My wife and I have four children and we homeschool them. People often ask us if that is difficult, with the kids there all the time. We usually respond by pointing out the benefits of home schooling.
And there are many, many benefits to home schooling our children. There might be more expenses involved than just sending them to public school, since the government has already captured our tax dollars. But homeschooling is cheaper than sending them to private school and we know exactly what we are getting.
We don’t have to get the kids up early and get them ready to go. They can learn at their own natural pace, rather than struggling to keep up with or being slowed down by the class. We don’t have to pack lunches for them in advance or pay for lousy cafeteria food. Much of the school day at public schools is filler; we can cut that out.
Any school violence is handled by saying “Son, stop hitting your sister!” And there are no disruptions or penalties if we decide to take the whole family from New Hampshire to Florida for a few months in the winter, which is awesome.
The bottom line is that home schooling allows us to fit education around our family’s life rather than the other way around.
But having said all that, yes, there are difficulties that are common to home schooling parents everywhere. Often, we know exactly what they need to learn, and proceed to teach them. But we don’t always have the subject competency that we would like to teach our children.
The way that most homeschooling families handle this is by banding together. We form co-ops to help our children learn and socialize together. This allows us to use the expertise of other parents to fill in what we lack and it allows us to seek out resources — from online classes to specialized tutoring and teaching — together.
Homeschooling co-ops have become such a big deal that Google is even taking notice. It will soon be making a resource called G Suite for Education available to co-ops like mine, helping to further close the resource gap between public schools and folks who have to create school from scratch.
G Suite for education is a suite, or bundle, of tools — a little bit like Microsoft Office, but it’s free and much more internet-based. These tools include Google Drive and Docs, Calendar, Gmail and Google Classroom. As someone who uses Google tools extensively in his business, I am very happy that my children will soon be able to use the same tools and more to further their educations.
This new tool should make it easier for them to get individual instruction from teachers over the internet, organize, collaborate with other co-op classmates when they aren’t in the same place, and do all kinds of things I couldn’t even dream of doing at their age. It’s wonderful to see the opportunities available to this generation of homeschoolers.
Google takes a lot of flak for its policies in other areas, but good on the company for making this happen.