John Dewey was once quoted as saying, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” Years ago our parents hoped the lessons presented in textbooks would set us up for the best careers and life plans available. Now that many of us are parents, we want the same thing for our kids. I know I do. More than that, though, it has been important to me to ensure they have the right learning environment and applications that cater to all I feel will be important to their development, based on who I know my kids to be. Wanting a more deliberate hand in that, I opted for my boys to become active in a homeschool hybrid academic program. Here are the benefits of this decision I appreciate as a parent and mom.
Life Skills vs. A Traditional Curriculum
My sons enjoy being a part of a homeschool hybrid program versus a traditional academic curriculum, and I love it for them. One of the primary reasons I appreciate it is because I get to have more control over what my children learn. Yes, the classic “reading, writing and ‘rithmetic” are all important to a child’s learning experience, but there are other things I feel are just as important that aren’t highlighted as much.
I want my sons to enjoy their childhood years. However, I really want them to be prepared for many of the bigger adult decisions they will have to make, also. Take budgeting, for example. Being financially aware is a daily task for everyone in the “glorious” world of adulting, but many traditional school curricula don’t teach foundational principles of finances. My sons’ homeschool hybrid program involves taking financial literacy classes that explain the importance of saving, understanding liabilities and assets, and so much more. I’m sure many parents are reading this thinking young kids won’t get such concepts. But they do! Ironically, they’re learning more than some adults do in their lifetime! This is the value of being able to have a say in what my kids learn.
Along with practical skills, I want both of my boys to develop strong social skills. From my own experiences, and from observing my son’s conventional classes, the traditional school environment tends to focus more on independent work, sitting at desks and relegating kids to being receivers of information from one source: the teacher. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, I realize my sons learn best in unconventional ways and settings. Our hybrid learning program includes a great deal of social group learning, which I think is an important part of being a successful adult. Collaboration is at the heart of my profession, as well as many others. I think it should be emphasized more in foundational learning courses. Plus, the lessons and activities in our homeschool hybrid program allow students a great deal of hands-on applications, exploring nature, and moving around. It’s not necessary, but it helps to facilitate more meaningful experiences for my boys. They appreciate it, and so do I.
Flexibility in Schedule
My job is unconventional in several ways. Television hosting has me traveling across the nation and sometimes overseas. The hours I work as an interior designer can run the gamut from the wee hours of the morning to the late hours of the night. And many other professional responsibilities may have me working in foreign lands quite often. The average parent would be concerned about kids traveling and falling behind in their coursework if they were in this situation. Because I use a homeschool hybrid program that is extremely flexible, I don’t worry at all. I can take my boys with me!
We all learned how useful virtual applications were during the pandemic. Well, they still work post-pandemic! My boys are able to take their schoolwork virtually anywhere! It’s not uncommon to see me with my sons in an airport, them with their headphones on and computers open ready to work away. We’ve used airport lounges to get schoolwork done, Market events, poolside cabanas, you name it! Plus, the homeschool hybrid model allows me to ease any frustration or worry about absences, potential learning gaps due to missed classes, or their retention of information. Though they don’t always travel with me, they are able to, and that’s a big plus in my book.
While traditional schools offer an array of extracurricular activities for kids to enjoy, my talented two have different ideas of how they want to enhance their creative minds. This is another way homeschool hybrid programs greatly benefit my boys and me.
Both of my sons have figuratively dipped their toes in various activities, including, surfing, soccer, basketball, and gardening. But their current favorite extracurricular activities have to do with their love of music. So, they’re taking a few classes centered around that: voice, piano and guitar lessons, to name a few. They’re also taking DJ lessons, which they’re smitten by. I haven’t found any traditional schools that offer DJ lessons, and that’s yet another reason why I’m glad I chose this route for my sons.
Music classes offer so many different personal enrichment benefits for children. They help build patience, confidence, and coordination, among other things. But music enrichment is also good for helping to develop social skills, teamwork, creative thinking, and so much more. Will they be the next Pavarotti or Diplo? I can’t say. But I know they will have had the experience and will be able to make a sound decision about that part of themselves they want to develop. It’s so self-empowering, and I love that.
Not Better or Worse…Just Different
Please don’t mistake my decision to homeschool my sons with a statement I haven’t made. There’s absolutely NOTHING WRONG with traditional public and private schools. Millions of people have gone through state or national requirements for public education and have been extremely successful. It’s just that I know my boys, and I understand where traditional programs don’t necessarily cater to THEM in some areas. Hopefully your takeaway will be to assess your children’s needs and make a decision for yourself what would work best for them. If you want to give a homeschool hybrid program a try with your kids, I highly encourage it. You might find it’s just the right fit for your little learners!