Virtual Online Schools: A Happy Medium, or a Government Control in Disguise

Virtual online schools are seen as a savior to many

Virtual online schools are seen as a savior to many and a captor to others. One the one hand, virtual online schools gives new and/ or exhausted homeschooling parents the stability they seek, and the guidance they need to homeschool their kids. On the other hand, Virtual schools are essentially public schools, and therefore parents may find they are stuck with the same curriculum, rules, and regulations they were trying to escape.

Virtual online schools provide structure and accountability of public private schools

One of the more popular virtual online schools, K12, claims to provide the combined “structure and accountability of public and private schools with its comprehensive curriculum”, and to offer families “unprecedented educational opportunities.” The school, through which the child must enroll, will provide computers, learning materials, supervision, all at the expense of the taxpayer. If you enroll your child into this program, they will be attending school at home. For parents who want to remove their kids from a hostile school situation, or allow the child to learn at their own pace, virtual online schools are a lifesaver.

Some feel online schools are nothing more than a means of government control

According to those who homeschool for religious reasons, or educational freedom, virtual online schools are nothing more than a means of government control over the education of home schooled children. They are giving homeschoolers what they want, by “allowing” them to continue to keep their children home, while providing free materials and guidance. That is the carrot. However, once they are hooked, they come to realize that religious instruction can be restricted, as they end up with an online curriculum that does not reflect the values of the home.

The virtual school retains control and you are under their authority
According to the Spunky Homeschool blog,” they (the virtual school) retain control and you are under their authority even while in your own home.” She continues to say, “They are willing to compromise on location, but they are not willing to compromise on control. From the state’s perspective, your children are public school children.” Other homeschoolers believe it is far worse than that. They describe the programs as being so onerous, that the burnout is almost insured. Many homeschoolers believe that these programs are set up to “prove” to a parent that they should have never presumed they could take the place of a classroom teacher.

Virtual online schools are paid for by the public school systems

Because virtual schools are paid for by the public school systems, your child must be educated to those public school standards. In some states and localities, this means no religious instruction. For others it means mandatory sex education, for example. According to Kansashomeschool.org, “these programs clearly fall into the “free lunch” category, and whenever I am offered such a good deal, I am immediately suspicious. All of these programs raise serious issues, both for homeschoolers and for the taxpaying public in general; and homeschoolers in particular need to seriously reflect upon the consequences of being too deeply entangled in such programs.”

Personally, see can see the value of virtual schools, but…

Personally, see can see the value of virtual schools, especially for parents who find it difficult getting their kids to so as they ask. With virtual schools, the children know that the Teacher is expecting the work and therefore get it done. I however, even with accountability problems, will not use virtual public schools. My main reason for homeschooling was to give my children freedom. We felt they were spending too much time doing busy work, and not enough time thinking and following their own interests. To invite virtual schools into the home is to re-introduce more and more busy work, and less and less time for individual thought and experimentation. In my opinion, it will put a stranglehold on my kids.

My advice to parents:

My advice to parents seeking to use a virtual school for the positive reasons listed above; consider hiring a tutor to provide accountability for your kids, or using private virtual schools. Yes, what I am saying is pay for it yourself. I do not believe the loss of money is worth the loss of educational freedom.

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