Tremors are building in the online education world. I've noticed them for about a year now and haven't paid much attention. But it's becoming harder to ignore the complaints against Khan Academy. Personally, I've never watched one of his videos. As an editor, the idea of listening to a guy present unrehearsed and uncut for 10-15 minutes is painful. Plus, I'm not looking to revisit trig at this time.
While educators debate the merits of Khan's claims, others are looking to the past as they try to see the future of free online college courses. Do such classes work? How can we tell? What should we do differently? How should educators utilize these tools?
As a homeschool parent, you get to customize your school day to fit your children's needs. You can tweak your schedule to jump ahead in subjects your kids get and take time to really focus on an idea if a student is struggling. You can also find resources that resonate with each student. Unlike teachers who are, naturally, stuck trying to find the best resources for the greatest number of students, you can find the tools that work for each of your kids. As an example, we offer several handwriting and math programs that meet unique needs. You can find the one that works best for each child.
Personally, I'm enthralled with the prospect of excellent free online classes (I've even to created my own free film courses). I love finding quick tutorials online. I often share TED Talks and other fascinating things I notice on your blogs. I glance at youtube.com/edu and iTunes U every now and again. All these are potentially really helpful resources.
But for how great they are, they will never replace you.
Indeed, I'm convinced these resources work best when you are involved in the content with your children. You are so important because of your expertise in your children's learning. You know--and are learning--how your children learn best. And even if a web video can convey information to billions of people around the world, you can snuggle up next to your children and help them apply these ideas to their lives.
By doing so, you can help your students soar no matter what's happening in the trenches of education.
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester
P.S. If you're looking for some ideas on how to improve your homeschool experience, check out some of the educational videos we've posted on our YouTube Homeschool Helps playlist.