Posted June 8, 2015

Christian Homeschool Programs

Many families (though certainly not all) decide to homeschool because they want a Christian education for their children. In the last three decades, secular and Christian homeschool support programs of all kinds have cropped up to help families achieve their educational goals.

Some of these programs have taken the form of statewide Christian homeschool organizations that host annual conventions. These umbrella organizations tend to create directories of local support groups throughout their state, so they offer a good jumping off point for families who are new to homeschooling. Sometimes these state organizations also offer workshops for families new to homeschooling or mentoring for families who would like to do better in their homeschooling. Often, this takes the form of prayer support and meetings with a more experienced homeschool family.

Other Christian homeschool programs seek to offer support for families who want to pursue elective activities. These programs offer a wide variety of sports (from football and rugby to tennis and track), fine arts performing opportunities (choir, band, orchestra, drama, and art classes), or opportunities to participate in speech and debate. Families choose to participate in these programs because they enjoy being with other like-minded families, sharing the responsibilities for areas in which they might not feel confident, and giving their kids unique opportunities.

One program, Homeschool Legal Defense Association, provides legal counsel and support to families who have questions about the homeschool laws in their state. For over 30 years, HSLDA has provided legal advice to homeschool families and stayed abreast of legislative developments that affect families.

Finally, one area of rapid growth in Christian homeschool programs has been the rapid expansion of programs that offer academic opportunities to families. Some of these have taken the form of co-operatives. These “co-ops” are local groups of families who organize each year to offer classes to one another’s children. Co-ops offer a wide variety of services, from field trips to honors classes to test prep to lab sciences. Families have enjoyed the support of other families, particularly as they progress into homeschooling through high school. Students in Christian homeschool programs enjoy discussing literature together, presenting speeches and debates with their classmates, and completing science labs together.

One Christian homeschool program, Classical Conversations, has expanded this idea to offer consistent communities each year in every state and now in several foreign countries as well. These programs vary from co-ops in a number of ways. All classes are taught by trained homeschool parents and use a set curriculum that is the same around the world each year. This offers a different level of consistency than some co-ops which change their class offerings from year to year. Families in Classical Conversations can plan their child’s education from pre-K to graduation.

Other Christian homeschool programs follow what is known as a “university model.” These programs offer block scheduling like college classes so that children preK-12th grade take classes 2-3 days a week at the university model school and complete the rest of their work at home under the supervision of their parents. The university model schools differ from co-ops and organizations like Classical Conversations in a few ways. First of all, they closely resemble a school in that they have dedicated buildings, teachers, administrators, and support staff. Most university model schools also have required school uniforms and disciplinary policies. These schools also assign grades to the students and compile school records such as transcripts. Some families find that this experience is much more like private school than it is like homeschooling.

Families who want to homeschool their children and to give them a distinctively Christian education now have a wide range of programs to choose from. These programs offer Christian curriculum, peer interaction for both parents and students, and electives like fine arts and sports.

Author: Jennifer Courtney


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