschooling parents. Many of the technologies are still missing in the conventional classroom. Thus, online learning provides an engaging way to study in the safety of one’s own home and with the help and guidance of experienced online tutors. Therefore, they can track student progress and give prompt feedback.

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Tanya Ilieva has strong experience in journalism, advertising, creative copywriting and digital marketing. She has a PhD in Graphic design from Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication in Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. Some of her creative works in advertising has been rewarded both in Bulgaria and abroad. Her fields of interest include: philosophy of language, semiotics, visual metaphors, linguistic.
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