Distance education is a fairly new term for a fairly old concept—homeschooling. In years past, if parents wanted to educate at home, they had to do it completely autonomously, but education departments are beginning to see the value in distance learning. Many accredited programs exist online through local or state education departments that allow learners the flexibility to do home study.
Not every child is ready or right for distance education though. So here are 10 signs it may be time to let your kid try it from home:
1. He or she struggles in the traditional classroom.
Traditional classrooms have rigid rules and schedules that require children to conform to a certain standard of behavior. Many kids struggle with adapting to the inflexibility which causes learning gaps. If your child is old enough, it may be time to consider allowing him or her the freedom to learn from home.
2. He or she is a free-thinker.
This goes back to conforming to a certain behavior in the classroom. Free-thinkers tend to flit between topics, wanting to explore one thing, then getting bored and wanting to move on. This is not always possible in a traditional classroom. Your child may benefit from the freer schedule that comes with distance education.
3. Your child wants to advance his or her education at a quicker rate.
Many high schools have started offering faster graduation paths to students who can learn from a distance. Schooling all day, and then taking a class or two each evening at home can expedite graduation and lead to earlier entry into college.
4. You want to give your child a broader education.
Traditional school is beholden to state standards for classes. Young children do not get as much science, technology, and social studies as older students are exposed to. Kids wait until middle or high school before a second language is introduced, but perhaps you want to start earlier. Or maybe your child is desperate to learn about ancient Egypt, but that isn’t offered. A distance education can give you choices.
5. Your schedule is hectic.
Certainly, distance learning isn’t just for children. In fact, a recent study showed 1 in 4 college students take online courses. If you’ve got a schedule that won’t allow you to sit down in a conventional classroom, but you want to finish or start your degree, distance learning can be the stepping stone to get you over the water.
Diving into distance education is not a decision that should be made lightly. There are many factors to consider, including whether you can be there for your child should a problem arise. Though it is targeted at higher education, check out Advantages and Disadvantages – Why Choose Distance Learning for pros and cons of learning from home, many of which also apply to distance education for children.