Our family is what you would call “accidental homeschoolers.” It was never our plan to educate our children at home. Health issues with one of our children led us down this path years ago and one by one we ended up homeschooling all three of our younger kids.
I have absolutely loved homeschooling in all the ways I could never have imagined. The kids were home with me during their years of needing extra sleep, still wanting to sit on my lap and wanting to eat things that I could never have easily fit into a lunch box. We met amazing families and the kids found lifelong friends. Don’t ever let anyone tell you homeschoolers don’t get enough socialization! If anything my kids, with their shorter school days and open calendars, get a bit too much.
But as we approached the middle school years, I could see their curiosity about life beyond lessons taught by their mom at our kitchen table grow. Personally I began looking for new options as well because it’s not always super fun to get preteens to do much of anything their parents tell them to, let alone finish their school work.
I had heard about the option of a hybrid school model from a friend as we vented about our daughters deciding their parents don’t have all the answers anymore and was immediately intrigued. In a hybrid school, kids go to classes in a school-like environment two days a week and do their book and lesson work at home.
We are one semester into our first year at a hybrid school and I have to say I’m wondering why more schools don’t handle education this way. My children get hands on learning and lectures at school from their teachers. At home they are learning to budget their time to get their weekly work done and we work together on subjects they may not have fully understood in class.
Remember at the beginning of college when you were still in shock that nobody was there to hold your hand and make sure you were doing your work each and every day? Hybrid students begin learning that skill at a very young age. I’ve seen a huge increase in my kids’ time management skills over the the last few months.
My children still get all of the benefits that we’ve always enjoyed about homeschooling. They are able to get the sleep they need, our days are flexible and we are still surrounded by families who are like-minded in how they educate their kids. Joining a hybrid has been more like joining an education family rather than a beginning a new school.
Through our years of homeschooling I’ve watched it become more and more mainstream. As school violence increases and bullying and social media become more problematic, one by one my stressed out mom-friends have asked about homeschooling and how they can get started. I can’t help but think that hybrid schools might be the best way forward for the future. I don’t feel like I’ve lost my kids to long hours in the classroom or the “wrong” groups of kids at school. The core of their life is still family and the friends they have made through extracurricular activities.
Through choosing a hybrid we’ve received the benefits of homeschooling without the stress of lesson planning and teaching to school standards. My kids have a way to learn and our family can stay a little less scheduled in our over- scheduled world.