Do you ever feel like your parenting plight is like a script from a Hollywood movie as far as your child’s educational options? As a military spouse of seventeen years, my friend often felt like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. While trying to physically, academically, emotionally, socially, financially, and psychologically navigate the nuances of raising her children she navigated the twisters of deployments, erratic schedules, and other unique challenges facing military families. In sum, online home school programs for students k-12 can serve as the “Emerald City” for educational needs facing this important population.
Ease on the Down the Educational Road: Flexibility
First, the main rationale for an online homeschool program involves the flexibility that it offers all learners, a trait that military families especially appreciate. As my husband prepares to deploy to Qatar this upcoming Saturday, I sadly realize how he will miss my daughters’ first official days of school during his service. It’s time to channel my inner Dorothy and remain resilient!
Speaking of resilience and flexibility, online homeschool programs enable families to accommodate their personal needs, allow you to work at your own pace, and freedom that traditional education programs never could. A recent article by Classen, Horn, & Palmer (2019) found that military students are often a highly neglected demographic in mainstream, traditional school approaches. Thus, the use of online programs could ensure more individualized attention, a family-centered approach that military members cherish, and even more reliable data and recordkeeping as far as transportable documentation. Make the Tin Man shine and “ease on the down educational road” with online homeschooling as your new GPS!
Lion Heart: Cultivating Courage and Character Education
Next, online homeschooling can better cultivate moral, ethical, civic, and character education due to the personalized nature of the lessons. Students can yield more affective learning because there’s more time to target lifelong lessons, without the over emphasis on test preparation that’s often prevalent in traditional school approaches.
To add an additional caveat, those who are interested in embedding more religious perspectives have greater opportunities to find curricular connections and crossovers within an online home school program because of the increased flexibility and more ample time advantages associated with the online paradigm.
A Rainbow of Responsibility and Creativity
Just as the vibrant colors of the movie illuminate, allow your kids to accrue more responsibility and creativity through a home school program. Contrary to the myths that home school parents coddle and helicopter, research contends how the opposite is true: “Kids in conventional educational [settings] have very little responsibility, because ultimately the school, the teacher, or the curriculum designer is given credit for kids’ success or failure. In self-directed education, the learner is making all the decisions, so they get all the credit for their own success or failure. That is responsibility” (McDonald, 2018, p. 7).
While I’m certainly not encouraging you to have your kiddos hang out with weird, eccentric characters like flying monkeys and scarecrows, it’s evident that students can gain more autonomy over their own learning when they participate in online home school programs from a young age-onward.
Creativity, real world relevance, and motivation are also major “rainbows” associated with online home school options. Research also depicts how online programs hone “around what the kids wanted to learn about” (McDonald, 2018, p. 6). Kids have more time to participate in music, art, dance, and other imaginative extensions and applications in online home
school programs. Marital arts, STEM, yoga, or ceramics, anyone?
Likewise, an interesting study by Jackson (2013) adamantly praised online home school programs for helping not only struggling students, those who are ESL/ELL, but also gifted, introverted, and possess special needs like OCD, ADD/ADHD, etc. One parent commented how it specifically allowed her child “to soar, not get bored, and to develop his talents and interests” (Jackson 2013, p 9). Let your kids’ true colors shine with online home schooling!
Ruby Slippers: Stress Management and Mental Health Merits
Lastly, like the dazzling ruby slippers that empowered and protected Dorothy, think of an online homeschool program as your child’s, tween’s, or teen’s pair of ruby red slippers, boots, flip flops, or sneakers against stress and mental health woes and “witches.”
Studies consistently confirm how military families often experience greater stress levels related to their unique circumstances, so home-based psychoeducational materials helped in one study to promote more positive, proactive attachment-based parenting and child education curricula, more peer support among parents, and increased connectedness among families to additional services (https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-26919-001). Remember, “There’s no place like home!”