Statement of Purpose
As a school ministry, WCFS provides home education services for hundreds of students in the state of Maryland, surrounding states, and international countries through our Distance Program. We value the family and thus provide a system of mentoring in which we seek to encourage each parent to be active in the development of their children, academically, spiritually, and physically. We mentor parents in their efforts to be the mentors of their children. We acknowledge every parent as God's instrument of leadership in their home in order to raise up their children, thereby positively impacting the next generation.
Our services seek to encourage the individual home during their home education experience. We provide Teacher's Meetings, Leadership Conference retreats, monthly home school workshops for the whole family, individual curriculum and educational program development for every student, Record keeping administration, individual transcripts, online database for student records available in each home (electronic files), multiple annual portfolio reviews, high school graduation and diploma, college prepatory research paper classes, high school clubs, yearbooks, and elected student class governments. Beyond this, we provide daily support and encouragement, and field trip activities through our main offices in Thurmont, MD, and operate a second office on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We also maintain regional activities in all six (6) regions of the state of Maryland for expansion of localized support to home school families. Through our Distance Program, missionaries, residents of other states in the U.S. and foreign countries have access to home education support and administration.
Home schooled students are in high demand, and students in our program are no different. They are taught and instilled with Christian character and values which permeate into quality service and work ethic.
WCFS students have been accepted into colleges and universities all overthe U.S. and have been hired into full-time careers straight from homeschool. Many are now raising their own families and home schooling them as well. Homeschooling has made a difference in their lives in impacting the world for Christ, in his love and truth.
Walkersville Christian Family Schools (WCFS) was founded in 1983 by Gary Cox as a homeschooling outreach of Walkersville Christian Fellowship, the church at which Gary Cox is Senior Pastor. It was originally based in Walkersville MD, hence the name, but has since moved to Thurmont MD, where it ministers to families all over the state and beyond. It was designed to be an "umbrella group," providing support and advice for homeschooling families. Because WCFS strove to operate with integrity and legal transparency, it worked with the state to become an officially state-recognized homeschool organization, paving the way for many homeschooling families to be able to school their children in a legal way.
Over the years, WCFS has grown to be an institution of over 250 students. The first WCFS graduating class consisted of two students; now the average is a class of more than 20. God has provided many ways for WCFS to grow, and allowed it to play an integral part in the implementation of the Maryland education bylaws that are beneficial for all homeschoolers in the state. WCFS provides workshops, teacher training conferences, student testing, curriculum development, field trips, academic clinics, apprenticeships, and many other fun and educational activities.
In 2005, WCFS began an affiliation with the South Korean homeschool organization, Joshua International Academy (JIA). We have been able to help them adopt our organizational structure of operation and student coursework approval & validation. We are excited to have them as our Korean "branch". Since then we have added two more Branch Academies. Global Homeschool Academy GHSA of Korea, and The Master's Academy Homeschool (TMA Homeschool) of the Philippines.
Why Use an Umbrella School?
An Article Written By Gary L. Cox (Founder of WCFS, Co-Founder of MACHE and Co-Writer of the Maryland Homeschool Law.)
In a word, Liberty! The most common reason for losing liberties in our culture is failure to use them.
Maryland has benefited for many years with great laws that protect the liberty of parents to teach their children from their own religious persuasion without interference from the state. These laws provide parents the opportunity to band together under the church and form schools that are exempt from school board regulations that control course content and teaching practices. Since 1991, Maryland regulations have acknowledged the rights of parents to have their children enrolled and monitored by church schools that are willing to supervise students receiving home instruction.
Church umbrella groups, as they are commonly called, provide alternative choices to having your child's home school academics reviewed by the local board of education. Once a church establishes a legitimate educational institution (see §2-206 Education, Maryland Annotated Code), that institution can offer supervision to families who are home schooling. While there are responsibilities to monitor student attendance, the educational philosophy and content of courses are the sole discretion of the church school. This means that parents can interview schools and choose one that agrees with their own religious/educational philosophy. Once enrolled, if the school properly supervises students and maintains proper registration files with the local superintendent (see COMAR §10.10.1-5), the umbrella school’s annual notice of good standing is the final word on a student’s compliance with the attendance law (§7-301 Education, Maryland Annotated Code).
Maryland is one of the best states for home school liberty. Use it or lose it!