The typical differences between an accredited virtual high school and a brick-and-mortar school are that all schooling is done online with a virtual school, which typically allows students to work at their own pace. Virtual schools also differ with regard to flexibility of schedule, sources of funding and teacher-student communication.
At a virtual school, class information and school work are available online. A student can access his classes and complete work at any time during the day, which allows for a more flexible schedule than a brick-and-mortar school. He can also work ahead to an extent. Virtual schools do have attendance policies, so a student still has to log in and complete work on a regular basis.
Public virtual schools get 30 percent less funding on average than public brick-and-mortar schools. Virtual schools also usually don't receive local property taxes as public schools do. Virtual schools have much lower facility costs, but often have higher technology and curriculum costs.
Certain virtual schools allow students to focus on fewer courses than is typical at a brick-and-mortar school, allowing students to complete those courses more quickly. For example, instead of completing six courses in one semester, a student could complete three in each half of the semester.
Teachers in virtual schools usually communicate with students through emails and by phone. Face-to-face meetings may also occur. Virtual schools often organize social events for students, such as field trips.