Homeschooling : A Viable Option in a Tech Era

Homeschooling : a Viable Option in a Tech Era
Photo credit: Megan Peters, Crazy Bananas Creative Studio

If you’re the parent of a school-aged child, you’ve probably been affected by government budget cuts to your local teaching institutions. I live on the Kansas side of the state line, and recently our governor cut the public school and higher education budget by $44.5 million! And like many throughout the nation, our somewhat overcrowded classrooms and lower school budget have led my husband and I to several discussions about options regarding our children’s education. One option that we’ve been researching is homeschooling our kids. I’m a working parent, as is my husband, so homeschooling never seemed like a viable option for us. Neither of us have a teaching background or education degree, so we always assumed homeschooling wouldn’t fit in our family plan.

However, the tide is changing on the homeschooling front. What was once seen as an option primarily for those with religious or other objections to a public education, is now becoming more mainstream, especially among parents with a technology or creative background. Between 1999 and 2012, the number of children being homeschooled in the U.S. doubled. My husband is a tech entrepreneur and I’m a writer and photographer. Both of us did well in school, but we struggled with the conformed way of learning that is practiced by most teaching institutions, including standardized testing. What we learned in school has not necessarily led to our success as entrepreneurs. Instead, real world training and problem solving has been much more beneficial to our careers.

This is where the idea of homeschooling starts to sound pretty dreamy. I imagine teaching my kids the skills they will need to succeed in a world that doesn’t care what your score is on a standardized test. Advances in technology, and our ability to utilize that technology, makes it possible for me to run a home classroom without a teaching degree. Due to the internet, information can be accessed anywhere, anytime. All you need is a smartphone, tablet or computer and you have a wealth of resources at your fingertips. Online schools such as the Khan Academy, provide workbooks and tutorials to help homeschooling parents guide their children along. Learning apps and games can be downloaded for a few dollars (or sometimes even for free!) and can be accessed wirelessly. Sites such as BrainPop offer yearly subscriptions, giving educators access to games, videos and information that aligns with U.S. teaching and learning standards. You can find a comprehensive list of 100 top websites and games for homeschoolers here.

The web also assists in one of the biggest purported issues plaguing homeschooling children and parents; the issue of connection. The isolation of homeschooling is quickly remedied by online support groups and mentoring. You can also use sites like The Homeschool Lounge to find co-ops or homeschool groups in your area. These groups can provide socialization, shared learning experiences, field trips and more, giving homeschooling parents and children a community of like-minded families. Local museums and learning centers may have on site and web-based programs for homeschooled children and families. For example, The Nelson-Atkins Museum holds special classes and workshops for homeschooling families. The Kansas City Zoo’s “When Science Attacks” program features hands-on science classes for homeschooled children once a week.

While we are still undecided on whether homeschooling is the right choice for our family, I must admit, it’s a much more viable option than just a few years ago! It may not be the solution for every family, but with technological advances and the ability of parents to freely utilize these high tech tools, it’s definitely an idea worth investigating!

Megan Peters
Megan Peters is a mother, writer, photographer, designer and blogger, based in the Lenexa/Overland Park area (she lives right on the city line, so it depends who you ask!). She is known as mama to 4-year-old Tate and 9-year-old Lucy, and has been married for almost 10 years to her husband, Trent. Megan began blogging in 2004, and her website,, has been online ever since! In 2015, Megan quit her day job and founded Crazy Bananas Creative Studio, an all-inclusive creative company. Part of the studio includes her photography business, which focuses on images of families, children and babies. In 2015, she opened her first photography gallery show, "The Phoenix Project" in conjunction with the Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence, Kansas. She was the South Mass Street Art Guild's Artist of the Month in June 2015. She also is an instructor for Hive Workshops, teaching creatives how blogging can build their business. Megan writes all over the internet about parenting, technology, style pop culture, and being a working mother. Her loves (other than her family, of course!) include Doctor Who, the color orange, pie, and Britney Spears.


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