The start of the new year means it’s time for parents to start thinking about the 2018-2019 academic calendar. As a parent of a child in kindergarten, I know all too well the pressure and stress it can be to find the best educational fit for your child and your family.  Lately, I’ve seen a lot of inquiry into Liberty Prep Christian Academy in Mooresville. For a variety of reasons, my family chose Liberty Prep and could not be happier!  However, since LPCA is a small and somewhat newer school with a unique teaching model, Liberty Prep parents get a lot of questions (or just weird looks when our kids are with us at the grocery store or the Y mid-morning on a Wednesday!).  If you’re considering Liberty Prep or just want to learn more read on!

1. A “University Model School?” What the heck is that??

A University-Model school combines the best attributes of traditional schooling with the best attributes of homeschooling, as well as independent study, and integrates them all into one model.  Parents not only have a greater say in their child’s education but more time spent together gives parents more time to build relationships and impart their own faith and values to their children.

Starting in Kindergarten, Liberty Prep students receive professional instruction from highly qualified instructors on campus three days a week (Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays), and do coursework under a parent’s guidance at home on Wednesdays and Fridays.

One of the coolest things about the University-Model system is it allows the flexibility of meeting the students’ needs individually, not taking a cookie cutter approach to education. (You can read more about how the school meets NC state standards and it’s policy regarding federal and Common Core standards on the FAQ page of their website.)

For advanced students, there is an option to move up or down one grade level in elementary or two grade levels in secondary.  For students who need to move up or down a grade level, Liberty Prep offers placement tests to help administrators and parents know best where to place students.

In addition to academics, Liberty Prep focuses on developing students’ character.  This is accomplished through chapel programs, weekly parent connect meetings and service and missions projects, to name a few.

It is expected that every student embodies and uphold the nine virtues of a Liberty Prep Patriot. The Liberty Prep Patriot holds his head high. He is looking and moving forward, blazing new trails, preserving freedom and carrying the flag to future generations.

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2. Homeschool seems really overwhelming. I don’t think I could do it!

When our son was born, we lived in Northern Virginia.  We weren’t crazy about public school education and knew there was no way we could afford a $30,000+/year DC-area private school.  We figured by the time he was in school we’d go the homeschool route.  After 4-5 years of parenting and both my husband and I working from home, we realized both of us couldn’t realistically take on a full-time homeschool schedule.  (My schedule is more adaptable than my husband’s, but honestly, I don’t think I’d have the patience for 5 days-a-week of homeschooling!)   We’re only four months in, but our entire family has easily adapted to school at home on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Liberty Prep is unlike traditional homeschooling in several ways:

You are truly in a partnership with the school in your child’s education.

All lesson plans and “satellite day” (homeschool day) assignments are posted on an online database with corresponding worksheets and materials sent home with the student.  Teachers are available through email or phone on the satellite days if there’s ever any questions about assignments. Below is a sample Kindergarten homework plan.

Obviously, the younger the student, the more involved parents will be on satellite days.  In K-3, parents should work one-on-one with their student(s).  As the student grows older, more is expected as an independent learner.  The parent moves more into the role of encourager and accountability partner, helping prepare their student for college.

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One of the biggest recommendations I can give to parents for the most seamless incorporation of homeschool instruction (I say most seamless because let’s be honest, teaching in any environment will never be completely stress-free!)  is to create a schedule and have a dedicated learning space.  Our son has a small desk in our home office and his own desk/workspace area in his bedroom.  We print out Wednesday’s and Friday’s lesson plans right after school the day before and review it that evening so we have a game plan for the following day. (Family time around the dinner table is always a great time to talk about the next day’s schedule!) Depending on our schedule, sometimes we’ll even start assignments that evening to make the workload less taxing the next day.

University Model Schools International (UMSI) has some great articles on their Parents Expectations page for those that feel overwhelmed or want to better themselves as educators.

Here you can see our son working dutifully at his desk, an example of a history assignment, and him reading a story to me (and some friends!).

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Strawberry Basil Mint Smash Cocktail
Strawberry Basil Mint Smash Cocktail

3. Liberty Prep is a private school. There’s no way I could afford tuition!

Because students are only in school three days a week, Liberty Prep costs about one-half to two-thirds less than other local private Christian schools (Both parents do not have to work just to pay for tuition!)  The school is designed to keep costs low so that a single income family can participate, leaving mom or dad home on the days that the students are in the satellite classroom at home.   Tuition can be can be broken up into monthly payments and financial aid is available for qualified families.

As stated on the Financial Aid page of Liberty Prep’s website, kindergarten and first grade students who were in public/charter school in 2016-2017 may be eligible for an NC Opportunity Scholarship.  Please see www.ncseaa.edu/OSG.htm for more information.

4. Liberty Prep is in Mooresville? Where is the campus?

Liberty Prep is only eight years old but is already making a big impact on our community! The school was founded in 2010 and serves students in Kindergarten – 12 grade.  The K-3rd-grade campus is located at Harbor Church at 433 Williamson Rd; the 4th-12th-grade campus is located in Lighthouse Church at 246 Blume Rd (Off of Brawley School Road).

The two locations are conveniently located to anyone in the Lake Norman and surrounding areas, with bus transportation from Denver, Huntersville, and Cornelius.  Liberty Prep is one of the few private, Christian preparatory schools in the region and the only private Christian school in Mooresville.  Liberty Prep truly is a Lake Norman Christian School serving Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville, Denver, Statesville, Troutman, and Charlotte.

The school has purchased land in Mooresville and is on the verge of building a permanent site to better serve its students and the Lake Norman Community.  Liberty Prep students already have many extra-curricular activities to choose from including competitive sports teams and performing arts.  Having state-of-the-art academic facilities and a large campus will allow students to further connect with each other, help them grow, deepen their faith, and enhance the lives beyond the classroom.

Here’s Caleb and his Dad representing Liberty Prep in this past year’s Mooresville Christmas parade.

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5. Your family is always making long weekend plans. It must be nice not to have to worry about school on Fridays!

Not having a traditional school schedule on Fridays is nice, especially when our family wants to make fun, long weekend plans.  But just because our child is not sitting in a classroom on a weekday, doesn’t mean the opportunity for learning is gone.  We want our son to develop a love for learning – not just see school as a chore or something you have to endure for 6-7 hours a day on weekdays.  Even at six years old, our son has gained the concept of “homework” and time management; he can adapt to a more flexible schedule and we as parents have the opportunity to impart more “real world” teachable moments.  On weekends when we do head out of town, our son gets excited to work on his assignments during travel time and my husband and I get excited to see how we can incorporate his lessons into our travels (Like counting and practicing math on the beach!)

What’s more, with more time available on satellite days, students can pursue other interests that further their God-given purpose. Dancing, playing an instrument, participating in select sports, and even part-time jobs for some students are examples.

Oh, and did I mention, school doesn’t start until 9:00AM! No need to wake our son up at the crack of dawn, which means he doesn’t need to go to bed every night by 7:30, which means there’s more “real world” family time every day!

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To learn more about Liberty Prep’s acccreditation, the curriculum at each grade level, and more visit their website – it is chock full of so much helpful information!  You can also plan to attend an upcoming Open House at both campuses. The next Open House is scheduled for Tuesday, February 13th. 

Please reach out to me on Facebook if you’d like more info from a parent’s perspective.  And if your family happens to choose Liberty Prep and you need a referral, please use my name!