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When a family tells others their child is going to school virtually, there is a lot of confusion about what exactly that means. Many view it as homeschool. But the two are not the same. Let’s examine the differences between homeschool and virtual online learning.

As a homeschool family, you are tasked with finding curriculum, coming up with lesson plans, and building a support network. This isn’t always an easy thing. Support for this can be hard to find sometimes. While in today’s social media world, it is a little easier than when I was going to school, you still have to decide what you want to teach your children and how.

In a K12 virtual school, this is taken care of for you. K12 builds the curriculum for the schools they support, and base this off of the standards for each state. Certified teachers build lessons, and prepare them to show to your students, and then actually do the lesson with your child in a virtual setting. Meanwhile, students are connecting with others from across their state, making friends, and learning about different things they might not have known in their own hometown.

As a homeschool family, you need to know your states rules and regulations about how to teach your student. This might not mean certification, but it does mean specific rules and regulations that apply to homeschooling families. Depending on your state, this can become very involved and a lot of hoops to jump through. For instance in some state a student needs to have a portfolio on file with the district that they live in. It is basically a way to keep homeschool families accountable.

As a K12 family, parents do not have to keep records, as their virtual school does this. They also have knowledge and understanding of all the local and state educational rules and regulations. For some this might mean that students are required to attend state testing. However, it also means that parents do not have to worry about if they are doing everything by the book, rather trusting that their local virtual school is in touch with all the necessary departments within the state and country to meet their student’s educational needs. Also, they have the confidence that K12 is backing these schools with support and knowledge of the federal educational laws and regulations.

While there are similarities between virtual school through K12 and homeschooling, it is the confidence in knowing that your child is supported by knowledgeable people in the educational field to give your student the best opportunities they can. Families can relax and focus on making sure their students are accomplishing the tasks set forth by their teachers, and not worry about what tomorrow’s lesson will be.

So what is the same about homeschooling and virtual online learning? You get to do both from the comfort of your home!

About The Author

Melissa Rathbone

Melissa Rathbone teaches high school history at Insight School of Oklahoma (ISOK), where she has been teaching since the second half of the school's first year. Melissa graduated from American Public University with her bachelor's degree in psychology and then pursued an alternative certification through the state of Oklahoma. She is currently pursuing a special online teaching certification program through University of Pennsylvania. Melissa was the Phoenix Feather award winner at ISOK in 2016. She currently lives in Choctaw, Oklahoma, with her husband and son. She loves to travel and see new places. Melissa also loves to read, watch movies with her family, knitting and crocheting. On the rare occasion that she has extra time, she loves to play computer games with her family.

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