This post is from our contributing sponsor Time4Learning.
What’s the capital of Montana? How many teaspoons are in a quarter cup? How long do rhinoceroses live? If your homeschool student asked you one of these questions, you’d most likely answer, “look it up.” Your student would probably sit down at their computer or pull out their tablet or phone to do so. In today’s day and age, the thirst for knowledge is almost unquenchable and going online to learn is as natural as breathing. That’s why it’s a wonder that families balk at the idea of using online curriculum in their homeschool.
"My boys love the computer and while I use it for email, banking, and research, I didn't really see using it for homeschooling. When I was in school we used textbooks, workbooks, and only occasionally worked on the computer," said Natalie, a homeschool mom of two boys ages 8 and 13.
It’s natural for some parents to be hesitant when it comes to trying something new and different -- especially when they’re dealing with their children’s education. If you’re thinking about adding online tools to your homeschool repertoire, here are a few things you should know.
Have No Fear
Beginning a new curriculum or even blending in different homeschooling approaches often puts fear into a parent’s heart. It’s strange territory and it also costs money! But you want the best for your children so, like many other parents, you’re willing to investigate other options that will enrich your child’s education.
Look for online tools that are a proven and trusted option, and have a track record with new and veteran homeschoolers alike. You’ll want an online homeschool program that is easy to set up and use. In most cases, your children won’t have any fear when it comes to using computers or tablets for their homeschool work. In fact, they’re more computer savvy than many adults, which is what makes incorporating them into your curriculum so much more inviting and exciting. So, put your fears aside and give it a try.
Online Curriculum Perks
Homeschooling is incredibly rewarding but it also takes work. Online curriculum options actually take the pressure off you by assisting with not only the educational aspects of schooling but also the administration part. While some parents love to lesson plan and go through tons of resources to figure out their student's week or month, others dread it.
Sherri, a homeschool mom to a 2nd grader, sought the advice of homeschoolers in the Time4Learning.net parent forum because in her words, "...I feel like I am drowning in lesson planning!!!...I am up late at night working on lessons, and here it is Saturday and I have been all morning working on getting lessons together for next week. Any suggestions?" Depending on the online curriculum option you choose, the lesson plans are already created for your student. As a result, you can focus on what your student is learning instead of worrying about lesson planning.
Blending Online Tools with Your Existing Curriculum
Many veteran homeschoolers take different homeschooling tools and create a customized package that fits their children’s learning style, schedule, and pace. It makes sense. There probably is no one “perfect” homeschooling curriculum. And with so many options, such as online books, workbooks, CD-ROMs, DVDs, audio files, interactive TV, lapbooks, homeschool groups, and more, it behooves you to look carefully at what’s available and pick and choose accordingly.
The blending gives your child a more dynamic and well-rounded educational experience. Traditional learning methods coupled with using online tools, interacting with other homeschoolers, and experiencing out-of-classroom activities, usually maximizes a child’s understanding and retention of the material. And really isn’t that what you’re after anyway?