For most children, a typical day means rolling out of bed, a quick shower and brush of the teeth, then spooning in a few bites of oatmeal before flying out the door to get to school.For two nearby schools, however, that’s the case only three days of the week. On the other two days students are at home, being taught by a parent. The concept, called the University Model, is practiced by Liberty Prep in Mooresville and Hope Academy in Concord. Liberty Prep and Hope Academy are both private, college-prep Christian schools that look like any other school on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. On Wednesdays and Fridays, however, their halls and classrooms are empty. On those days, parents are home with their children, reinforcing concepts from a designated curriculum. The approach may be nontraditional for the younger set, but it mimics how students at a university would spend their days. Liberty Prep, the older of the two schools, was founded three years ago by Amy Weir, 41, of Mooresville. A parent herself, she had sent her oldest to private school for a year and then homeschooled her for a year. Weir liked the idea of something in between. “I’m glad I did (both), because I can relate to parents in each situation,” Weir said. When her daughter was at private school, she longed for more flexibility, but homeschooling was a challenge as well. “I was everything to her – parent, teacher – and she was missing out on the social connections,” she said. Courtney Elliott and Heather Henry founded Hope Academy under a similar premise. “Having my daughter away five days a week, as a parent, I felt a tug,” Henry said. “I think parents want to be engaged in their kids’ education without the pressure of full-time homeschooling.” Elliot and Henry knew each other from church and started talking. “We didn’t say, ‘This is a great idea, let’s start a school,’ ” Elliott said. “But eventually we realized we were being called down the same path.” Both schools require a lot of family involvement, but the administrators say that’s often what attracts parents. “In most cases, parents are looking to be more involved with their child’s education and want to provide them with a more customized education plan,” Weir said. “Parents want the best of both worlds,” Elliot said. “They want to invest their time, but not just at the end of the day, when the kids are tired.” They acknowledge the model is not for everyone. Due to the structure, it would be extremely difficult for parents who both work. Both schools spend a great amount of time making sure it’s a right fit for families and that parents understand what is required of them. They provide parent training, as well as support when families feel challenged. In the end, both schools have similar goals: well-adjusted, college-bound students. “We’re praying for every one of our kids to be the greatest members of our society,” said Elliott. Amy Reiss is a freelance writer who lives in Davidson. Have a story idea for Amy? Email her at email@example.com.
Tuesday, Feb. 05, 2013
Students learn 3 days in school, 2 at home
University Model is being practiced by private schools in Mooresville and Concord
Liberty Prep and Hope Academy look like any other school on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. But students are homeschooled on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Liberty Prep in Mooresville, the older of the two area schools using the University Model, was founded three years ago by Amy Weir. Students attend school three days a week and are taught at home the other two. COURTESY OF AMY WEIR
Almost the entire Hope Academy participated in a recent service day when the students made sandwiches for homeless people. COURTESY OF HEATHER HENRY
Students attend class at Hope Academy. Two days a week, they learn at home. COURTESY OF HEATHER HENRY
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