List of Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Online Homeschool

What is the educational philosophy of Sycamore Academy?
Our purpose is to provide an alternative educational program, enabling parents to teach their children at home.  This allows parents greater control over the development of the characters of their children as well as the building of a firm foundation of basic skills.  We believe parents should have the option to teach their children at home.  No one cares as much about a child as his or her own parents.  No traditional classroom can provide as much individual attention as the parent.  We believe that the combination of parental love and professional guidance by credentialed educators will result in the most effective educational program.  We believe the best educational program is based on the Bible.

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How long have you been in business?
Sycamore Academy started in 1981 and incorporated in 1982.  We were the first school and catalog in the world dedicated solely to homeschoolers.

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What are the system requirements?
Internet access. A Windows-based, Linux-based, or Apple computer may be used.

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How does the online school work?
The online school is a web-based program that can be used with any Internet connection on any personal computer (PC) or Macintosh.  No installation is required and a student can be ready to work immediately. 

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What grades are offered in the online school?
We currently offer grades 3 through 12. 

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What is covered in each subject in the online school?
Click here to view the class list and scope and sequence of the courses offered in the online school.

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Does my student need to be connected to the internet at all times?
Yes, your student will be working on the internet while doing all classwork.

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What curriculum is used for the online school?
We use the Switched-On Schoolhouse multimedia curriculum.  It is a highly motivating and challenging multimedia-enhanced program offers a wide variety of interactive problems to keep students actively involved in learning.  Material is thoroughly taught and reinforced with the "Focus Learning" system.  Quizzes and test then give students the opportunity to prove what they have learned.

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How long does the student work take?
The curriculum is designed for approximately an hour a day per subject for 180 days.  English may take longer due to the written work required.

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Is all work done on the computer?
Yes, with the exception of some science experiments and some literature books for high school students.

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Can students work on materials at their own pace?  What is the minimum enrollment period?
With our online school, students are able to work at their own pace with no minimum enrollment period.

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When may my student enroll?
Students of any grade level including high school may enroll in the online school at any time during the year.

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What does my student get when we enroll?
A student username and password is all your student needs to begin working.  We will also send a binder with graduation requirements and information on taking

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What kind of help will my student get online?
Highly qualified teachers who are specialists in their fields personally review all work and reports.  All teachers in our academy have either a Master's Degree or a credential in the subject they are teaching.  Our teachers work with your students monitoring their progress, addressing student concerns and questions, and making comments on student work.   A message system is built right into the program so students and teachers can easily communicate.  Students can attach questions or comments directly to specific problems.  Similarly, teachers leave notes for the students.

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How do enrolled families contact Sycamore Academy for technical help?
When enrolled, you contact us by mail at PO Box 565, Keene, TX 76059, E-mail at lori@sycamoreacademy.com, or by calling 817 645-0895.

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How are grades assigned?
Grades are assigned through the online school program based on student work.

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Who maintains my student's cumulative records?
Family files are kept in our office for progress reports, materials lists, health records, report cards, test results, parent/teacher comments, etc. We will send for records from your child's previous school (optional for elementary students), and upon request, send them on with your accumulated Sycamore Academy records as your child moves into another school environment.

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Does the Sycamore Academy Online Program offer foreign language programs?
Spanish and French are available online.  Other languages would be taken under the combination enrollment.  Any language, including sign language, will meet our high school program requirement. 

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What about laboratory sciences?
A laboratory science is required for college-bound students.  Choices are Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Minimal equipment will need to be purchased.

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What other added benefits will my student get by enrolling in Sycamore Academy?
- Student Body Cards
Each student receives a nice photo ID student body card identifying him/her as a student in Sycamore Academy private school. This is useful for obtaining student discounts, and also gives the child a feeling of "belonging." In addition, we send birthday cards to all our students!
- Catalog Discount
All enrolled families receive a 10% discount on all catalog items that begin with a letter.

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What costs are involved in enrolling and tuition?
See our complete fee schedule for costs of enrollment and tuition for the online or combination programs.

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What if we need Legal Insurance?
A group plan with a discount group rate is provided through Home School Legal Defense Association. This organization provides support and legal aid when public personnel question your homeschooling. It is strongly recommended that you join this group although it is not required.

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Will you mediate with the local school officials if they have objections to our student's enrollment in your school?
Yes.  Since we have been in business since 1981, many schools and school districts are familiar with our program.

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Will my student get a high school diploma?
Upon completion of the high school program and demonstrated performance on proficiency tests, the student receives a diploma, printed in gold. Students with Sycamore Academy diploma have attended many colleges, universities, and entered the armed forces. All high school classes must be documented, either by us or by the previous school. Credit for classes taken at local Junior Colleges may also be applied to the high school graduation requirements. We also give credit for work experience.

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What about high school transcripts?
Upon graduation or transfer, Sycamore Academy will provide a transcript. This transcript has been recognized by public and private schools as well as many colleges and universities around the nation.  They include subject, grade, and year each course is taken.

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Do you give credit for work experience, whether paid or volunteer?
We give credit for work experience, whether paid or volunteer.  Sports will be part of the PE grade.  Music fulfills a requirement for fine arts.

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How do you assign credit for previously completed high school work?
Credit is given for previously completed work taken through a public or private high school.

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What extra services do you provide for high school students?
We will write letters of recommendation to your insurance for good student discount qualification.
We will help you obtain work permits.
We will help your child enroll in a local Junior College to take classes.
We will supply high school students with our ID Code for proficiency tests and college exams.

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Are there enrollment requirements for high school?
For students enrolling in our high school program, you must either begin in the 9th grade or transfer from another school in order to receive a diploma from us. We cannot give credit for classes taken in homeschool unless they are backed by another program.

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Are you accredited?
Yes.  Both Sycamore Academy textbook-based and online homeschool programs are fully accredited by the Northwestern Association of Academic Schools.

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What about Socialization?
Many parents are concerned about socialization for their homeschooled children. When you put your child into a classroom, they will unfortunately learn as much from their peers as from their teacher.

You have no control over what the other children are allowed to do, the television programs and movies they are allowed to watch, or the language they use. Are they being taught to be compassionate? to be kind? to be honest? Like it or not, the peer group has a great deal of influence over your child. Is this the kind of socialization you want for your child? When you are homeschooling, you can choose the groups you want your children to associate with through outside activities. Just be cautious in over scheduling.

Another advantage that takes place when your children are not peer-dependent is that they will become the leaders in a social situation. Last of all, it's more important for your child to feel comfortable around adults. When your child grows up, he will have a head start in dealing with the world.

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