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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

A recent news article published by Voice of America looked at a growing trend amongst parents to home school children with the help of online school. It’s offered children a chance at a better education, particularly when the traditional school fails to address their needs and personalities. The online learning trend is growing, but it isn’t just for university students with busy lives. High schools are beginning to require online classes, and students as young as elementary age are learning how to study and turn in assignments through their home computers. Over the years, distance learning allows kids to receive a better education than what was offered by public school. Parents felt better about how their kids were being educated and were able to see the progress. There are many factors that contribute to online school’s success story for kids.

1. Personalized Classroom
Some children often feel limited in a big school. There’s too much going on, or they don’t get along with children at school. It can be loud and just distracting to try and learn in these environments. Classrooms are more personalized at home. Anita Lovell set up the basement of her Washington home to be like a personalized classroom for her two elementary school children, Lovell, 11 and Zachary, 7. With two computers, a miniature library, educational posters and plenty of room to discuss topics, the classroom really suits the personalities of her sons and allows them to participate better in their school subjects.

2. One-on-One Attention
Classrooms are big spaces with up to 30 kids or more in one. That’s a lot of attention to spread around for one teacher. Kids really benefit from one-on-one attention, being able to ask questions and receive direct help, and often it needs to be more than a pat on the back or a walk down the aisle. While after school tutoring provides some of this attention, it usually comes at an extra cost or requires kids to spend more time at school rather than socializing and playing, two things that kids need after a long day of school. With online classes, children can still learn but also receive feedback and help from their teachers in a smaller virtual classroom setting.

3. Advanced Technology
Can online courses really give students the same experience? Yes, and online schools are coming up with new ways to teach things online every day. Most innovative schools now feature video lectures and screen blackboards, where students can listen and watch teachers as they explain a math problem, which is drawn out on the computer screen. They can respond, raise their hands and participate in discussions and games, just like a real classroom. In addition, students learn more about working online and gain better computer skills that will help them with future assignments as they grow older.

4. The Right Pace
Students have different learning times. While some kids can pick something up quickly, others will need to go over topics and continuously practice to get better. That’s why online learning works for most kids, because you can accelerate or decelerate in any subject, taking the pressure off of learning something new. There are areas that children can also perfect. For example, if your child loves science but doesn’t do well with English, he can get ahead in other subjects and come back to what he needs to study harder for.

5. More Time Together
Between a parent’s work and a child’s school schedule, there’s hardly any real time spent together. Learning to be independent is essential for kids, just as being social, but it’s also hard to expect kids to do well when they don’t get to have a lot of one-on-one time with parents during the school year. Parents can become higher learning coaches, providing assistance and support, while still allowing a younger student to study independently and turn in assignments that he can do on his own. Parents also get to know more about what their child is learning and facilitate better than just asking “how school was today?” Parents can help guide children and even engage them on topics to ensure that the information sticks.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents looking to individualize education.

Image courtesy of Kai photo via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.