List of Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Regular Text-based 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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Are you accredited?
Yes.  Both Sycamore Academy textbook-based and online homeschool programs are fully accredited by the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools (NAAS). Want to know more? Click here.

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What do I get when I enroll?
Upon enrollment, you will receive a nice binder filled with information on how to teach, choose curriculum, organize your day, make out lesson plans, issue grades, fill out the quarterly progress reports, plan field trips, and much more. There are quarterly report forms as well as all other school forms you will need to fill out for us. You will also receive the Typical Course of Study which will list for you what children need to learn in each subject area each year as well as a lesson plan book and information about our group discount with the Home School Legal Defense Association.

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Will you help me make an individualized study program?
We will assist you in developing an individualized program. No one knows better than you, what your child's capabilities and limitations are. For that reason, we will work with you in choosing a curriculum. You will receive a recommend materials list for each child you are enrolling. Materials lists are based on your child's grade level and include both catalog and non-catalog items with recommendations base on ability. We believe in a multi-sensory approach, and for that reason, we offer choices for different types of learners. In our program, you may use a textbook and workbook, directed study or a unit necessary for you to purchase all your curriculum from Sycamore Academy. You may obtain materials from publishers not represented by us and use them in your program. Another advantage of this system is that you may borrow curriculum from friends or use items "handed-down" from older siblings. Also, you may choose a Bible-based or secular program. We require that you submit a list of materials being used for approval. Students K-8 may enroll at any time. High School students must enroll at the beginning of a semester.

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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 solely dedicated to homeschoolers.

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Who does the actual teaching?
With the exception of the online school, the parent is the instructor.  You may call our office for any help you need.  Help is always available.  In some cases, a grandparent, other relative, or a friend is the instructor. 

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What kind of help will I get?
Guidance is provided by phone or mail. We offer help with questions regarding choice of materials, program structure, time schedules, lesson planning, teaching techniques, evaluations, student problems, motivation, and presentation of lessons. We have even helped parents work out math problems in order to explain them to their children!  A credentialed teacher is on staff during all office hours.

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How much access does the enrollee have to mentors, support teachers, administrators?
You have unlimited calling into our office for any problem you may have including academic needs and motivation.

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How do enrolled families contact Sycamore Academy for 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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Do I have to follow a strict school schedule?
You have a choice of a traditional or year-round program with Sycamore Academy. 180 school days are required, but you may choose which schedule you want to use. Tuition is only paid on a 10-month basis, September through June, even if your program extends into the summer.

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Will my program be professionally critiqued? And if so, how often?
Each quarter a credentialed teacher will review your lesson plans, student work samples, and progress reports and will send you a written evaluation. Occasionally a teacher will call you with special concerns. This teacher will be assigned to your family for the full year for continuity and your optimum success.  You will receive your evaluation in about three weeks.

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How are grades assigned?
The parent assigns the grades with guidance from us.

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Who maintains my 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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What about year-end standardized testing and evaluation?
The Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills is provided to all students enrolled in our regular program at no additional cost. (Online students pay a nominal fee.) It will be evaluated by a professional scoring service or trained school staff. Performance results are mailed to parents and a copy will become part of your child's permanent record. We do not require children under the age of 8 to be tested, but offer it at the request of the parent.

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Do you have an easy tuition payment plan?
You do not need to pay your year's tuition all at once, but may divide it into 10 monthly installments. Also, we offer a per-family fee rather than a per-child fee. There is no limit to the number of children who may be enrolled from the same family for the basic yearly tuition fee.

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Besides quarterly reports, what else will I get from you?
Every other month (September through June) we send a 60 to 80 page enrichment packet to all enrolled families with children in kindergarten through 6th grade. There is a smaller packet for high schoolers.  The packet includes the following items:
Answers to parent questions
Dates of important events
Educational freebies you can send for
Pen pals
Teaching units for academic areas
Activities to reinforce basic skills
Student worksheets
Recipes for your children to cook
Art and craft ideas
Seasonal and holiday projects
Teaching strategies
Ideas for motivation and discipline
Helps to avoid parent burnout
Reprints of excellent educational articles
Inspirational thoughts

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Does Sycamore Academy offer foreign language?
Any language, including sign language, will meet our high school program requirement.  We also offer foreign language programs for K-8.

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What about laboratory sciences?
A laboratory science is required for college-bound students.  Choices are Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

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What other added benefits will I get by enrolling in Sycamore Academy?
- Student Cards

Each student receives a nice photo ID student 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 with a little surprise in them!
- Certificate of Completion
At the end of the school year, each child receives a lovely certificate with his/her name written in Calligraphy. It indicates completion of the school program for that year and is suitable for framing.
- 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 our homeschool program.

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What is the average cost of curriculum?
The average cost is about $250-$800 per year depending on the grade and how many books you need to buy. This includes student books, workbooks, tests, and teachers manuals.

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What is the educational requirement for a parent teacher?
We require a high school diploma or GED for anyone teaching a student in our program.

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What if I 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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What kind of parent responsibility is there involved in homeschooling?
Parents are responsible to provide an appropriate area for instruction/study and materials. Each parent needs to allocate daily teacher-directed time during school hours as needed for student success. Adequate lesson plans must be maintained for teacher guidance and program review. Parents are responsible to correct children's work and assign grades. Reports will be provided to Sycamore Academy at the end of each quarter and include lesson plans, student work samples, and quarterly progress reports. Parents will also administer tests and keep attendance records.  With the online school, no lesson plans or reports are required.

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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. Tôp

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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Will I get a high school diploma?
Upon completion of the high school program and demonstrated performance on proficiency tests, the student receives an accredited 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?
We accept high school students only at the beginning of a semester with the exception of the online school. Online classes may be started at any time.  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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To complete grades 9-12 in four years, approximately how many hours each day do enrollees average using your materials?
Students are required to spend an hour a day per subject for 180 days in order to receive a full year's credit..  Most students take 5 to 7 subjects at a time.

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