In Michigan, there has been a highly advertised online public school option called K-12. This is a state funded program that allows students to take classes and receive certified education tuition free. The idea being that it offers parents and student more choice. The ads might feature a child who was bullied or a child that is pictured excelling beyond average. With any education option, there needs an examination of the basics of education.
There are many educational theories in how people learn. One aspect to any education program is experience. What kind of experience does a child have learning at home online? Many adults have become comfortable with online colleges, but it would be hasty to make direct comparisons. For one, adults have multiple channels for interaction and very different reasons for working on their education online.
Adults might have a job that makes it difficult or have children that take up their time. Post-secondary schools of all kinds have accommodated student with schedule conflicts with online classes. The life of a child is very different. A job for instance should not be the main focus of a child, obviously not even a consideration for children too young to work. They typically lack the freedom to move and explore the world on their own. Most school aged children cannot drive and because they do not have a job they lack the money to explore the world in a meaningful way.
Part of any well rounded education serves a way for students to explore the world of things, ideas, or creativity. Education should not be compartmentalized or cut off from these experiences. This is where going to a school building makes sense. Children learn from the teacher, but also from the world of experience from each other. Students encounter diversity not only of race, gender, or ethnicity, but of perspective, language, and personality.
It is admitted that not all the experiences that happen within a school are positive. Sometimes things happen in schools which no one intends. Incidences of bullying, for instance, can happen beyond the watch of the school's eye. Interaction with rival clicks, not knowing the answer to a question in front of the class, or an embarrassment in the hallway are just some of the hardships of going to any school. Yet just because things are hard does not justify avoidance. The world relies on interaction. Employment usually has the interview as the first step. Students learn from both positive and negative experiences, the key to education is how we react to these experiences.
In some rare cases, when a child finds going to school a horrible experience day in and day out, time away may be beneficial. This might be one use of at home online education because it helps to keep the student from falling behind. The overall inclination should be for a student to explore their education with their peers, in a classroom with other students, going to a face to face human interaction school.
Anytime technology enters the innovation of education there must be a reminder of the experience of the student and if this experience serves the student well. Full time at home online education does not serve as an ideal experience because in the life of a child the school is the vehicle to experiencing the world.