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

FAQs

Quick answers to the most common questions:

How much help should I be giving my student?

Great question! We posted a brief guide to help you find the right balance.

Academic Calendar

2018-2019 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.

 

In what time zone are you located?

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

What does my tuition payment provide for my student?

While you can find cheaper classes for your student online, your tuition payment to the Academy funds two very important things: live, interactive instruction from a qualified teacher who provides individualized grading and feedback; and ongoing administrative support.

Administrative support may not sound exciting, but it is invaluable for your student’s learning experience!

If your child’s teacher becomes ill, has a family emergency, or suffers from some other unexpected emergency that will take them out of the classroom for a prolonged period—something that happens, in life!—the Academy will provide another trained instructor (often, one who is already teaching another section of the same class) so that the class can continue without disruption. Individual online class providers often have no similar backup system in place.

Our Dean, who holds a Ph.D. and is an experienced college instructor, regularly visits each class and reviews teaching procedures and grading in order to make sure that the Academy classes all hold to the same high standards.

Our Headmaster works with families, students, and teachers to resolve financial and technical issues, assists families with emergency situations, and provides for the overall financial health of the Academy to ensure WTMA can continue to provide reliable courses and services.

Our registration staff spends considerable time processing monthly payments and refunds. This allows the Academy to offer you one of the most generous refund policies of any online class provider, as well as flexible no-fee payment plans that put Academy tuition within the reach of more families. Both the Dean and Headmaster work closely with the registration and support staff; don’t be surprised if either one responds to you directly!

In short, the Academy does not simply offer classes; the Academy is an institution that, in exchange for your tuition payment, guarantees your student uninterrupted, consistent, high-quality instruction.

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).
  • You are responsible for any unpaid installments or cancelled purchase orders. 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 after the dates listed above.

See our Tuition page more full details.

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?

Our Delayed Lecture Program allows students unable to attend live class sessions to participate in our classes; this program is especially helpful for international students, afterschoolers, and students in distant American time zones. See our Delayed Lecture Program page  for more details.

How are grades assigned?

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

The instructor assigns a grade for each assignment. These contribute to the student’s end-of-semester grade, and then to an end-of-year grade. Parents are responsible for recording grades to student transcripts.

 

Do you offer science labs?

We offer full-year subject-based non-lab science courses, as well as corresponding one-semester labs. Each family has the flexibility to select the science coursework that satisfies the rigor and requirements of their local school district. In our lab classes, instructors explain and demonstrate the lab, assign lab reports, and provide thorough feedback. We encourage parents to supervise all at-home experimentation. Please visit our science course descriptions for more details

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. Middle school/logic stage courses tend to require less study time outside of class. You can expect to study at least an extra hour during test/paper weeks.

What are parent responsibilities?

Parents should make sure their student attends class and turns in all required work on time. Instant access to upcoming course assignments and grades are provided through Genius, our student information system. Simply click on a student’s course name in Genius and you will be logged in to the Blackboard course site. Parents should plan to log in weekly to check on student progress and to monitor the current grade in each course.

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 meeting.

What are the technology requirements?

Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Ultra are 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 are required. For internet access we recommend DSL or cable. Satellite delays often 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 – The most updated version of Chrome or Firefox.
  • Headset – Required to prevent feedback and echos during audio transmission.
  • Microphone – Required for class participation.
  • 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

Handbook

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.

Academy writing classes are small, with an average of 12 students enrolled in each section. This allows the instructors to give students regular written feedback.  To guarantee this guidance, the Academy has established school-wide assessment standards for all writing instructors and writing classes; an explanation of how instructors give feedback 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 writing assessment, 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

Should I choose the Saxon or the Art of Problem Solving class for my student?

The Saxon textbooks and the AoPS materials approach math differently. For both, the goal is the same: understanding of mathematical concepts, and mastery of problem-solving procedures.

However, the programs reach this goal by slightly different paths. AoPS is primarily “conceptual” in its approach. “Conceptual math” is shorthand for mathematics instruction that begins by clearly explaining the reasons why operations work the way they do. Saxon tends towards the “procedural” method; it often begins to teach students new concepts through laying out and practicing a series of steps (procedures).

Obviously, all students need both concepts and procedures. However, students who have a strong mathematical inclination (and so are able to grasp abstract concepts a little more easily) will probably flourish in the AoPS classes, while those who need more support, hand-holding, and step-by-step instruction should consider the Saxon classes.

In addition, the AoPS classes are somewhat more intensive, meeting 3 days per week rather than 2, giving students an additional class period to explore and master advanced concepts. There is also an added emphasis on out of class work. This additional instruction and grading time accounts for the higher tuition rate for AoPS.

Both classes will provide your students with strong mathematical skills.

How are your AoPS classes different from those offered by the Art of Problem Solving website?

Our classes provide more support and instruction interaction.

Classes offered by the Art of Problem Solving website average 60 students per class, with one instructor and several “helpers” who monitor student responses. Students are expected to prepare for class by reading new material individually and completing the work before class. The class is primarily enrichment for students who can “teach themselves” efficiently.

In our classes, students are asked to prepare by reading the new material before class, but then work through new concepts with the instructor during class time, making use of Socratic dialogue to master the ideas before being asked to complete the assignments. We progress at a slower pace than AoPS, but spend additional time making the material accessible and clear.

How much time should I dedicate to my AoPS class?

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.

How do your courses line up with the AoPS curriculum?

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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