I shared on my Instagram story this week that we would be going with a university model hybrid homeschool program for our oldest starting in the fall. She will be in kindergarten and this has felt like one of the harder choices we’ve had to make as parents thus far. Launching them into the world for the first time feels like a big leap and there can be a lot of pressure to “get it right” and while I don’t think we can mess her up by the kindergarten option we choose for her, we still want to make the best decision.
Let me first start by saying I was a public school kid my entire life. My husband was always in a private christian school so we both bring those two personal experiences into the equation. The public school system in south florida is generally not great and so many people choose private school, but with that decision comes a serious financial commitment. So the third option then becomes homeschooling…which, can I just say I NEVER thought of myself as the ‘homeschool mom’ kind of mom. I can get frustrated easily in that type of situation and sometimes I just want to say “here, give me the pencil and let me do it for you!” ha! I questioned my ability to adequately fulfill the role of mom and educator but I have so many friends who do it and have always reassured me that while, yes, it is hard, but yes it is possible ( and can be really rewarding).
I can remember hearing about schools that were ‘hybrid’ programs that were half home half classroom educating and thinking that it seemed like such a cool concept. We didn’t have anything like that in our area (so I thought) but I was so happy to hear that we in fact DID have that option…and it was minutes from our house! It is a 25+ year old program based out of Atlanta and a new location started here in palm beach county two years ago. Because its new, the program is still very small but we have a few friends who attend so that was a big reassurance to us.
So at this point, we were left with three options:
Public School (we are actually zoned for a good elementary school)
Private School (are we prepared to shell out $$$ for kindergarten)
Hybrid Homeschool (seems ideal but can I do this with a 3 year old and a new baby?)
We ended up deciding on option three and here are a few reasons behind why we chose this route:
Why does everything seem like it comes down to money? ha! As much as I dislike that reality, we really just weren’t comfortable with the financial commitment that it would require to put her in the private school we would like to. While we hope to send our kids to a private christian school eventually (middle school at the latest), it was just hard to justify the cost for kindergarten when we feel like she isn’t missing out on the “extras” of being in a traditional school environment at this age.
Flexibility of Schedule
One of the most appealing aspects of homeschool is not being tied to the school calendar. I love that if she wants to do any extracurricular activities like tennis or dance, we don’t have to cram everything in between the hours of 4-6 after school. I really value sitting around the dinner table together as a family at night and that is seeming to become more and more of a lost art due to the busyness of peoples lives. I love that we can choose things that meet in the mornings for lessons or on the days she is not in school to make for less chaotic/’we live in our car’ life. Plus this program starts at 9 and as I mentioned earlier, its less than 3 minutes from our house so the convenience is amazing.
While I don’t think there is anything wrong with public school, we personally would just prefer to have another reinforcement of what we are teaching at home happening at school, too. Our faith is the most important and central aspect of our lives and so for her to have like minded teachers and children from like minded families sitting next to her for hours at a time is really invaluable to us.
More time to PLAY
Research is showing more and more just how important it is for children to have plenty of time to play and learn through experience. I love that this will provide just that opportunity for to be a kid and enjoy the outdoors or being by my side to learn about the world with me there to guide her. Things like helping prepare dinner or fulfilling age appropriate tasks in the real world environment is something to be taken into consideration when it comes to educating the whole child.
I wouldn’t be doing it alone
I’m not sure I could handle selecting curriculum and shouldering the full load of being her teacher, so I really appreciate that this program will give her two days of true classroom instruction by a certified teacher and they would send home exactly what I will be doing with her. I was very concerned with how much it would require of me on the days she was home (they said between 2-3 hours) but they also reminded me that regardless if she were homeschooling or in a traditional school, she would be coming home with some work to be done that I would have to assist with. That was reassuring to me that I would have to step in and help at some point so now would be no different than later.
As I mentioned, I am totally a novice here and am just sharing this in hopes that it can be helpful to others while they are deciding on the education choices for their child. I was really surprised at how many messages I got from moms stating that they were considering something like this too or were just totally overwhelmed with wanting to make the best choice for their child. We’re all just trying to do our best and I always find comfort in knowing that God always equips us and guides us when we ask.