Virtual School vs. Homeschooling

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Sometimes it’s not really homeschooling.

We need to stop and back up for a moment.

The face of homeschooling has changed over the years. But at the core, homeschooling is still the same – it’s parents taking charge of their children’s education and paving a new road for their children’s futures.

Homeschooling is not just about doing school at home.

Homeschooling is parent directed and privately funded (according to my state homeschool organization).

This means that the parents choose the curriculum and resources. Parents make the decisions about how to prepare, plan, and track records. In some states, parents have to keep certain records, complete portfolio reviews, and ensure that their children take standardized tests. However, the majority of the decisions about curriculum, subjects taught, and scheduling are left up to the parents’ discretion.

This means that parents are funding the education for their children. They are not accepting money from that state that is given with stipulations on how that money must be spent. These parents are purchasing resources with their own money.

Homeschooling means freedom to follow your own path.

So, we need to talk about something that masquerades as homeschooling but is decidedly not.

By definition, this means that virtual schooling done through the public school system is not homeschooling.

Sure, the school district and the online companies call it “homeschooling.”

But it is public school that is done at home.

It is virtual public school or online public school.

Why is it not homeschooling by definition?

  • Because the parent does not get to choose resources. The program must be completed in a certain order, by a certain time, and a student must spend a certain amount of time online completing assignments.
  • Students in virtual public schools must take testing and comply with all the laws that apply to public school students.

Why is it so appealing?

Because it markets itself as FREE, FREE, FREE. And it is free in the same way a public school is “free.” It is funded by your tax dollars.

So, while there may not be a large fee to enroll and have access to the curriculum, know that with the low cost comes a huge price of freedom.

Let’s take back homeschooling.

I now prefer to call myself a home educator. We don’t just do school at home. I educate my children (and myself too).

We are home educators. We choose our curriculum; we pay for the resources. We relish our freedom.

If you’re new to homeschooling and are confused about the home education options in your state, contact your state homeschooling organization or review this website about legal requirements in each state.

 And if you are using virtual public school options, be aware of your public school requirements in your state as you fall under those laws – the homeschool laws of your state are not applicable to your current situation.

If you’re looking to get started homeschooling, here are a few resources to help you get started:

How I Planned for Our Homeschool Year

How to Choose Your Homeschool Curriculum

How to Discover Your Homeschool Teaching Style

Why I’m Not Cut Out for Homeschooling

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