Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Pro's And Con's Of Being On-Line

I was sitting here tonight remembering back to when my husband and I first began homeschooling our children. The year was 1998 and we did not even own a computer. (gasp) That just seems shocking since my whole life seems to revolve around this beautiful white machine sitting on top of my counter. I love the freedom it has given me!

Do you remember life without your computer? Everything had to take place by phone, mail or in person. Simple things we do in our home today were not so simple back then. Checking out books in the old days meant driving to my local library and going through a card catalog to find specific subjects. If a book was checked out I could put it on hold and hope that it was in the next time I visited. Now I can go on-line and check out my books ahead of time. If they’re not in, I can reserve them and it will notify me via e-mail when they arrive at my local branch.

I remember in the early days of our homeschool, having to purchase curriculum and hope for the best. Today I can go to a vendor’s website and print off samples to preview before making a decision. One of my favorite aspects of on-line living is on-line learning. My children use an on-line curriculum called Time4Learning Inc,that allows them to simply go to the website, type in their password and do their work. It keeps all their records and scores for me so that I am able to take care of my home, run errands and live my life without being bogged down in details.

When my boys were young I believe that on-line discussion forums and cyber communities saved my life. In the midst of diapers and algebra I could go online to talk with other moms who were in the same season of life I was. It wasn’t easy to get out with little ones, but my computer allowed me to leave for short breaks during the day and talk with other adults.

Lastly, I have found e-mail to be the BEST part of being on-line. With four growing boys and a busy life I cannot always take calls when they come in and then when I try to return a phone call I will end up having to leave a message as well. E-mail allows me the freedom to communicate at any hour during the day. It allows me time to stop and thing through my communication which frees me up to live my life.

Now in the title I said, “Pro’s and CON’S”. There are con’s to being on-line. I do think sometimes it’s easy to get in such a habit of sending thing via e-mail that I forget the personalization of a phone call or hand written letter. It is possible to open your home and invite people in that you don’t really know. But with both of these examples it is simply taking the time to evaluate personal attention in relationships as well as personal safety for your home. How about YOU? What do you love or dislike about being on-line?

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