Alternative education like home and online education are rapidly becoming an increasingly popular choice of education, for children and adults alike. With the rise in school fees, reduction of quality classrooms, the lack of security and the pressure that educational intuitions put on their students. People are looking for alternative solutions to public schooling for their learning and education.

Online Learning and homeschooling, despite their differences, share essential similarities. In that, once the education or learning has taken place that some new knowledge should remain. Students should be able to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and application of the topic confidently as well as show good values.

These common learning outcomes define a standard requirement for the student despite how they chose to learn their particular topic. Measuring these outcomes gives us the insight into how successfully the education has been retained by the student.

You don’t need any particular skill to be homeschooled.
Students can learn to study at home. Photo Source: Unsplash

Home Learning Defined

Home education, homeschooling or unschooling as it can also be known, is the practice of being educated away from private or public school education. If you are planning to homeschool your child, you would typically have opted out of the mainstream school system.

Being homeschooled does not mean that you are restricted to staying at home, on the contrary, you may elect a variety of learning styles, and if you choose to you can study in museums, in the local library, or even in the park. In fact anywhere that you that you will be most engaged in the learning activities will be the perfect location to educate the homeschooler.

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Pros Of Home Learning

  • The flexibility of homeschooling makes it an excellent choice for people who like variety. Students can learn to study at home or in any number of locations.
  • Although homeschooling often takes place during social hours, there is nothing stopping homeschool being attended during unsocial hours. You are free to study effectively at any time or anywhere.
  • You don’t need any equipment to be homeschooled while books and other homeschooling resources can be beneficial they are not essential to a successful home education program or the learning environment.
  • You don’t need any particular skill to be homeschooled, you just need a healthy interest in learning
  • You can meet with home school support groups for field trips, socialising and shared interest lessons.

Cons Of Home Learning

  • Home education can take a lot of preparation time, planning and organisation to create and run smoothly and effectively. Programs should generally be personalised to the student and should take into account the students interests and goals to ensure that they remain dedicated to the curriculum. This can be challenging.
  • Record keeping and evaluation of your child and the homeschooling resources will also take time but are essential if you hope to provide the best learning experience for your child.
Online learning is very flexible.
Photo Source: Online learning gives you access to the world. Unsplash

Homeschooling Online Defined

Online learning is learning which is wholly based and conducted on the internet. It can also be known as eLearning or cloud-based learning. Online homeschooling takes place on websites or software on the internet and can be lead by a live educator or by an educational program.

Online curriculums can teach you anything from how to read or do mathematics to how to build a business or a house and everything in between. Online educational courses, unlike high school courses, are not restricted in any way. You can even integrate online education into the mainstream classroom, or within a home learning environment.

Pros Of Online Learning

  • A key benefit of online education is that you can engage in learning as long as you have an internet connection.
  • Online learning can use all kinds of multimedia resources which can be very engaging for the learner.
  • Online learning has the benefit to support learners in becoming more confident with using the computer.
  • Online learning can be used in a blended educational environment and functions very well within mainstream classrooms as well as in homeschooling
  • A significant benefit of online learning is that it gives you access to the world. You can meet and learn from people in countries around the globe. If you wanted to learn a language from a native speaker, you have that opportunity. With online learning, the world sits at your fingertips

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Con Of Online Learning

  • The critical drawback of online learning is that you need to have a device that can give you access to the internet. Plus you must have access to high-speed internet especially when you want to use your webcam video or microphone.
  • If your devices are malfunctioning or broken, it makes the learning experience a less than optimal experience. It can lead to frustration while you try to fix the issue and can also lead to missed classes.
  • It can be unsuitable for younger children who can not use a computer yet or for children with disabilities that stop them using a computer
Online learning can use all kinds of multimedia resources.
Homeschooling online can integrate with other forms of education. Photo Source: Unsplash

The Main Differences Between Home School And Online Tutorials

Homeschooling and online education have many similarities the main one being that they aim to enlighten the student and introduce new knowledge and experiences into their lives. Their main outcomes are aligned, but lets now take a look at the fundamental differences between homeschooling and online learning.

 HomeschoolOnline learning
LocationLearning can take place anywhere.Only where there is an internet connection.
SkillNo Skills are required to attend lessons.Ability to use the PC and interact with software if required.
EquipmentNo equipment is required to attend lessons, although homeschool resources can optionally support learning.Internet-ready device with correct specifications for the kind of course, such as a microphone and webcam.
Internet connectionNo internet connection is required to attend lessons.Having an internet connection is essential.
Live Human InteractionTeachers, parents, guardians or tutors are required to guide the lesson.No live human interaction is required as lessons can be studied via software, video or courseware that the student can independently work through.
TimeThe study will be based more commonly around a set schedule and within restricted hours such as 9am to 3pm.Online programs can be studied at any time, Day or night, Although there may be a restriction on live learning. But for the most part, Online learning is very flexible regarding schedule and study times.
  1. Location: While homeschooling has the flexibility and the benefit to take place in any location. Including but not limited to a museum, a park, a supermarket or even the playground. Online learning is restricted to wholly being taught via a computer or device that can connect to the internet such as a phone or tablet. While the student may be in any location that has Wi-Fi the learning is within the device as opposed to outside of it.
  2. Skill: While the homeschooled classroom has the benefit of hands-on guidance to support students through their lessons, on the whole, it requires no technical expertise. Online learning, however, does need the students to know how to use a PC to the necessary level and they should be able to understand how to interact with any software that is part of that online learning environment.
  3. Equipment: Homeschooling can take place anywhere as we have gathered, but it also requires no necessary equipment, resources or anything additional to run successfully, save the attendance of the student and tutor. Of course, you can use textbooks, educational resources, or subject appropriate learning materials, but this is optional. Online learning, however, needs a device to connect to the internet, be it a computer, tablet or mobile phone. Without a device, you will be unable to attend your lesson. Further, that device must but in good working order and meet the minimum requirements of the lesson to allow learning to take place without technical problems. Such as sound not working or the webcam video failing, both of which would affect the online classroom negatively.
  4. A stable Internet connection: One significant difference between the homeschool which we have determined needs almost no equipment at all and the online school. Is the online school would not function if you didn’t have access to the internet. Additionally, if you plan to have a class free of issues, you should have a fast connection with an equally compatible device.
  5. Live human Interaction: Homeschooling in all forms requires contact with a teacher, the educator could be a parent, guardian or tutor, very often during the homeschool year the student will work with someone to gain insight on the topic of study. But online education can be conducted entirely without access or contact with a teacher. While some online courses do teach using a person to person approach. There are many courses which are prepared using only software, games, activities and slides.
  6. Schedule: While homeschooling tends to revolve around a set schedule which most likely works within social hours. Online learning can take place anytime as long as you have an internet connection. You can study in the middle of the night or early in the morning. Live online lessons may have a bit more of a structured timetable depending on the instructor and which time zone they are located in. But for the most part, online learning gives you the flexibility to learn at you own pace and schedule.

With the key outcomes of home or online education being that you are able to learn your chosen skill by the end of the training. It is up to you to decide whether you prefer to learn at home or whether online learning has peaked your interest.

It is clear that students' successful homeschool learning experiences result from more flexibility as it requires no equipment or resources to teach a student successfully. The only requirement is that the teacher and student are willing to work together to increase the knowledge of the student.

Online learning, however, has a lot of requirements, you need equipment a stable internet connection access to Wi-Fi compatible devices, and in some cases, you may require a working webcam and microphone. Although the requirements for online learning are higher than that of homeschooling. Its main benefit is that you can reach across the world and find real experts to teach the knowledge that you require.

So which one do you prefer, Homeschooling or online learning?

I would offer that online learning and homeschooling do not need to be exclusive, but can work together seamlessly to create a productive and enjoyable educational environment. Leading you to success and confidence in your chosen subject. Whatever your learning style and however you have decided to study, it is the act of studying itself that is the achievement.

Are you interested in homeschooling your children? Find out how to get started as a homeschooler with this handy guide...

Happy Learning!

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Ava is a dedicated world traveller, motivated to see, explore and experience the world and culture first hand. She has followed her dream of travel to over 80 countries worldwide and also excitedly pursues her other hobbies of yoga, painting, and photography.