RCS initiates Home School Partnership program

Rockford Christian School (RCS) recently initiated a community outreach program for home-schooled children in kindergarten up to eighth grade. The Home School Partnership program provides options for families who need help with advanced subjects or those that require specialized training or materials. One Partnership student recently said, “I like the science experiments!”

The program offers à la carte options ranging from a full day of classes to pick-and-choose alternatives. The classes are taught by six RCS teachers and include hands-on science (including lab experiments and earth science), Spanish, computer lab, music (band and orchestra), art, writing, and physical education. Optional advanced math classes (e.g., algebra and geometry) are also available. The home-school students can either remain exclusively with other home-school students or they can elect to join the RCS students for recess and lunch.

The Partnership students are greeted in the lobby on Tuesday mornings by Principal Jan VanderWerp. The program begins 10 minutes after the first RCS tardy bell. Each student is assigned a locker and escorted from class to class by a Partnership-designated teacher. If the student elects to join the RCS students for lunch and/or recess, an RCS “buddy” is assigned. Hot lunch options are available for the home-school students.

The program is offered in five sessions that are six weeks long. This provides scheduling and budgeting flexibility for families if they want to initially try a few classes before committing to a full day. A full-day session (8:50 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.) is $200 and the pick-and-choose alternative is $60 per selected class per session. Discounts are available for families with more than three children.

Two years ago, a home-school family approached RCS about options for home-school kids. The RCS administration investigated similar programs throughout Grand Rapids and interviewed countless home-school families in order to create a valuable program. The RCS staff quickly embraced the program and volunteered to forego their allotted class-prep time to teach these specialized classes.

The most exciting component of this program for VanderWerp has been witnessing how much the RCS staff has stretched and devoted to making this program a value to the home-school families. “It’s exciting to see the staff live out their faith and commitment to the program and to the school,” said VanderWerp. “Their passion is contagious.”

One of the Partnership parents said, “The kids have really been enjoying the classes. I’m glad we decided to enroll. It’s a huge help having a full-day program.”

For more information about the Home School Partnership, go to www.grcs.org and in the Search box type “Home-School Partnership.” Session III (beginning January 2010) enrollment deadline is November 20. For additional information, please contact Principal Jan VanderWerp at (616) 574-6400.

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