New hybrid school sees exponential growth in Blythewood

Karen Hanley, the school’s director, visits with first grader Kate Coffey, as she colors in a workbook. | Photos: Barbara Ball

BLYTHEWOOD – A new hybrid school in Blythewood, now in its second full year of operation, has seen incredible growth – and is looking forward to continuing to expand its educational offerings in future years.

“We saw a need,” says Karen Hanley, director of the 3:17 Hybrid School of Blythewood, which is named for a verse in the Bible that describes the nature of Godly wisdom.

“There are a lot of people asking what we were doing [in our homeschool co-op], and we always felt badly that we couldn’t offer it to them; my house couldn’t accommodate many more children,” says Hanley, who previously hosted four other moms and a dozen or more kids for a weekly homeschool group.

“We thought, ‘Wow, there are a lot of people that need what we have,’ and we felt God’s leadership, too. And we wondered if it was possible to have it somewhere in Blythewood, and that’s how we got started.”

It’s called a hybrid school because, she says, in the tradition of homeschool co-ops, it’s designed to assist with homeschooling – not replace it. It enables homeschool parents to send their kids one or two days a week to learn material and participate in activities that may not as easily be done at home.

It’s a school because, unlike in a typical co-op, the parents don’t have to be present; the students are dropped off during the day.

Everything at 3:17 is taught from a Biblical worldview.

Its namesake verse, James 3:17, reads, “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere.”

Hanley, who has a degree in education, says one reason word got around about the homeschool group was the lack of local options to assist homeschool parents.

She says she and the other moms discussed the idea in December of 2021. By January, they had permission from Sandy Level Baptist Church, where her husband Scott is pastor, to use the facility there. The doors just kept opening, she says: The classroom rolls quickly filled, and the hybrid school began its first school year the following August.

Hailey King conducts a history class for fourth and fifth graders.

That first year, more than 50 kids attended, all of whom attended one day a week. For the current school year, that enrollment doubled to nearly 100 students, who now have the option of attending one or two days a week.

For next school year, enrollment is capped at 112 to ensure small class sizes – and some of the grade-level classes are already full.

Among the topics that are taught at 3:17 Hybrid School: history, science, language arts, music, art, drama, Bible, physical education, and Spanish. The school operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the educational day runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There are 10 teachers each day, some of whom are licensed educators with a teaching degree, and some of whom simply have experience teaching in their subject area. It started with grades K-6, and one grade is being added each year as the oldest students’ progress to the next grade level.

The 30-week program is entirely funded by tuition, which is currently set at $890 a school year for one day a week and $1,648 for two days a week.

While having everyone attend two days a week would’ve been easier logistically, Hanley says, allowing the one-day option has made it more accessible to homeschool families, which are often single-income households.

Hanley says that she, like many homeschool parents, has long been concerned about some aspects of the public school system – from alarmingly political decisions about learning materials to overcrowding that can cause children to fall through the cracks.

Hanley says that she, like many homeschool parents, are skeptical of an educational model that was developed during the industrial revolution to train people for factory work – and prefers a model based on an earlier previous norm, in which children grew up learning from multi-generational families.

And many homeschool because they want their children to be taught from a Biblical worldview, which includes things like stressing character development and addressing conflicts with encouragement and prayer.

“I just like the idea of teaching our kids to be different from much of the world,” Hanley says, “to be loving and kind when the world is not.”

She’s clear that whatever the kids are learning, the school partners with parents – and the parents are ultimately the ones who make learning decisions for their kids.

For example, she says, the school sends home suggested homework and suggested grades – and, rather than administering tests, sends them home so that parents can proctor them for their children if they so desire – or not, if they don’t believe the testing has value.

The hybrid school’s website can be found at

As for the school’s growth, she credits God with guiding the group of women who got it started.

“It was a need that He made us aware of, and I feel like it was really Him prompting and then Him providing for us,” she says.

“We’ll just have to see what the Lord wants and how he provides…. I just want to be obedient. I’ll do whatever He wants, and our board is just like that: We have a lot of Godly people on our board, and I’m super excited to have the opportunity to serve with them.”

Kindergarten students listen to a story.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]