Online homeschooling is essentially homeschooling a child using an online curriculum. This type of homeschooling is sometimes performed on a full-time basis, with the child never attending a regular school, or on a part-time basis. On a part-time basis, online homeschooling can be beneficial for teaching a disabled child or supplementing a child’s learning at home. All or most studying, test taking, and grading can be performed online on some websites. Homeschooling in general is not met without controversy and illegality, with some parents arguing that home-schooled children are not properly socialized and some governments doubting the quality of education a parent can give.
Like homeschooling offline, the parents usually have significant leeway in choosing the child’s curriculum. Adding and dropping courses is normally possible, as well as assigning courses more or less advanced to better suit the child. Often, online homeschooling websites keep track of grades and progress, which is sometimes a burden for offline homeschoolers who believe in the grading process. Online homeschooling is often not free; a parent must usually pay by the semester or year and might have to pay for extra courses. Additional fees might apply for textbooks and other learning materials.
While online homeschooling websites are essentially online schools, they are not always accredited, meaning they are not recognized by the region’s local authorities on education. If this is true for an online homeschooling website, their diplomas are usually meaningless to employers, colleges, and universities. In this case, it is often up to the parent to put together a homeschooling transcript and portfolio, which can carry more weight, depending on the region. Some online homeschooling websites are recognized, however, and their diplomas are accepted at many workplaces and educational intuitions.
There is much controversy surrounding offline and online homeschooling. In fact, the practice is illegal in countries such as Hong Kong, Germany, and the Netherlands. Some countries, like the Netherlands, ban homeschooling after a child reaches a certain age, normally around five to seven years old. While homeschooling is fully legal in many other countries, some citizens of those countries disapprove, believing that homeschooled children do not spend enough time with other children or do not get a decent education, among other fears. Whether these doubts are unfounded depends on whom is asked; many parents have proved that teaching from home has significant benefits often unavailable in public or private schools, but other parents have done the opposite.