TRADITIONAL HOMESCHOOLING vs. VIRTUAL (CYBER) CHARTER SCHOOL
What’s the Difference?
Did you know there were actually two different ways to approach homeschooling? Many families in Philadelphia are familiar with the idea of Virtual Charter Schools. When they think of homeschooling, they picture students attending online classes from home through their computer. This, however, is not the only homeschooling method, and even many virtual charter school students do not attend any online classes. Following is a brief outline of homeschooling methods.
1. TRADITIONAL HOMESCHOOLING:
- Choose your own curriculum (hundreds of options to choose from)
- Flexible Schedule
- Choose your own support group
- (Possibly) A shorter school day (Kindergarten can often be completed in as little as 2 hours a day)
- Can work from school books at home (not online classes)
- (Optional) Online classes available for students, particularly middle and high school students
- Students can move ahead with course work when they are ready, or review course work as often as necessary
- Must purchase own curriculum
- Must pay for extra-curricular activities
- Responsible for submitting paperwork to school district, having evaluations done, testing done.
2. VIRTUAL (CYBER) CHARTER SCHOOL:
- Materials/Curriculum sent to you free of charge
- Every child given his/her own computer
- Virtual Charter School Support staff available online or by phone for help you may need
- Can work from school books at home (not online classes), depending on Cyber Charter School chosen
- Online classes available for students
- Several different virtual charter schools to choose from
- Some schools will reimburse families (up to a certain amount) for athletic activities
- Some schools offer free support/classes for children with learning disabilities
- (In most cases) Your child is expected to use the curriculum sent to you, even if you don’t care for it, or if it doesn’t fit your child’s learning style.
- Students may be bound by the time frame of their online class or curriculum. They may have to continue doing lessons they already “know” because the assignment is required.
- Possibly a Full-Length school day (5 – 6 hours)
- Technical issues with school-given computers can be frustrating at times.
To find out more about Traditional Homeschooling and Homeschool support groups in Philly, please consider attending the meeting I will be having at the Northeast Regional Library in Philadelphia on June 4th. More information can be found about this meeting by clicking on this link: HOW TO START HOMESCHOOLING IN PHILLY. I also highly recommend purchasing PA Homeschoolers “Guide to PA Homeschool Law”. It’s inexpensive (only $4!), and very informative. Here’s a link to purchase the guide: http://www.pahomeschoolers.com/lawguide.html. Worried about the cost of homeschooling? Traditional Homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive! Please check out this post for money saving ideas: Money Saving Tips for Homeschoolers. I also recently found a new homeschool blog that regularly lists free resources for homeschoolers. To check it out, click here: Your Free Homeschool.
If you are considering enrolling your child in a Virtual (Cyber) Charter School, here is a list of Virtual Charter Schools in Pennsylvania. This list is not exhaustive. If I’ve missed one, please let me know! Many will be having informational meetings over the next few months. Please note: some of these schools are only grades 7 – 12. If you click on a school, you will be taken to that school’s website.
- 21st Century Cyber Charter School
- Achievement House Cyber Charter School
- Act Academy Cyber Charter School
- Agora Cyber Charter School
- Aspira Bilingual Cyber Charter School
- Commonwealth Connections Academy
- Esperanza Cyber Charter School
- PA CYBER
- PA Learners Online
- PA Virtual Charter School
- Sus Q Cyber Charter School
Hope this information has been helpful!
Copyright May 21st, 2013 by Gwen Fredette