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What Is Distance Learning?


This post is contributed by Oak Meadow, the sponsor of our Living Education series.

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One of the greatest things about homeschooling is having the freedom to experience education in a way that works best for your student and family. Often, this means enjoying educational models or philosophies that are uniquely designed to fit your family’s needs. One such model is distance learning.

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What is distance learning, exactly?

Distance learning is defined by the education of students who are not physically present at school. In the context of homeschooling, this often means that students are still learning at home, but can enjoy the on-going support and guidance of their school as well as of experienced teachers.

The role of the parent

As the parent, you will also enjoy this support! While in traditional homeschooling, the parent serves as the full-time teacher, distance learning programs offer the additional support of having a teacher manage your student’s studies. Additionally, having someone to discuss your child’s progress with and to evaluate your child’s work is helpful to many parents.

That being said, even in a distance learning program, parents (and sometimes other caregivers) are essential in their role of home teacher. Students may work independently according to their ability, while the home teacher is present and available to help support the student in his or her learning.

A Tailored Experience

The home teacher is also the critical link between teachers and their students. It is essential for parents to communicate well with the teacher about the student’s needs throughout the year. With good communication that fosters a clear understanding of the student’s needs, teachers can adapt homeschooling curriculum and assignment expectations to better fit an individual student’s strengths and weaknesses.


While distance learning students and families study and learn at home, they are part of a virtual school community. Teachers lead online workshops, book clubs, and pen pal programs to bring students who would like to participate together. Plus, schools often offer online discussion groups for high school students to connect with one another.


Across the country, some level of assessment of your homeschooling student is required by the state. Having the support of a distance learning school can make this reporting process significantly easier for many parents. These schools provide grades and evaluations of your student’s process throughout the year as well as offering enrollment documents and student transcripts. All of this allows parents living in states requiring assessment to let the school do the documenting, so you can focus on what’s most important: the education of your child.

The structure, connection, and support provided by distance learning program, such as Oak Meadow Distance Learning School, make learning at home possible for some students and families who might not otherwise homeschool. Distance learning allows families to enjoy a highly-regarded, accredited education with the help of supportive teachers — at home or on the road.

Living Education Contributor

Enjoy these posts from the pages of Living Education, the seasonal journal from Oak Meadow. Visit the online archives of Living Education to celebrate, explore, and get inspired with more in-depth articles, stories, and crafts brought to you by Oak Meadow faculty and families.

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