Home Schooling In Cyberspace

from the worst-of-both-worlds? dept

I know that some folks with an interest in homeschooling read Techdirt, so I’ll be interested to hear their take on this subject. I admit that I know little on this subject – and I’m probably opening myself up to arguments that people make on this subject over and over again. The NY Times is running an article about how many parents who want to home school their children are, instead, signing them up for online charter schools, that take them through the standard learning process. Maybe I’m missing something here, but my impression is that this leads to the worst of both worlds. I have nothing against home-schooling – but my impression was that most people home school because they don’t believe the basic education and style of education their children will receive in school is the best for them. The big complaint against home schooling is that it takes away an opportunity for kids to socialize with other kids (an argument that is usually denied by home school supporters – who point out plenty of other ways their kids learn to socialize). However, in the case of an online charter school, the students are back to a rigid learning system, just like it would be if they were in school and still have the same lack of immediate “in-school” interaction with peers (though, the schools provide chat rooms and message boards). So, where is the benefit from an online home-schooled system? They still go through a curriculum like an in-school student, while still not having the same level (for better or worse) of interaction as in-school students. Update: The Associated Press is running a different story about home schooling kids via online schools. Not much new in this article compared to the NY Times one.

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Comments on “Home Schooling In Cyberspace”

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1 Comment
Chris (user link) says:

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Most homeschoolers deeply resent the use of the term homeschooling when describing these cyber charters. By definition, homechooling is parent directed, or in the case of unschooling, child directed. It is never government directed though. Most of us dispute the governments right to have any say in how we educate our children. The more militant wing of the homeschool community is concerned that the cyber charters are a way for the government to reign in homeschoolers and get their children (and the federal dollars they represent) back into the system. I suspect that the cyber charters can be successful and helpful for some kids, however the press needs to do a better job of differentiating the cyber charters from traditional homeschooling.

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