Homeschooling can be often confused with online schooling due to its remote aspect and parental involvement. Although one can have benefits over the other, each method has its pros and cons. In this blog, we will take you through several differences between online education and homeschooling.
Let’s first understand the exact definition of homeschooling and online education. Homeschooling is where parents become the educator and teach their children from the comfort of their homes. This means that the individual is not enrolled in a physical institution but has continuous education at home under the parent's supervision. While online school too can be carried out in the comfort of homes, it involves a subject matter expert (the teacher) who gives proper educational instructions to the student.
Coming to the differences, here are a few prominent differences between homeschooling and online schooling.
1. Parental Involvement
Online schooling – In an online education setting, the parental role is that of a learning coach. They involve themselves in the child's life, helping them stay focused in academics, helping them structure and maintain their daily schedule, monitor their day-to-day activities and school work, and provide them with reminders. Online learning can get monotonous due to virtual interaction (sitting in front of a screen), and hence, parents ensure that their child is motivated and provide encouragement whenever required. When parents take on that role, it feels much more personalized and safer for the student. Parents can track their wards’ performance by accessing schools’/institution's online learning platforms. In addition to this, online schooling makes it easier for the parents to track how the child is learning as well as the assignments provided to them. Hence, the parents can focus on providing the students with other information such as family values, religious beliefs, etc.
Homeschooling – In the case of homeschooling, parents have additional responsibility since their parents are both the learning coach as well as the educator. This can be immensely stressful on the parent as an individual. It can be hard teaching your children since they may act up and refuse to listen. Another issue is the understanding the level of work that needs to be taught as age progresses.
Online schooling – There are teachers for different subjects in an online school. These teachers specialized in particular subjects. Students receive instruction and lessons from these subject matter experts. Separate subject matter experts grade the students' assignments, provide them with continuous feedback, conduct performance evaluation and help them enhance their abilities. The teachers will be available to the parents as well as the students to answer questions and give one-on-one help if required. There is also a periodic meeting held to discuss the student's progress.
Homeschooling – In a homeschooling scenario, the only educator is the parent. They act as an academic teacher, teaching children a wide range of different topics irrespective of the subject and age of the student. The parent is responsible for the entire academics of the student, starting from planning the lessons, conducting tests to giving assignments. The parents are also responsible for evaluating and grading the student's progress and work. Since they are not the subject matter expert, a complete learning experience may be lacking, especially with working parents; not everything can be taught. Naturally, there is no meeting held since the child learn directly from the students.
Online schooling – In an online school, the syllabus is set by the subject matter expert keeping in the mind the student’s capability to understand the subject and their academic requirement. Online schools offer the subject notes, learning materials, and curriculum for the students. This reduces the parents’ work to go out of their way to find all these. The curriculum is provided to students free of cost by the education board, which subject experts will do. This ensures that the students will receive formal learning and education.
Homeschooling – In this case, parents are responsible for curetting the syllabus. Parents have to research about the subjects and come up with their own curriculum. Not just this, they have to either search for notes and study materials or make their own for each and every subject. This can be expensive, also very time-consuming, and since they are not subject matter experts for all subjects, the learning material may not be sufficient. To be more time-efficient, some parents will buy an existing curriculum for the students and plan out an academic schedule for them and prepare their lesson plans on their own terms. The responsibility of getting the accurate materials for each and every subject can lead to stress and anxiety in the parents.
Online schooling – Online schooling still maintains a schedule and a particular timing for classes. This is based on the teacher's as well as all the students' convenience. This timing adherence helps in keeping the students in routine and maintaining the schedule.
Homeschooling – In this case, parents conduct class according to their convenience and availability, especially working parents. They may shift class timings based on family needs and availability as long as the student’s educational objectives or goals are being met. Some parents, however, try to maintain a fixed schedule.
5. Flexibility & Freedom
Online schooling – Students may find online school provides them with a good amount of flexibility and freedom. The experience is pretty much the same as a traditional education setting. There is a mandatory attendance requirement, and it is important to complete the course in time.
Homeschooling – Students who are homeschooled have the highest degree of flexibility and freedom since they are not interacting virtually with their instructor. If flexibility is important to homeschooling allows the ability to create and manage your own schedule. The parents will be able to plan and schedule lessons and activities whenever they prefer, and this will lead to difficulty in homeschooled students to adjust to the stricter policies of attendance.
Online schooling – Online school can be private or public. Public schools charge extremely less and sometimes zero for education. Many online schools supply essential tools like the software (which would otherwise require payment) needed to complete coursework.
Homeschooling – The cost can vary because the curriculum can be tweaked and can be as diverse as desired. Unlike the required tools provided by many online schools, the essentials need to be purchased in a homeschooling setting which can add to the expense.
Online schooling – Students will earn a degree/diploma without any additional step if they graduate from a recognized online institution.
Homeschooling – Children who are homeschooled might be required to take an additional exam in order to earn recognition for higher education or by a particular company.
Although the differences might not be prominent, online schools and homeschooling differ from each other in their parental involvement, curriculum and even cost. Whether homeschooled or educated online, what really matters is that the student is educated, and it has aided in their overall personality development. Education is education, and it doesn't matter in which form it is provided. Parental involvement plays a huge role in shaping the student both in online school as well as homeschooling.