Charter schools are tuition-free public schools open to all students. They operate independently of a school district through a contract (“charter”) agreed upon by a local school district, county office of education, or the state. The charter sets goals for which the school will be held accountable. The charter school leaders and teachers have the flexibility to try innovative approaches to education. Charter schools have unique models offering options for families seeking a different educational experience for their children. Many charter schools are run by not-for-profit organizations.
An umbrella school is a non-traditional private school that supervises the enrollment, attendance, and other aspects of a family’s home education. Umbrella schools also validate the student’s diploma. An important distinction to make is that those who are registered with umbrella schools are technically not “homeschoolers.” By law, they are private school students, but their education usually takes place within the home. https://www.time4learning.com/homeschooling/florida/umbrella-schools.html
While some families homeschool “autonomously,” choosing and implementing their own curriculum and carefully meeting the requirements of their state’s homeschool law, other families prefer the additional support offered by homeschool umbrella schools.
In homeschool umbrella schools:
» Students are legally considered private school students
» Parents typically choose and implement their own curriculum
» Parents submit grades; umbrella schools conduct recordkeeping
» Umbrella schools may or may not assess students’ progress
» Families have access to field trip groups, co-ops, and enrichments
» No public funding is available; enrollment is typically inexpensive
Please note that umbrella schools differ from public or charter school programs that enroll homeschooled students. Umbrella schools exist primarily to satisfy a state’s compulsory attendance law; in contrast, programs operated by public, or charter schools exist primarily to provide families with publicly funded services such as a virtual curriculum or reimbursements for educational expenses.
Many homeschool umbrella schools are formed by homeschooling families, and do not have a physical campus. These programs may function similarly to homeschooling groups, and may offer co-ops and enrichments, or may only provide a recordkeeping function. In other cases, however, established private schools with in-person instructional programs may offer a homeschool umbrella school program that enrolls students who are educated at home, with varying degrees of oversight.
Not every state has homeschool umbrella schools! You can learn whether umbrella schools are an option in your state by checking your state information page, or by using an internet search engine. If you live in a state with umbrella schools and are considering this option, you should be able to find lists of umbrella schools in your state using an internet search engine, or by asking on local homeschool social media pages.
Umbrella/Charter Schools: Frequently asked Questions
» What grade levels do you serve?
» What is the cost to enroll?
» I have students in different grades, will they have the same teacher?
» Will help be available to me if needed?
» Is your school a public or private Charter?
» Is your school accredited?
» Can my child be part time and work part time?
» Do you provide computers to your scholars?
» Can I easily drop or switch programs if I realize it’s not the right fit?
» What will my child study?
» Does my child have to participate in state testing?
» What curriculum will my child be using?
A hybrid model is the combination of two or more different things aimed at achieving a particular objective or goal. The hybrid model became popular when public schools adopted it during the pandemic, but many parents and educators have taken the ideas of the hybrid model and are making it their own as an alternative schooling option. The model typically combines 2 more or models such as the online schooling concept or the home school concept and blends with the brick-and-mortar instruction. This is a blended learning model.
The Innosight Institute, a think tank based in California, classifies the blended model into 4 categories:
Rotational: Students still attend school but rotate throughout the day between online learning, classroom instruction, group projects, and individual work.
Flex: Students work through a program personalized for them (as with SF Flex Academy), but still have daily interaction with a teacher depending on their needs.
Self-blend: Students choose to take one or more courses entirely online, either at home or in a technology lab at school.
Enriched Virtual: Students take all classes online but come to campus periodically throughout the week for “brick and mortar” experiences.
This flexible but familiar structure makes it a natu ral choice for those just transitioning out of the public school system.