Home sweet homeschool
How does online learning compare to homeschooling?

– by Alexandra, freshman –

Online Distance Learning began March 23, due to a statewide shutdown of all public and private schools by Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam. What looked like a short-term period of “homeschooling” has now turned into an entire quarter, taking students and teachers to the end of the academic year. 

For some students, who have previously been homeschooled, switching to online learning is a somewhat familiar concept. But for others, who have always attended school, suddenly being thrust into school at home has been quite an adjustment.

“I was homeschooled when I was in 2nd and 3rd grade,” said Haston H, senior. “My homeschooling was not online, it was all done from books. I took an online Algebra 2 course, and liked how it was more at your own pace, while our online courses at FBTA all have deadlines. If they are not met, you are penalized, which kind of turns all of your days into very busy work days.”

Each teacher does their class slightly differently for the new online teaching platform. Some make videos for students to watch. Others have Zoom calls, require homework by a specific date and time, and prepare online quizzes and tests. Some have already scheduled all the work required for the quarter on the calendar. Discussion Boards sometimes take the place of journals or written work, inviting all students to see others’ feedback, unlike a classroom setting, where a limited number of students are able to contribute.

When comparing online distance learning to homeschool, Jenna R, 7th grade, said, “It’s kind of the same, but I like how the lessons are shorter.”

For students who have never been homeschooled before, some find online learning is exactly what they expected.

“It’s pretty much what I thought homeschooling would be like,” said Gabe V, sophomore. “My favorite part about online school is being able to spend a lot more time with my family.”

Others were surprised to find that school at home was nothing like they imagined. 

“I’ve never been homeschooled, but I always imagined the workload to be lighter when homeschooling,” added Amy F, sophomore. “With virtual school I still have the same amount of work, but a longer time in doing it.” 

Others have found the workload lighter online.

“I’ve never been homeschooled, so this has been an adjustment,” said Ava J, junior. “It hasn’t been that hard, and it’s nice to be able to get your work done all at once. I definitely have a lot more time on my hands.” 

Online distance learning for Quarter 4 is certainly not what students, teachers, or administrators expected. Now that everyone has a couple of weeks under their belt, having school online has been a challenging adjustment for some and home sweet homeschool for others.