Written by Ruth Hoskins
Many people have homeschooling mixed up with virtual schooling. These parents are “teaching” their children via virtual school, yet commenting that they hate homeschooling! They think the two are one and the same. Unfortunately, because so many children are not performing well with virtual school, this misunderstanding between the two educational options is ripe for tarnishing the reputation of homeschooling.
Let me be clear, homeschooling is not at all the same as virtual school. I can see how some may confuse the two, as both learning environments happen within the home; however, the similarities stop there. In this article I will discuss three very distinct differences between homeschooling and virtual schooling. These differences could be reasons why many homeschoolers are thriving at the same time that virtual school learners are not.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have walked away from the virtual school platform and embraced true homeschooling. Having observed a few online homeschool forums, it is clear that parents are not only curious about homeschooling, but many are excited and thriving in the homeschool arena. Below are three differences that parents and students experience when the teaching environment is a homeschool versus a virtual school.
1.) As a parent of a homeschool child, you are in charge. You set the agenda for your child based on the learning objectives that you have set forth. These objectives are a combination of what your state requires as well as what you feel is best for your child. You decide how your child will meet and, in some cases, surpass the learning goals for the year.
In contrast, as a parent of a virtual school child, you act as an administrator, pushing forth the teacher’s agenda. Your job is to make sure the assignments are completed. You have no control over the agenda or the assignments. Your job is to ensure that the work is completed to the teacher’s satisfaction.
2.) As a parent of a homeschool child, you have freedom and flexibility in organizing your school day. You plan your child’s schoolwork, breaks, lunches, chores, and crafts around the needs of your child within the family unit. You control the pace of learning. If your child is outperforming or struggling with a subject, you can increase or decrease the amount and the pace of schoolwork based on your child’s ability to comprehend the material. This is the epitome of a tailor-made education.
In contrast, as a parent of a virtual school child, your job is to ensure your child’s school day begins and ends when the online teacher dictates and see to it that the student shows up, logs in on time, and completes their designated assignments. You have limited to no control over the pace of learning happening inside the virtual classroom; breaks happen according to the teacher’s classroom schedule. Virtual classroom management can be challenging, especially when twenty or so children are logged online and offline at any given time throughout the day.
3.) As a parent of a homeschool child, family life and education are intertwined. Not only does your child learn through worksheets, textbooks, and reading material, but they also learn through valuable life lessons. In a homeschool environment, children learn to share and serve at home and to help each other. They learn that life isn’t about sitting alone and doing their own work. They observe and understand that households work together to achieve shared goals. In addition, you, as a parent, get to spend quality time with your child: learning and reading together, passing down family recipes, creating traditions and memories, instilling integrity, and working through challenges. Homeschooling emphasizes that education is about educating the entire child – academically, mentally, socially, and spiritually.
In contrast, as a parent of a virtual school child, family life and education are easily separated. Just as in traditional school, children are not available during “school time.” Your child can check out of family life because they are “in school.” Chores have to wait. There isn’t time to read to a younger sibling because “I have school.” A parent may even feel they cannot ask anything of their child while the child is in virtual school. This can lead to parental frustration. Some parents may find that the child’s helpful statements “your turn” and “let me help” are replaced with “I need” and “I can’t.” In the virtual school environment, parents discover they have to manage a child’s school life and home life as two separate entities. It is no wonder virtual school is causing many parents to grow weary.
Homeschooling is a great alternative to virtual school. Perhaps take the time during this holiday break to decide if homeschooling is right for your family.
Learn more! Ruth has recently released a book titled, “Homeschooling as a Lifestyle.” You can order a copy of this book by calling the IFI Office during normal business hours at (708) 781-9329.
This book is written to give clarity to something that, as a parent, you are uniquely designed to do: teach your children. This book is a roadmap of sorts. It’s a guide to help you along your homeschooling journey. It will take you from the beginning of your children’s educational career through high school. It will discuss how to get started, the three phases of homeschooling, things to consider when picking a curriculum, and much more.
Ruth Hoskins is a veteran homeschooling mom, who along with her husband, taught their children from birth through high school. They did this without having an educational degree or certificate. She says that it was one of the most rewarding and challenging endeavors she’s had in her life. Ruth wants to encourage others who have a desire to homeschool their children to go for it. The benefits are so much more than academic achievements.
Check out Ruth’s blog: Homeschooling As A Lifestyle for more information.