Church Community and Learning Centers
Church Communities and Learning Centers
Some churches operate private Christian schools and others learning centers and afterschool programs. Some churches have established a homeschool department to help families navigate the homeschooling process. Finding qualified individuals that can serve homeschooling families is an important way churches can support Christian education...
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A learning center is a service for parents who desire additional homeschooling support for their children. Often hosted by churches, learning centers provide a place for homeschool students to go outside of the home during the school day to receive supplemental instruction from tutors on certain subjects, interact in a social environment with homeschool peers, and potentially participate in extracurricular activities as well. Some learning centers may operate more like a school. While learning centers supplement parent-directed education, they do not displace parents as the primary educators of their children.
Learning centers can be organized according to the needs of the families involved. They can hire tutors to assist students, parents can volunteer or run the whole operation, and they can be made available on various days or at certain times. Some parents and church organizers may choose to have their learning center available three mornings per week and others all-day Monday through Friday. In some learning centers, all students may study the same curriculum. In others, they may all use their own individualized curriculum. Many learning centers include Bible classes, study times, and play times.
When a learning center uses the same curriculum for all students, functioning more like a school, it can hire qualified teachers to develop and teach the curriculum, or it can participate in an accredited homeschool academy, using parents and tutors to assist students. In homeschool academies, parents enroll their students in the academy and use its curriculum. The academy performs the grading and maintains student transcripts. Two examples of homeschool academies are Bridgeway Academy and Heritage Homeschool Academy. Typically, there is a tuition fee to cover the cost of the classroom(s), curriculum, tutors, and field trips.
Parents and church leaders can develop learning centers to fit the needs of local families. Church volunteers and donated space can make participation in learning centers affordable. This should be seen as a mission of the church, with its leaders and members participating with parents. The church, as the redeemed family of God, can provide a rich environment for families and their children.
For information about starting private Christian schools, co-op, or learning center, see the Herzog Foundation.