video based schooling

What is one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling? Family. Getting to spend time with your children. Teaching them about the wonders of the world around them.

Yet there are getting to be a number of internet/CD/DVD/video based school programs out there. I even use one for math and art. However,  they aren’t my full program. Even with them, I sill do most of the teaching. The videos just help introduce the lessons. These programs aren’t the focus of this post.

This is dealing with the several video based programs where the video IS the lesson. There is little parent interaction. Some of them are just videos of regular classrooms doing the lesson and the homeschool students follow along.

Since they are video based, they would be best suited to a visual or auditory learner. My son is a very kinesthetic hands-on learner. He’s watched some of these program demonstrations and was lost. He just couldn’t sit still long enough (part of the reason we homeschool). He was very bored. He needs more stimulation than a video can give. For this reason, interactive internet or computer based programs are slightly better than just videos because the more senses you can involve, the better the information is retained.

Depending upon how closely you stick to the video school, these programs don’t offer much flexibility.  You move at a pace determined by someone who doesn’t know your child and likely has never met you. The ability to interact with the instructor is almost non-existent. The exception is some internet based courses (usually high school and science) done with video link to live classrooms. Or perhaps high school students who choose this instruction style for themselves. I would not use exclusively these programs in elementary grades.

I wonder if these kids are getting the full benefits of homeschooling. It seems more like just school at home which isn’t quite the same thing. How do they ask the teacher questions? Some have an e-mail or 800-phone number to call. That’s just not the same as individual, parent-directed homeschooling. I wonder if these kids would be better in a private school that used the same curriculum? Sure, it would likely cost a little more, but they would have more live teacher interaction. Or better yet, get the books and materials  then teach it yourself.

The parents of these students are passing up a wonderful opportunity. How can sitting in front of a screen (tv or computer) looking at a recording be better than a live person? Sure it’s easy for the parent. The parent doesn’t have to do much because the parent isn’t the teacher. They have just substituted a video school teacher in the place of a public school teacher. It isn’t true homeschooling.

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2 Responses

  1. Excellent post, I have often wondered why parent’s will pull their kids out of a classroom only to stick them in front of a video of another classroom.

    btw I’ve enjoyed reading your blog,

  2. Ethan,
    Thanks for checking back. It does seem like an oxymoron. I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog.

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