Technology to expand homeschooling

Thursday, June 7 2012

Many parents choose to homeschool their children as way of exerting more control over their education, spending more time with them or helping their child cope with special learning or social needs. However, taking this path can also limit the amount of interaction and back and forth included in their education.

Some parents are using video conferencing as a means of expanding their curriculum beyond their own areas of expertise. A parent whose own knowledge of math is limited, for example, can connect with other - more math-friendly - homeschoolers. This way a parent need not worry that his own proclivities and limitations are limiting his child's educational opportunities.

In certain instances homeschooling is not a choice. For students enduring long school absences for medical reasons, online conferencing can help limit the isolation often caused by these absences. When 11-year-old Joshua Olsen was forced to receive his education at home for an extended time, his parents and school teamed up to bring the classroom to him, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Video conferencing "helps prevent isolation and helps a child to feel like he's a member of the classroom and that he belongs," Sue MacClean, director of the district's special services, told the news source.