If you are a working parent who comes home to help kids with homework each night, you might have trouble seeing how homeschooling is different, given that you still have to come home and work with your child on academics. In this video, we discuss six differences between the two.

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Here is the transcript:

Hi there, it's Kelly Harbaugh with Working Homeschooler. This week, I want to talk to you about the difference between homework and homeschooling. That might sound a little obvious if you are a stay at home homeschooling parent who does all the school work during the day and there is no evening homework. However, for a working parent who is going to be doing at least some one on one work with their kids after work, it may be a little bit harder to define the difference. So we're going to take a look at what the main differences are between homework and homeschooling. Okay, so here we go.

Number one, the biggest thing to remember is that homework is an added assignment on top of a full day of school. Kids who are doing homework have spent an entire day, usually longer than any homeschooler spends on their total amount of work, and then they come home to more work. It's very draining. It's very exhausting. I don't believe it's healthy. But that is the way that it works when you are going to school and doing homework. When you are homeschooling, even if you're doing some of the work in the evening, if you work during the day - a traditional schedule, and you're working with your child in the evening, that is just some of the regular instruction time. You are either reviewing with them some work that was done mostly independent during the day, or it's about 50/50: They've spent some time on their schoolwork during the day and you have some things that you are teaching one on one.

Or you may have a child who really needs a lot of hands on, one on one work right now. And you might be spending a few hours after work working with them. So what's the difference? That child has not spent eight hours doing school, nothing but school, during the day before you work with them. If you're right now sending a child to school and you're doing homework with them, they're done with it already before they've started because they've had a full day of academics. If you are going to be working with them after work, then you can give them a lot of freedom during the day, how ever they are spending their time - whether it is at home or with a sitter somewhere else. You can give them a lot of freedom to explore the things that they want to do outside of those academics, to be a person to discover who they are. And I don't mean that in a new age sort of way. Every person was created with a certain individuality and dignity that is hard to discover if every waking minute of your day is dictated and 90% of what you're doing is either getting ready for school, doing school, or doing homework for school the next day. It's, it's just not - It's just not healthy to have that much of your day on academics.

And so if you are homeschooling, even if you are spending three hours right now with a child who is struggling after work, that child has not spent an entire day only doing academics, not getting any rest, and not doing anything fun. And so it will already make a big difference in their temperament, and just in both of your mindsets when you sit down to work together. So that's the most important thing to remember, but there are quite a few other differences.

Another difference is that homework when it is assigned, when your child is going to school homework is based on the class schedule where the classes and the curriculum And that's the way it has to be. If you're teaching a whole classroom full of students, you have to have some way to gauge at least the middle ground of where most people are. And that's got to be the schedule and the pace that you take because you just can't possibly customize that for everybody in the classroom. homeschooling is based on where your child is right now in that subject academically. Which means if they need a little bit more time, you need to spend another day or two on a concept to make sure they get it and they have a solid before you move on. You can do that and it evens out because you will also find those days where your child really understands what's going on and doesn't need to spend much time at all. homework is based on where the classes homeschool is based on where your child is. So There's another important difference.

Another difference is homework is based on the method that the teacher prefers to be able to evaluate everyone in class, I would do the same thing. If I had 20 students, I wouldn't want to see 20 different creative projects that I would have to evaluate to determine if they know what I taught them. If I would be up all night, I would want 20 of the same worksheet or the same test. Or, you know, the same project that I could very easily grade in a standardized way. That's just realistic from the way school is done. However, as a parent, with a homeschooling child, even if I have a few kids, I have room to let that child decide with me how they're going to show what they learned.

Sometimes that might look like a worksheet or test just like they'd have in school. But sometimes that might be a video. Or if they're a little older and into coding that might be a web page. That could be a messy salt map or a lap book, or, you know, some artistic work. It could be a lot of different things. You can work with your child individually to decide the best way to show you what they've learned. As long as you are able to understand what they've learned and what they've grasped and what they know. It can be anything that the two of you decide. So again, homework is based on what the teacher prefers, what the teacher needs, to be able to evaluate an entire class room full of students and their work. Homeschool is based on whatever you and your child decide is the best way for them to present what they've learned.

Here is another difference. Homework has a hard deadline. Have you ever been up super late into the night with your child doing homework, and you know that what they really need is rest. You know that what they really need to do is step away and probably come back to it tomorrow, but you can't, because the homework is due tomorrow. And so the both of you stay up, loose sleep, are frustrated, trying to get work done. It's just not the right fit right now. You may need to step away from it and may need - your child needs to step back a couple steps before they can understand the concept you're working on now. But you don't have a choice, because it is homework assigned on a class schedule, and it has a deadline.

Now, homeschool, has a deadline that you set and it's flexible. So you can make decisions based on how you see your child is learning. You don't ever have to in homeschool be up until midnight trying to complete something with your child just because the schedule says it has to be done the next day. You don't ever have to do that. You're in charge with homeschooling, and you don't have to panic about moving at a frantic pace. You move along at your child's pace.

So the next difference with homeschooling and homework is that homework doesn't take into account anything else going on in your life. Your child, when they - I'm sorry, when your child's teacher assigns homework, yhey can't really pay attention to what other classes they have and what teachers are assigning on those days. They don't know what you have on your plate at work this week. They don't know what extra curricular activities your child has. If this is the week of the piano title or this is the week of the playoffs soccer game, or anything like that, or any other family things that you have going on. If you have a big family event this week, your teacher can't customize those things. Homework is just based on the tunnel vision of what that class is working on without any regard to anything else that's going on in your child's life.

Homeschool is just the opposite. Homeschool can be worked in around family things, extra curricular activities, you can - if your child is attending some classes, some Co Op classes and you have some independent work, you can work the independent work load around the days that they have heavier things for Co Op. Homeschooling, again, is flexible. And so the work that you've assigned can be bent around your family schedule and what you have going on.

This is this is a really big thing. If you work the type of job where you have certain seasons or certain days of the week, or just certain times where you have big projects due and you just don't have the bandwidth to do a lot of extra homework, you can decide, okay, this week we're going to focus on the basics or I'm going to give you some more independent things because I've got this big work project. But next week, when that's over, we can spend extra time working together on things. You can make school work fit into your family life and your family priorities. And your child will not be cheated out of a good education because of it. It's just customized and flexible.

Now the final thing that I see as a difference between homework and homeschooling is homework is based on your teacher's job evaluation. I've talked to plenty of teachers who would love to do school differently, to do their class differently. But guess what, at the end of the day, they need to feed their families, they need to keep their job. And so they can only customize as much as they are allowed to within the framework of how they're going to be evaluated when they have their own review. A lot of times that is test scores. A lot of times that means focusing heavy on some things and not spending time at all on things they would like to teach your kids. It's just a fact of the way that school works. Homework is going to be skewed towards what kids are being tested on, and other ways that teachers are going to be evaluated.

Now, you don't have any of that whenever you are doing home school. Homeschool is based on your family's beliefs, your family priorities, and what you decide, as a family, you want to spend time on the most; what types of things you want to focus on. You do not have to be a slave to some type of test schedule. And you do not have to face losing your teaching job, because you didn't do things the way the system wanted you to do it. This is this is one of the tremendous freedoms you have in homeschooling. That really makes family life easier. Even if you have a chaotic job, even if your kids are involved in activities and you otherwise have a hectic schedule. This allows you to decide what things are most important, what you want your kids to learn, and they don't miss out on the character training.

And you know, things like writing often get squeezed out. You have some of those academic things that get squeezed out because they're not tested on standardized tests. You get to decide what is most important. Okay? So even if you are working full time, 40 hours a week outside the home, and coming home, and spending a lot of one on one teaching time with your kids, it's still going to differ greatly from what things look like if your kids are in school all day, and then coming home to do more homework that is based on the class schedule, that is based on what that teacher needs to mass grade and evaluate, that is based on a hard deadline that takes no account of the other things going on in your life, and is skewed towards the way the teacher or the school is going to be evaluated.

You get to let go of all of those things. So if you are currently working with a child who is in school, and you wonder how you could possibly homeschool when this is just running you both ragged, I can promise you that homeschool will look different than homework and there's a good chance it will improve your life, improve your family life and improve the sanity of both you and your child. I hope that helped you and I hope that helps you see the difference between the two. You have a great weekend!