Using Online Resources to Supplement a Homeschool Education
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, almost 1.8 million children in the U.S. are homeschooled. Homeschooled students are composed of a wide range of ages, as well as racial, gender, and geographic diversity. The reasons for homeschooling are as varied as the students themselves, and studies have indicated that homeschooled students overall meet or exceed the academic performance of their public-school peers.
Although homeschooling is known for its flexibility, personalization, and family-based instruction, many parents also rely on diversified course content and resources to infuse different perspectives and projects into their child’s education. Parents still trying to decide if homeschooling is right for their child and homeschooling parents looking for new ideas should consider using reputable, comprehensive online resources to supplement and broaden their child’s curriculum. Here are a few of the top benefits of online resources.
Learn How to Effectively Homeschool Your Child.
While some homeschooling parents are certified teachers, others are not. These parents often research a variety of teaching methods to see what works best for their child. Online forums such as Homeschool.com enable parents to share advice and best practices with each other, a form of community-based learning. In addition, there are online courses designed for parents that cover topics such as state requirements for homeschooling, how to write a lesson plan, field trip ideas, and more. Whether parents are seeking a refresh on the current homeschooling landscape or want a defined roadmap, a one-stop source for learning about homeschooling can provide an excellent starting point.
Supplement Your Child’s Lessons with Video Content, Quizzes, and More.
When it comes to learning by video, online content abounds. Ted Talks give students access to speeches by top industry leaders and inspirational figures, while websites like Scholastic, PBS, and Discovery Education have topical video content for a young audience. There are resources like Quizlet that offer flashcards to help students study, and many sites that offer educational games to help students retain the information they’ve been taught. There are even experienced homeschoolers who sell their tried-and-true lesson plans and curriculum online to help other families on their own homeschooling journeys.
For homeschooling parents seeking more in-depth and comprehensive online resources, Study.com has full video lessons in subjects including math, English, social science, science, and more. These courses can be completed as individual lessons, courses, or units, and includes reinforcement materials like quizzes, flashcards, and practice tests. Using or adapting this content can save time, and the gamified nature of the Study.com platform can help students retain information because they are having fun. Study.com resources are available for pre-K through high school, in addition to college-level courses for credit and adult education courses.
Help Your Child Earn College Credit.
In addition to supplementing lessons, online resources provide opportunities for the homeschooling community to save money by earning college credits or credit-by-exam. While many public school students have easier access to Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes, homeschooled students can take advantage of CLEP and DSST exams to get a leg-up on their college education. Parents can take advantage of the flexibility of their home classrooms to integrate prep materials into their curriculum. Study.com has study guides, video lessons, and practice tests designed for many of these exams, which are built to cover all of the content students can expect to see on test day. An investment in early college credit can lead to thousands of dollars in tuition savings in the long run, and the flexibility of homeschooling helps students get the most out of the content and arrive for their first day of college, fully prepared.
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been an integral part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional schooling and homeschooling became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, remote project manager, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 11-17) in southern Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience and help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected]