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What happens once we sign up with St. Thomas Aquinas Academy?

Once the enrollment fees and application are submitted, we mail a welcome packet that includes a student skills assessment for each of your students. This is a set of very informal tests addressing reading, grammar, composition and math, and we advise you to take two or three days at your kitchen table at an easy pace to complete them. 

When we receive your completed assessments, we sketch out written remarks about each child’s academic strengths and weaknesses and basic learning style and make recommendations for starting points in subject areas. We mail our written remarks to you in a personalized Academic Packet which includes our recommendations for organizing your year, records and daily routines, and a simple questionnaire to you to help you start focusing in on academic goals for each child in general and the coming year in particular.  The Academic Packet also includes our standard curriculum guides for each of your students. 

Next we work with you over the phone to personalize our program to your family, then to each of your students. We move skill levels up or down per subject, organize the whole family into the same science, history and religion cycle, combine the students into the same or compatible texts, help you find central focuses for each of the students in each of the subjects according to their academic needs and styles, make recommendations and comments on alternative choices, and the like. 

After the telephone appointment, you will be ready to order your books, using the ordering forms attached to the curriculum guides that list the easiest to use source for each book or program, its price and order code. Books take two to eight weeks to arrive, depending on the time of year and—voila!—you are ready to school, with confidence and competence (or at the least with a firm starting point, a clear set of goals and a friend to help you along the way!) 

Following the planning appointment you are welcome to set appointments with your advisor throughout the year, as often as once a month.  Of course, you are always welcome to call or e-mail our staff with quick questions.


 

How long does it take to get started with St. Thomas Aquinas Academy?

The assessment process can take as little as four weeks if the assessments are completed and returned within the week you receive them. The later in the homeschool high season (May to September), the longer it can take. It is best to return your assessments to STAA eight to ten weeks before you want to order books. For the most up-to-date information about planning for the current school year, visit the Current Enrollment page.

 

Can we sign-up in the middle of the school year?

Yes, as long as there are openings, you may join us for the last part of the year, or sign up early for the coming academic year. (Indicate which is the case on your registration form.)

 

What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept checks or money orders by mail and Visa, Mastercard, or bank account payment through our secure payment forms. Enrollment may be paid all at once when you submit the enrollment application or you may utilize our five-month payment plan. See the Annual Enrollment Fees page for further details.

 

When should we enroll for the next school year?

Enrollment for the next school year opens January 15th and closes when all available evaluation slots have been filled. The last several school years have seen all of the evaluation slots from January through June fill by early April. Many homeschoolers tend to fret about their upcoming school year if they are not ready to order books until late in the summer. We encourage families to enroll and return their assessments as early in the year as possible to avoid having to wait too long for their planning materials and advisor appointment. If you do end up having a long wait this time, look through your welcome packet for ideas about what to do for school while waiting for your materials to arrive and make a notation on your calendar to order your assessments earlier next year.

 

I don’t live in your state. Will that be a problem?

We have families from most states and a number of foreign countries and have experienced no problems. Individual state laws vary, but basic expectations for academic accomplishment and even subject placement are very similar everywhere. Too, we encourage you to get in touch with your local homeschool support group and/or join Home School Legal Defense Association to become aware of the particular laws of your state (STAA member families are given a group discount code to apply to their HSLDA membership).

 

My family is not Catholic. Can we still join STAA?

Yes, you are welcome to join our program. A number of our families are non-Catholic. We caution the non-Catholic family strongly, though, that the goal of our program is to produce beautiful Catholic character in the student. Texts and materials are chosen to accomplish that end—and do so beautifully. Also keep in mind that we cannot issue grades and credits for anti-Catholic content and non-Catholic religion units, and 30 credits of religion are required to satisfy the high school diploma requirements.  20 of the required credits are one semester of each of the following courses: Moral Apologetics, Church History I, Old Testament I, and Catholic Apologetics.

 

I have an APO address. Do I need to pay the Non-U.S. Mailing Fee?

Families with APO addresses are eligible for the Priority Mail or Express Mail fee.  The Non-U.S. Mailing Fee applies only to families that have a mailing address that the USPS classifies as International.

 

What would be the total cost for enrollment and books for an 8th grade student?

Our standard annual fee for an 8th grade student is $295.00 plus the cost of mailing (either $17.25 or $59.00 depending on location). Additionally, if you elect to participate in the reporting process to develop transcripts for your student, there is an annual fee of $40.00 for that service. Book costs usually range from $250 - $600 per student depending on what the family already has and the recommendations made by your advisor. If there are budget concerns your advisor will be able to make suggestions about how to keep the book costs down. It has been our experience that math and languages are usually the most expensive subjects to put in place.

 


 

I have two children.  One will be entering 5th grade and the other 3rd grade.  How much can I expect to spend annually, using your program, for tuition, books and materials. 

Annual enrollment would be $295 for your 5th grader, $205 for your 3rd grader, plus $17.25 shipping, for a total of $517.25 (click here for enrollment fee chart and application).  

Books and materials are purchased separately through the academy’s recommended suppliers or your favorite suppliers.  The list of our core grammar school recommendations can be found under the Grammar School link (see the menu on the right).  We prefer to place siblings in the same historical and science cycle, adjusting expectations for the older and younger students as necessary to meet the academic needs of each individual child.  How that MIGHT look for your family is: 

Course placement recommendations are developed in response to the annual basic skills assessments and comments shared by the teaching-parents in the assessment packet.  The recommendations are further personalized during the Course of Study Planning telephone appointment between the teaching-parent(s) and the family's academic advisor.  Books and materials can then be purchased through your favorite or our recommended suppliers (ordering information is included in each student's personalized Academic Packet).  Costs for materials per child can range from $250.00 to $600.00, depending on the grades levels of the children and resources already available to the family. Many of the materials are used for two or more years and most are non-consumable.  An annual books and materials budget of $700 is likely to be quite comfortable for your family.  

Finally, you may add the Report Card/Transcript development option to one, both, or neither of your students' school year at a rate of $40.00 per year, per student.  Most students begin participating in this option starting in Grade 7, but students in any grade may elect to participate.  Your advisor will help you make this decision during the planning appointment.

 


 

"My children will be entering Grades 9 and 11.  Could you please just give me the price for full enrollment plus all the necessary books and any other fees?"

 
Enrollment is $335 for the oldest high school student, $265 for each additional high school student, $17.25 for postage, and $89.00 per high school study package needed (in this case, two packages are needed), coming to a total of $795.25.  This includes the skills assessment for personalized placement, academic advisor counseling by telephone for planning the school year and monthly support appointments thereafter, monthly high school advisor appointments, access to the graded, online quizzes to accompany many of the courses, semester reporting to develop transcripts, and more.  
 
The high school study guide sets will be sent to your home after finalizing the course selections with your advisor and are part of the $89.00 high school study packages.
 
Costs for books per child can range from $350.00 to $600.00, depending on the resources already available to you. Many of the materials are used for two or more years and most are non-consumable.  Foreign Language and Math materials tend to be the costliest purchases each school year. For instance, if you elect to use Teaching Textbook and Rosetta Stone, your annual cost for books and materials will end up on the higher end of the scale.  Electing to use Math U See, Saxon Homeschool Math, Form Latin, Henle Latin, and/or Wheelock's Latin will keep the annual costs closer to the lower end of the scale.
 
At least two standardized tests are required during the high school years.  They may be as simple as the $25 California Achievement Test or, for the college-bound student, the PSAT, SAT, and/or SAT.
 
If your eleventh grade student wishes to pursue a diploma from St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, there will be a $40 per school year transcript evaluation and transfer fee for Grades 9 and 10.  This is due after the planning process.
 
To discuss these points -- or any others -- please use this link to schedule a telephone consultation.  It is often very helpful to discuss the high school plan with a live person after exploring the website and there are no costs or obligations for this "Questions about Enrollment" consultation.
 

 

We are new to classical education, are there some introductory resources you recommend?
While we do not expect that parents are experts in classical education models and content prior to enrolling, we do recommend bringing home the first two titles on the following list and exploring the last three resources as time allows.
 
 

 
Are you loyal to the Magisterium?
Yes, and it is important to St. Thomas Aquinas Academy that the texts used for catechism, apologetics, Church history, and Scripture study are soundly Catholic. Most of the books for our religion courses come from TAN Books, Ignatius Press, and Midwest Theological Forum.  Furthermore, our academic advisors are practicing Catholics and attend parishes that are in full compliance with the Church.
 
To review the books used or mentioned in our Religion courses, follow this link: http://staahomeschool.com/index.php/books-by-subject/344-religion. Families that look at our course materials and have questions about individual texts or families that are enrolled and wish to discuss the content of specific texts are encouraged to schedule an appointment with a St. Thomas Aquinas Academy advisor so we can discuss your concerns at length.
 
 

 
 
 

Still have questions?

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