Homeschooling, eLearning, school-at-home, and distance learning… oh my! 

Many parents find themselves facing a difficult decision this summer regarding the education of their children for the year. For families seeking an at-home option, there are many paths to consider. 

Public schools across the country are unveiling a wide array of alternatives to in-person teaching. With so many options put before them, families are often left confused, trying to sort through the vast amount of information. The term “homeschooling” has been misused for public-school-at-home options for many years, and increasingly so in the midst of the pandemic. It’s important for all parents to not only understand that different legal definitions exist, but that these different education classifications also have different legal requirements. 

There are three main types of at-home options for families to consider for their children this fall. All are legal and viable choices and parents should choose the option that works best for their family. Keep reading for a breakdown of the three most popular at-home options in Indiana.


  1. State-wide Charter Schools – For many years, Indiana has offered virtual public school options such as K12 and Indiana Connections Academy. These programs offer instruction 100% online. Families enroll their children for the entire school year, and they do not typically have access to extra-curricular programs and activities by the family’s local school district. While commonly confused with homeschooling, these programs are publicly funded and overseen by the state. They are, therefore, classified by law as public schools. 
  2. District-specific eLearning – Local school districts across the state are rolling out reopening plans for the fall and most have created at-home options using many different labels. Various schools have mislabeled some of their options as “homeschooling”, in spite of the fact that homeschooling, in Indiana, is a separate legal classification. At-home options through your local school district, by definition, are public education. You are accountable to that school for tracking your child’s attendance and instruction, but you may have access to more programs depending on the guidelines established by your district. At-home eLearning options through a student’s own school district may be the best option for families seeking a temporary solution. This is particularly applicable to high school students who want to remain on their school’s path toward graduation.


3. Indiana classifies homeschools as nonpublic and non-accredited. This definition dictates the laws that we must follow and it outlines the freedom that we have. We recognize many families wanting to keep their children at home this year may not be interested in homeschooling as defined by Indiana law. For families ready to explore the freedom and opportunity that come with home education, we’re ready to help you succeed. The IAHE has been serving Indiana families interested in home education since 1983. We have a volunteer team available to help answer your questions, and we encourage you to reach out.