As you know, we are part of a homeschool hybrid program here in Central Florida. This is a blend between fully at home education and five day traditional school. We are blessed to live in an area that has many options for homeschooling. In fact, there are so many options, it can feel overwhelming for parents! However, it’s a wonderful problem to have so many homeschool hybrid program choices. So what is a homeschool hybrid program? And where do you find one in your area? After 10 years of participating in this type of schooling, I have a lot of opinions and information to share!
What is a Homeschool Hybrid Program?
In a homeschool hybrid program, students may be registered with their county as a homeschooler, or be under an umbrella school, also known as a private school covering. But the basics of a homeschool hybrid program means that students go to school and are also at home. There are many different schedules for this type of program. The homeschool hybrid program can meet twice a week, once a week, three times a week, or more. Usually, and in my opinion, ideally, this isn’t a drop in program, but rather all students at the school are on the same schedule.
There are several different names for this type of homeschooling program. A homeschool hybrid program can also be known as part-time homeschooling or a University Model. The name University Model makes sense because it’s very similar to a college schedule where you attend classes twice or three times a week. And then students study on their own on other days. I love this system for many reasons, but also because it helps prepare kids for a more adult type of learning.
Michael McShane, has written a book that dives deep into the world of hybrid homeschooling. In his book, Hybrid Homeschooling, he discuses the history of hybrid homeschooling, the different types of hybrid homeschools operating around the country, and the policies that can both promote and thwart it. At the heart of the book are the stories of hybrid homeschoolers themselves. Based on numerous in-depth interviews, the book tells the story of hybrid homeschooling from both the family and educator perspective. If this topic interests you, particularly from a policy and historical point of view, this book is for you!
What at the advantages of a hybrid homeschooling program?
There are a lot of advantages to this type of schooling. We have enjoyed this part time schedule for over 10 years. And it’s been going very well for us! I am not the type of homeschooling parent that had a horrible time in my educational history, and can’t imagine my child going to school five days a week. On the contrary, both my husband and myself loved our elementary, middle, and high school years. We had wonderful friends and teachers! However, from the very beginning of considering our children’s educational future, homeschooling seemed appealing.
There are many reasons that homeschooling overall is beneficial to both the family and the student.
- More time together as a family
- The ability to direct your child’s education for their particular needs and interests
- Having more control and knowledge about what your child is learning
- Stronger sibling bonds
- More flexible schedule for travel and individual needs
- And many more!
But what are the advantages of a homeschool hybrid program as compared to traditional homeschooling?
- Experience in a school setting without it being overwhelming
- The opportunity to participate in sports, arts, music, etc. in a group setting
- More socialization
- Developing a greater respect for authority outside of immediate family members
- A chance to experience fun school events like field day, P.E., and more
For our family, hybrid homeschooling is the perfect blend of the best parts of a school program, combined with more time together as a family. If you are considering homeschooling, but still need time to yourself for work or other reasons, a homeschool hybrid program might be the perfect option!
But is it legal?
When parents are mostly familiar with five day public school, they usually have a lot of questions about the legality of homeschooling in general. With a homeschool hybrid program, some offer an umbrella school or private school covering. This means that the school takes responsibility for your record keeping, reporting to the state, and more. As a parent, this means that you don’t have to register with your County or State as a homeschooler. However, many homeschool hybrid programs don’t provide this option. And I know from personal experience that this can be overwhelming to consider registering with the county on your own!
But you need to know: homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Every state has their own requirements, but you should know, it’s 100% legal. The Home School Legal Defense Association has information on the requirements broken down by state, and they are an amazing source of information. With over 95,000 families represented, you can know that you are not alone when you choose to homeschool. There was a time when homeschoolers could be prosecuted for truancy, and some brave trailblazers lead the way to allow families to have the choice to direct their own children’s education. And now, we have this right as parents, and it is fully legal in all 50 states.
Can you handle it?
I’ve heard every excuse in the book on why parents think they can’t homeschool.
- “My kids would never listen to me.”
- “I would lose my mind.”
- “I wouldn’t know where to start.”
- “My kids are too smart to homeschool.”
- “My kids are too social to homeschool.”
Homeschooling is different. Even though the numbers of homeschooling families are rising exponentially, it’s still not the norm. And hybrid homeschooling is even more unique! This is not a traditional schooling method. But who said we need to anything just because that’s what everyone else is doing? We all need to choose what’s best for our children. And I firmly believe that parents are best equipped to make that decision for their children. You might feel scared or ill-equipped. But especially with a homeschool hybrid program, you have a supportive community to come alongside you on your homeschooling journey.
How do you find a program in your area? Unfortunately, there isn’t one overall database of all of the homeschool hybrid programs in the country. This is something that would be very helpful to parents! When people ask me, I generally tell them to simply do a Google search for the words “homeschooling” combined with their geographic location. In order to find more options, expand your search to cities and counties close to you. Sometimes, it’s not easy to find, but it’s worth the search!
I have so many resources here on my blog that can help you along the way. Check out some of these posts to find the support that you need to help you be successful.