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. Students must come to class prepared to discuss their readings each week.
Writing. All 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 as well as 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 daily to ensure that they receive assignments and feedback on 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. However, on Defense Day at the end of each semester, students give presentations on one of their essays and respond to questions about their work.
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. Parents may attend their student’s class meeting at any time – just email to let the tutor know you are coming. This is not a state school – parents ought to know what their students are being taught!
HOW MANY STUDENTS WILL BE IN A CLASS?
Classes have a minimum of one student 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. 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 believes that grades should not be inflated: students who do not do work at the highest level should not receive the highest grades. However, the tutor also understands that 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.
Following the descriptions from Classical Academic Press, Scriptorium uses the following four grades:
- Magna cum laude (“with great praise” => A): Excellence; the student’s work demonstrates hard work and depth of thought; all directions have been followed; there are very few and minor errors, or no errors. It is important to remember that only a few students desire to work at a very high level of thought and writing; this means that only a few students will receive the highest grades.
- Cum laude (“with praise” => B): Good work; ideally, a typical student working diligently and following directions carefully should be able to consistently receive very good grades.
- Satis (“satisfactory” => C): Satisfactory work; applies to student work that has been done at a level only sufficient to pass their assignments.
- Non satis (“not sufficient” => D/F): The work does not demonstrate even average effort; or the student has failed to turn in his work on time (or at all).
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. Work turned in after the last class period of the semester will not be graded.
WHAT TEXTS 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 typically 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! Parents with students who have reading or writing disabilities should speak with the tutor before the start of the course. Please note that the tutor is not qualified 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 all summer classes run from May 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“