One of the tools in our homeschooling bag is access to the internet. This resource brings to our fingertips a multitude of videos, books, crafts, and more for our homeschool classroom. Internet learning can greatly enhance our children’s education. However, we should be wary of relying upon any one tool too much. What are the disadvantages and benefits to using internet learning in our homeschools?
Disadvantages of Internet Learning
Let’s address the potential disadvantages and difficulties that may arise when using internet learning. Adding an outside source can bring in things that do not align with our worldview. Safety becomes a concern as we open up our homes to outside sources. Too much information may cause frustration for our children as they research. And there is a financial cost of having access to multiple online courses, curriculum, or features to keep our children safe on the internet.
Outside sources—websites, online curriculum, teachers online—all bring the potential for opinions, viewpoints, etc., that do not align with our worldview. And even if a company seems to align with our view, there may be teachings within that differ in regards to science lessons, literature works chosen, or historical points of view. A website might seem safe at first glance, but there is also always the chance that someday someone may hack the site and change it. It becomes harder to review materials when there is access to so many resources. As parents we want to make sure the resources align with our worldview. The more outside sources we invite into our homeschool, the harder that becomes.
Have you ever asked your child to look up something on the internet for a project? They type the topic into the search engine and find hundreds and maybe thousands of websites, articles, and videos. When we stick with physical books, there is a lot less information available to have to sift through. Using internet learning can bring information overload for our children. So one of our tasks as homeschooling parents is to help our children learn how to evaluate online sources and their trustworthiness and usefulness.
There are financial and physical disadvantages to employing internet learning. To keep our children safe on the internet, while they are learning how to evaluate sites, we may need to employ software that blocks sites, words, etc. We may have to set up our computers in such a way that the screen is visible to parents as the children work online.
Benefits of Internet Learning
While there are a variety of disadvantages to internet learning, there are also many benefits. For example, we can outsource specific courses, follow our children’s interests, visit distant locations, and read books not available at our library. Personally, I feel that with the options available for homeschool families the benefits of internet learning outweigh the disadvantages. Families can add in protections and make decisions to help prevent the disadvantages.
As our children get older, we may find the need to look to outside sources for their homeschool curriculum and lessons. As they reach high school, many parents want or need help to teach higher level mathematics or science. Online learning comes in many options. Families can select a curriculum where the parent still is the guiding force such as SchoolhouseTeachers.com, or they can pick a curriculum where online teachers present the information and assignments are graded electronically or by that online teacher.
Even if our children are still in the elementary grades, they can benefit from internet learning. What if they are interested in marine science? Or coding? Or maybe they want to publish their own magazine or book? You can use online learning to allow your children to follow their interests.
In addition to specific courses, we can supplement our children’s courses with internet learning. Many works of literature considered to be classics are available for free online on sites like Project Gutenberg. Or we can view live streams from the African safari to study the local flora and fauna of Africa. Don’t know how to teach a math concept? There are videos online to help parents with that task. Or maybe you are studying Renaissance art and there are no local museums with pertinent art pieces. You can take a virtual tour of different museums around the world to view paintings online.
Choices for Homeschool Families
When looking for online resources, where do you turn? With the great number of resources, do you find yourself looking for reviews, opinions, unboxing videos, or something else to help you make a choice in regards to internet learning? HomeschoolingFinds.com offers you the opportunity to search among past reviews and evaluations to research different internet learning choices. You can read more about online science courses on our website or view a reel about a foreign language program by one of our Influencers.
Need more information? The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine offers quarterly resource guides to help families find the right product. For example, you could incorporate MySchoolYear.com into your homeschool to generate lesson plans, track progress and attendance, create report cards, and more.
Internet Learning in Your Homeschool
How do you incorporate internet learning into your homeschool? Do you find the benefits outweigh the disadvantages?
This article has been written by Kristen Heider. She is the Business Building Team Manager of The Old Schoolhouse® and the Social Media Manager of HomeschoolingFinds.com. She shares more about her family’s homeschooling journey at A Mom’s Quest Teach.