In recent years, homeschooling has become especially pronounced. In the United States, government data shows that the number of homeschooled students more than doubled over a period of just eight years.
Whatever the reason is, it’s clear that more and more parents are finding homeschooling attractive. This raises an important question: What’s the best way to ensure that the homeschooling experience is engaging, enjoyable, and optimized for educational achievement?
For many tutors and teachers, the use of a virtual classroom is one of the most effective ways to enhance the learning experience.
Let’s take a closer look at virtual classrooms and how they can be leveraged to improve the homeschooling process.
The Evolution of the Homeschooling Experience
A generation ago, homeschooled students were taught by parents who would make use of paper textbooks, public libraries, and other related resources to round out the curriculum. This wasn’t an ideal scenario since even well-educated parents don’t have enough expertise in all subject matters. With just a single parent teaching, the process was also highly labor intensive, making it a demanding experience for tutors.
As homeschooling has grown and evolved, parents began creating tutoring groups to share the burden of teaching and allow students to get a wider range of expertise from their instructors. For example, a parent or tutor trained in medicine could teach biology while a parent trained in engineering could teach math. This made the learning process more efficient.
See Also: Should I Homeschool My Kids?
Technology, too, has had a critical impact on homeschooling. The days of exclusively using dusty textbooks and libraries are over. Today, tutors can use a wide range of digital tools to reach out to homeschooled students. This makes the learning process more engaging, efficient and effective.
Virtual classrooms have the most impact out of these tools and here’s why:
Face-to-face instruction at home
For the uninitiated, a virtual classroom is simply an online version of a physical classroom. Students and tutors log on to an online learning platform where they can interact with each other, share video and audio and take online courses. Students and tutors interact face-to-face in real time and can collaborate closely to achieve educational goals.
Today’s students are comfortable in online environments. In fact, they do well with digital learning tools. Advanced virtual classrooms offer tutors access to comprehensive online teaching features, allowing them to craft highly engaging, student-centered courses.
They also offer social features that keep students focused and in a collaborative frame of mind. They also have tracking tools that allow tutors to monitor student progress as it unfolds. If a student begins to fall behind, a tutor can quickly intervene and correct the course.
Scale and access are also key virtual classroom advantages for both tutors and learners. Because virtual classrooms offer a global reach (tutors can log in from anywhere and conduct a lesson), they represent a powerful tool for expanding a student’s access to high-quality education.
Virtual classrooms also play a key role in connecting people. Many of these platforms include services where tutors can advertise their specialties. Parents can then contact them to arrange lessons.
Those involved in the homeschooling process are often motivated by strong beliefs. For those who live in smaller communities, it may be difficult to find others who share the same motivations. Being separated from the educational community can be isolating and that is where virtual classrooms fit.
They play a key role in connecting people who share similar beliefs and who seek to form their educational communities around the same principles.
The balance between diversity and like-mindedness
We’ve talked about the power of establishing a tutoring group. While this offers tons of benefits, it’s not always easy to find like-minded or qualified people in a given community.
Even in a large, well-organized group, there are often gaps in expert knowledge. Virtual classrooms can end this problem permanently. With the use of a digital platform with global reach, teaching experts are just a few keystrokes away.
Win-win for tutors and students
Tutors who live in areas where their specialty knowledge may not always be in demand can use virtual classrooms to ensure a steady stream of business. In this sense, virtual classrooms play an essential role in connecting homeschooled students with the best and brightest tutors.
Anyone who is involved with homeschooling knows about the dual roles parents fill. That role can expand, however, through the use of a virtual classroom. Many parents have found that their expertise is a valuable market commodity. By using an online learning platform, they can share that expertise with other learners and become part of a global group of educators.
For a variety of reasons, homeschooling continues to surge in popularity. Fortunately for today’s tutors, parents and students, virtual classrooms are making the process easier, more engaging, and more effective than ever before.
Additionally, thanks to the truly global scale of today’s virtual classrooms, tutors have access to an ever-growing marketplace where demand for their expertise is rising. As homeschooling continues to grow in popularity, virtual classrooms will become even more powerful and refined, making them a tool of critical importance for global educators.
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Shivani is Content Manager at WizIQ – an EdTech company that offers online learning delivery platform to businesses and educators. She writes about eLearning, education technology and the role of cloud in education. Follow WizIQ on Twitter and LinkedIn.