Building Bridges: Fostering Cooperation between Christian Day Schools and Homeschool Families

Marie MacPherson

Christian homes, Christian congregations, and Christian schools are all places in which the Holy Spirit, through God’s Word, gives and strengthens the faith of His children. Yet, it’s easy to see ourselves in vastly contrasting “boxes” which emphasize our differences and weaknesses, rather than our similarities and strengths. All too often, suspicion and misunderstanding exists between school leadership and homeschool families. Instead, what we all need is proactive, constructive curiosity and mutual respect.  How can we build bridges between churches, schools, and homeschools, working together for the Christian education of all of the congregation's children?

Below is an outline I recently prepared and shared with two different congregations, both of whom have Christian Day Schools. If you are interested in developing cooperation between your congregation and homeschool families, I encourage you to print one of the links below, prepare a cover letter specific to yourself and your family, and pass it on to the leadership in your church for reflection and discussion. Of course, not all suggestions are feasible for implementation at a particular congregation. As a comprehensive list of ideas, however, this handout can get the conversation started toward mutual understanding.

Suggestions for Use

Below are two similar versions. The first is a shorter, simpler list. The second is a longer, more comprehensive list, which is meant to include “talking points” if you are able to set up a meeting and speak in person with your church leadership. In that case, print off one copy the first version for each church leader, and print off one copy of the second version for yourself to add detail to the outline as you present. Alternatively, if you will not have the opportunity for a meeting, I suggest printing and handing out the second version with all of the details, as well as writing a personal cover letter unique to yourself and your situation.

Also, consider what entities in your community, beyond the church or Christian Day School, might be willing to consider these ideas. Your local library? A Christian high school? A para-church organization? A local nursing home or preschool? There are many possibilities for supporting homeschool populations, and also for homeschoolers to share their gifts in the community.

Building Bridges: Ideas for Cooperation between Christian Day Schools and Homeschool Families in Christian Congregations

Note: This handout has been prepared in a general way; not all points may apply to your church or school. However, even in the case of churches without schools, or churches with schools but no homeschool families, many of the suggestions can still be implemented for the sake of the local homeschooling community or for public school families within the church. Be creative!

How Might a Church/Church School Help Support Homeschooling Families in the Church?

1. Shared Goals/Recognition

2. Open Communication/Invitation

3. Shared Resources

How Might a Church/Church School Use “Community Homeschooling Support” as Outreach?

1. Mission and Vision

The educational horizon is changing. The formerly clear lines between public schools, CDSs, and homeschools are blurring. Is your congregation uniquely situated to serve families that don’t clearly fit into a “box”?

2. Regional Homeschool Resource Center (HRC)

3. Educational Opportunities Beyond the CDS

Possibilities for Church Schools to Integrate Homeschooling Families

Homeschooling Parents Could:

Homeschooling Students Could Participate in:

To Share These Ideas with Your Community, Download These FREE Resources:

Resource List:


Mrs. Marie K. MacPherson, vice president of Into Your Hands LLC, lives in Mankato, Minnesota, with her husband Ryan and their children, whom she homeschools. She is a certified Classical Lutheran Educator (Consortium for Classical Lutheran Educators), author of Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood (2018), and editor of Mothering Many: Sanity-Saving Strategies from Moms of Four or More (2016).

TAGS: Education, Homeschooling