Many people wonder if there is a difference between traditional homeschooling and homeschooling that involves the use of a distance learning program. Most times, both concepts are used to refer to the same thing, usually because the latter is often used to reinforce or supplement the former. The truth is that there are some very significant differences between the two, despite the fact that both approaches are able to provide individualized academic instruction. One is not necessarily better than the other, but they do present their own unique benefits and issues that must be considered.
The first, and probably most important difference between the two comes in the form of official recognition or accreditation. Unlike a traditional homeschooling curriculum that is developed entirely by a parent and is for the most part unregulated, a distance learning curriculum delivered from a distance learning private school has been evaluated by an official organization like WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) to determine if the curriculum is in line with local, state, and federal academic standards. Accredited schools never have to worry about colleges not recognizing the classes they offer or the degrees they confer to their students.
Second in importance is the idea that a distance learning private school can provide its students with an individualized instructional program based on the student’s appropriate learning style. Too often, students struggle to understand concepts in classes where there is a mismatch in teaching and learning styles. For a student who is homeschooled, this can pose tremendous problems if their teacher’s learning style does not fit in with hers. With the help of a distance learning private school, students can be effectively and professionally evaluated to determine how they learn best. By doing so, they can develop lessons and units that will maximize learning – something that a homeschooling parent might not have the time or experience to accomplish.
When it comes to Homeschooling the ability to provide a caring, comfortable, and positive environment, using a traditional homeschooling approach allows parents to control the information that is presented, and the fashion in which it is presented. Parents who feel as though they have a better grasp or understanding of their state’s academic standards prefer the idea of being able to provide instruction in the way they see will be best for their student.
Whichever direction a parent chooses to go, both traditional homeschooling methods and instruction through a distance learning program represent effective approaches to educating a child, and preparing her for the expectations associated with attending college. In the end, parents should consider using the approach that is best in line with the goals they have set for their student – no matter how large or small the goal might be.