Parents who choose to homeschool their children may not realize all the opportunities they have at their disposal. One of the options our family took advantage of was the world of virtual classes, also known as online classes.
When I began our homeschooling journey, my children were young and the lessons were easy to complete. Math could be learned in the kitchen while we baked cookies or in the driveway using sidewalk chalk. Over the years the dynamics changed as my kids grew and I began seeing unique skills, talents and passions emerge that required careful consideration as to what would be the best type of classes for them.
I found many of these needs could be met through online learning. While I could list many reasons to enroll your child in online classes, for me it really boiled down to three:
- Peace of mind when I wasn’t comfortable teaching certain subjects.
- A different learning environment for my children.
- Gave me more time to work with other children who needed me.
The desire to continue homeschooling meant being creative and finding solutions to ever-changing demands. As my children got older there were certain classes I did not feel capable of teaching, like calculus or chemistry, so I searched for options. This search led me to Florida Virtual School. They provided the security of knowing my child would get the teaching needed to achieve our educational goals without me having to figure it out. This was especially helpful with my older son, who was considering pursuing a degree in engineering. The upper-level math classes were outside my comfort zone, but they were a must for this type of career choice. I didn’t want my weakness to hold my child back from learning something that was their strength. Thankfully it doesn’t have to!
Knowing that many colleges offer online learning compelled me to make sure my children would be prepared to excel in this type of educational environment. Online classes are very different from the traditional hands-on classroom or lecture approach. If they could learn to succeed in this setting it would be one more skill they would master during our homeschooling journey. They quickly learned that a deadline meant something and Mom couldn’t extend it no matter happened the weekend before. This is a critical life principle that reaches beyond the classroom. After all, education is ultimately more than the “three R’s”.
The last reason had nothing to do with meeting the needs of a child’s academic pursuit. Frankly, there were times when I needed to devote more focused attention to one child. This is true whether you have two children or five like I do. Using virtual classes provided this valuable time without causing the other children to wait on me or fall behind.
Every summer I would spend time thinking about what we covered the past year, what we needed to cover in the coming year, and what we had at our disposal to make this happen. This is important to know if you want to finish well. Having online classes was a great resource; without this option we might have had to abandon our homeschooling desires.
There are many reasons we chose to tap into the world of virtual classes. For us they were the tool that kept us doing life together at home as a family. They may or may not be what your family needs, but thankfully you have the choice available to you. If you haven’t really looked into them, now is a good time!