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Homeschooling vs. Cyber Schooling: Considerations for Parents

written by: Elizabeth Zeigler • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 8/2/2012

Homeschoolers are switching to cyber schooling in record numbers. There are many reasons including costs, time, effort involved, availability of professional help and even state sanctioned curriculum. Does your child have an IEP? Do you want to be more involved without having to do much paperwork?

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    What Cyber Schooling Is and Is Not

    Cyber schooling is not "traditional" homeschooling. A cyber school is mandated under the charter school laws, and not the home education law. Cyber schooling is also not public homeschooling or publicly funded home schooling.

    When a parent completes a cyber school enrollment form, the child is no longer enrolled in a "traditional" home education program. The child is no longer considered a "home schooler." The student legally becomes a government school student. Legally speaking, a child cannot be enrolled in a "traditional" home school program and a cyber school program at the same time.

    Every student who enrolls in a cyber school technically enters the government school system. This issue has caused some tension in the homeschool community. The curriculum in a cyber school is structured by the state. There are no choices with a cyber school curriculum thus providing less freedom than actual home schooling. However, cyber schooling does have its advantages.

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    Less Paperwork and District Interaction for Parents

    One reason why homeschoolers switch to cyber school is because there is very little paperwork involved. All dealings with the district school system are handled by the cyber school. When a child is homeschooled versus cyber schooled, the parent has to turn in monthly attendance records, show evidence of coursework, their plan of action and much more. It certainly depends on the state where the family resides. Each state will have different requirements. When a family decides to cyber school instead of homeschool, all these issues are handled by the cyber school. This is one important reason homeschoolers are switching to cyber schooling.

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    Cyber Schooling Costs Versus Homeschooling Costs

    Homeschooling can be a costly endeavor. Generally, a family can expect homeschooling to cost more than a public school education. Since cyber schooling is still considered public school, another reason why homeschoolers switch to a cyber school is finances. When a family is looking to school economically, they would do well with cyber schooling. The supplies, which can include, computers, Internet access, textbooks, art supplies, testing materials and even an allowance for telephone services can be given out to the families at no fee. In a traditional homeschool setting, the parents are responsible for the cost of everything. Homeschooling costs even more if a family decides to use a boxed brand name curriculum instead of using library books, used books and hand-me-downs. On average, a boxed curriculum can cost anywhere from $550.00 all the way up to $1,500 and even more. Homeschooling costs become even higher as children age, and there are fees charged as a student comes closer to graduation. Homeschoolers who want to switch to cyber schooling list costs as one of the main reasons for the switch.

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    Special Education Concerns

    Parents of children who are special needs, often choose to switch to cyber schooling. In a homeschool setting, there are no publicly funded special ed programs. Since cyber schooling is still a publicly funded school, the school district has to provide an IEP and the resources to help the child. If the child needs speech therapy, then a speech pathologist will be provided by the district at no cost if the child is enrolled in a cyber school. Parents of children who are special needs choose to switch to cyber schooling so that their children can be helped by professionals.

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    Summary

    Homeschooling is becoming even more popular than traditional public school. Cyber schooling is the next logical step. Parents who desire a low cost way to educate their children at home can do so with cyber schooling. The reasons why homeschoolers switch to cyber school and are doing so in record numbers is because of cost, the curriculum, the time it takes, and even the support that can be received.

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    References

    Cyber Schools are not Homeschools, http://www.yhsa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=37:yhsa-statement-on-charter-and-cyber-schools&catid=22:yhsa-bylaws-policies-and-procedures&Itemid=40

    Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum, http://www.homeschoolinfo.org/choosingacurriculum.htm

    Homeschooling FAQ, http://www.homeschool.com/new/faq.asp