Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Internet puts homeschoolers on even keel with public school monopoly

Twenty-five years ago it was difficult to find a decent book about homeschooling. As a home education advocate I managed to find about five good ones, tops! There were few homeschoolers, too. By the time our first born was ten years old, homeschooling had finally caught on and homeschoolers were everywhere. With all those parents garnering experience, a flood of books, magazines and newsletters about homeschooling appeared on the market. Then, homeschooling exploded!

With the advent of personal computers, homeschoolers began creating websites, weblogs (blogs) and publishing easily downloadable materials and information. Some of these websites and blogs are quite extensive and sophisticated.  Everything homeschoolers needed to know or find was at their fingertips. With the internet, homeschooling spread like wildfire. We even took full advantage of it with research, publishing our own newsletters and booklets, and even a stay-at-home-mom business.

Today, many homeschool families rely on their computer for much of their information. They can run a family business from home. They can correspond instantly with other homeschoolers, friends and relatives. They can even take a virtual tour of their local schools to see what they're not missing.

Every subject is available and free lessons are bountiful on the internet. Even those without online service can use educational compact disks that are available and inexpensive. We had the complete middle school and high school curricula on CD, as well as disks that teach phonics, typing and how to play chess. When homeschoolers balance their computer time with other hands-on activities, they can create a custom made learning experience unlike any the public school could provide.

With the many alternatives to public schooling available, parents are better equipped to take charge of their child's education. Outdated public schools can no longer compete with homeschooling. Their monopoly over the children and the money is being undermined by homeschooling because parents finally have access to the truth about public school.  Public schooling is a dinosaur. It's time to stuff it and place it in a history museum where it belongs.

If the internet disappeared tomorrow, never to return, it wouldn't matter to the modern-day homeschooler.  We have such a fire in our bellies about freedom, there would be no stopping us. We'd find a way to teach our own, with or without today's technology.

Public schools have tried to replicate homeschooling in hopes of creating its successes. That doesn't work because public schools will never have the one ingredient that homeschoolers have. Homeschooling children have an environment of cooperation (the home) with the ones who love them the most and unconditionally (the parents).

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