Homeschooling and Hybrid Homeschooling in Atlanta
Two days a week, third-grader Sam Hagood attends Legacy Preparatory Academy in Newnan, with a full day of instruction, 8 a.m.-2:15 p.m. The other days of the school week, Sam and his mother, Elizabeth, start their routine about 9 a.m. in their Peachtree City home. Following a syllabus provided by Legacy Prep, Sam works for three to four hours, covering various subjects, with breaks in between.
Film/television writer and producer Rhonda Baraka says her two teenagers love learning at home. Toni, 17, starts her day at 8:30 a.m. She works straight through with her Georgia Cyber Academy curriculum at their home in Woodstock. With her workload, some days end at 5 p.m. Meanwhile, 15-year-old Koran does his Cyber Academy studies at a coffee shop with Mom while she writes, then comes home to finish up. Sometimes the teens spend the day on a film set with their mom, learning life lessons.
What is Hybrid Homeschooling?
Hybrid homeschooling partners traditional teaching methods from outside the home with learning at home. The King’s Academy in Woodstock provides a hybrid program. Starting as a program “for homeschoolers by homeschoolers,” the Academy has morphed over the years.
“We call ourselves a hybrid education,” says Sandra Breaden, student affairs administrator at the Academy. “It’s a blend of brick-and-mortar-school and homeschool.” The school allows students to attend a Tuesday/Friday or Monday/Wednesday program on campus, then complete the school week at home. Older students do lab work on Thursdays.
Cornerstone Preparatory Academy in Acworth subscribes to the university model program, similar to the one used by the Hagoods at Legacy Prep. Students in grades 1-6 are on campus Tuesdays and Thursdays and home for three days. Grades 7-12 attend classes on campus Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and are home for their “satellite days.”
“I think we offer a good blend … we offer a strong academic program comparable to any private school in the area, but at a much lower cost,” Jeanine Marlow, the school’s director of communications, says. Cornerstone considers itself a private school that is friendly to homeschoolers.
Another alternative considered a hybrid program by some is the Georgia Cyber Academy. It’s a state public school program with online instructors, and learning is done at home. Baraka started out with traditional homeschooling, but moved to this program when her children got older.
Homeschooling vs. Traditional Schools
Is homeschooling or hybrid schooling right for you and your children or would traditional schooling work best?
To help you decide, experts say you should look at the temperament of your child and your own temperament, and consider the amount of time and effort you will make with each of the choices involved. What financial sacrifices can you make? Is a specific program in your budget?
Attend events to view the options available. Public and private schools have open houses and other opportunities to learn about curriculum and meet teachers. The Georgia Homeschool Education Association holds an annual conference, and there’s also the Southeast Homeschool Expo. Georgia Cyber Academy has information sessions available.
Ultimately study what works best for your family.
“As much as I advocate what we’ve done, it was my choice because I don’t subscribe to the one size fits all … it’s not for everybody,” says Baraka. “Try it out. If it works for you, great,” she says. “Courage is in trying it and courage is also in letting it go if it didn’t work.”
Resources for Homeschooling and Hybrid Homeschooling
The following are Georgia’s basic requirements for homeschooling. Visit the Georgia Department of Education website for a more comprehensive list of state laws and regulations.
- Parents or guardians who wish to homeschool their children must annually submit a Declaration of Intent to the Georgia Department of Education by September 1 or within 30 days of establishing their program.
- The teaching parent or guardian must have a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED).
- Homeschool programs must provide a basic academic educational program that includes (but is not limited to) instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science.
- Programs must operate the equivalent of 180 days or at least 4.5 hours per day.
- Nationally normed assessments must be given at the end of third, sixth, ninth and 12th grades.
- Parents must write annual progress assessments for their child in each required subject area.
- Georgia does not require an exit exam for homeschooled high school students seeking to graduate.
- Submission of attendance reports is no longer required; however you should retain your own attendance records.
Sources: gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Pages/Home-Schools.aspx; ghea.org/pages/testing/law.php
– LaKeisha S. Fleming