Is online public school the same as homeschooling? No! These are just a few pros and cons comparing online public school to homeschooling.
Homeschooling is growing by leaps and bounds! It is natural that because more and more people are homeschooling that many of the states are trying to jump in and get some of those children back. This is called an online public school. Some of the online public school options are K12 or Connections Academy. When you decide to make the decision to homeschool a parent may consider an online public school as an option. Here are some of the pros and cons to online public school that may help you make that decision.
The Pros of Online Public School
Since it is a government run school it is offered at no cost for the parent. This is great if you are on a low budget, and do not have the extra money to help educate your child. Most of the online public schools offer free computers, printers, textbooks, Art and Science supplies and in some cases even voucher money to help pay for the expense of the households internet. If your state offers post secondary options (a local university allows a high school student to attend some college level classes) for public school children your child can attend college for free also.
Your child is learning what everyone else is.
This matters too many parents. If you want to know without a doubt that your child is learning the same thing as the public school kids than online public school is a great fit! This is very helpful if a parent is only keeping their child home temporarily, and they want to ensure their child will easily be able to go back to a brick and mortar public school without missing anything.
A “Real” teacher is in charge.
Many parents feel that they are not able to educate their children at home. However, they still want them at home instead of in a brick and mortar school. With online public school, your child will have a teacher assigned to them. This teacher does all the real work like writing lesson plans, making tests and quizzes, grading most (if not all) the papers, etc. Parents are considered learning coaches. They are there to help the child if they need it and are responsible for making sure the work is done. Also, since it is a government run school students enrolled in online public school receive a high school diploma when they graduate.
You have more Freedom compared to a brick and mortar public school.
Most of the time you get done with school earlier than the other public school kids. You have more time to get the work done. I have friends who do online public school and they may double up some days so they can catch a field trip with our group. Typically online public schools are also more flexible in letting a child work at their own pace. I know a few friends whose children work ahead of where they would be in a brick and mortar public school. Also, as a parent, you have more of a say and are more involved in your child’s education than if they were in a brick and mortar public school.
The Cons of Online Public School
It is public school at home, not homeschooling.
Technically children enrolled in the online public schools are still part of the public school system, even though they are completing their school work at home. This means parents whose children are enrolled in online public school cannot take advantage of homeschool deals and discounts. This article goes more into detail about why public school at home is not homeschooling.
Parents and children are still tied down to all things public school.
These things include traditional calendar, standardized testing, and government curriculum, including common core. Since parents are learning coaches, not teachers, they have no say in their children’s curriculum or schedule. Because of this the child’s unique learning styles, strengths, and weaknesses are not taken into consideration when the lessons are prepared.
It is not a Christian Education.
Many families choose to homeschool for religious beliefs. The government curriculum that is taught in an online public school is not bible based. The state, legally cannot teach children a Christian viewpoint on anything.
The Pros of Homeschooling
You have freedom!
You can choose your child’s curriculum, school schedule, field trips, learning opportunities, classes and more! You can teach your child a Christian viewpoint if you choose to do so. With homeschooling, the parent really is in charge.
Low Student/Teacher ratio.
You really can’t beat the teacher/student ratio when it comes to homeschooling. In our family it is 3/1 some families are more, some families less. Studies have shown that children learn better with a lower student/teacher ratio. The child can get a more one on one education and has someone available regularly to help them when there is something they don’t understand.
Students learn at their own pace.
With homeschooling, the child really can learn at their own pace. If a child is struggling with a concept they can take the time to master it before moving on. If a child is “ahead” of other children their age they can move forward. The same goes with a child who may be a little behind. A child is not locked into one grade level, but rather has the freedom to work at his own pace.
The Cons of Homeschooling
Compared to the free online public school, homeschooling can be expensive. Price really depends on what you buy, there are some free options out there, but overall homeschoolers spend between $200-500 per student. Some homeschoolers are able to teach their children for free utilizing hand me down curriculum and their public library. Overall though, there are expenses related to homeschooling.
Parents May Struggle Teaching
There may be subjects a parent has trouble teaching. Homeschooling parents must be willing to educate themselves in order to better educate their children. One thing worth mentioning here though is that there are many computer and dvd based programs out there that can help parents teach a subject they may not understand.
When it comes to deciding which school best fits your child, be sure to look into all the options that are available. These are just a few pros and cons comparing online public school to homeschooling.
Author: Misty Bailey
Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.