More and more families are switching from traditional schooling methods to online and homeschooling options. These non-traditional methods of schooling are becoming more common because parents want to give their student a personalized education and specialized help. Although online school and home school are both alternative schooling options, they are not the same. Here are a few tips for parents deciding which non-traditional schooling method is best for their student.
What Is Home School?
Homeschooling is when parents teach their students from the comfort of their home. The core idea behind homeschooling is offering children a better education than they would receive in a traditional classroom. However, this looks different for every family.
Homeschooling allows families to stray away from the institutionalized education that students receive in a traditional classroom. Parents do this is a variety of different ways, which is part of the reason parents switch to homeschooling. They have the freedom to choose a homeschooling method that works best for their students.
- Homeschooling curriculum programs are available to parents and students who want more structured lesson plans. There are countless homeschooling curriculum programs from which to choose.
- Unschooling is a method of homeschooling in which the student’s interests guide the lessons. The idea of unschooling is founded in the idea that every child is naturally curious.
- Many homeschooling parents with teaching backgrounds prefer textbooks and workbooks. They will use text and workbooks in conjuncture with their own lesson plans. These resources allow parents to decide how structured they want their child’s schooling to be.
What Is Online School?
Online schools offer courses for students to attend whenever they have internet access. These courses usually include lessons and coursework. Not every online school is the same, though. Most online schools are accredited, meaning once the student completes all the necessary requirements, they will earn a high school diploma. On the other hand, homeschooled students must take a standardized test in order to earn a high school diploma.
Many online schools have open enrollment, which allows students to enroll in classes at any point of the year. These schools typically accept students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade. Like a public or private school, these online programs offer electives for high school students to explore different industries and learn new skills. These electives help students learn about potential careers that they can pursue after graduation or study in college.
How Do I Know If Online School Will Be a Good Fit?
When you are looking into non-traditional education options, you are probably wondering how to decide on the best schooling for your child. Students transfer to online school for an assortment of reasons. Many students excel in homeschool but move to an online school to obtain an accredited diploma. Others will move directly from a traditional classroom setting because they want the structure of a course without the commitment of attending a brick-and-mortar school. Parents have decided that online school is right for their students for a plethora of reasons, but here are a few:
- Safety is one of the leading factors that cause parents to switch their students from a traditional classroom setting. For some students, this involves safety from bullies and peer pressure, while other parents may move their children to online schools to avoid the risk of school shootings.
- Personalized learning experiences is lacking in many classrooms, and many students do not get the unique help they need to be successful. Online schools are programmed to change a students coursework based on whether they are understanding the concepts or struggling in certain areas.
- Flexibility is one of the biggest benefits of both home school and online school. Parents and students can choose their schedules and courses based on their needs. Many families have more time to do other things, such as travel because they have more flexibility around school.
- Accelerated learning programs are offered in many public schools; however, the extent to which children can work ahead is limited. Online schools allow students to work at their own pace and let them move on once they master a concept.
Some traditional school systems do offer curriculum and resources for many of their students to do well. However, there are plenty of students who struggle in a classroom setting and could really benefit from attending an online school. Even students who excel in the classroom may prefer online school because of the flexibility it offers.
Deciding on the best schooling option for your child is daunting because you want to do what is best for them, which may be different than what's best for other students. Before making a decision, be sure to do your research. Getting as much information as possible will make you feel more confident about your final decision, whether you choose online school, homeschool, or decide to keep your child in the classroom.