After the COVID-19 pandemic, remote and online learning have become more prevalent, along with parents choosing to homeschool their children long-term. These approaches can look similar, but they have several key differences. If you are considering homeschooling your child because of the pandemic or for other reasons, there are several important factors to consider. Similarly, if your child is currently in remote learning or may be remote again in the future, you should carefully consider whether you want to make the transition to homeschooling or not.
Here are some key differences between formal homeschooling and remote learning:
- A homeschool curriculum is chosen by you, and you decide what learning style, materials, and environment best fits your child, while distance learning is a structured curriculum managed by a teacher from afar.
- In remote learning, your child is learning at home from their computer under your supervision, but is still under the authority of an experienced teacher who is responsible for guiding online lectures and discussions, as well as assigning work and due dates for them to study. You are responsible for helping provide the technology and support, but not for the material or assignments.
- Your role in remote learning is to inform the teacher about how your child is doing with their assignments and work, just like when your child is attending school in person, and it’s the teacher’s responsibility to find the best way to support your child. In homeschooling, you are your child’s full-time teacher, with little or no outside support.
- Communication is essential for remote learning because you are the advocate who lets your child’s teacher know if there are areas where your child is struggling. However, in homeschooling, you are the only one who can see and address any areas of confusion or struggle for your child.
- Homeschooling can involve a financial investment. Remote learning is often through your child’s school, especially during the height of the pandemic where nearly all public schools switched to online classrooms. This means you don’t have to add funds to your child’s education significantly more than you already would have, but for homeschooling, you need to provide all the materials and resources for your child’s curriculum. Many curricula or parts of them are also available to purchase for homeschooling, so the cost can add up quickly.
- Homeschooling provides a flexible schedule, whereas remote learning has definite start and end times. Typically, your child is in remote learning classes at the same times they would be in school. For a homeschool situation, you can choose when the lessons are structured and integrate it into your child’s day.
While there are many benefits and drawbacks to remote learning and homeschooling, it’s important to weigh your options carefully before changing your child’s learning environment. As vaccinations become more prevalent, the pandemic is slowly letting up, allowing children to return to school in-person more. The pandemic exposed a lot of weaknesses in education, along with other areas of life, leading many parents to consider homeschooling permanently, but that may not be the best option for your family.