Movements and methods change over time. Sometimes those changes are huge paradigm shifts, and others a mere alteration in the same basic approach.
Education in America has been no different. From the pioneer days of parents educating their own children (if they themselves had the ability and the means), to the community-controlled one room schoolhouse, to compulsory attendance in government controlled public schools.
With the advent of the homeschool movement, the tide started shifting back to parent-directed education.
At first, school officials and teachers unions, as well as a segment of the general population, vehemently opposed the homeschool movement, not trusting parents to be able to provide a quality education for their children, and believing that the only way to make sure that children received an education was if government maintained control over American schooling. The stereotypes of the weird hippie-crunchy homeschooler or the fanatical religious homeschooler began to take root.
These concerns and fears have largely been laid to rest with the obvious success of homeschooling. It is probably fair to say that the viability of home education has given a huge boost to the school choice movement, as well as creating a variety of options for homeschooling parents.
Because many legal battles were fought so parents could claim their Constitutional right to choose the location and method of their child's education, homeschoolers have been reluctant to engage in anything that resembled traditional schooling. Today, however, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, and doesn't carry the same stigma it once did.
Families from different socio-economic backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities are choosing to homeschool.
For those who want more opportunities for their children than their local schools can provide, but don't want to take on the task of educating at home, school choice has become a overwhelming demand by many families. The educational options have grown to include co-ops, umbrella schools, cyber-schooling, online courses, and dual enrollment. Now hybrid homeschooling has been added to the mix.
Hybrid homeschooling is a little more than a co-op, and a little less than a traditional school. While a co-op involves parents in every aspect, hybrids are more like part-time school, with parents dropping their children off for a few hours, 2 or more days a week. Depending on the laws in each state, hybrid homeschoolers still have to notify or meet the requirements of dedicated homeschoolers, and while receiving the support and expertise of professional teachers and tutors, parents are still at the educational helm.
The lines are becoming more blurred, and homeschoolers may still be wary of losing their autonomy while also desiring to enjoy some of the opportunities that have arisen from the continued push for school choice. As with any decision involving education, consideration of the needs of the family, and some time spent researching, are key.
To explore the topic further, check out these links below:
- The Uncommon Benefits of Hybrid Homeschooling
- We are Hybrid Homeschooling!
- Hybrid Homeschooling | Life Rearranged
From the article "The cautionary tale of Gull Lake: District loses $480,000 over innovative programs":
The state also has raised questions about the district’s new Homeschool Partnership, a program that offers extracurricular courses to area homeschool students and for which Gull Lake receives prorated per-pupil dollars from the state. The state worried whether qualified teachers were running those programs and whether they aligned with state laws.
Homeschooling parents need to be cautious about signing up for anything that says "homeschool" on it. Don't assume it is really considered home education, and don't assume that you are free from state oversight. Research and ask lots of questions- when you ask with a kind spirit and a smile, people usually want to help, so don't be afraid that you will get on someone's nerves if you ask 'dumb' questions.