Family update: Hybrid model schooling.

January 25, 2018

Now that we have a full semester behind us of trying out the hybrid model school with our children, I think we can give you all a fair update on how it’s all going….the pros and cons, as well as thoughts moving forward! I know it is something many of you have been inquiring about, so if you have additional questions feel free to leave them below.

In the first few months Gabe and I were trying to tag team teaching lessons to Gabriel and Veronica on the days they were home. It was a little bananas to be honest. Trying to adjust to working together on the blog, a new family routine, and trying to understand curriculums to teach our kids while juggling babies. I was completely overwhelmed, but had been given the heads up that it takes time to adjust.


 

I admit we were a little ambitious thinking we could make so many big changes and not get overwhelmed by them. Thankfully the school they attend is full of wonderful families and very helpful administrators that assured us things would get easier, and it has! For those who haven’t heard of the hybrid model, it is a school that allows you to have the school experience 2-3 days a week, and the other days schooling at home with the assignments the teachers create for you to direct. I thought it would be helpful to break it down into pros and cons.

Cons:
The school days at home require more time than we originally thought. We assumed we would be able to wrap lessons by midday or early afternoon, but its a solid 6-7 hr. day. I think this is because instead of one teacher assigning lessons there are a few (each for different subjects). We came up with the solution that Gabe would take the kids to the library on these days. My college aged brother (who is so good with kids), helps me with Rocco, Azelie, and Max while I try to squeeze in a few hours of work. We are realizing Gabe is not getting time to do the many things we were counting on to keep the blog content flowing. Tuesdays and Thursdays when they are in school, we still have the babies so there is zero time during the week where we can both work at the same time. This is a dilemma we are still trying to figure out. For now, we work our tails off on Saturdays and after kids are in bed.
Weekends are not as flexible either. – We were hoping to use this schedule to bring lessons with us and explore some historic cities and such this year. Since it takes more time to administer tests and lessons, this has not happened, but we are hopeful for the summer.
– We had to hire more help. – Since we quickly realized we would need more help to make these family goals happen. We hired my brother as mentioned, as well as more help running blog administration and accounting. I am so thankful my kids get time with my brother. He is a role model for them! We might be enlisting the help of my mother as well one day a week (who has an education background) in order for Gabe to get a few more work hours in during the week.
The school is 25 minutes away. – Anyone who has to do the carpool run for the kids knows why this is on the con list. Two hours in the car on Tuesdays and Thursdays is a tough one to swallow. This is when I cram in all of the podcasts.

Pros:
The kids have more time with each other. – This has been my favorite thing that the hybrid model allows. Last year, they were coming home with homework after long days at school, and overall were tired and cranky. I felt like I didn’t see them during their best hours, and they were mean to each other because they were all overstimulated or tired. This is a normal part of life, but I am so happy to see that with having more time at home together, their friendships have grown in really cool ways. They still fight and squabble, but the bonds are evident. I value this because I had this experience with my own brothers and sisters growing up, and their friendships now mean so much to me. Gabe and I both want this for them too.
More time for creativity and expanding interests. – Since the kids are wrapping up with school by 3, and there isn’t homework after that, it has given them those hours before dinner to do things they really love. For Gabriel, that involves a lot of construction, drawing, archery, and soccer. He spends hours creating comic books or electronic lego mobiles, and it makes me so deeply happy to see him use his abilities. He just didn’t have the same motivation and energy
They get to see us work together. – Being at home some days, our kids get to hear Gabe and I’s little business meetings or see us work on a home project dilemma together. They ask us questions, and it gives us an opportunity to share how we are a team. They understand we work hard so that we can have more time together, but also that everyone has an important unique role in the family. I love seeing the conversations that stem from this, and hearing about all kinds of things they want to do when they grow up.
Independence and confidence in learning. – It was a struggle the first month to get our kids at a place where they were confident and focused enough to do certain school assignments on their own. Gabe would guide and direct of course, but they had been so used to doing everything in a large classroom instructed format that it was a curve to figure out another style of learning. However, the more they practiced, the more confident they became on practicing drills, study guides, writing exercises, etc. after simply reading directions. It has been really good for their problem solving and reading comprehension skills as well as confidence in their abilities to learn. I never thought I would see Gabriel willing to do his own research for a book report. They still require a lot of guidance and work checking, but it is exciting to see these qualities develop.
Smaller school benefits. –   I was doubtful Max (4) who is really high energy and hard to focus, would be ready for a full day of school. However, since it is a smaller classroom setting for the days they are actually at the school (Max has only 7 students in his classroom), it has allowed him to thrive this year. They have learning stations, plenty of breaks to shake out the energy, and lots of opportunities to work one on one with them for basic reading and math. They make morality a prime focus at the school as well, which I am so grateful for.
Their dad is their teacher! – Gabe was an educator and education administrator for ten years. So he is an incredibly patient with them even on the most hair pulling days! I love that they get to learn from him on this different level now because this is the first year in a looong time they get so much quality time with him. I don’t think you have to have an education background to do the hybrid model, but it doesn’t hurt that’s for sure!

 

Each family will have different circumstances and individual capacities, so I don’t think the hybrid model is the right choice for everyone. In fact, it would have probably been impossible for me to attempt on my own with Rocco and Azelie’s ages. This year, it worked for us because of our work circumstances, and it continues to be hard, but well worth some of the sacrifices we are making because we see how happy our children are. I don’t know what we will do for next year to be honest, but for this year I have so much peace it’s what was best for us.

 

If you have any additional questions I would be happy to answer below!

Here are some great additional resources I have on hand for Max and Rocco to use while their older siblings do school, as well as some supplemental studies for all of the kids:

Usborne Books, learning and sensory stations and toys, Wild and Free curriculums.

Leave a Comment

  • I’ve never heard of hybrid schooling before. It’s definitely a new idea but it sounds interesting!

  • loved the update!

  • Thanks for the update! Your family is amazing. Were either of you homeschooled or or in a hybrid model? Sorry if I missed this.

    • Hi Erin! Yes, I did a homeschool curriculum in middle school, and tutors in high school. Where I lived in OH, I was able to do sports and art class through the local public school, so it was a good balance! I love that it gave me the flexibility to do things I had a lot of interest in:) Gabe never was. We both had good experiences and both were very different! So we see the benefits of different types of school options!

  • As a teacher who’s been doing it for five years…it is still so challenging! Even with the same content, there is such an importance in keeping instruction tailored and fresh. It’s exhausting so I give you credit as you juggle everything else around! 👍🏼 Kudos to you, and thanks for sharing your pros/cons. It’s refreshing to hear how real it is for you. It is no easy task!

  • Janine Markham

    Thanks for sharing! I homeschool right now my eldest, who is nine, for the first time, and what an adjustment it is. I had never heard of hybrid schooling before you had said it. It’s definitely not for the weak, that’s for sure! Keep up the good work mama.

  • Cecilia Street

    We are also in our second semester of doing a hybrid model, and I think your first observation has been the hardest adjustment for us too… I was not at all prepared for how much time it takes. But we too are seeing a lot of growth in my daughter, who had a difficult year in full-time school last year. I hope I get better at managing it as we go too! It is great to read your insights… thanks for posting these.

  • I love this idea! Do your older kids miss their friends from full-time school? Have they found new friends in the part-time program? What a great idea- but it does sound like so much work!

    • Hi! Yes, they certainly do. Thankfully we are still able to get them together with their old friends. I think because they are still young, they were able to adapt easier. They made new friends right away and have been really happy with the balance of time at home and school.

  • Carrie Jorgenson

    If you ever decide to do homeschooling, we have been doing Classical Conversations for over 7 years. I’d highly recommend looking into it if you ever find that as an option for your family. My daughter is now in their Challenge B program – 8th grade – and it is indeed challenging. She is learning ‘how’ to learn and discerning truth for herself vs being told ‘what’ to learn because it’s what a book or teacher says. I just love it!

    • Yes I love the sound of that! This hybrid school uses a classical based curriculum which I love! It’s incredible to see how it can help them start to think and problem solve on their own.

  • This is the only model of schooling we’ve ever done and it has been nothing but a blessing for us. My oldest graduates next year and I can confidently say that it has served her well!

    • My younger brother and sister graduated in this model as well and it really gave them so much academic confidence heading into college. They are doing so well. That was encouraging for me to see! Still offers the benefits of having group settings for sports, drama, art, etc. but some room for independent learning as well.

  • Thanks so much for honestly sharing about your experience! My oldest is not even 2 yet, so I still have a little way to go before he starts school (though I know the time will fly quickly!), but I love tucking away these different ideas. I’d really love to homeschool him, but the hybrid model does sound intriguing. Though, I do think the lack of flexibility and having a 6-7 hour day on the “home” school days would be really tough for a spontaneous person like me.

  • That’s so awesome! I’m one of 6 and we homeschool also (I’m in 9th grade) Quick question-where do you live in Atlanta? I’ve been to Atlanta, Georgia and they have a hybrid modal called Regina Ceali, is that the one you guys use? We’re actually family friends with the person who started it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • My wife and I also used the hybrid model. What a blessing it has been! My wife is a saint and an educator! That helped, but you don’t have to be either one.

  • oh, i am so glad you shared on this!! school is SUCH a huge decision. with our first starting kindergarten next year, i have been so overwhelmed. a hybrid school would be so ideal in my mind!! as of right now, she’s in pre-k at the school my husband and i both went to [nothing like sticking with what you know, right, ha!] but part of me still wishes we’d found a little more of an “alternative” scenario! thanks for sharing your experience! you are a super woman fo real!

  • Love seeing people adopt the hybrid school method! I grew up doing it ( in Atlanta!) and has such a great experience. I’m in college now, but the homeschool movement has grown exponentially. There’s actually several really good hybrid schools in the area, so it might be helpful to choose one with less homework. Remember, one of the great things about homeschooling is the flexibility! Your kids are still really young, and shouldn’t have to be doing that much work each day, and you don’t have to let them! It’ll be a lot less stressful for all of you if you pick and choose what aspects work for you. Keep it up! It’ll be worth it.

  • Hi Anna and Gabe! I had never heard of hybrid school before. So interesting and curious to learn more! Do you know if there are curriculums that I could incorporate that complement our kids in regular public school system? Especially the morality and character building aspects. I’m very interested to learn more!

    • Hi Katy! It’s a newer model and they are popping up more around the country! wildandfree.org actually has some really great options you could definitely incorporate!

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