The 2020-21 school year is more complicated than years past. While many students are still technically attending the schools they did in previous years, they’re doing so in new ways. While distance learning might feel like it’s a homeschool or online program, it’s actually quite different from those types of schooling. If you’re looking at educational options, it’s a good idea to stop and think about how distance learning, homeschooling, and online school all differ from one another.
Distance learning is typically a term used to denote an online learning program that is connected to your child’s districted school. The content covered is the same that he or she would learn in a traditional class, but the delivery method has been changed. Distance learning has become incredibly popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it did exist in more limited forms before this. Students who are enrolled in these classes follow the same educational guidelines as in-person students and will graduate with the same type of diploma as any other student.
Home school programs are not connected to public or private schools. Home school programs must typically be approved by the state for a child to receive any type of diploma, but the actual curriculum covered is largely up to the parent. Some homeschool students are taught strictly by their parents or guardians, while others might work with other homeschooled students in pods to cover material. Homeschool schedules and formats are largely chosen by the families themselves, with minimal input from the state.
Online schools have been gaining in popularity over the last decade. These schools are typically accredited and exist solely online, though they must adhere to the content standards of the state in which they are accredited. These schools are not typically connected to any local schools, and students who attend them will follow a curriculum that’s entirely created for online instruction. Students who complete accredited online programs will graduate with the same kind of high school diplomas as their peers.