Interview with an American homeschooling mother

According to the topic of our seminar course: „New media in school education“ I wanted to know how the new technologies are used in education in the US. I have friends living in Florida who do not attend a regular school. Instead they are taught at home by their mother. That type of education is called homeschooling. I was interested in how they use new media (like Computers/Tablets, Internet, etc.) in their homeschooling classes, so I interviewed their mother.

How would you describe Homeschool to a person who has never heard of it before?

„Homeschool is when parents teach their kids at home as an alternative to public school.“

Why did you decide to homeschool your kids?

„The reasons people homeschool vary greatly, but for us, we wanted to be able to teach our kids what we thought was important, incorporating our beliefs and worldviews. We didn’t like the idea of someone else deciding that for us. We also like being able to adjust to individual learning styles instead of a “one size fits all” that the typical classroom requires.“

What type of media is used for homeschooling in the US?

„There are many people who do all their homeschooling on the computer. They attend a virtual school – where they sit in front of the screen and see and hear and interact with their teacher like they were right there in the classroom. Or they sit and read and take tests online with absolutely no interaction. There are many very good courses you can take on the computer – an excellent resource.

But I homeschool “classically”. We mostly use books – textbooks and workbooks, but we rely on the internet for research papers and newspapers for world events. „

What type of media do you use during the lessons?

„In the beginning, they had a video of their math lesson and then they applied what they learned in a corresponding math workbook. All the kids do at least one class online – where they either read online material and take tests online, or they are involved in an online classroom with a group. And if during a lesson a question comes up, we google the answer.“

On an average how much do the kids use iPads or the computer to study?

„When the kids were young we used an app which was for review and helped them to memorize tons of facts on history, science, math, geography, English and Latin grammar. But now, I would say they use their devices very little for study. They do use their computers to write papers.“

Have there been issues to keep the kids focused and not be distracted by other things like games, YouTube, Social Media…?

„Definitely. The kids will often do school in their rooms. Their phones are handy. Their friends text, snapchat, and Instagram message them. On their “breaks” they get on YouTube and Social Media and don’t realize they just wasted one hour instead of 15 minutes.“

In your opinion did your kids learn faster than other kids who attended public school?

„Do their minds process the information more quickly than school kids?  That, I couldn’t say. Every child is different, every subject is different. Sometimes my kids can catch on quickly and sometimes not. Because one of my kids is dyslexic, reading takes him longer, but he is probably quicker at catching on to verbal instruction.

If my kids are “smarter” than some public school kids, it is not because of the use of technical devices.  It’s because of the type of curriculum that we use. I use quality reading material instead of popular literature. We study Latin, which is the basis of many languages, not just one, and it is a very logical language, which trains the brain to think. We study important historical events and not a selected few. We have a wonderful homeschool community where the kids and parents get together to learn – and we have an excellent science teacher. But not all my kids work hard. The drawback of homeschooling is they aren’t competing with classmates for good grades.“

I want to express my thanks to my friends´ mom for taking the time for this interview!

Bis bald
Deine Bananenkanone 🙂

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