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What Is The Difference Between Distance Learning And Homeschooling?

If you are new to home-based learning, you will think that both homeschooling and distance learning are similar, but there is a difference in who delivers the content. In homeschooling, the caregiver or the parent walks the student through the curriculum. On the other hand, an online teacher will issue content and lead the student through the lessons. 

Distance Learning

When you decide that you want your child to go home-based learning, you only have two options – homeschooling and distance learning. Many people will do both homeschooling and distance learning, while others will opt for either of the two – it’s your prerequisite, after all. 

This post goes through the merits and demerits of both homeschooling and distance learning to help you choose which system is best. Hopefully, you will know to decide – whether homeschooling or distance learning. But before that, let’s first see what distance learning and homeschooling are in more detail, shall we? 

What is Distance Learning? 

Distance learning is when students learn from any part of the world without being physically present in class. The student can learn from home, any part of the world of his or her choice, as long as they can access the educational materials online. 

Back then, distance learning was all about communication between the teacher and the student via emails. Today, things have moved purely online with systems in place that enable both the student and the teacher to have their portals to upload and access all learning materials. 

What is Homeschooling? 

Homeschooling is a practice where parents decide not to take their children through traditional or private schooling. Instead, they either teach their children or hire a caregiver to teach their children from home.

Parents have reasons why they opt for homeschooling. Some of those reasons may include dissatisfaction with the curriculum provided in the traditional schooling system, religious philosophies, among other reasons. 


Homeschool vs Distance Learning

Homeschooling vs. Distance Learning: What’s the Difference?

Pros of Homeschooling

1. Family Bonding

Homeschooling offers an opportunity for family bonding and to share experiences and moments. Parents can walk their children through the syllabus and have time to go for field trips or family vacations to supplement home-based learning.

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Homeschooling is advantageous to parents who have odd work schedules because homeschooling can allow them to tailor their school schedules more efficiently. 

2. Control of Content

With homeschooling, you have full control of what content you give your child. Depending on your beliefs, you can decide on an approach through which you will teach your child.

The advantage of controlling the content you give to your child can be helpful, especially when your child has been through trauma, or you have recently lost a close relative. Most school teachers will not care about how children feel and will only deliver content as prescribed in the curriculum. 

3. Flexibility

You have the flexibility because you can tweak your schedules to meet the needs of your child. With distance learning, children are subjected to deadlines, which might result in stress and trauma. Parents control when their children learn with homeschooling, so children will not be stressed about completing an assignment even if they are on a family vacation. 

Families who love going on vacation will find homeschooling very helpful because they can choose to go out whenever they like and come back to complete the curriculum without any pressure. Additionally, the flexibility allows parents to tailor the learning schedule to meet the needs of their children.

For example, if your child learns a bit slower, you can look for a better way to deliver content to match their pace. 

4. Individualized Instruction

Children who learn at a bit slower pace will benefit heavily from homeschooling. This is because parents or caregivers can tailor the schedules to enable children to learn at their pace without too much pressure.

And even if your child learns fast, homeschooling will still benefit because it helps them complete their assignments more efficiently as there is no pressure to complete an assignment more hurriedly. 

5. Interest Driven

Homeschooling is interest-driven, which means that parents, caregivers, and children can choose to tailor the courses to match the student’s interests.

For instance, if your child loves music, you can tailor the courses to match your child’s interest by incorporating music lessons into the curriculum. However, tailoring courses to match your child’s interests may prove hard when they are undergoing distance learning. 

6. Rigour of Curriculum

Parents choose to homeschool their children because they are completely dissatisfied with the public or private schools’ teaching way. They usually feel that it is a bit rigorous and that their children suffer trauma and are stressed all the time.

However, with homeschooling, parents can choose the pace they teach their children without subjecting much pressure on them.

Cons of Homeschooling

Homeschooling can be overwhelming and stressful for parents. Like a regular school routine, it takes time to schedule lessons, recollect learning materials, and educate children. Parents will often put in extra work outside school days to keep up with the syllabus. 

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1. Difficult Concepts

Let’s face it – teaching as a profession is the most demanding career. As a parent, you might feel burned out, especially when dealing with advanced concepts. This could be even worse if you were an average student in school. You’re likely to feel inadequate and not able to deliver quality concepts to your kids. 


2. Organization

Homeschooling incorporates both physical and mental organization. As such, you need a well-groomed space for an effective learning process. You’ll also have to organize and plan out your day to develop a routine for your kids. Some parents find this level of coordination overwhelming.  

3. Cost

Cost is the most critical factor to consider before you can start homeschooling. The curriculum itself can be costly, such as the cost of learning materials and educational trips. And because it’s the parent’s responsibility to teach the kids, one parent will have to forgo work, making the burden even higher. 

4. Lack of Regulation

Lack of regulation can help families who want to have more freedom for themselves and their kids. Nonetheless, it’s easier for kids to lag behind or even lack education in states that lack homeschooling students’ regulations. 

Pros of Distance Learning

1. Licensed Teacher

While many homeschooling families prefer doing the job themselves, others feel more comfortable hiring a licensed teacher to educate their children. This is a good idea, especially when you’re not knowledgeable of the advanced concepts, as it relieves you of some pressure.

Distance Learning

2. Cost

Online schooling tends to be much cheaper than homeschooling. Unsurprisingly, online public schools offer free services so your kids can learn at home without having to undergo the financial burden of homeschooling. You don’t have quit your job or cut off some working hours because your kids are well covered. 

3. Independence

Independence is a critical aspect of your child’s development that can be enhanced through distance learning. If your child is craving independence, then homeschooling can be a good bet. This is because parents aren’t involved in every aspect of their schooling.

According to Wisconsin University, parental involvement is as significant as independence. 

4. Requirements are Covered

Requirements will often vary depending on the state’s rules. Some standards must be met, so do students need to sit for standardized tests even if they don’t enroll in a public school.

Fortunately, online schools will facilitate standardized tests for students to meet the requirements. This ensures that students are on track. 

5. Less Time Consuming for Parents

Parents who are running on a tight schedule often find distance learning helpful as they have more time for other responsibilities while their kids are learning online. However, your involvement is still critical to help your kids in areas of difficulties.

Unlike homeschooling, distance learning is far much better as it frees up much of the pressure. 

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6. Special Services

Despite its free services, online schooling offers special services to students with learning disabilities. Additionally, they have specialists who are likely to be assigned roles that ensure every child is given equal opportunity to grasp concepts. 

Cons of Distance Learning

1. More Stationary Learning

Distance learning is stationary and gives students limited opportunities to take part in experiential learning. Usually, distance learning is done when sitting on a chair to follow the lectures, and science practicals are conducted online, giving students limited chances of hands-on participation. 

2. Less Interaction

Distance learning is disadvantageous because students and teachers cannot interact on a one-on-one basis. Of course, students can interact with their college students via the screen, but this may not be enough, especially for students who want to get in touch and share more. 

3. More Screen Time

Distance learning is more of screen time; to attend classes, follow along with the science practicals, do and submit assignments, access, and reading materials.

According to a study, more screen time deprives students of their sleep, falling asleep later, but waking up much earlier. Getting enough sleep is good for your health; by protecting your mental and physical health. 

More screen time

4. Focus

The focus when partaking of distance learning is short compared to homeschooling. Children will lose focus shortly when learning online. Still, parents have the flexibility to switch between activities to make sure that their children are not losing focus after a very short time. 

5. Lessons Aren’t Individualized

Another problem with distance learning is that it is too generalized and isn’t tailored to meet children’s specific needs. Teachers can always respond to students’ questions, but the fact that they still won’t meet the specific needs of students.

Homeschooling, on the other hand, has lessons individualized to meet the needs of students. 

6. Academic Integrity

The academic integrity in distance learning is a challenge, especially when students sit for their exams without proper supervision. This is because students will be busy looking for answers online as they write their exams. Some students can also bring unauthorized materials into the exam, which is an examination irregularity. 

7. Internet Connection

The internet connection in every area will differ; some will have access to fast internet connections, while others will struggle with lower speeds. This can be disadvantageous when students are taking examinations or attending crucial lectures. 


Most families combine both homeschooling and distance learning, but they will prefer one of the two. Before you decide, make sure that you have gone through each learning method’s pros and cons and choose the system that will suit and match your child’s needs. To make it easier, make a list of priorities and use them to make a rational decision. 

About Sonia Kukreja

I am a mother of a lovely kid, and an avid fan technology, computing and management related topics. I hold a degree in MBA from well known management college in India. After completing my post graduation I thought to start a website where I can share management related concepts with rest of the people.