EDUCATION VOL.1, NO.13 – An Online Education for Every Age

It is possible for whole families to obtain a formal education, online. Point of fact, there are pathways that would allow a student to travel K-12 and through graduate school, never having set foot in a school building.

Meet OnlineSchools.org, a site that claims the most extensive database of accredited online schools on the Internet. More than a collection of databases, OnlineSchools offers an array of guides to help visitors make critical decisions about education, enroll if that is their choice, and to some extent, stay on track.

Online educations began with continuing education, entities sharing information and picking up continuing education credits. Higher education programs have existed since the seventies. But online education opportunities for elementary students is relatively new. Today there are accredited online schools for elementary, middle school, high school, college and graduate students. As of this writing, there are 138 online elementary schools listed in the database, each ripe for exploration.

Is an exclusive online education right for your child? I can’t answer that. My inclination is to say that if you live near good schools your children should go there. To deny them the potential for life-long friendships seems counterproductive to their future. But there are, in some situations, compelling reasons to consider alternatives.

I’ve written about disruptive innovation in the classroom. It is coming. It is inevitable, and I hope we get it right. Homeschool parents, as well as public and private educators, should all be continually evaluating and integrating online curricula. In the case of a homeschooling, the structure of an online curriculum can make all the difference. I especially appreciate the pass and repeat capabilities of online educations, when done right. Online education are not only for parents. Public and private schools wrestling with budgets, outcomes or both, should continually explore these options.

How do adults learn about everything from product features to politics? We go online. Many of us practically live there. So an online education is not so far removed from the way we live. But I can tell you from my experience as a writer, that it is lonely sometimes sitting by my computer, day in and day out. I long for touch, gesture, the presence of you, my friends and acquaintances.

As the Buddha often said, follow the middle way. Find the right path. Today, that right path meanders through two camps – traditional education on one side, an e-based education on the other. It is important that proponents in both camps remain open to new ideas and knowledgeable about what is available. Right now, one of the best databases for exploring e-based educations, is OnlineSchools.org.

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