Once you have decided that you are going to continue your child’s education through an online medium of instruction, it can be difficult to get your head around the criticisms of online education. Let us inspect the common criticisms parents get to hear about online education.
Accreditation or the lack of it:
Are you looking at an organisation that has proper accreditation in place? It isn’t difficult to find out the answer if you do a little search online. Organisations that are serious about their businesses will have their paperwork in place and will be happy to share the same if asked about it. So yes, while you need to be aware of this, you can easily find out if the online school has its paperwork in place.
Quality of Teaching:
You cannot be 100% assured about the quality of teaching but you could ask for a look into the classes (where you join as an onlooker) or demo classes to figure out how the teaching really is. It might not give you a perfect idea but you will definitely get a sense of the teaching methodology, the depth of the material used and also the teaching style.
Lack of Face-to-Face interaction:
This can be a serious issue for some toddlers and some platforms and might not be an issue with others. The fact is, children have different learning styles and they also adapt very quickly. In case face-to-face interaction is an important factor for your child, you might need to look for a platform that maximises on screen video time by allowing PIP mode video etc. Also, classes with a higher teacher to student ratio will be a better option for your child.
Increased Screen Time and Workload:
If increased screen time is your concern along with the increasing work load faced by your child consider schools that are shifting to the concept of flipped classroom where teachers oversee homework or projects rather than instructing them during class. This works especially well for the online medium of instruction. This will ensure that classes are shorter and not monotonous while reducing screen time.
It will increase the work that students need to do by themselves, but that will be managed because the class time itself will be reduced.
Demands Self-Discipline and Parental Involvement:
Yes, online classes do demand a higher level of self-discipline simply because students are not really meeting and discussing their successes and failures with their peer groups. This is the only thing that’s different from the real-life schooling situation. This can be compensated by being more involved as parents. You don’t have to do their homework or projects for them, but do ask them regularly what they are learning and what projects they are making. Ask them to show you the project requirements and make them explain what they could do successfully and what did not work. Also, be in touch with the teachers and let your inputs be known, especially inputs about your child’s learning process.
Of course, at the end of it, you also need to see the picture as a whole and perhaps compromise a little on the hands-on experience of real-life schools; after all your kid won’t be getting their hands dirty on a school playground and won’t be scraping their knees in a tussle with other kids, which are all a big part of growing up. But you will lose little and maybe gain much more if you can provide a place and opportunity for physical play for your child at home or among a close community of friends.