Students that start out in public or private school environments may have trouble transitioning to a home education classroom where they are the only individual involved in studying. Instead of a classroom of peers, they are learning their lessons on an electronic device with a long-distance instructor. This turn in social environments can be a welcoming change for those that have been bullied or where peer pressure has become a distraction to their education. On the other hand, it can also cause depression and a void for the student because of their personality and need for engagement. Parents should be aware of this and work with their child to get them involved in extracurricular activities, clubs, local community organizations or home school forums where they can have this need met without compromising their education.
Another potential struggle associated with an online homeschool is the long-distance instruction instead of a physically present teacher in the room. For younger students, parents can take on this responsibility by becoming a part or full-time teacher using the online or hard textbook curriculum provided by the homeschool program. It is recommended from Kindergarten through 2nd grade to use this approach if possible and then help the student transition to the online portal and get familiar with this method of learning. Parents can monitor the progress and decide the best time/grade to make this switch so that students are able to work more independently from them and utilize the professional resources available through the homeschool platform.
Students often find themselves developing skills such as time management and self-discipline but the beginning stages can be challenging if parents aren’t part of the process. Students that are homeschooled starting in the early elementary years are able to develop these skills as they engage more and more with the online portal. They become familiar with the expectations, the online lesson planner and they develop self-study skills so they can accomplish the necessary work with positive grade results while making time for their other interests. Teenagers who make the switch to homeschooling in junior high or high school may have some of these skills but they are used to being held accountable by a teacher and possibly their peers. When this goes away, parents can help to fill the gap to an extent but the student still has to make the transition to holding themselves accountable to get the work done and stick to the recommended schedule to avoid falling behind.
One of the unexpected challenges that can come with online homeschool students is the flexibility this approach is known for and often chosen because of this benefit. The ability to make your own schedule and do work when you want to can be overwhelming for some students who find that too much freedom is not a good thing. Parents can find a balance within the flexibility by creating a firm schedule for each student that maximizes their ‘best time to study’ and makes sense within the family dynamics. For some students this can mean an early start time so they have the evening for sports, hanging with friends or getting to bed earlier for rest. Others prefer a later classroom time because they enjoy the evening hours and perform better when they can sleep in and then get to their studies. Each family has to work together to determine the best coordination of responsibilities and flexibility so if something unexpected comes up then the schedule can be adjusted without falling behind in the course work.
Family time can actually become a challenge especially for teenagers who, at that age, are looking to be more independent and have greater freedom. Parents need to be sensitive to these needs in that there should be time set aside for student to accomplish their studies with assistance as needed and then freedom to pursue interests and activities outside the home. This is where homeschool forums can be a great support because they can plan group field trips, put together special events like a prom or formal for the students and provide a connection for these students to socialize and discuss their experience from a similar point of view.
The majority of students who are asked about their views on homeschooling offer positive comments and express satisfaction in this approach to education. They realize the benefits of not having to deal with peer pressure, safety concerns and the ability to take control of their schedule and education based on their unique learning style. However, every student will face challenges regardless of where they attend school so it is important to understand the signs and for parents to have open communication with their children so these can be discussed as soon as they develop. There is a solution for every struggle especially with the support from a quality online homeschool program that has professional staff to assist in documentation/records, teaching and even helping high school students develop a custom path to graduation so they can attend the school of their choice.