Posted by ICON School on Feb 24, 2021 2:30:56 PM

teen boy typing a report or doing schoolwork on a laptop at home, online school or homeschooling concept

With the current influx of online and virtual school options for students across the country, the use of traditional homeschooling curriculums seems to be getting lumped in together with online school. However, there are significant differences between the two curriculum options, based on their structure, design, and administration.

Knowing the difference between the two can help guide you to understand the online school better, and how it can benefit your family!

Teaching Differences

When you pursue a homeschooling curriculum, you also take on the role of the teacher. As the parent, it is your responsibility to supply the curriculum and teach lessons so that your students understand and are able to learn the material. This requires some research (to pick the curriculum) and confidence that you can teach it and get support for some of the areas you may not be comfortable instructing. There are more resources to support homeschooling than ever before, and if you if faith-based education is particularly important to you, then this also makes homeschooling a great option.

When it comes to online school, teachers are available through their school portal to teach them in lectures, give feedback, and offer those one-on-one interactions with the student. These teachers are also experienced and trained to guide students through their curriculum. Online school programs hire certified teachers who meet the state requirement when teaching students within a particular discipline or grade level. This gives parents and students alike the confidence to know that they are being taught and supported by an experienced individual, and this can take a lot of the pressure off both the parents and students.

For parents who have to work in a two-income home, or for those households with only one parent and income, attempting to homeschool their children may not be the right option due to the time demands expected of them.


When you opt for an online school program for your student, you are agreeing to a contract where a student was required to apply and gain admission for that program. Once they are in the program, they are provided an official schedule that they are required to maintain daily and weekly for the duration of the academic year. This schedule allows students to complete standardized coursework in a predictable and consistent manner, and to interact with their peers and instructor at the same time. If your child thrives on routine and your life circumstances allow your family to embrace official schedules, then an online school program might be a perfect fit.

While some parents who choose homeschooling programs keep to a schedule, these schedules are not required. They have the ability to shift based upon the family needs at any time, as long as their educational objectives or goals are being met. Students in these programs are not interacting virtually with their instructor and other classmates as they do with online programs, so there is more flexibility. If flexibility is important to you, and you have an aptitude or the ability to create and manage your own schedule, then homeschooling may be a successful option for your family.

Official Academic Records and Credits

When it comes to maintaining academic records, online school options keep these records official and maintain them so that students can supply them later for college admission. Records are kept in homeschooling programs, also, but they are kept with the parent and not an official database. Based on these records that are kept with the online schools, students can receive different types of academic credit based on their completed work, just as they would in a traditional school setting.

When homeschooling, the parent has sole responsibility for record-keeping and preparing any documentation that may be needed to assist them in applying for college admission. Additional requirements or verification may be required (that varies from state to state and college to college) as homeschool records may not be adequate for admission on their own. Also, graduation is not automatic as with a public online option, so you will need to understand the process for obtaining or producing a diploma for your student.


While it is not true for all homeschool curriculums, most of them are private in nature and require a fee ahead of time. Because these programs do not have to meet the state curriculum requirement, the curriculum can be as diverse as the program desires. This means that costs and fees associated with the program can vary and be more costly than online school options, and it won’t be paid for or reimbursed by the state.

When it comes to online school options, you can choose between private and public curriculum options, and if you are choosing an online public school, there can be very little to no out-of-pocket cost, or it is reimbursable. Many online schools also supply essential tools like a laptop and the essential software needed to complete coursework. If your budget is limited, an online school may be a better option for your family.

Choosing online school 

When you make your decision to choose between homeschooling and online school options, you come to realize quickly that the only similarity the two share is the location of where the student is receiving the material; your home! With online school options, you are getting a certified curriculum that you know is maintained by a team of certified instructors on par with your student’s peers. If you wish for your child to return to a brick and mortar school at some point, online school may also make coming back much easier due to official record-keeping, curriculum, and scheduling.

For more information about the online school and the admissions process, contact ICON school today about registering your student in one of our programs!


ICON School

Written by ICON School

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