Despite the numerous advantages homeschooled students have over students at public institutions, including the ability to tailor your child’s education to their interests, a flexible schedule, and increased time together as a family, many parents are still leery of educating their children at home. One major point of concern for parents is a fear that they’re not “smart enough” to teach their children, especially when it comes to niche subjects their children might be interested in or areas of higher learning that the parents themselves may have struggled with during their own time at school. The good news is that many of these fears are unfounded. On average, homeschooled students fare better than their public school peers after graduation, earning higher ACT scores and boasting higher graduation rates, among other benefits. However, there may be some subjects parents aren’t equipped to teach. Virtual learning can help bridge the gaps in these areas, allowing you to provide your child with their best possible education.
Virtual Learning to Teach Niche Subjects
One major benefit to homeschooling is that the 1:1 attention with your child allows you to keep their focus by tailoring their education to their interests. Whether, in your family, that looks like compiling creative unit studies to provide your children with hands-on learning or you prefer a full-on unschooling approach, it comes as no surprise that children learn best when they’re interested in the subject they’re studying. But what do you do when your child’s interests are in an area that’s completely unfamiliar to you? It’s one thing to stay a chapter ahead of your child in subjects like science, which you’ve learned before and just need a refresher in, but what about when your child wants to learn to build a video game from scratch?
Virtual learning is perfect for these situations. Online, you can find classes on almost any subject your child can think of. Instead of being limited to what you, personally, have the capabilities of teaching, your children can be free to explore their interests to their fullest extent. Online courses provide convenient access to niche subjects regardless of where you live or what your schedule looks like. They allow your children to reap the benefits of homeschooling while also spending part of their day spreading their wings and learning independent of your guidance.
Virtual Learning for College Preparation
A common misconception some parents have is that homeschooling high school students does the students a disservice. When you say that you’re homeschooling your children, well-meaning friends may even say, “But you’ll send them back to public school for high school, right?” The truth is, homeschooling a high school student is not only possible, but it may put them in a better position to succeed in college than if they had been in public school. The key is to understand that your role as their homeschool teacher will change from a course subject expert to a facilitator helping them locate the information and resources they need to succeed.
Virtual learning becomes a key resource at this point in your child’s education. Online classes can help provide direction for students looking to conquer higher-level courses like Calculus or Physics that they may need a background in before applying to colleges. Not only that, but homeschooled students can even take college-level courses online. These credits may transfer into the college of their choice, giving them an edge over their peers when trying to get into their chosen major.
Another major benefit of virtual learning for college-bound high school students is that it offers them an opportunity to practice receiving instruction from someone other than you. One benefit public school students sometimes have over homeschooled students is familiarity with different teaching styles and an understanding of how to take instruction from someone other than their parents. But with online classes, your students gain access to these things. Knowing how to take directions from multiple people will be key not only in college but also in life. In addition to helping them tackle difficult high school courses, virtual learning allows them to practice these skills while the stakes are still relatively low so that they can be successful later in life when the stakes are higher.
Helping Your Children Succeed with Virtual Learning
For homeschool students, virtual learning is a key resource, allowing access to a wider breadth of subjects than if they relied on their parents’ knowledge alone. However, virtual learning doesn’t take parents off the hook completely. There are ways to help your children succeed in virtual learning. For younger children, this may include sitting with them through classes and teaching them how to keep track of assignments, while for older students you may need to be a sounding board when they get stuck or frustrated. Remember that each online class is an opportunity for your child to grow and learn in new and exciting ways. By facilitating this education, you become the homeschool parent they need.