Homeschooling or schooling at home during COVID?

éducation à domicile covid

I am an orthopedagogue supporting homeschooling families and a new “COVID mother”. Like many people, I thought: “Yeah! Homeschooling, I’m finally going to try it for myself!” But, I quickly fell from my cloud. This Spring, I didn’t “homeschool”, I “schooled at home”. To me, there’s a big difference!

To make an informed choice for this coming school year, I made a list of my observations and the differences between “homeschooling” and “learning at home or distance learning” like we did during the pandemic. Some observations are advantages for one method in particular and some bring a bunch of interesting insights.    

Now, it is your turn to make up your own mind.

Schedule and work plan

Firstly, Covid-19 didn’t leave much freedom in the schedule. Teachers would send a work plan for the week and scheduled appointments for virtual meetings. With four students, you can imagine how difficult it was to orchestrate everything without forgetting anything. I envied the freedom of homeschooling. Choosing my schedule, the order of the subjects, how we’d work, etc.

On the other hand, everything was ready! The work plan, the subjects we needed to cover, the pages needing to be completed, the educational videos to watch and more. I only had to open my email to have a multitude of explained notions and documents to print. That isn’t the case with homeschooling. No program, especially in French, provides you with everything “without lifting a finger”. Homeschooling requires personally planning the notions that need to be covered, an arrangement of various teaching levels and, mostly, time to research to find learning material that pleases us. 


Although exceptional, Covid-19 didn’t require evaluations. When homeschooling, evaluations or a portfolio are asked to measure the child’s learning progress. Finding a format for the portfolio and assembling it or finding a qualified teacher according to the DEM (Direction de l’enseignement à la maison) and fitting your family is a big task.


Services? What? I sincerely think that in one case or another, the concept of services is very ambiguous. During the pandemic, some families were entitled to continue having services while others were left to fend for themselves. I would say that in both cases, the more we fend for ourselves, the more services we have. Nothing falls out of the sky!

Time and computer equipment

Let’s talk about technology. Although promised by the government, computer equipment provided during the pandemic was very limited. Many families felt the need to purchase equipment to allow the entire family to work properly.

When we homeschool, technology choices are within our grasp, but the purchase isn’t easier: computer, tablet, Chromebook, computer programs… Videos aren’t always readily found and everything has a price!

On the other hand, with homeschooling, screen time remains a family choice. Some families encourage the use of technology while others restrict it. During the pandemic, forcing kids to sit and work at a precise time for a precise amount of time on a computer was very restrictive for our family. The more screens there are, the more there is electricity in the air and bickering.  

Family environment 

Whew! The pandemic allowed beautiful family bonds until the school took over again. During an online meeting, noise must be reduced, brothers and sisters must be out of sight and parents must not intervene with the education. The more we try to keep everyone silent, the more the noise becomes difficult to manage. There’s always a moment where a child passes behind the screen to do a funny face. Time becomes pressure. Turning the computer ON on time, being dressed appropriately, having space to work (office, etc.), choosing to ignore the quibble the little brother started. Forcing the child!

Homeschooling! Joy! In most families, the workload and communication are encouraged and mutual aid is prioritized. Schedule flexibility makes the day go smoothly. 

This September, many families are thinking of homeschooling. I understand them and encourage them without hesitation. BUT, before taking the leap, think thoroughly about what adventure you’re getting into. Because homeschooling isn’t just learning at home, it is clearly a life choice!

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as reflecting the position of AQED.

Traduit par Nathalie Chapados