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Online School vs. Homeschool

Online School vs. Homeschool

Thursday, December 08, 2022

Countless parents have recently found themselves asking whether homeschooling their child or if an online educational program may be best for culminating their child’s educational needs over traditional, in-person, brick-and-mortar school options, especially in light of the dangers of sending our children to school our society has seen over the last few years. 

Post-pandemic, a myriad of parents already chose home as their child’s learning environment after finding themselves proficient in K-12 education anyway, right?  


How to Choose Between Online School and Homeschool

Those of us who have not already taken the homeschool plunge and who were not too traumatized after the pandemic to turn your back on the idea of learning from home may be asking yourselves another question: what is the difference between online learning and homeschooling?

You have likely reasoned that your child’s educational needs can be met from home; however, you may be asking yourself or even researching the differences between homeschooling and online learning programs. 

Maybe it isn’t you asking the questions at all, but rather your child doing some checking for you – you know, getting information to make their case. Whose child has not asked, okay, begged you to grant them the gift of learning from the comfort of their own home?  

Weighing the Differences Between Online School and Homeschool

Like a multitude of other parents researching or even responding to your child’s homeschool request, perhaps you’ve decided you don’t have time to homeschool, or you feel as though homeschooling would be like taking on a second job. 

Perchance your reasoning for not taking the homeschooling pathway is your sense of feeling inept in your own educational background or the fear that you may not be able to offer your child the guidance they need because of your own responsibilities. 

Maybe, you’re interested, but you don’t know how or where or how to begin. Is it possible you are questioning your own organizational skills required to guide your child through a curriculum unbeknownst to you? Even with your insecurities, you may have already made the decision that learning from home will be best for your child’s success.   

Why Online School Might Be Preferable to Homeschool

Depending on your child’s persistence and determination to learn from home, or based on your own research, you may have discovered that you, the parent, may have learned that you would not be required to do all the work if your child learns from home. Maybe your child is the one who informed you of such, and your child would be correct in saying so.  

They may have done their homework and backed you into a corner of educational options, and you don’t know which way to turn. They may have told you they could learn from home in an online school instead of homeschooling. 

What does this mean?  What are the key differences between the two? 

Key Differences Between the Two Options

With homeschooling, a curriculum is created or purchased by the parent from which the parent acts as the primary facilitator, presenter, and evaluator of the material. The parent, in essence, is the teacher, the guidance counselor, the librarian, the principal, and more.  This is exactly why many opt to homeschool their child.  

An online school sometimes referred to as a virtual school, e-learning, or distance learning, links students with teachers who instruct remotely from a virtual classroom and/or oversee the students’ navigation through curriculum-based software.  With online learning, the parent serves as the proponent of learning in the home environment rather than “the teacher.”

With both homeschooling and online learning, public school curriculums are available to parents.  When implementing a public school program, whether by homeschool or online, content and measurement of their learning aligns with public school. If a student thinks they may choose to transition back into public school in the future, this may be important to consider in your decision-making process.  

If you do not approve of the public school curriculum or wish to add a religious aspect to your child’s school day, this element is crucial to consider as a reason to look at private online or homeschool programs.

What Are the Socialization Options for Online School?

Another difference to ponder is your child’s socialization. With homeschooled children, you, the parent, are 100% in charge of what socialization your child receives in terms of their schooling. 

Homeschool parents may choose to connect with other homeschool families in the community or church and may join forces on field trips, study groups, social or academic clubs, sports, and homeschool-focused dances. The social interest of the child and the comfort of the parent are decided at home.  

In comparison, an online learning program entwines opportunities for socialization into their program.  These moments for socialization may revolve around the virtual classroom and their learning labs.  Other examples an online learning program may offer include science fairs, scholar clubs, field trips, and more.  

The last, and sometimes bottom line when comparing online programs and learning from home is (drum roll please) the money. There are free choices available on both sides of the fence; however, if you want to personalize your child’s learning experience by incorporating an individualized curriculum, free may not be an option for you and your child.  

The free public options for homeschooling and online learning both require you to follow that state’s specific curriculum. Evaluation of mastery is also regulated by the state.  Although free is an amazing perk, the freedom to choose a program that meets your child’s educational needs and best aligns with the vision you have for your child is paramount. 

Fundamentally, the choice concerning the method from which your child learns at home belongs to you and your child. With any major decision that involves your child’s future, do your homework; weigh the pros and cons. Be realistic in evaluating the amount of time you have to offer this critical decision.  

Trust your instincts but most importantly, make this crucial decision based on your child and their individual needs.

Are you wondering how online learning may work for a child who is differently-abled? Read our article here for more information.

Ignite Learning Academy Online School

Ignite Learning Academy is a mastery-based school, which means your child will never find themselves in a circumstance where they move forward in the curriculum without a solid grasp on the preceding skills. Our online options can help accommodate a variety of needs for parents and students who need to school from home. Contact us for more information!