2018 U.S. education statistics indicate that around 3% of American K-12 aged children are currently being educated at home.  One of the primary concerns expressed by parents of homeschooled students is the question of how their children will survive in the post-homeschool “real world” if they have not been given the opportunity to socialize, share, cooperate and work with others outside their more “specialized” homeschool atmosphere.

One way to resolve this concern is through “hybrid homeschooling” where students divide their time between homeschool and a more traditional brick-and-mortar classroom environment.  The word “hybrid,” as an adjective, literally means “composed of mixed parts.” A hybrid homeschooling situation combines the best aspects of homeschooling plus the most positive elements of either public school or private school venues. Hybrid homeschools may offer the potential to take advantage of the benefits of parent-driven instruction combined with the benefits that traditional schooling environments provide.

HOW HYBRID HOMESCHOOLING WORKS

Hybrid Homeschooling is essentially a mix of homeschool and “regular” school that allows parents to play an active daily role in their children’s education without having to carry the full responsibility on their own.

Hybrid homeschools are an interesting option for a number of reasons:

  • Hybrid homeschools re-define what we consider to be a “school” or a “homeschool.”
  • The combination of homeschooling and a public/private school education simplifies the process of networking from family-to-family.
  • Opportunities for cross-collaboration between students, families, and schools are greatly expanded.
  • Because of the expanded availability of state-of-the-art technologies and resources, families have instant access to high-quality materials and instruction in a wide variety of subjects.
  • For families who may still want something similar to traditional schools, hybrid homeschools have the power to leverage technical innovations while still giving parents what they need.

 

WHAT HYBRID HOMESCHOOLING LOOKS LIKE

A wide variety of hybrid homeschooling models have surfaced because families have combined elements of homeschooling with public school classes and programs, private schools, charter schools, colleges, and online schools.  Some of the forms these “hybrids” take include:

  • For-profit or non-profit self-directed learning centers where students choose what they want to learn and how they want to learn;
  • Public charter schools that provide tax incentives or outright funding contributions for parents to use as they choose for their child’s education; (NOTE: sometimes this arrangement is available only in exchange for more reporting and supervision than most independent homeschools are willing to accommodate.)
  • Part-time enrollment at a local public school while continuing to homeschool;
  • Homeschool student participation in sports or other public school extracurricular activities;
  • Online school provided by private entities/organizations and paid for by parents;
  • Private University model schools where students attend two or three days a week but are homeschooled the remainder of the week;
  • Online school funded by local public schools and supervised by parents but delivered at home via Internet; and
  • Dual or “concurrent” enrollment arrangements that allow homeschool students to earn college credits while attending high school at home.

 

HYBRID HOMESCHOOLING LAWS VARY BY STATE

Not all hybrid homeschooling models are legal in all states. While some models are true “homeschool hybrids,” other education hybrids are more accurately categorized as public schooling.  In addition, some hybrid models are only options for students at a certain age or grade level.

Some states define “homeschooling” as only applying to homeschools that receive absolutely no government funding.  This position is sometimes a legal issue in states where public education laws actually apply to some forms of hybrid education. In some states, “school accountability policies” assume that one school takes financial “ownership” of each student for accounting purposes, which becomes a management issue for states where families are allowed to finance such an education through education savings programs or even more flexible spending options.

In many states, it is required that parents are clear about whether their children are being educated under their state’s homeschooling statutes or the public education statutes. (For example, state regulations sometimes require that kids who are learning totally from their own homes but using free public school curriculum are not considered to be homeschoolers but are legally categorized as attending an online public school and will have legal problems if they do not comply with public school testing and procedures.)

CLOSING CONSIDERATIONS

Theoretically, parents whose children are not in attendance at traditional brick-and-mortar schools and are using more “hybridized” approaches to education still have many things in common with typical homeschoolers.  Both approaches enjoy a more flexible daily learning schedule and often have “discretionary time” to interject cooperative learning, social time or extracurricular activities into the schedule.  The most important advice available to parents who wish to move into hybrid homeschooling methods is to be fully aware of what’s is labeled “homeschooling” and what is labeled as “public school” in their state.

HYBRID HOMESCHOOLING LINKS

 

ALTERNATIVES

International Virtual Learning Academy is a fully accredited online private school offering the benefits of schooling from home with real certified teachers and offers the benefit of a diploma.   For more information visit InternationalVLA.com.

 

 

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