As we discussed in a previous blog post, while the internet isn’t strictly necessary when homeschooling a child, it offers several benefits that make things much easier. The internet puts nearly infinite resources for education and enrichment at one’s fingertips, granting access to options that would otherwise be unavailable. Yet it is also home to a variety of potential dangers, which parents need to be prepared to address if they want to support their children’s education.
We will cover some of the many benefits of an internet-enhanced homeschooling curriculum, along with how parents can ensure that their children are safe online.
Increasing Learning Opportunities
The first and most obvious reason that parents should have an internet-ready computer at home if they plan to homeschool their children is that the internet offers many learning options that simply wouldn’t be available otherwise. Before the internet, homeschooling either had parents do all the teaching themselves or find someone to teach for them. Yet with internet-based curriculums, students have access to online classes and a wide range of educational resources made available online. Additionally, computer skills are incredibly important in many industries, so teaching children by using the internet also helps to hone other skills that they will need throughout their lives. We live in an increasingly internet-centric world, so knowing how to use word processors and other software will prove valuable regardless of what field your child is interested in.
Building A Support Group
Handling homeschooling while online isn’t just beneficial to children though, it can be a lot of help for parents as well. As many parents realized when they first had to assist their children during the earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic, homeschooling is very tough and can be quite stressful on parents, especially if they don’t have a lot of experience as an educator. Thankfully, since homeschooling has become far more common over the past decade, it is easy to find other people who are also struggling and can offer advice. There are several online communities for parents that homeschool their children and you can even start one yourself if there doesn’t seem to be one that meets your criteria.
Practice Online Safety
Some might wonder if the many safety issues of homeschooling online mean that you’d be better off keeping your children enrolled in public school, but the truth is that most of the major concerns surrounding internet-based learning are no less of an issue in a more traditional school environment. Plenty of schoolwork will wind up being done online, either by using computers at the school or devices that they have been assigned. These devices are often lacking in security options and cannot be properly monitored either. In fact, homeschooling can be the safer option in many cases: according to a recent study from Google, only 6 out of 10 teachers felt that they had the resources to teach their students online safety.
That said, the internet can be a dangerous place for children, from cyberbullying and online scams to violent content and internet porn. If you want to make the internet a central part of your child’s education, you need to be aware of the risks and take steps to mitigate them. Even if your child is fairly tech-savvy, they might not be the most mature internet users, so it will be up to you to teach them the basics of being safe online. This includes not talking to strangers, protecting your personal information, being empathetic towards others, and knowing when to log off.
What Can Parents Do?
There are plenty of reasons to make the internet a part of your homeschooling curriculum, but if you’re going to commit to it, you have to take the proper precautions to make sure that your children are protected. Even if your kids are already pretty tech-savvy, you should make sure to go over strategies to avoid scammers, viruses, and other potential dangers. Additionally, if you’re worried about your kids running into inappropriate content while studying or doing research online, consider investing in Clean Internet software, which can block out such content automatically!
The internet can be a valuable educational resource, but it’s not without drawbacks. Being aware of those issues allows you to make smarter choices that ensure your child is protected while they learn and grow.