The Classroom Collective provides hybrid homeschooling
Amidst a global pandemic, homeschool moms and former public school teachers Robin Storch and Kim Heinecke saw and experienced a growing need among Edmond parents interested in a hybrid form of education for their children. In August 2021, they opened the doors of The Classroom Collective (TCC).
TCC is a university-model homeschool extension program offering full-curriculum core classes and elective courses for students in 4th-12th grade. Parents can select courses for their students that best fit their educational goals, and the school focuses on finding highly qualified teachers who are passionate about their subjects.
A community is born
With children of their own to teach, the two moms were motivated to raise the bar of excellence in homeschool programs offered in the area. It was imperative they create a program that would benefit children from all walks of life, including their own children.
Storch and Heinecke saw a need for a program that would blend the best parts of several schooling styles and create an opportunity for students to engage with teachers, other students, and various subjects in a more traditional classroom setting coupled with the personalization and the autonomy of traditional homeschool.
“From the beginning, we have had a very clear vision of who we are and what we wanted to offer families in our community,” said Kim Heinecke, Co-Founder & Administrative Director. “When students leave TCC, it is our desire that we have given them educational tools that will benefit them as they pursue higher-level education whether college or trade schools.”
The hybrid model
Families have many choices when it comes to educating their children from public school, online charter school, private school, or a traditional homeschool approach. The Classroom Collective aims to bring together the best of all the options with hybrid homeschooling.
TCC provides weekly in-person instruction, and students complete their homework throughout the week under the supervision of parents. Each class aims to engage kids in vibrant discussions, guided practice, and hands-on activities. The program provides the opportunity for homeschool families to outsource some or all classes yet maintain the autonomy and personalization of their homeschool plan.
“While our structure will remain the same for the next school year, we are very excited to be able to offer more core classes, instructors, and electives to suit the needs of our growing group,” said Heinecke. “We don’t offer everything, but we are enthusiastic about helping our TCC families connect with organizations that will provide rich experiences for students.”
TCC hosted an open house last fall to connect homeschool families with extra-curricular opportunities for their students including, sports, music, and drama.
Parents like Wendy Newell find not only activities and socialization for their children at TCC, they get the support they need to ease the parent burden and progress their students’ learning.
“Fun activities with friends and in-person classes give my kids something to look forward to,” said Newell. “Our family was frustrated with school options and reluctant about homeschooling. We were on the fence between private school and home school, but TCC is like getting both.”
2022 and beyond
The homeschool community is growing steadily in Oklahoma. In 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Oklahoma had the fourth-highest increase in homeschooling of any state. As TCC heads into its second semester, the student population has grown to over 150 students attending in-person classes each week. TCC’s challenges come from trying to scale the program to meet more community needs while preserving the integrity and quality of the organization.
Before the 2022-2023 school year, the program plans to add additional classes, offer courses specifically for parents and add fourth grade to their curriculum.
“Success looks like students laughing and engaged in the material, texting a follow-up comment about science or history to their teacher because they’ve been thinking about it all day, students progressing in a skill such as writing or public speaking over the course of a year,” said Heinecke. ”When students look forward to being in class each week, we know we have been successful.”
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About Tim Priebe
Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of T&S Online Marketing. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.
Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.