Home schooling on the rise

I read recently that the United States Department of Education estimates that more than 2 million students are homeschooled. In the UK, the numbers haven’t quite reached that level – but the popularity of alternative forms of education continues to grow.

A few years ago, I would have found this surprising. But after five years of teaching on-line, it’s clear to me that it has major benefits compared to a “traditional” education. For me, the three most important are:

1. More personal attention. In an on-line school, you tend to have smaller class sizes –  at Net School, no more than eight, compared to an average of 20 for UK primary schools and 27 secondary schools (according to the last census). This means students get more individual attention.

2. More time spent learning. I am still amazed by how quickly students can progress in an on-line school.  In a physical classroom, so much time is spent getting everyone settled and dealing with poor behaviour.  In an online school, the students spend their time learning. And the teachers get to do what they love – teach!

3. Flexibility. With globalization, the world has become smaller and families have become more mobile. But the school system hasn’t caught up.  You still have to be physically in the same place at the same time every week – in the same way you did a century ago. This suits some people, but not all. Internet schools offer a much better alternative for families who move frequently for work reasons (as the wife of a diplomat, I’m one of them!) and for students with particular talents who need, for example, to be close to the best sporting facilities.

Internet tuition may not be for everyone, but for a growing number of people it’s the perfect solution!