Today’s children are constantly learning and we can measure academic achievement far beyond test scores and graded papers. Children are curious and now have limitless opportunities to engage with the topics they’re interested in. Learning happens beyond the traditional classroom, and self-directed learners can significantly benefit from cyber schooling or unschooling instructional methods.
Cyber schooling and unschooling both provide the flexibility for creative, curious, and self-directed learners to thrive. However, they have fundamental differences that you must understand to choose the best fit for your family.
What Is Unschooling?
Some might describe unschooling as natural learning, experience-based learning, and individualized learning, but the short version is that unschooling happens freely and without the typical constructs of school. Rather than sending your kids to school or guiding them through the subjects at home, children learn by diving into topics that interest them.
Unschooling is more about the way that children learn instead of what they learn. For instance, they could spend days reading history books without ever touching a mathematical equation. However, this doesn’t mean children never see a textbook again. On the contrary, unschooling parents believe if children are interested in a subject, they will take the initiative to read those textbooks on their own.
Unschooling helps promote lifelong learning rather than suggesting that education has a starting and stopping point.
Parents who support unschooling tend to believe that children should be in control of their education outside of school. They understand that their children may move at a different pace than those in school, but believe they will get there when they’re interested, which creates a more natural approach to learning.
Exploring the Pros and Cons of Unschooling
Unschooling is a great opportunity for your child and it can be incredibly satisfying to watch as your child investigates the materials they’re interested in. Encouraging them to dive deeply into topics can lead them to find the information they may have never encountered in a traditional classroom.
If you value encouraging your child to search for what they find essential, unschooling could be the teaching method for you. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to this methodology.
Benefits of unschooling include:
- Giving children the freedom to learn what they’re interested in.
- Allowing children to guide themselves.
- Watching your child dive deeply into a subject they’re really passionate about.
- Providing a safe learning environment.
- Allowing your child to learn in whatever environment best suits them.
- Teaching your child family values.
- Encouraging individualized learning.
- Creating a flexible schedule outside of school.
Cons of unschooling include:
- Lacking institutional direction and peer-aligned standards
- Struggling to find the means to motivate your child to learn
- Receiving less opportunity for your child to interact with peers
- Finding it challenging to organize factual information
- Exposing yourself to social criticism
Is It Legal to Unschool a Child?
Unschooling is legal across the United States, but each state has various laws regarding this teaching method. Some states require a detailed record of academic progress, while others reinforce set requirements regarding subjects you must teach your child.
Although there may be subject requirements, you can usually find evidence of multiple subjects in various activities. For example, visiting a zoo or farm can be an excellent way to introduce elements of biology to your child. Playing with Lego bricks integrates math and engineering concepts, and watching historical fiction, such as movies about World War II or former presidents, can highlight important points in history.
Pennsylvania law requires parents to keep a detailed record of their child’s learning. Parents can create a portfolio to showcase what their child has completed and highlight pictures of their completed projects and educational pursuits. You can record all of the books your child has read, any field trips they take, the volunteer projects they take on, and any additional academic activities.
Unschooling vs. Cyber Schooling in PA
There are many reasons parents choose to take their child out of traditional school. Military families who are always on the move or children who struggle to engage in a conventional classroom can benefit from a personalized learning experience. Evaluating the pros and cons of unschooling and cyber schooling can help you determine which method is best for you and your child.
Cyber schooling is an educational route for your child to work independently while still having the assistance of instructors and administrators. Instead of meeting face-to-face, students enrolled in cyber schools can work from their computers. Cyber schools use multimedia and interactive technology to deliver assessments, worksheets, and online discussions.
Although there is structure to cyberlearning, your child will still have more personalized education options compared to a traditional public school.
How Are Personalized Learning Programs Different From Unschooling?
Commonwealth Charter Academy is a cyber charter school that thinks differently about education. While both programs provide the flexibility necessary for curious, creative, self-directed learners to thrive, personalized learning through CCA supports students with teacher facilitators to keep them on track, diverse experiences, social interaction to expand their experiences, and coaching relative to time, priority, and life management.
Today’s students are always learning — to think that only happens in traditional classrooms is outdated and underestimates the rich experiences of modern kids. Learning happens everywhere! CCA’s high-quality, flexible, personalized learning allows students to captain their own ship, tap into their entrepreneurial spirit, and lean toward career readiness like never before.
What Type of Socialization Opportunities Are Available to Cyber School Students?
CCA creates opportunities for socialization that model “how school should work.” Whether it’s in dynamic virtual classrooms with cutting-edge institutional technology, attending one of over 900 field trips, lab experiences, or camps, participating in robust postsecondary offerings, or dropping in just to chat at one of our Family Service Centers, our learners have abundant and creative socialization opportunities that work hand-in-hand with our hallmark flexibility.
CCA empowers learners to think outside the box as they grow to be socially responsible and productive citizens, so CCA thinks outside the box to provide unique experiences for every learner.
What to Know About CCA’s Personalized Learning Programs
Some cyber schools will offer more opportunities for your child than others. At CCA, we provide family and student resources, create personalized learning curricula, and offer plenty of socialization opportunities such as field trips, school clubs, activities, and mobile classrooms for children to interact with their peers in a fun and educational setting around Pennsylvania.
We also integrate many of the benefits of unschooling into our program, so your child can direct themselves in a safe environment while still having the necessary resources to stay on track and challenge them further.
An authentic cyber schooling experience provides children with flexibility and enriching experiences from the comfort of their own home, on the road, or in any other location that best suits them. Still, you should always weigh the pros and cons of virtual learning to ensure your child will benefit from this learning environment.
Begin Your Personalized Learning Journey at Commonwealth Charter Academy
CCA recognizes that every child learns at their own pace yet the traditional education system expects them to learn at the same rate. We enable learners to master skills and take opportunities as they see fit to create a more beneficial learning experience.
You can easily request more information about cyberlearning with CCA or enroll your child today and experience our dynamic learning environment for yourself. We want to unlock your child’s passion for learning and prepare them to become leaders in their communities. We know education is about more than academics, and we can’t wait to see what your child can do.