Home Schooling s Net Effects
Washington Post (online)
The article found in the Washington Post on July 16,2000, addresses the role of the Internet in aiding home schooling. The Internet is revolutionizing the growing home-schooling movement. The Internet makes home-schooling a more popular option because of its vast capabilities. It is a key tool in education, serving as a teacher, textbook, and even a library.
The concept of home schooling is not new, however, the ideas of cyberschools and e-teachers are. Through the use of a computer, school-age children can actually enroll in an e-school and take classes. These classes include a normal curriculum, and the Internet is able to expand these classes to include virtually anything. E-teachers post lecture notes, direct students to various web-sites and links for reading and visual material, hold discussion questions in chat rooms, and even conduct parent-teacher conferences. Almost 100% of schoolwork is completed and turned-in online. Students download worksheets, submit them to their e-teacher who grades them and returns them. E-students are expected to complete projects, tests, and even take field trips. They interact with other students in their virtual classroom via chat-rooms.
In this course, we are learning how computers and computer information can provide a foundation in other courses. Computers help us with research, communication, and writing. The uses of the Internet and the World Wide Web are incorporated in daily
life, and can be used for business, education, or pleasure. Cyberschools make use of computer technology as a tool for learning.
Many advocates of E-schools feel that the combination of home-schooling and the Internet allow for a more individualized curriculum For parents, online courses make instructional work easier and free-up their time so that they can continue to work full-time jobs. Also, parents feel reassured that e-teachers are adequately teaching their children classes that they themselves don t feel qualified to teach. Many parents are now opting for e-schools because of their reservations concerning the safety and quality of traditional schools.
Some argue that the idea of cyberschools is detrimental to children s social and emotional development. Critics are concerned that children taught at home are not properly socialized. They feel that children need to interact with teachers and peers in a traditional classroom setting, not over a keyboard. Also, e-schools detract from what should be the purpose of home schooling, bringing together the parent and the child.
The ultimate challenge of cyberschools is the students. Students are highly susceptible to slacking-off when they don t have a school bell ringing in the morning. These students must learn that discipline (regarding schoolwork) comes from within. Additional concerns about e-schools are that the courses teach students to rely too heavily on Web sites rather than books for information. Also, many fear that these cyberschools are unaccredited and employ uncertified teachers.
Although I have never taken a full curriculum online, I have however taken a class online. I owe the Internet a big thanks, because without the option of e-school I would not have graduated on time. In order to fulfill my graduation requirements, I had to take a math class, which was not being offered at my high school in Amman, Jordan. My advisor immediately asked me how I felt about taking a class online, and I was thrilled with the idea. I was a pioneer of ACS (my high school), I was the first person to take a class online. The experience was fun, but I wouldn t say that it was very educational. The biggest difficulty I faced, was my lack of self-discipline to actually log on to my virtual classroom and do my assignments. It was tough for me to learn math without having a teacher to help me hands-on. Also, the temptation of surfing the net seemed to take over every time I was supposed to be in my virtual classroom. I often found myself checking my e-mail, shopping online etc. Towards the end of the semester, I dreaded having to sit in front of the computer for my math class.
For many, cyberschool is a great option, allowing them an individualized curriculum and teaching responsibility and self-discipline. For example, the Internet makes it possible for people with physical disabilities to obtain an education from their own home. For others (such as myself), it may not be well suited. This may be because they need more structure, more personal and hands-on attention or various other reasons.
I applaud computer technology because it has made virtually anything possible. I am greatly concerned that e-school impairs socialization because of the lack of interpersonal relationships and interaction. A family who chooses cyberschool for their children, must be prepared to provide structure and interaction for their kids. The Internet also expands the realm of knowledge and provides an alternative to traditional classrooms and teaching. The Internet is one of many educational tools, allowing us to broaden our horizons of research and communication.