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Online Schooling vs Homeschooling

Online Schooling vs Homeschooling

Discovering the right choice for your education

The options for a child’s education have multiplied over the years. Since 2020, alternate methods of schooling have exploded. Families want the best for their students, and more and more are finding that public, private, charter or other brick-and-mortar schools don’t always fit. 

Parents considering online schooling or homeschooling should be aware of the differences. Online school and homeschool aren’t interchangeable words. Online schooling, led by certified teachers and staff, is a leading option for families looking for an accredited program. Using this option, students will graduate with a high school diploma. Think of online schooling as school at home. 

The parent is responsible for choosing instruction, curriculum, and scheduling in a homeschool environment. Some homeschool curriculums offer online classes but shouldn’t be confused with accredited courses. Depending on the state, homeschooling can require varying levels of checks and balances with an accountability organization, state testing, or other methods.

About Online Schooling

Online schooling with an accredited program allows students to get a full education online. Many public schools offer a free online option that provides the same education with a different experience. Many private schools also offer online schooling at prices comparable to in-person tuition. Private online schools like Apex Learning Virtual School offer courses that can constitute a fully online education or supplement a homeschool curriculum. 

Benefits of Online Schooling 

Potential Drawbacks of Online Schooling 

About Homeschooling

By definition, homeschooling is being educated at home by caregivers, but this can look different depending on the unique situation. One homeschooled family might learn out of the library, while another uses a mixture of different curriculums to piece together their studies. Still others incorporate co-ops, outsource subjects to tutors or online teachers, or use an unschooling approach. Online schooling can also be a type of homeschooling since it allows the flexibility to learn anywhere. Some parents utilize online schooling as part-time or only for certain subjects. 

Benefits of Homeschooling

Potential Drawbacks of Homeschooling 

Choosing Between Online Schooling vs. Homeschooling 

There are several things to think about when you decide what education method will work best for your family. The right choice can vary by family and individual students within the same family. 

Consider your ideal learning environment — This is an important determining factor. Some families prefer to cut down on screen time and take a more hands-on learning approach, while that’s not an accessible option for everyone. Other families set up a remote learning environment for their students while the parent works or cares for other family members.

Evaluate costs associated with each — Online schooling and homeschool curriculum can range from free to thousands of dollars. Depending on your preference for course matter and learning style, you’ll want to assess which option is available at a cost you can afford.

Consider your student’s personality — Some students prefer frequent online interaction and group settings, while others thrive in a more intimate family setting. This is totally dependent on the student’s personality and personal learning style.

Think about the parents’ availability — There are times when families need a different method of education, but the parent is unavailable or uncomfortable to be the main instructor. In a situation where the parent can dedicate their day to homeschooling, it can work well. In other situations, the child needs to be at home but also needs an instructor who isn’t their parent.

No matter what method of education your family chooses, there are plenty of options to support you. Online schooling can be easier for some families because of the outsourced credibility. Still, other families prefer total autonomy in homeschooling. A combination approach of homeschooling and taking accredited online courses is always available.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is online school the same as homeschool? 

No. Online school is school at home via an accredited program and certified teaching staff. Homeschool is led by parents or co-ops who are responsible for curriculum, instruction, and accountability. Homeschool parents can opt for a combination of part-time classes with an accredited online school and part-time homeschooling. 

Is there a downside to homeschooling? 

While any choice has pros and cons, there’s no major disadvantage to homeschooling. The main thing to keep in mind is the dedication required from the parent to provide a full education to their child at home, which not all families can commit to. 

What provides a more structured environment, online schooling or homeschooling? 

Online school may be more structured because of the certified staff, course structure and duration, and assignment deadlines. With homeschool, the structure level depends on the family, and while one person can be quite structured, another may take an unschooling or student-led approach.

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