Tyler Paper – Grace University combines homeschool with classical approach

Grace Community School has launched a new pilot program to help homeschool parents.

The new Grace University gives elementary school age children two half days of personalized instruction per week, combining the flexibility of homeschool with the support of the Grace staff.

For years Challi Korenek had wanted to find a way to get her three boys involved with activities at Grace. The Koreneks were big fans of the school’s culture and Christ-centered learning, she said.

“We had known the reputation of Grace, their academic excellence and their impact on the world for Christ,” Korenek said. “Two worlds collided, it was a great fit for us to be able to do school the way we feel fits for our family, but with the benefits of everything that Grace has to offer.”

Korenek’s boys, Krew, fifth grade, Kage, fourth grade, and Kord, second grade, attend class at the Classical School from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday in the old Stepping Stone building, which Grace recently purchased.

Director of Curriculum Karla Foreman said that if the pilot is successful, the school will integrate its fine arts programs and extracurricular activities for students next school year. Foreman is teaching the fourth to sixth grade group of students.

“They love it, they are so excited,” Korenek said. “They’re so pumped to be a Grace Cougar.”

Korenek said she benefits from the program just as much as her children do. The school provides the curriculum for the students and supports the parent throughout the year.

Foreman is enjoying the pilot, glad to be back in a classroom and teaching.

“I love getting to use all of my favorite teaching things again,” Foreman said. “It’s fun and it’s really nice to just do two days a week.”

The program also allows its instructors to take an innovative approach to learning. Kindergarten through third-grade teacher Gretchen Barbee had a storage unit filled with classroom decorations she was excited to put to use.

When students walk into Barbee’s classroom, they are greeted by bathtubs repurposed into comfortable reading nooks and a life sized Cat in the Hat. The environment gets the children excited for learning.

“Boys this age excited about reading, that’s a good thing,” Korenek said. “(Foreman and Barbee) have a love of learning.”

Korenek said the classroom time goes a long way to help reinforce what the students are learning at home.

“I love the fact they provide the curriculum; it’s a lot less stress,” Korenek said. “If it takes a little bit longer, they get the time they need. I was shocked by the amount of support they get from the staff.”

Students work on subjects including math, phonics, writing, reading, history, science, geography and Bible catechism.

The kindergarten through third-grade class is full, but Foreman said they have room for two more students in the fourth- through sixth-grade class. Tuition is $350 per month.

Published on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 01:57 – Written by CORY MCCOY, comccoy@tylerpaper.com