Monday, June 10, 2024

Hybrid Homeschooling Offers Middle Ground

Yes, we have room here to do all this and make it better.  The historic structure have always been of convenience and today we can do better.  think in terms of half days just as we want half work days as well.  This provides wonderful flexibility.

We already have evidence of success.  Can a hybrid system do even better?

Start thinking outside the box folks.

the COVID lockdowns did shake up a moribund system and we need to apply inferred lessons.

Hybrid Homeschooling Offers Middle Ground

For parents who want to retain some structure and give their kids more social engagement, a hybrid model might be the best of both worlds.

A hybrid homeschool affords great flexibility to incorporate out-of-the-ordinary activities, such as field trips, on a regular basis. (Farm Veld/Shutterstock)


Spring is about that time of the year when families visit schools and campuses to look into educational options for their children. Families are not just making college campus tours but are also looking for other viable alternatives to public schooling. One such option is a hybrid homeschool model, which allows students to be taught by their parents at home while also attending an educational center with other homeschoolers twice a week.

Such a hybrid homeschool group may be in the form of a local cooperative or a nationwide nonprofit. Some are associated with a religious group, while others are nondenominational. Regardless of these details, one thing remains the same: Parents make the decision on what curriculum will be taught to the children.

The Silver Lining of the Lockdowns  When the COVID-19 lockdowns happened in 2020, most schools were unprepared to cope with students learning at home, as it meant becoming familiar with the technology to do video calls, setting up digital presentations, or finding online activities for the children to work on while still following a curriculum. Most students (and their families) got a taste of what it was like to do remote learning. Whether they were displeased or content with it, it gave parents a better idea of what was being taught at school—an inside peek into the conversations and discussions taking place if they had been in a brick-and-mortar classroom.

For those who were in the first group of discontented parents, they may have started to think of other options for their child’s education. Although not everyone can afford private schools, one option is to hybrid homeschool, which has lower costs and still gives students the option of being in a physical classroom and meeting other children their age. As such, the demand for informal homeschool groups and homeschool cooperatives grew soon after the lockdowns. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the spring of school year 2019–2020 (during the lockdowns), 5.4 percent of households with school-age children were homeschooling; in the fall, at the beginning of school year 2020–2021, it jumped to 11.1 percent. This is double the number of children being homeschooled in just a few months’ time.

Though the pandemic is over, parents are still keeping their children home for many different reasons. Top reasons include school safety concerns (including drugs), the inclusion of some kind of religious education, and the fostering of close family relationships. In addition, some parents don’t agree with the curriculum used in the schools and are looking for alternatives.

Dispelling the MythsThe beauty of a hybrid homeschool is that it helps address the myth that homeschooled children don’t have avenues for socialization. Although a regular five-day school is not the only place where children meet other kids, removing a child from this setting may trigger these anxieties about building and fostering peer relationships. For those who are still trying to shake off their apprehensions about this, a hybrid homeschool is a good middle ground. Add to that the flexibility to meet up with other homeschooled students for library events, museum days, and recreational activities specifically targeting this group, and it can lead to a good number of opportunities to mingle with other children.

Another myth that stigmatizes homeschooling is the notion that parents are not qualified to teach. In an age when teacher certification is a must in public schools, homeschooling defies the norm and puts the parents’ roles back firmly in place as their children’s first (and probably better) teacher.

In fact, a 2019 study by the National Center for Education Statistics reports that more than 20 percent of homeschooling parents have a graduate degree, more than 30 percent have a college degree, and more than 25 percent have vocational or technical training.

Beyond academic degrees, the best knowledge any teacher can have is knowing how their students learn. Big class sizes in the public school system may hinder teachers from knowing each child’s learning needs as intimately as a parent could. Buzzwords used in public schools such as “individualized instruction” and “flexible grouping” all sound nice on paper, but at the end of the day, there is just not enough time (and there aren’t enough resources) to plan out activities and lessons that cater to this sort of specialized learning. Having a parent teach a smaller class size at the homeschool learning centers may be the perfect antidote to big class sizes.

Fridays are usually for field trips or extra-curricular enrichment sessions in which children could have art classes or music lessons; homeschool co-ops and hybrid models share a rich resource of parents who are experts in specific fields.

Lessons LearnedThe homeschooling curriculum can be as rigorous or as relaxed as you want it to be. Parents may choose a classical education curriculum in which students may learn Latin. There are others who prefer thematic units (skills and activities rotate around a topic), and others may choose a traditional school model of textbooks and worksheets. Others mix and match according to their child’s needs and goals. It is a flexibility that one can only have when homeschooling.

Once a preferred curriculum is chosen, parents who don’t want to do the trial-and-error of picking which books to purchase and what topics go into the chosen curriculum may choose to join a group that already espouses it. Regina Caeli Academy offers a hybrid classical homeschool curriculum. It has centers in 15 states and is still growing. Parent-tutors follow a set of lessons at the tutoring location, and parents continue with the lessons at home. It takes the guesswork out of the equation.

Another option is the National Association of University-Models, which has centers worldwide. For other options, visit the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website, where you can search for homeschool groups according to ZIP code. It is a great tool to start your homeschool search.
Does homeschooling translate to a college degree? Yes. Homeschool transcripts are legal documents in every state, per HSLDA, and most homeschoolers “regularly graduate from Ivy League and elite military schools”—if that is where they choose to go for higher learning.

Counting the CostsMost families who opt to homeschool their children would have to take a very close look at their finances, as there are costs involved. Tuition fees, textbooks, arts and crafts materials, and supplies are a few of the expenses. While a few states have school choice laws and programs in place, the majority of states still haven’t adopted this piece of legislation, which may leave wannabe homeschooling families in limbo. Fear not, as most homeschooling groups actually conduct fundraising activities or have some type of scholarship fund specifically to help families in need. Also, if you opt to be a parent-tutor at the center, you can get discounts on the tuition fee, which could go a long way.

The prospect may be daunting, especially if you are used to the concept of a traditional five-day school week. Taking that first step may be scary, but the nice thing about being a part of a homeschooling group is the amount of support you can get from co-parents and parent-tutors as you take those baby steps toward this endeavor.

The most important step is changing the mindset that it can’t be done and removing the falsehoods associated with homeschooling. There may be bumps along the way, but the rewards of homeschooling are worth it. Happy homeschool hunting!

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