WHAT ORDER SHOULD THE COURSES BE TAKEN IN?
Unless students can demonstrate skill in writing persuasive essays independently, Writing I: Grammar and Writing II: Logic are required as pre-requisites or co-requisites for all high school-level courses. Families registering students for high school-level courses without first taking Writing I and II must provide a writing sample of a persuasive essay following the directions in the writing packet available from the Tutor.
Regarding content, parents are responsible for determining whether their student is ready for a particular course. Modern History and Literature are open only to high school juniors and seniors who have significant background in ancient and medieval history and literature because Modern History and Literature require that background knowledge.
Students interested in the Diploma Program should consider the sample schedules for completing the program here.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF STUDENTS, and WHAT IS HOMEWORK LIKE?
Reading and Discussion. All courses are reading intensive. Depending on the book, students may read between 25 and 100 pages per course. Depending on student ability and the reading level of the book, students should plan to spend roughly 1 hour per day per credit on homework. The difficulty of the material will vary throughout the year depending on the type of text and the era in which it was written. While students are not expected to understand or memorize every detail of their readings, students must come to class prepared to discuss what they have read each week.
Writing. Writing, history, literature, and government courses are writing intensive. After completing Writing I and II, students are expected to be able to write persuasive essays using MLA format with minimal assistance. Most courses require students to complete short weekly writing assignments. Students in writing tutorials will also be assigned two to four larger writing assignments each semester.
Scheduling Work. Students must keep track of their assignments and contact the tutor with any questions they have about assignments. They must schedule their work and should develop the habit of checking email regularly. Students in writing tutorials must ensure that they incorporate feedback on all their essays. Parents should be prepared to guide students in developing these skills.
Presenting and Defending Their Ideas. Students will be defending their ideas in class throughout the semester. Students in writing tutorials also participate in Defense Day at the end of each semester by giving presentations on one of their essays and responding to questions about their work from the audience of fellow-students, families, friends, and prospective student families.
Turning Work in On Time. All work must be turned in on time in the correct format. Late work is heavily penalized.
Appropriate Classroom Behavior. Students and the tutor work together to create an atmosphere of educational camraderie and friendly-but-avid debate. While Scriptorium does not require a uniform, modest attire suitable to the dignity of our studies is required of male and female students.
HOW ARE PARENTS INVOLVED?
As homeschool parents, parents are ultimately responsible for their student’s education. Parents should be prepared to guide their students in developing the skills of scheduling and turning in work on time. If parents have any questions or concerns, please contact me!
HOW MANY STUDENTS WILL BE IN A CLASS?
With the exception of Traditional Dances of Europe, classes have a minimum of two students and a maximum of ten students, though exceptions may be made.
HOW ARE STUDENTS ASSESSED?
The tutor recognizes that traditional letter grades must be offered for transcripts. However, perfect grades are never to be seen as the goal of the course: the goal is student understanding of the subject and hopefully a lasting interest in or appreciation of it. Marks/grades are used as a form of accountability to ensure that students complete assignments and to encourage students to do their best work within their circumstances (other schoolwork, family responsibilities, and work and church commitments). The tutor does not inflate grades: students who do not do work at the highest level will not earn the highest grades. There are multiple reasons why students work at different levels; students may lack ability, time, or interest to do work at the highest level. Ultimately, homeschool parents report grades.
All marks will be reported to students and parents. Most diligent students should be able to consistently earn a mark of CL. Only a few students are careful and thoughtful enough to earn the highest marks. If you think the mark you earned is unfair, you as the student are responsible for demonstrating to the tutor why your work itself merits a higher mark.
There are only five possible marks:
- SCL—Summa cum laude (“with highest praise”) Standard letter equivalent: A+ or 97. This mark represents superior work, incorporating a rare degree of professionalism, scholarship, and thought. Errors are negligible.
- MCL—Magna cum laude (“with great praise”) Standard letter equivalent: A – or 90. This mark represents excellence; all directions have been followed, and the student’s work demonstrates high-quality word-craft and unusual depth of thought. A few errors, one or two of which may be significant, weaken the piece, but it is on the whole a fine effort.
- CL—Cum laude (“with praise”) Standard letter equivalent: B or 85. Ideally, a typical student working diligently and following directions carefully should be able to consistently earn this mark. This mark represents a piece which is generally good but has multiple weaknesses.
- S—Satis (“satisfactory”) Standard letter equivalent: C or 75. This mark represents work that has been done at a level only sufficient to have fulfilled the requirements for the assignment.
- NS—Non satis (“not satisfactory”) Standard letter equivalent: D or 50 for poor quality, OR F or 0 if work contains plagiarism (requires re-write for credit), includes characteristic signs of AI (requires re-write for credit), or has not been submitted. This mark indicates that the work does not fulfill the assignment.
WHEN WILL SEMESTER GRADES BE REPORTED?
Grades will be reported at the close of each semester, typically within 2-3 weeks of the last class, provided that tuition for the semester has been paid in full. Late work is heavily penalized. All assignments must be turned in by the Friday before Defense Day of each semester.
WHAT BOOKS DO I PURCHASE?
Required texts are listed on the webpage for each course. Unless noted otherwise, hard copies of these texts must be purchased – using the correct ISBN number – for use in and out of class meetings. These books may be purchased used for greater savings. All required texts will be used for writing essays. Siblings taking the same class are welcome to share textbooks. In most courses, students may use editions different from those listed; however, it is strongly recommended that online students purchase the same ISBN number.
IS PRIVATE TUTORING OFFERED?
Private tutoring is not available. However, Scriptorium students may have an opportunity for one-to-one paper conferences during each semester.
WHAT ABOUT STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES?
Students of a variety of abilities are welcome; however, please note that Scriptorium is not necessarily a good fit for all students. Parents with a student who has any kind of disability should speak with the tutor during the application process to ensure that the course would be a good fit for that student. Please note that the tutor is not licensed as a learning or behavioral therapist.
ARE THERE OPTIONS FOR SUMMER STUDY?
Some courses are offered in the summer. Students and the tutor will meet for a 3-4-hour class once a week for 8 weeks to provide for the standard 30 hours of instruction. No summer classes meet on either Memorial Day or Independence Day, but summer classes typically run from May or early June through July.
WHAT ARE SCRIPTORIUM’S GOALS?
The ultimate purpose for Scriptorium courses is to help all students:
- learn truth from history and literature
- develop skill in discerning between truth and falsehood, good and evil, beauty and ugliness
- develop skill in writing and speaking truthfully, clearly, and winsomely
- develop their appreciation for the true, the good, and the beautiful
- develop habits of wisdom, diligence, promptness, and courtesy in their work
For more FAQs, please see the blog post “Five Frequently Asked Questions“