Online Learning at Home: Homeschooling vs. Distance Learning
COVID-19 has completely shifted the education system online. Due to stay-at-home regulations, students are finishing their semesters via online learning at home, and parents — most of whom are working at home — play a bigger role in their child’s education.
But just because parents and their kids are studying at home, it doesn’t automatically mean they are homeschooling. The pandemic emphasized the difference between two types of learning: homeschooling and distance learning (aka online learning at home).
Both occur online, both may benefit from the assistance of private online tutoring services and both require the assistance of parents. But the major difference lies in who delivers and manages the content.
Currently, these are the only options for students as countries continue to manage the COVID-19 situation. Each form of online education has its set of pros and cons. Some families do a combination of the two, selecting some classes homeschool style and others online, while other families prefer to go all-in with one option.
To help you make a decision, closely examine each option. Here are the pros and cons of homeschooling and distance learning.
With homeschooling, the parent or the caregiver is the person who delivers and teaches the content. Whether you have strong beliefs about how to teach math or wish to weave faith-based conversations into all the lessons, you have control over the information your children receive.
This set-up is particularly helpful if you wish to personally mold your child’s emotional and psychological growth, as well as how they handle difficult situations such as the death of a family member or sexual assault.
Many books taught in-person or online touch on these concepts but teachers do not often take into account how these topics can be triggering for some students.
Since you also have complete control over the schedule, you and the children have flexibility. Even though distance learning offers flexibility, students are tied to deadlines, live lectures, and the general school year schedule.
With homeschooling, you control what the kids learn, their deadlines, and how school begins and ends. This is great for families that take vacations during the traditional school year, as well as for families who celebrate lesser-known holidays.
Also, if your child struggles with learning, homeschooling allows you to personalize the instruction according to your child’s learning pace. Even if your child doesn’t struggle, individualized instruction guarantees a more efficient schoolday that takes up less time.
A study from the American Education Research Journal reported that individualized instruction helped students achieve their educational goals faster compared to traditional schooling methods.
Finally, homeschooling offers an incredible opportunity for parents to bond and have shared experiences with their kids. Parents can build family bonding time into their schedule.
For instance, if the parents work odd shifts and are home during typical schooldays, homeschooling gives parents the chance to build the schoolday around their schedule. The kids can watch Disney Christmas movies with their parents on any weekday morning if they like.
In terms of cons, homeschooling can be time-consuming and stressful for parents. It takes time and effort to put together materials, plan lessons and teach their children. Also, some concepts are too difficult for parents to teach without a teacher’s help. Finally, homeschooling requires plenty of mental and physical organization.
With distance learning, the cost of an online school tends to be more affordable than homeschooling since most online public schools are free. That means you can keep the children at home without worrying about the financial burden of education.
In terms of time, distance learning is also less time-consuming compared to homeschooling. Parents who have other responsibilities can focus on their job while their studies online.
Also, while many homeschooling parents do a good job of teaching their children, some parents are more comfortable having a licensed teacher educate their kids. It helps to reduce pressure whether it’s teaching your kindergartener the alphabet or explaining geometry to your high school kid
Plus, independence is a big perk of distance learning. Some students prefer independence from their parents when studying. In homeschooling, their parents are very much involved in their schooling. In distance learning, they are to learn on their own. Independence is a crucial aspect in child development, which distance learning fosters.
In terms of cons, distance learning is more of stationary learning. There aren’t many opportunities for real-life experiential learning. Most of the students’ learning is done sitting in a chair while homeschooling can happen anywhere.
Also, there are fewer interactions between the students and the teachers. Students can go the entire day without seeing another human. In terms of lessons, distance learning lessons are more generalized so teachers can accommodate many students.
In summary, before you settle for a specific type of online education, examine the pros and cons to determine which style suits your family dynamic well. There is so much to learn when it comes to online learning at home and the potential available.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, UnSplash, and Pexels.
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