Is Online School The Same As Homeschooling?

Both homeschooling and online schooling have become widely popular in recent times, so knowing the difference between the two is important for deciding which option is best for your family. Homeschooling is the education of children at home by their family while online schooling is the education of children at home by an outside institution using the internet. There are three key differences between homeschooling and online school:

  • Timelines,
  • Curriculum, and
  • Assessments, Grading, & Tests.

By evaluating the pros and cons of each difference, you’ll be better educated to make the best decision for you and your family.


When you’re homeschooling your children, you have the final say about your schedule. Unless your state has specific time requirements and deadlines for paperwork that you need to provide to them, you can decide what days and how much time each day you spend on classwork. The benefits here are clear. You determine the best schedule for you and your family, and because you know your children better than anyone else, you can give them the breaks they need in order to maintain their physical and emotional health. The negative of this is the temptation to take too many breaks, causing your children to fall behind in their work. 

Online schools will give you varying levels of timeline requirements. Some schools will have daily assignment requirements, while others like Northgate Academy give a general 12-month requirement within which to complete the grade level. Daily assignment requirements might put a hamper on your ability to give your student adequate breaks, and that’s a definitely drawback. An online school like Northgate gives you plenty of flexibility to adjust your student’s schedule according to your family’s needs while still keeping your students on track to graduate on time. 


One of the most attractive qualities of homeschooling is that you can determine the content of the courses your students will be taking. Where the public schools have failed you by teaching their political agendas rather than the true content, you can enrich your children with the lessons you know they will need as they approach adulthood. You can help them increase their creativity and infuse them with the faith-based learning you know will help them lead positive, healthy lives. This is a clear benefit to homeschooling. However, along with that freedom, you are also solely responsible for finding the resources to provide your student with the knowledge they need to succeed in the modern world. It will be your responsibility to teach them not only about basic content requirements and advanced math and sciences, but you’ll also be responsible for preparing them for current and future technological advancements as well. If you feel capable of this type of work and the time investment, then homeschooling will prove a healthy and valuable opportunity bonding and growing with your child. 

An alternative to full homeschooling, however, is to enroll your student in an online school like Northgate Academy either full- or part-time. Benefits include the fact that full times students are given access to an Academic Success Coach to help guide them in their studies. Enrolling your student in individual classes allows you to pick and choose whatever content areas you feel less confident in teaching. Part-time students have access to subject matter experts, so they can always reach out for help with difficult subject areas. 

Online schools provide you with a full curriculum relieving you of this part of the instructional process. You can still modify your student’s schedule and address their specific needs, but the instructional materials for the entire grade level are already provided in full. And because Northgate’s purpose is faith-based learning, you can rest assured that the content will focus on the Biblical teachings you value.

Assessments, Grading, & Tests

When you’re homeschooling your children, you can choose whatever assessment and grading system you know works best for your student. You can even choose to avoid any tests whatsoever, as long as your state doesn’t have specific requirements for homeschool families. This gives you the freedom to assess your child holistically, viewing their education as a whole rather than a series of assessments and exams. Although this can be very appealing, the drawback is that you might miss some significant concepts that your student has not fully grasped. If you are going to homeschool and give assessments, it is your responsibility to determine the key concepts that your student needs to walk away with, create each assessment without bias, and then score and provide feedback for any work that your student completes. This can be a heavy burden, but as you begin to notice your child’s strengths and weaknesses, it can also be a rewarding bit of insight into how their brain works and how to help them grow.

Because your goal is to send your student into the adult world fully prepared, this a very important area to consider. Online schools not only provide the curriculum, but they generally score that work and provide feedback as well. If you are looking for an option where you are there to guide and monitor your student, but you aren’t able to invest the time and energy toward creating and scoring their work, using an online school that you trust and that has the same values as you do is a great option. Northgate Academy employs professionals and technology that complete the scoring of assessments for you, even providing feedback on essays so that your student knows what they need to do to improve their writing. Whether you decide to enroll full- or part-time, your student has the chance to use notes on their quizzes and tests and submit all quizzes, tests, and essays twice always giving them a chance to review again, improve their learning, and earn a higher score. Once the work is done, parents have access to the online gradebook and the course content through our Parent Portal, so instead of creating the assessments and grading them, you have the freedom and time to work directly with your student, providing them with essential guidance and support.

Choosing between a full homeschooling experience, online schooling, or a hybrid mix of the two can be a heavy responsibility. However, we’re here to help you make the best decision for your child. If you would like to know more about the options available to you, or you just need to brainstorm with a knowledgeable staff member about your options, feel free to call us at 800-339-7132 or text at 763-412-4701, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Northgate professionals have experience working with families who have chosen both full-time and part-time hybrid models of online schooling, and we will be happy to help you decide which approach is best for your family as you make this important decision. Enroll today or give us a call to learn more!

Northgate Academy Welcomes Everyone

We have a unique community of online learners from all over the world. We have students that chose to attend high school online due to social problems, large classroom size, conflicting beliefs concerning the educational process, and bullying. Maybe you just don’t share the values taught at the public schools. We have athletes, performers, military and ex-pats students; as well as international students that have chosen to earn an American, accredited high school diploma online. Students love the ability to attend a Christian school online according to their schedule and pace.

If you are ready to get started, why not Enroll Now?