Boys doing homework with parents working from home
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The Bottom Line K-12 Hybrid Learning Is the New Parent Preference

Originally published at Real Clear Education

More parents want a weekly hybrid K-12 school model for their children. According to an EdChoice poll, if given the option, 59% of parents would prefer their children’s schooling occur one or more days each week at home with a parent or tutor, while only 41% desire on-campus schooling five days a week for their child.

Of the 59% of parents, 11% prefer that all learning occur at home. That leaves the rest, 48%, preferring a hybrid approach to learning for their children, combining on-campus and at-home learning days each week — ranging from one day a week at home to four days a week at home. The most desirable arrangement was two days a week at home, as indicated by 16% of parents, followed by three days a week at home, as indicated by 14%.

While a two- or three-day-a-week of K-12 learning may sound new, this hybrid learning model has existed for several decades. But it’s still reaching only a small segment of the population — nowhere near the 30% of parents indicating either the two- or three-day-a-week model as their preference.

Combine the flexibility that more working parents now enjoy with the great awakening that public school parents experienced during the COVID-19 school closures, and you can understand why demand for hybrid learning has reached an all-time high.

Keri D. Ingraham

The hybrid model was launched in 1993 by Grace Prep Academy in Arlington, Texas, to meet a growing need among families who sought something between homeschool and traditional five-day-a-week, on-campus schooling for their children. The flagship school birthed a new college-preparatory K-12 model, “University-Model Schooling.” The school’s enrollment grew from 186 students to more than 500 students within its first eight years. Hundreds were waitlisted. Over time, other University-Model schools began.

According to Dr. John William Turner, Jr., University-Model Schooling is structured as follows:

Students take challenging age-appropriate courses of study that are set in a university-type scheduling of classes – either on Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday. Outside of class, the students work to develop sound study habits and the kind of strong work ethic they will need for success in college.

Dr. John William Turner, Jr.

The model is based on the reality that parental involvement positively affects a child’s learning. The model also provides flexibility to parents, allowing them to select less than full-time enrollment.

During the first year that Grace Prep Academy was in operation, the students who sought admission had been almost exclusively homeschooled. The school anticipated that most families would register for only a few courses, but this proved not to be the case — approximately 95% of families elected to enroll their students full-time.

By the school’s third year, word had gotten out beyond the homeschool community, and the enrollment shifted to a mix of one-third each of students previously homeschooled, those attending public school, and those attending private school.

Eventually, as the years passed, the school’s strong retention rate meant that most students were now completing all their K-12 schooling in the Grace Prep Academy blended model. Parents who select this model are consistently pleased with their children’s academic growth and character development. The school’s emphasis on a strategic partnership with parents plays a significant role in this success.

Within 20 years from its launch, the Grace Prep Academy hybrid model was replicated repeatedly, resulting in 71 University-Model schools in 19 states and one international school.

The model’s many advantages draw families in, at a time when many traditional public schools are effectively pushing parents out. Extreme far-left ideologies thrust on public school children include critical race theory, radical gender ideology, revisionist history, climate-change hysteria, and an aggressively anti-American worldview.

Parents want a school for their children that both aligns with their values and provides high-quality academics. They also want more time with their children. The blended model provides an attractive solution for parents at a lower price than traditional private schools due to less time spent on campus.

It’s important to note, however, that hybrid learning is not for everyone. It requires parents who want to be actively involved and can make the at-home days work with their schedules. With more parents having the flexibility of remote work than in decades past, the model has become increasingly feasible for many families.

Combine the flexibility that more working parents now enjoy with the great awakening that public school parents experienced during the COVID-19 school closures, and you can understand why demand for hybrid learning has reached an all-time high.

Keri D. Ingraham

Senior Fellow and Director, American Center for Transforming Education
Dr. Keri D. Ingraham is a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute and Director of the Institute’s American Center for Transforming Education. She is also a Senior Fellow at Independent Women’s Forum. Dr. Ingraham has been a guest on Fox News multiple times. Her articles have been published by The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, The Federalist, Real Clear Education, The Washington Times, National Review, The American Spectator, Washington Examiner, The Epoch Times, The Seattle Times, Puget Sound Business Journal, The Daily Signal, and a host of other media outlets. Fox News has featured her work. Prior to joining Discovery Institute, she spent nearly two decades leading within the field of education as a national consultant, requested conference speaker, head of school, virtual and hybrid academy director, administrator, classroom teacher, and athletic coach. She authored multiple chapters for the book, Sketching a New Conservative Education Agenda, published in 2022. In 2019, she was invited as a contributing author for the book, MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education and co-authored “From Gutenberg to 5G.” Dr. Ingraham was awarded the George W. Selig Doctoral Fellowship in 2013. The following year she received the “World Changer in the Field of Education” award from Regent University.
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