Handbook & FAQs - Well-Trained Mind Academy

Quick access to our FAQs, Academy Handbook, and Course Planning resources:


Quick answers to the most common questions:

In what time zone are you located?

The Well-Trained Mind Academy runs on Eastern Standard Time (EST).

What is the cancellation and withdrawal policy?

Tuition Paid Upfront:

  • We will refund the entire tuition paid for a course if you withdraw your student before
    • September 30th (fall and full-year courses).
    • February 15th (spring courses and full-year transfers only).
    • June 30th (summer courses only).
  • No refund will be given if you withdraw your student from a course on or after
    • October 1st (fall and full-year courses).
    • February 16th (spring courses and full-year transfers only).
    • July 1st (summer courses only).

Payment Plan Refunds:

  • We will cancel and refund all payments made if you withdraw your student before
    • September 30th (fall and full-year courses).
    • February 15th (spring courses and full-year transfers only).
    • June 30th (summer courses only).
  • We will continue to charge, and you agree that we may charge, your credit card until 100% of the tuition has been paid if you withdraw your student on or after
    • October 1st (fall and full-year courses).
    • February 16th (spring courses and full-year transfers only).
    • July 1st (summer courses only).
What is the Academic Calendar?

2016-2017 Academic Calendar (PDF)

2017-2018 Academic Calendar (PDF)

The summer semester is 8 weeks (no separate exam week).

The fall and spring semesters are 16 weeks plus 1 exam week.

The full academic year is 32 weeks plus 2 exam weeks.


Do you offer assessment tests or tutoring?

Yes, we now offer one-on-one tutoring for those students who need extra assistance. We also offer assessment to determine the best class for your student. Please go to our Tutoring page for more information.


Do you work with charter school students?

Yes! Students may register for classes and (in some states) are even reimbursed by their school districts. See our Charter Schools page for details

Students already attending a public or private school can also use the WTM Academy to provide courses not available at their school. See our flexible Delayed Lecture Program for more details.


What are Delayed Lecture (Recorded) Sections?

We have launched our Delayed Lecture Program, especially suited to international students, and other students with schedule conflicts. See our Delayed Lecture Program page  for more details.

Do you offer science labs?

Yes! Our Biology and Chemistry courses both include a lab component integrated into the main courses. Parents need to supervise experimentation, but instructors assign labs, grade reports, and provide feedback. Please visit our Science course descriptions for more details.


How are grades assigned?

Instructors evaluate graded assignments after students submit them through the classroom software. Parents should be involved in proctoring tests, and also should help ensure that students are completing assignments on time.

The instructor assigns a grade (see the grading scale in these FAQs) for each assignment. These contribute to the student’s end-of-semester grade, and then to an end-of-year grade. Parents of students who are currently receiving a D+ or below will be notified directly, halfway through the semester. Parents are responsible for recording grades to student transcripts.

Note: while most tests/quizzes are administered online, some courses (such as math) may use workbooks for quizzes or drills with answer keys for corrections at home.


Are you a Christian school?

In line with the philosophy set forth in The Well-Trained Mind, we believe that parents have the responsibility to teach and nurture their children in their faith. Instructors at our Academy will not proselytize for Christianity or any other faith, and they will not assume that all students share a common religious tradition.

Are you accredited?

We are not pursuing outside accreditation at this time, either by government agencies or by other outside organizations. Parents are responsible for recording final grades in a way that meets local regulations for home educators. Our academic standards are outlined in The Well-Trained Mind.

What is the grading scale?

Our instructors use the following scale:

A+ 99.5 – 100
A    93.0-99.4
A-   90.0–92.9
B+  87.1–89.9
B    83.0–87.0
B-   80.0–82.9
C+  77.1–79.9
C    73.0–77.0
C-   70.0–72.9
D+  67.1–69.9
D    60.0–67.0
F    below 60.0

How much time do I need to dedicate to studying?

Each week you should set aside an average of 4 hours of study time outside of class, then add add 1-2 hours (depending on the numbers of lectures) for classroom instruction.

What are parent responsibilities?

Parents will be involved in proctoring tests and  will be responsible to ensure their student attends class and turns in all required work on time. They should plan to log in at least weekly to check the progress for upcoming assignments and monitor the current grade in each course. Please see the “For Parents” section of our Handbook for details.

Parents can schedule one-on-one conferences with instructors at any time during the academic year to discuss student performance. Please email your instructor to schedule a phone call during their office hours.

What are the technology requirements?

We’ve chosen classroom software which is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.  Most multimedia computers or laptops made within the last five years (which have a video camera and headphone jack) are capable of running our software.

A headset/mic combo and reliable internet connection is required. DSL and cable are strongly recommended over satellite internet, since satellite delays will prevent smooth communication in our courses.

  • Bandwidth: DSL/Cable required.  Satellite causes about a 1 second delay in video/audio (minimal effect on interaction).
  • OS – Windows & Mac OS X
  • Browser – Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome (stable channel), Firefox (final release channel).
  • Java – the latest version of Java is recommended for full functionality.
  • Headset – required to prevent feedback and echos during audio transmission.
  • CPU/memory – At least 1 GHz Intel processor (Core 2 Duo recommended) with 1GB memory.
Can I transfer to another section or course?

We’ll consider transfer requests on a case-by-case basis. You can email us to request a transfer.

Can I preview a class before purchasing?

You can watch a sample classroom lecture and preview syllabi here: www.wtmacademy.com/preview


The WTM Academy Handbook provides details for prospective or current students:

  • Hyperlinked TOC: Contains an easy-to-navigate table of contents. Simply click the topic of interest for direct access.
  • Printable: Similar to a PDF, the handbook can be printed (in whole or specific pages).
Course Planning

The WTM Academy Handbook contains a special Curriculum section to help you plan course sequences for middle school and high school students.

WTMA Writing Program

Our writing classes fall into three groups: basic writing skills, intermediate composition skills, and rhetoric.  We offer course sequences for all levels of writers, including those who struggle, well-prepared students, and advanced students. Click here for an explanation of our writing and grammar curriculum, and sample course sequences.

The Academy charges slightly higher tuition for writing classes in order to keep the classes small, with an average of 12 students enrolled in each section. This allows the instructors to provide students with a high level of personal attention and feedback on all written assignments. To guarantee this individualized guidance, the Academy has established school-wide standards for all writing instructors and writing classes; the standards can be viewed here.

Students who have completed levels of Writing With Skill or equivalent programs may enter the expository writing sequence at II or III. For help in placement, see our placement test, which will be evaluated by Academy writing instructors. We recommend that all students enter the rhetoric sequence at Rhetoric I. High school students who have missed the prerequisites (at the middle school grades) and need additional training before beginning a formal rhetoric course should start with Preparation for Rhetoric Writing.

Math AoPS Program

Our approach to teaching the Art of Problem Solving method is to offer in-depth instruction with individual feedback that allows for student reflection and concept mastery. We approach problems via the Socratic method, offering students time to develop a deep understanding of the material before moving on to more advanced concepts and courses. WTMA AoPS instructors expect students to dedicate about 90 minutes a day to their math work. Practicing new concepts in class and at home insures that students truly understand the course material.

We are often asked about the difference between the Saxon method and the AoPS method.  Saxon math tends to work well for structured, linear thinkers, while the AoPS program works better for more conceptual thinkers.

Our courses line up with the AoPS curriculum as such:
Pre-Algebra – AoPS Pre-Algebra 1 & 2
Algebra I – AoPS Algebra A
Introduction to Counting & Probability (Summer Elective) – Recommended to be taken at the same time or after after Algebra I.

Algebra II – AoPS Algebra B
Geometry – Recommended after Algebra II
Pre-Calculus – Recommended after Algebra II and Geometry

Please note: We do not currently offer AoPS Intermediate Algebra because it is not necessary to complete before moving on to AoPS Pre-Calculus.  AoPS Intermediate Algebra covers topics found in AoPS Algebra II and AoPS Pre-Calculus. 


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