More than once I've had to smile at the look of puzzlement on a persons face when I mentioned that we do a hybrid homeschool. The question scrolls across the face as their brows knit together, “What is a hybrid homeschool?” I thought I'd take a moment to explain why we chose the hybrid homeschool approach, and what it is.
What is a Hybrid Homeschool
A hybrid homeschool falls somewhere between typical formal school and homeschool. It is similar to a typical formal school in that students attend classes two to three days a week with staff teachers and age peer classmates. It is similar to homeschool in that on other days of the week, the students school at home.
In many cases, the school chooses the curriculum, and the staff teachers set the pace by determining what will be covered in class and how parents continue the instruction at home. Some hybrid homeschool programs have the staff teacher assign grades, while others leave that up to the parents discretion. Some hybrid homeschool programs are even professionally accredited and able to offer diplomas at the end of the high school education.
Why we chose a Hybrid Homeschool
First, let me say that every year we spend several weeks praying, usually in February and March, about what our homeschool approach will be for the fall. We started homeschooling when our oldest was preschool aged (he's entering 6th grade this year). For a few years, we participated in a homeschool co-op, which we LOVED. In 2016, we realized that our oldest daughter has a double deficit learning disability and that it was beginning to affect her esteem. She was thriving in our weekly co-op classes, but she and I were struggling at home. We wanted her to enjoy learning, so we decided to switch it up for the fall and join a co-op that met more frequently. Unfortunately, the new co-op fell apart in the end of July, before classes started, and the co-op that we'd left was full. We were left scrambling.
A friend recommended a private school program, and I immediately responded, “Oh, we still want to homeschool.” To which she replied, “with this program, you can.” So, we decided to check it out. Turns out the private school program is a hybrid homeschool based that offers preschool through High School classes, is accredited by ISACS, and is a the university model school. The classes resemble a mash up of the formality of private school class (with the tuition to match) and a fun filled co-op class. Structure and creativity are harmonious and collaboration between staff teachers and parents is an important partnership.
While we planned to do homeschool lessons year round, we prayerfully decided that our kiddos would benefit from a hybrid homeschool from September to May. Our week is based on a four day week model and they attend private classes two days a week, while we school at home two days a week. The fifth day we reserve for our fun days. We do field trips and pursue independent interest based learning projects. We're able to continue our year round model with and also able to incorporate our oldest daughter's private tutoring and vision therapy into our homeschool week.
We value the role we play for each of our children in their education. We enjoy the ability to set the pace on our homeschool days, as well as the camaraderie they've established with classmates on school days. Of course, we'll continue to constantly evaluate how each of our kiddos is progressing, and make changes as necessary.
For this season, it is what works for us.
Should you consider a Hybrid Homeschool
Hybrid homeschool has many of the Advantages of Homeschooling and eliminates a few of the disadvantages. If you are looking for an alternative schooling arrangement, a hybrid homeschool may be a great option. If you want to homeschool but also value the flexibility of having your children in the classroom environment, this could be a great fit.