What learning level should I place my children in?
Our co-op uses learning levels, not grades. These levels roughly correspond with child brain development pre-puberty, puberty, post-puberty, but are broad enough that you can adjust your student up and down as suits his individual development.
Lower Grammar (Tapestry of Grace): grades K-3, or a non-fluent reader who enjoys learning basic facts.
Upper Grammar (Tapestry of Grace): grades 3-6, or an independent reader who enjoys memorizing concrete, sequential facts.
Dialectic (Tapestry of Grace): grades 6-9, or a student who reads to learn and enjoys making connections and learning to debate. Moms lead history and worldview discussions for this level.
Dialectic (Omnibus I): grades 7-12, or a student who reads the Great Books and enjoys making connections and learning to debate. Discussions led by a paid teacher.
Rhetoric (Omnibus IV): grades 9-12, or a student who reads the Great Books and enjoys analyzing and synthesizing ideas and arguments. Discussions led by a paid teacher.
Is there a place for my child with special needs?
Absolutely! Because our co-op uses learning levels, there are a variety of ages in each class. Your child may plug in at whatever level you, as a mom, feel is best.
Furthermore, as a mother, you may make modifications in order for your child to be successful.
Upper Grammar and Dialectic (Tapestry of Grace) levels are for independent readers, however, reading aloud and using audiobooks can accommodate students who struggle with reading. Also, several supplementary and in-depth books can be left off to lighten the reading load. Also, because students at all levels are learning about the same period in history, books from a lower level could be used for independent reading (especially for in-depth history or language arts).
Omnibus I-III and the Dialectic levels are for students from grade 7 to 12. Students with special needs do not need to move up to the Rhetoric level (Omnibus IV-VI) in order to receive high school credits. In all levels (Dialectic and Rhetoric), a “B-list” of books (shorter list) is available for students who are slower readers or have books read aloud to them. Also, parents have the freedom to adjust any requirements they believe may be too difficult for their students.
What are the advantages of a co-op?
I have been doing a co-op since 2009. We have had between 2 and 22 families at a time in our co-op. It is the highlight of the week for my children. They are so excited to be with their friends and do the activities and discuss what they have learned. Even when it is play time with their friends they are busy acting out the stories that they have all read.
Without the co-op I know I would not make time for the hands-on activities and field trips. This way we share the load as moms. It feels more worth it to make a weather station or weave a placemat if you are doing it for the whole group and you don’t have to plan it yourself and get the supplies every week.
You may think these hands-on activities are bonus, optional extras. But I think they are the cement that locks in these learning experiences.
What do you remember best? What you have only read about or what you have experienced?
The co-op provides the opportunity to do exciting Unit Celebrations. Before each term we plan how we will conclude the term. We’ve done things as simple as an international dinner with the children giving their reports on different countries, to a medieval feast complete with costumes, speeches, special music and games. We have done Greek Dramas and a 50’s Diner. The children are making life-long memories. With a co-op, school work isn’t something everyone does individually and you as a mom just crack the whip to make sure they all get it done. Family life is coloured by what you are learning as you are constantly reading books aloud together, discussing what you are learning and celebrating it at Unit Celebrations.
The weekly co-op is even more essential for the dialectic and rhetoric students than it is for the grammar level. At this stage children need to learn to make connections, to debate, to persuade, to listen to the opinions of others, to analyze and synthesize. They need a knowledgeable teacher to walk them through their evaluation of classic literature. With the Tapestry Curriculum we as moms can take turns reading the teacher’s notes and preparing for the weekly dialectic discussion. As our Omnibus students contribute financially, we are able to hire an experienced teacher to lead the dialectic and rhetoric discussions of the Veritas Press Curriculum. The students prepare all week for their 2 ½ hours of discussion on Friday. In this way our children are spurred on to read the most influential Literature of all time, to give excellent speeches, to write persuasively and to become leaders.
Why should I use Home-life Academy instead of having my child study for the GED?
The American school system is not a test based system, it is more of a portfolio system. American Universities want to see a student’s grades for all of their classes from grades 9-12. The teacher/parent is trusted to assign those grades and keep a portfolio to prove it if asked. The SAT is a standardized, multiple choice test, that the student can take as many times as necessary to improve his score. It is used to validate the grades (and assign bursaries), but the grades and the well-rounded portfolio are what are most important.
The GED was developed for students who could not attend traditional schools but wanted to get a paper saying they had passed high school and could get into a junior college. A GED will allow you to do further studies in America but it won’t impress a top university. As of December 2019 it will not be accepted by the South African Universities Board for a matric exemption.
You can apply for university as soon as your student has completed 11th grade and taken the SAT. The university will then give a provisional acceptance, which can be reversed if grades in 12th grade don’t pan out. But this gives a South African student plenty of time to take that university acceptance letter and his HomeLife Academy Diploma to the South African Universities Board to apply for a conditional foreign exemption.