By Ann Empfield
Every year I ask some of my high school students to write a persuasive essay that answers
the prompt, “Is the Internet a hero or a
villain?” As we discuss this question, we
list many advantages and disadvantages. The lists are fairly equal in length.
The Internet is certainly a tool that
can be used for evil, but as with any
tool, the user decides the outcome.
With proper safeguards, it can be
implemented to facilitate much good.
One way the Internet can be used to
promote good is through providing
quality online education. In this way,
the Internet benefits homeschooling
families as they seek the best ways to
educate their children.
Homeschoolers find many online class
options available in several different
formats. Some occur live, happening
in real time. Others are offered as
recorded lessons that can be viewed at
the student’s convenience. Some are
offered by online schools or colleges
that employ many teachers. Others are
offered independently by an instructor
specializing in a single subject.
In the past, accessing outside
instruction involved transporting your
child to a different location (unless an
instructor was willing to come to your
home). Today your child can receive
online lessons without the need to
disrupt the baby’s nap, delay supper,
or travel through snow and ice. This
readily available instruction can make
the difference between calm and chaos.
Online courses can provide relief for
parents by delivering offerings that are
used by children spanning multiple
ages. Pulled in many different directions, parents often find meeting every
child’s specific needs to be difficult.
Selecting one or more online courses
for older children can help alleviate this
problem while maintaining your ability
to administrate your child’s education.
While you are teaching a younger child
to read, an older child can be participating in a class on the computer.
By incorporating an online course,
everyone’s needs are simultaneously
In addition, certain subjects
can be daunting to teach, especially as
children enter the high school years.
Often, an area of study can fall through
the cracks because a parent just doesn’t
know how to approach teaching it.
Choosing an online instructor who is
more skilled to teach your weaker subjects brings aid and peace of mind. This
provides a more rounded education for
Another benefit derived from online
classes is that your child is accountable
to someone else. This can decrease
tension. No one enjoys having his or
her hard work critiqued. When parents
present analysis of their child’s schoolwork, it can be difficult for the child to
graciously accept this input. However,
the same analysis from a more distant
connection can be easier to swallow.
Outside accountability can also help
promote timeliness in completing