What is the Difference Between Online Schooling and Homeschooling? (Homeschool vs. DL vs. IDL)

Many people have been asking about home-based options for their kids since the pandemic started, so here are the different choices parents have for their kids when it comes to learning without physical teacher contact (but with a teacher online).

The first thing most parents think when it comes to home learning is either homeschooling, or online learning, which in B.C. is either a Public DL (distributed learning) school or an Independent DL school.


Homeschooling differs significantly from online schooling in that the parent/guardian is responsible to provide the program and does not have to meet provincial curriculum standards. As such, homeschooled students do not graduate with a Dogwood Diploma and the parent/guardian does not receive any government funding for instructing the student. Instead, parents provide an education program that’s suitable to their standards and that adequately prepares a child to become a contributing member of society. Although students do not have to attend any physical school, homeschooled students are required to register with a school (public, francophone, or independent) by September 30th of each year.

Online Schools

Online DL schools broadly fall into two main categories: Public DLs and Independent DLs. Both variants are authorized by the Ministry of Education, follow B.C.’s curriculum, and offer students the same diploma as brick-and-mortar schools.

Public DL schools

Public DL schools operate similarly to a brick-and-mortar school in that they follow a structured system, cannot include religious texts, teach BC mandated curriculum, and rely on Ministry funding to operate. Courses are completed online and students are assigned a B.C. certified teacher for questions.

Independent DL schools

Independent DL schools operate as non-profit societies, have B.C. certified teachers, follow B.C. curriculum standards, as well as oblige with annual reviews and evaluations. The major differences for independent schools usually lie in their program offerings, flexible policies, and typically, offer more niche services. To add, many independent schools are faith-based (both brick and mortar and online) as it is the only category where faith-based course offerings are permitted.

Group 1 Independent DL schools, such as ours, are funded at 50% of the public DL rate. Due to the limited funding, many independent schools charge tuition fees to provide an accredited program.

There are many options when it comes to home-based schooling and it can be difficult to decide what’s the best option for you and your family. Our team is here to support you if you need any help navigating your home learning options. Contact [email protected] if you have any questions.