What immediately comes to your mind when you think of the word “homeschooling?”
If you’re imagining fundamentally religious families, frazzled moms, and social ineptitude, your attitudes toward home-based education are woefully outdated. Sure, homeschooling once had a less-than-positive reputation, but it’s 2015: Technology has completely revolutionized the idea of homeschooling. Less home-spun history and more hardcore tech might explain why three percent of all American kids were homeschooled in the 2012 to 2013 school year.
Homeschooling has come a long way, thanks in large part to eLearning applications which make the idea more structured, more collaborative and ultimately, more respected. Check out three ways that eLearning is making all the difference in homeschooling for 2015.
One of the major concerns for past incarnations of homeschooling was the pure isolation of home-based learning. It seemed like a bit of a catch-22: In a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics, 91 percent of homeschooler parents decided against traditional education because of a negative social environment, but homeschooling removed the social aspect completely, reducing ability to connect and collaborate with peers.
Now, thanks to applications like Google Docs, students can easily connect and collaborate with learners like themselves. Whether it’s a group project, a Facebook page for “history class,” or even video-based learning on YouTube, homeschooled students easily add a social aspect to what was once lonely learning.
Mainstream schools are catching up, but one of the main freedoms of homeschool curriculum is that it can be adjusted to any budget. With the right technology, homeschooled children could be ahead of the pack when it comes to hands-on learning. From webcam-based assignments and simulations to playing an interactive iPad learning game, the sheer availability of resources and devices improves both motivation and retention for kids who are engaged.
It’s almost impossible to mimic the amount of personalization homeschoolers received in a mainstream school setting. After all, homeschoolers have the opportunity to opt out of both standardized testing and curriculum. The Common Core is a major sore spot for many public school parents, who may feel as though standardization reduces their kids to numbers, rather than individuals.
Luckily, the learning resources available to homeschoolers are available to all. While technology can’t bridge every complaint and learning gap for parents and kids, it’s a great start. Parents can use games, apps, devices, and tracking to ensure a personalized learning experience both in and out of the classroom.
Homeschooling may still be plagued with stereotypes, but thanks to eLearning, it’s becoming a real option for parents who want to give their children a personalized, interactive, and safe learning experience. While it’s not right for everyone, the addition of edTech to homeschooling is making even the staunchest of mainstream school supporters sit up and take notice.