ROCHELLE — Greater Rochelle Area Christian Educators, or G.R.A.C.E., was established in 2003 as a homeschool workshop. Members work together to provide a Christian-focused, fun educational day for students once a week.
The educational experience at G.R.A.C.E. is a hybrid approach. Students and teachers meet together on Fridays. Many teachers, especially in the academic classes, provide daily assignments for students to progress through during the week at home. Most teachers are available for students to contact with questions during the week as well.
G.R.A.C.E. is proud to offer a wide variety of classes ranging from pre-k through high school levels. Subject areas covered include science, math, writing, literature, music, art, foreign languages, economics, history, P.E., character development, Bible and more.
Art teacher Sarah Taylor talked about her experience teaching. “It’s a real privilege to have this unique opportunity to work in an environment where the structure allows us to encourage students to think and process at their own pace,” Taylor said. “Art isn’t just pretty pictures. It’s how they think and the freedom to try. I find students typically thrive when they are given the tools and options to create in a way that matches their learning style with art as the conduit. I’m humbled and grateful for this unique opportunity to foster growth with this collective group of families at GRACE. This is a big network of people, the board, teachers, members and host church, working together to create an excellent environment for learning.”
Deneen Dale, co-chair added insight from her perspective as a science teacher. “I have loved teaching biology, chemistry, and physics at G.R.A.C.E. over the past 18 years!” Dale said. “As a former Rochelle Township High School teacher, I have been able to utilize the education, experience and passion I have to teach another generation of students while staying true to my Christian faith in the classroom. When I come together with my students each week, we will spend some time completing labs, going over material for the chapter we are covering, and answering questions. It is a great place to connect with others who are passionate about their subject material and love students!”
Molly Johnson, G.R.A.C.E. member, stated, “G.R.A.C.E. has been an awesome resource for our homeschooling journey. We’ve appreciated the benefits of other parents’ passions and experiences for teaching different topics and skills during our weekly class days. While this has helped us with structure, we are also able to maintain our own family priorities for schools and education during the week.”
The dedicated teachers are passionate about their content areas and seek to support parents in their homeschooling journeys, not replace them. This cooperative approach to education relies on parental involvement either through teaching or volunteering in other necessary capacities each meeting day. Consequently, parents work within their strengths to create a dynamic environment for learning whether students are registered for a single class or a full day of classes.
The G.R.A.C.E. Board and current members recognize that there is new light being shone on homeschooling. Many families who would have never considered it as an option were forced into educating at home in some fashion over the last couple years. For those who found homeschooling to be a good fit for their families, we want to be there to support them in their homeschooling journeys. Just like everyone else, our organization took a hit with the restrictions placed on us due to COVID-19. We are grateful for technology and the many teachers who put countless hours into converting their classes into online formats. However, being able to start this school year in person was a high priority for us, and we chose to do so even though we weren’t going to be able to function at full capacity. We are entering the 2022-2023 school year with much excitement! Our course offerings are back up to 100% with over 65 classes on the schedule. We hope to see many familiar faces back in the fall as well as new families joining the program.
For more information on G.R.A.C.E., visit their open house, Friday. April 29 from 10 a.m.to 2 p.m. at the Rochelle United Methodist Church, 709 4th Ave., Rochelle, IL 61068. You can also visit their website at www.gracerochelle.org.