Thanks, Google! Homeschool Co-ops Going Hi-Tech
by Dave Dentel • May 30, 2018
Tech giant Google announced last week that it is working with Home School Legal Defense Association to make its popular education software available to homeschool groups.
In a blog post on its company website written by HSLDA Staff Attorney Darren Jones, Google revealed that in a few weeks it will begin accepting applications from homeschool co-ops to use its G Suite for Education.
The announcement represents a major change in policy. Previously Google allowed only accredited schools to use the software.
Jones contacted Google last summer after hearing from several homeschool co-op administrators who were hoping to gain access to G Suite.
“We worked for almost a year to come up with a way that Google could make its software available to co-ops while avoiding fraudulent claims,” said Jones. “They really wanted to do this.”
Details will be released soon explaining how homeschool co-ops can verify their status for Google.
Jones added that he appreciates Google’s responsiveness to homeschoolers.
“This is a good example of how companies can change with the times by recognizing that excellent education occurs in places other than traditional schools,” he said.
When Change is Good
In his blog post for Google, Jones pointed out how collaborative web-based teaching and communication tools can provide a real boon for homeschoolers who wish to use them.
He wrote: “Back in the 1980s, when I was being homeschooled, I was in one of these co-ops, learning geography, algebra and drama together with friends who were also learning at home. We’d meet for a lesson once a week, but it wasn’t really possible to interact with the teacher once we got home. There was certainly no opportunity for us students to collaborate with our co-op teachers online!”
Google’s software changes that. G Suite for Education bundles several applications—including Gmail, Google Classroom, Google Docs and Drive, Google Calendar and more—that lets students and teachers interact seamlessly and securely across devices.
A few homeschool co-ops are already testing the software. According to Google, Jen Crom of the Partnership Homeschool Educational Association of Minnesota has found that using G Suite saves her time and helps her students improve their work. It has the added benefit of equipping students with skills they need in the digital age.
For more information contact Darren Jones at HSLDA.