This year has seen a surge in students schooling from home. Schools shut down in spring due to concerns of a global pandemic, leaving districts, teachers, and parents scrambling to find the right solution for students. Many families had already chosen this at-home solution years ago for various reasons. But now that more households have some form of online education under their belts, let’s examine the differences between what homeschooled children experience versus other distance learning options.
Homeschool: More Mainstream than Misunderstood
Homeschooling is not a new concept. Families have chosen this as a primary source of education for decades. Whether they live in a remote area, travel often, or believe they can provide a more stable education for their children, parents chose to take control of their child’s education by providing it at home.
There may have been limited resources available when the homeschooling movement was first adopted. Parents relied on workbooks and other printed materials to supplement their lessons. Today, there aren’t only more tangible resources, but there’s also help in the form of tutoring centers and homeschooling pods—where a group of homeschooled children get together to learn as a class.
While the idea of homeschooling may not be as foreign as it once was, it’s still centered around replacing the teacher with a parent or guardian. Some parents who choose to homeschool may be former teachers, which makes the process a little easier, but it still may not be enough in certain areas.
Online School: School on Your Schedule
One of the main differences between online school and homeschool is that online schools still employ teachers. When many districts were forced to conduct school online, teachers dove in to learn how to navigate various learning management systems. There are a number of online charter schools who are already familiar with these platforms and use them to assign and track student work and progress. Even with an asynchronous learning model, Laurel Springs School teachers are available during office hours to answer questions and may hold various iClasses for additional learning support.
Similar to homeschooling, online school is based around a student’s individualized learning journey. A flexible schedule allows students to work whenever and wherever they learn best. This allows them time to pursue other passions and develop a more independent outlook by taking ownership of their education.
To take it a few steps further, accredited online schools, like Laurel Springs, support this learning journey with a diverse K-12 curriculum and instructional support. There are options for more rigorous instruction through Honors and AP courses. The Academy at Laurel Springs delivers an exceptional education for intellectually curious scholars. Even postgraduate students have the opportunity to take advantage of a competitive program. Laurel Springs is also staffed with an impeccable counseling team, guiding Upper School students through their learning journey along a path to achieve their personal and professional goals. You can’t get all of this through a homeschool program, unless you consult with a wide variety of other organizations.
Experience the Difference
It’s clear to see how homeschooling, even if done primarily online, isn’t the same as online learning. Many misconceptions may continue to build around the two, including mistaking a stack of digitized worksheets for online classrooms. As the current crisis continues, the daily scramble to figure things out will give way to thinking about the long term. There are certainly families still rethinking education and learning, and organizations of all kinds rethinking how they might support those families. Laurel Springs School, with its reputation, flexibility, and rigor, is committed to providing families and organizations a new approach to education, while also ensuring that students will benefit immediately and maintain a clear path to a “mainstream” future.