The decision to home school your child is a significant one, with meaningful consequences in the present and in the future. Whatever your reasons for choosing to educate your child at home -- be it security concerns, social issues, or lack of quality educational options -- it is important to understand that a good education requires many resources. Some of these, such as textbooks, can be ordered relatively easily. But other resources, even some you might take for granted, can be difficult to obtain. One primary example is broadband Internet, which is not always available in rural areas.
Unfortunately, the lack of availability of broadband Internet can have a dramatic impact on the quality of a home school educational program. Access to the unparalleled allotment of learning tools the Internet provides can help make up for the gap in resources between a state- or tuition-funded school and a home school classroom. While regular classrooms have the ability to bring in guest speakers, doing so in the home school context can be difficult or near impossible, so presenting information from the Internet helps broaden the range of information that homeschoolers can learn. Additionally, rural homeschoolers do not typically have the opportunity to access educational facilities such as museums or traveling exhibits, as those tend not to be located in rural areas.
One of the primary advantages of broadband Internet access is that it allows interaction with people around the world. This can help students gain a new perspective without having to travel, which is particularly relevant for rural students, who might not have the opportunity to travel outside the confines of their communities due to the area's remoteness. With broadband Internet access, video conferencing and Internet pen-pals become a reality, so learning about different places and developing fluency in varying languages is much easier. The interactive nature of video conferencing and other Internet communications helps make the courses more interesting, so children are more likely to pay attention and get more out of the experience.
High-speed broadband Internet access is also important for ensuring that homeschooled students have access to the latest information. News can travel slowly in rural areas, and sometimes textbooks are not updated with the most current information due to the slow nature of the publishing process. Thankfully, broadband Internet access eliminates that issue and allows for exploration of current news topics around the world. This facilitates investigation real-world examples of concepts learned in every subject, which can improve learning and foster an appreciation for the finer points of education.
Though high-speed Internet access may be taken for granted in many areas, it is not frequently available in rural areas. This presents unique problems for home school classrooms, as the Internet is a particularly valuable educational resource.