Homeschool Vs. Online School: Which is Better?

I have had a number of phone calls lately from frustrated and worried friends who do not know what to do about homeschool vs. online school through the public school system.

As a mom going on her 4th year of homeschooling, this seems like a no-brainer.

Why would I ever make my kid check in every hour for 7-8 hours a day with a laptop?

Why would I ever let them sit in front of a laptop for that long?

Why would I think they would get a quality education from a teacher who can’t interact with them one on one?

The entire thing sounds ludicrous to me, but I do have sympathy for my frightened friends who think homeschooling sounds 10 times as scary.

I am here to tell you that homeschooling is a cakewalk compared to the unknowns, restrictions, and time commitment of 5 days of virtual school every week.

No Question.

Hands Down.

And here is why.

10 Reasons Homeschooling Your Kid Is Easier Than Online School

Struggling with the decision about homeschool vs online public school? I understand there are a lot factors to think about, but there are 10 huge reasons to consider before making this decision.

1. You’re on Your Own Time Schedule

How pleasant do you think your kid is going to be in front of the camera on let’s say…week 10 of school at 8am in the morning?

It’s going to get old real fast.

Homeschooling allows for a much more flexible schedule that fits your family and your kid’s sleep needs.

Your kids can start when they’re ready, you can run errands when you need to, and everyone is happier.

Plus, you are in charge of the overall school calendar – not the school board.

2. Done in Less Time

Happy homeschool kid done before online school

‘Without question, you will be done in less time than a virtual school day would take.

The large majority of homeschoolers say that homeschooling should take 1 – 1.5 hours for every grade level.

For example, 1st Grade takes 1 hour/per day, 2nd Grade 2 hours/per day, etc.

****If you have multiple kids, do not stack those hours. Many subjects can be grouped together at the elementary level. You should be able to do things like science, art, music, and history together.

These time estimates are a little dependent on what curriculum you choose and how many breaks you take but holds mostly true.

For years my kids have looked out the window and asked when the school bus would come with their friends.

They could not believe that hours had passed since we finished school, and their friends were STILL sitting at a desk at the school down the road.

Not to mention, those traditional school kids still had…

3. One Word: Homework

There is a good chance that even when the online school day is over, there will still be homework to complete.

I cannot imagine how dejected and frustrated kids are going to feel looking at a stack of worksheets after spending 7-8 hours in an online school.

Kids are going to want to run and play, spend time with mom and dad, and be a kid!

However frustrated the kid is, I’m sure the parents will be exhausted as they have at least another hour of the day lost working with their kid on homework.

Homeschoolers do not have homework.

And many also do not test. 

If there was a deficit in learning, the parent catches it because they are right beside their kid doing the work and talking about it.

The extra homework or studying for a test would be redundant in the homeschooling lifestyle.

4. Not Having to Babysit Your Kid While on Camera

Homeschool vs. Online School mom and daughter

Kids love to be silly in front of cameras – that is just normal developmental behavior.

A homeschooling friend of mine said she found her kid upside down in her chair and eating a sandwich while she was on camera for a virtual co-op class.

It was funny to talk about, but at the time my friend was not happy.

She felt like she had to hover over her 3rd grader constantly to make sure she wasn’t getting into mischief in the vacuum of a teacher not being in the room with her.

My friends who are wringing their hands over full-time online school feel the same way!

“How am I ever going to keep my 1st grader in their chair?”

It is going to become their new full-time job, that is how.

Good luck, if you have more than one kid in elementary school.

Day in and day out, that will easily take MUCH more time, energy, and effort than homeschooling.

5. No Microphones in My House

I did have a kid doing 2 virtual co-op classes after COVID hit and I have to say that I really hated it.

The teachers really stepped up to the plate, but it was a challenge to have cameras and microphones inside my house. I felt like I was tip-toeing around my daughter to make sure she could hear the teacher…and the teacher couldn’t hear us!

The younger siblings were banished to other areas of the house and told to play quietly for 0ne hour. That was hard for them!

I cannot imagine having younger kids in a house with an online school going on.

It would be so much stress on parents to manage the noises and distractions.

Homeschooling allows for kids to do school together!

My 4 year old loves to sit in on lessons and even participates when she can.

This is a much healthier environment, in my opinion, for siblings and overall educational growth.

6. Significantly Less Screen Time

I do have a number of apps that my kids use for homeschooling, but the large majority of our school time is done with me, a book, workbooks, etc.

Scientists and child experts have been saying for years that kids should not be in front of screens for more than 2 hours a day or there will be significant negative consequences.

What would the consequences be of 8 hours of online school a day for an elementary-aged kid?

I have heard some experts say anxiety and depression could be real issues for kids in this environment.

I don’t know, but this homeschooling mom isn’t going to find out.

7. More Movement for Your Kids

Homeschool kid runs with kite

As a homeschooling parent, you can lead your kids on so many active lessons. You can go on a bike ride for P.E., go outside in your yard for science explorations, or run around the house for an “active break.”

School being done sooner (and no homework!) also gives much more time to go outside and play like they were created to.

When I think of a kid sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours of online school every day…it just makes me sad.

That is not what their bodies need, and so far from what is best for them.

8. Teach Kids to Love Learning

One of my friends had a huge concern that she would fail her child if she homeschooled instead of doing online school.

I told her that the worst thing she could do to a kid, academically, is to teach them to hate learning.

A homeschool mom could do that by being too aggressive with lessons.

It’s possible.

But to me, it’s definite that a kid is going to hate learning (or at least not love it) in the online school format.

The joy and love of learning will be sucked out of them as they stare at a computer for hours on end, constantly being reminded to focus and sit up.

And then handed a stack of worksheets and flashcards for homework.

No, thank you. 

My kids are curled up next to me on the couch while I read to them.

We do hands-on projects together.

Questions are asked and explored.

Just last week one of my kids was begging me for another history lesson.

Another one asked to do a reading lesson on a Sunday.

Lighting the fire of learning is crucial to developing a lifelong, successful learner.

9. Take Breaks When Your Kid Needs them

Kids often need breaks more than once an hour.

Sometimes my kid has an intense reading lesson. I can see their mind put forth a lot of effort and I know we cannot transition to another subject just yet.

I let them run around and play for 5-10 minutes while I “set up” the next lesson.

When they come back to the table, they are much better prepared to jump back into learning.

This is a way that I can customize our school day to my individual kids and their needs.

An online school with 20-30 kids does not have that luxury.

10. Customized Curriculum to Your Kid and Your Values

Happy homeschool kid not wanting online school

Homeschooling means you get to pick what your kid learns and how they learn it!

I grew up in the public school system, so I had no idea there were even options out there for how to teach anything.

Everything was a one size fits all.

If you didn’t get it the way it was taught…then your grade reflected that. Oh well.

With homeschooling, I get to pick and choose a curriculum that fits my child’s learning strengths, our budget, and our values.

A switch of math curriculum for one child brought her from tears to “I’m good at math!”

What a difference that can make in her long-term academic future.

Recap Homeschool vs. Online School + Free Printable

I know it’s a huge decision as you look between homeschool and online school.

There are many factors to consider, but I hope you see know that homeschool is not the big scary monster you may have been envisioning.

Homeschooling is full of freedom, flexibility, and endless possibilities!

Are you feeling a little nauseous as you consider the reality that you might become a…homeschooler?!

Something you never, ever considered?

I created this entire blog for people like you!

I pulled my own kid from public school and I felt the same waves of nausea you’re feeling right now.

Nobody is more surprised than me that I’m sitting at my laptop right now, helping families get on their feet with homeschooling!

When you join The Simple Homeschooler Community you’ll get Monday morning emails from me – full of homeschooling tips, support, encouragement, freebies, and laughs!

If you subscribe today, I’ll send you a copy of The Simple Homeschooler Planner for free!

It’s the perfect tool to start the year off on the right foot!

Just fill out the form below and I’ll you’ll have your free homeschool planner today!


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Read Next:

Looking for some 1st grade homeschool curriculum ideas? Check out the simple and relaxed curriculum I have picked out for our homeschool! Award wining choices for core subjects, and fun exciting picks for everything enrichment, it will definitely get your 1st grader learning and having fun!


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