Hybrid homeschool programs seem like a dream come true to a busy mom, but these programs—a mix of homeschooling and classroom instruction—come with challenges.
Here’s an excerpt form an article I wrote “Homeschool Hybrid Programs: How to Use Them Successfully.” For the full length article visit:
Suzy is a mother of three preschoolers. She told me about a local homeschool hybrid program that operates two days a week. “It’s highly academic and will hold me accountable,” she explained.
Since I know her well, I asked a few questions:
- Do you need accountability?
- And do you need highly academic structure for a kindergartner?
- Will this program restrict your freedom to go to library story time with your preschoolers?
These questions made Suzy evaluate whether or not a homeschool hybrid program was the best option for her.
I’m very supportive of homeschool co-ops. I wrote a book about how to start them! There groups are parents who voluntarily teach each other’s children in a once a week program. They are a great option for new homeschoolers and families with younger children wanting to connect with other homeschooling families.
I also enrolled my daughters in a homeschool hybrid program when they were in high school. Hybrids are a mix of schooling by the parent at home and taking classes in a group with other students.
My daughters both attended a hybrid program while in high school. It was called PEP and offered classes two days a week taught by teachers who were subject-area experts. The students were all legally homeschooled, but the teachers at PEP set the syllabus, graded homework, essays and tests, and assigned a course grade. My husband and I felt the program was of a high caliber academically and, therefore, would challenge our daughters. It was also faith-based, so it reinforced our religious convictions. My daughters loved the program. The teachers were wonderful, loved teaching, and were positive role models.
Advice for homeschool parents
From experiencing both types of programs and consulting with hundreds of leaders over the years, I have some advice to offer.
- Delay homeschool hybrid programs for children below Junior High age. Younger children are best homeschooled by you, their parents, at home, without strict structures and schedules. Instead, I strongly encourage homeschool co-ops for the younger aged children where you, the parent, attend with the children. You will meet other homeschool parents and build community. My book Homeschool Co-ops will be a big help.
- Delay hybrid programs until after you have been homeschooling a year or two. You need to develop your style, tempo, and most importantly your relationship with your children. Don’t give that joy to another.
- Know that you can successfully homeschool without depending on hybrid programs. Thousands of parents did it before you and are doing it still!
- Finally, don’t try to start or lead a new homeschool program, either co-op or hybrid, until you have been homeschooling at least one year AND you have been involved and preferably part of the leadership of a homeschool group for one year before starting a new group. If you have enough experience, then my RESOURCES will be a big help as you launch your group.
I encouraged Suzy that in her first years of homeschooling she really didn’t need a highly academic, structured system that the hybrid program offered. Instead, she should relish her freedom and could successfully homeschool without a hybrid program, especially while her children were young. She followed my advice and homeschooled for 2 years, then COVID hit and she continued homeschooling. After her fourth child was born, she found an excellent, small private school and her school-age children now attend there.
Carol Topp, CPA