HomeSchooling Home Education Blog

Homeschooling versus Distance Education

[Friday 16th July 2021]

Two terms that confuse or seem interchangeable for many people are the terms 'homeschooling' and 'distance education'. This blog post will attempt to help you understand the difference between these.

I'll start by confusing you even further - these two terms are actually misleadingingly the wrong way round - 'distance education' IS 'school' and 'homeschooling' is NOT 'school'!

What do I mean by that?

Well, 'school' is where you send your kids so that a 'teacher' will tell the students what to do and get them to learn ... that is what happens in brick-and-mortar schools. You, as parent, give your kids away to some 'expert' (called a 'teacher') who does the magic stuff called 'teaching' ... magic that is deemed (and seems) so magical and distant that normal untrained mortals can't possibly do it.

With 'distance education' the same thing happens, but your kids stay home ... the 'teachers' direct them from a 'distance' .... tell them what to learn, mark their work, and all that kind of normal 'school' stuff. It is still 'school' - but at home! (... but it is NOT 'homeschooling'. Confusing, eh?)

What is the role of you as parent with 'distance education'?

You are the 'lackey' that does what the 'expert' tells you. You are still giving your kids away into the trusted care of that 'expert' to 'do the magic'.

I'll give you an analogy: My aging mother now has to live in a 'nursing home', where they look after her and supply all her meals. She can sometimes go to the dining room and get fed along with everyone else, or she can have it delivered to her room. Either way, it is the same food, mass prepared by their kitchen. Some meals might be OK, but I have certainly seen my Mum turn her nose up at some meals that have arrived. Well 'school' is like going to the 'dining room' - 'distance education' is when it is delivered to your room!

'Homeschooling' is different.

The definition that state education authorities use for 'homeschooling' is for the parent to be taking responsibility for the education of their child.

It's actually more like 'home-cooked' meals for your children. You might not be a world-class chef and the upcoming winner of 'My Kitchen Rules' but, as the classic line in 'Ratatouille' says: anyone can cook ... and besides, you can still use a recipe book and (ask my Mum ...) 'home-cooked' meals are so much nicer; and YOU make the decisions about what your child likes, what you think is good and healthy for them, and also what is within your budget ... and Yes, you do a bit more of the work.

On a deeper and more sinister level, it is also about who owns the child. For more about that see our blog post about the same thing on a more political level. (Link here) With 'distance education', just as with 'school', you are assuming that the 'state' owns your child and can dictate what they should know; with 'homeschooling' you are making the choice that what your child learns and knows and believes is your responsibility.

HomeLearn supports 'homeschooling', as defined here ... no ifs, buts or maybes.

We support 'you' in taking the responsibility of educating your child 'in the way (you believe) they should go'. Using the above 'Ratatouille' analogy, we are the 'cookbook' (and food supplier) to help you do a great job of 'cooking' an education for your kids!