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Unique Schools: Hybrid model of home school and private school is growing

Onward is nearly 200 students in kindergarten through eighth grade

MADISON HEIGHTS, Va. – The best of both worlds. That’s how families describe a hybrid school where kids split time being homeschooled and in a classroom.

Jalie Trowbridge loves teaching a first-grade class in a private school.

“I had been burnt a little bit by some of the stuff that was going on in the public school system. I felt badly for the children. I felt like we weren’t doing them Justice in every area,” said Trowbridge.

Down the hall, her two kids are in class.

“There are a lot of things that make it fun. We usually have a lot of fun activities and stuff to do,” said Emma Trowbridge, a 3rd-grade student.

Onward Christian School is a hybrid model. Students are homeschooled three days a week and come to learn with other students in Madison Heights two days a week.

“The classroom teacher creates the lesson plans for the school days and the home days. Parents get to skip the planning, skip the stress and just open up their books and go with their kids and just get to enjoy learning together and studying together,” said Lauren Zealand, the Onward Christian School executive director who started the school four years ago. “I remember the stress that I felt over my kids education trying to home school five days a week and how difficult that was, how tiring it was. I didn’t feel like my kids were getting a well-rounded education. They weren’t getting the best of me.”

In school, students do things like group work, public speaking, and electives.

“My kids are in gardening, violin, Lego club, painting and all sorts of things I wouldn’t be able to do for them,” said Trowbridge.

At home, It gives families more quality time because they finish home school work quickly. In the younger grade levels, home school days are over in as little as 1-3 hours.

“To me it’s the best of both worlds. The kids get to spend more time at home getting a lot of one-on-one instruction which you can’t beat that. We get to work together a lot, we get to spend time together, spending more time instilling family values and the things that are really important to us as a family,” said Trowbridge.

Onward is nearly 200 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. They plan on piloting a high school next year.

This is a growing model across the U.S. as families look for school options. You can find out more information here.


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