Frequently Asked Questions
GENERAL INFORMATION FOR ALL PROGRAMS
On Christ - Belief Statement and Faith
How does our acknowledgement of the belief statement affect campus life and community at Heart?
Heart Christian Academy is not an outreach program - we are discipleship-focused, which means we ask that parents already acknowledge the Old and New Testaments of the Bible as their only Word of God, Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and that they seek to lead their families in Him. We consider ourselves a training ground and “another” element of teaching God’s word to your students - this is why we have an emphasis on scripture memorization and we begin our campus days with Bible curriculum. We pray to be an extension of each family’s walk of faith in their home and church environment..
If this does not describe your family, there are many other wonderful homeschool options available in your community. The belief statement is available here.
How is the faith element in education with Heart upheld and honored through the structure?
Each month, the students are prompted to memorize a Bible verse as a nation-wide program. The verses are selected in advance on an annual basis with an overall theme that is bathed in prayer. Beyond this, each campus day [and home days too] begins with our Bible curriculum just after morning announcements.
In addition, we enjoy worshiping together in a monthly chapel, as well as taking the time to reflect together in the classroom setting on devotions and truths about God. Our devotional-style lessons turn back toward Him, highlight His word, and bring glory to who He is. Because of our use of faith-based curriculum, the opportunities to discover new truths about our Savior are ripe!
We also utilize a conflict resolution plan called Growing in Grace that can be explained in further detail upon request. It’s a standard we work to hold our staff, students, and families to as our campuses set a culture that both refines us and pleases Him.
On Community - Cultivating the Culture of Heart
How is community cultivated at Heart?
The role of a local community is a crucial element of homeschooling success. Our goal at Heart is to continually offer areas where families can meet one another, and we plan our campus programs intentionally.
Numerous opportunities to meet together are available at Heart campuses, including (but not limited to): Field Trips, Off Campus Meetups, and the like.
Additionally, morning drop off and afternoon pick up protocols give beneficial opportunities for families looking to meet one another to talk, connect, and spend consistent time creating the culture and community that their children will benefit from long-term.
What does the role and obligation of a Heart parent or family look like?
Heart is not a co-op and does not expect constant involvement from parents in order for our campus days to run well. Heart is a homeschool program - this means we enter into each academic year trusting in the partnership between the parent as primary instructor, and our campus team of mentor teachers who offer support in the classroom setting.
As their child’s primary instructor, parents are expected to teach on their 3 days a week at home, introduce new learning concepts when needed, support their students in preparation for campus days, and honor their individual learning styles while using the provided lesson plans as a road map for their family’s success.
Heart consciously keeps the load light for parents in terms of on-campus obligations [when not acting as a part of Heart staff]. However we do set ourselves up yearly for success by aligning several ways to support incoming and returning families. Before the academic year begins we hold a Parent Orientation Meeting with each classroom’s mentor teacher, which covers the specifics unique to each grade and classroom. During the first months of campus, we offer continual training on use of the curriculum and/or lesson plan so that our leadership can better offer support to families or areas new to Heart. These training opportunities are vital to your success in homeschooling, bring wisdom and discernment to each family’s transition into the program, and create opportunities to connect with other families on a similar path at Heart.
What are parent involvement or volunteer requirements?
We ask each family to support our campuses by allocating 8 hours per family, per year toward “Heart of Service” volunteer hours. Typically this is done through lunch and recess duty in 2 hour chunks, but can also be accomplished through being a room mom, field trip coordinator, or other volunteer roles that provide campus support. These hours do not include volunteering and helping with parent-led holiday parties. For parents who find themselves unable to serve their Heart of Service hours due to other obligations, we offer the option to pay an opt out fee of $150 or come alongside the campus to serve in an alternate way - just ask for creative partnership opportunities!
On Curriculum - Academics with Intent
Will I be purchasing my own curriculum? What is the cost?
Yes, after registering your student at Heart, you will be provided with the curriculum lists needed to accomplish the academic year for each enrolled student. Our assembled curriculum list has been created by our Director of Education, with an emphasis on utilizing faith-based publishers and books whenever possible.
We consider many sides of the investment to homeschool and while we do ask all families to purchase the book list in full, we also encourage resale within our community whenever possible [and in doing so, we hesitate to change curriculum too often so that we can honor this process best for our families].
We typically gauge our curriculum list to be between $250 to $500 per student, depending on the grade level and/or condition of the books purchased.
How is the curriculum chosen?
Our Education team considers many things when curating the annual curriculum list. We do our best to remain consistent in our offerings so that we can support the families at Heart well by allowing for re-sale of non-consumable items from within the community.
Each piece of the curriculum is considered for its ability to transition from “classroom to kitchen table” as we realize it is used at both. While there is no perfect curriculum, we do look practically at what will work best for the majority of students, and honor what and how the work will be accomplished for the individual student in your home.
As a program, we are happy to enter into conversations that will help deepen understanding as to how each piece is picked and sourced, and consider feedback from parents to be a vital part of our forward growth in this area. This is why we prayerfully take authority to adjust our lists on an annual basis - so we can serve Heart families to the best of our ability with what is easily accessible, clear to understand, teachable and tweak-able.
How does the lesson plan process work?
Our lesson planning is paced through a team of educators, led by our Director of Educational Development with input and feedback considered from our trained mentor teachers. Lesson plans are delivered monthly via our online parent portal and include downloadable, printable supplements to enrich our program in several ways both for the classroom setting and at home.
With our weekly lesson plan laid out, parents are able to see the work being accomplished on the campus days as well as what is expected of each student on home days, allowing students to work ahead when desired and catch up or choose priority work when more flexibility is required for the family.
Who is the "School of Record" for my student when using Heart's partnership offerings?
Parents of students at Heart Christian Academy remain the primary educator of their children and are honored as such. Heart provides an instructional model for homeschooling families and issues a progress report each term for the subjects offered, but is not a school and does not legally hold permanent student records of any kind. Therefore, we ask that families be familiar with the homeschooling requirements in their local area (state and local regulations and procedures) with regard to keeping their child’s educational records. There are many helpful resources for this, as well as other helpful information regarding legally establishing your homeschool, available through HSLDA at www.hslda.org/legal
What types of homeschooling arrangements are Heart's offerings compatible with?
Heart is an educational partnership program, but it is not a school in any formal sense. Heart's programs are proven to work the best when partnered with parents who choose to independently homeschool their children. However, in some states there are options under the law that offer families the flexibility to choose either a private or state run partnership arrangement for their homeschool. Often (but not always) these partnered arrangements enumerated under state homeschooling regulations will allow the parent some amount of leeway to choose the method of instruction for their child. In many cases, Heart's programs are able to come alongside the parent's chosen homeschooling arrangement.
Examples of this compatibility are: California charter homeschools, some "Umbrella School" or "Cover School" arrangements, and there may be others as well. We encourage parents who are exploring such partnerships to find out how their state or private education partner expects instruction to be delivered. As instruction using Heart's programs occurs at home for 3 out of 5 days a week (the majority of instructional hours), and record-keeping stays with the parent to report as needed to their local authorities, enormous flexibility within the law is usually available.
We ask that families become familiar with their individual state laws and arrangements available to them. Reach out to your local Campus Director if you have questions about whether Heart can serve you alongside your chosen homeschooling arrangement.
Hybrid Programs: The Best of Both - 3 Days at Home / 2 Days on Campus
What subjects are taught on campus versus at home?
We consider Heart as providing instruction in four core areas: Math, Science, World/US History (or basic Social Studies in the youngest grades), and Language Arts, plus a daily Bible lesson.
The lesson plan for each week directs parents for their home days, and also allows them to see [and follow along] with what is being taught on campus days. This allows families flexibility to travel and/or have unexpected circumstances arise but never feel they are falling behind or that they have to skip a day.
Generally speaking the whole curriculum (Bible, Math, Language Arts, Science, and History) is covered on each day by either the mentor teacher or the homeschool parent, giving each subject its proper place of importance and time in a homeschooling family’s day.
At the 9th-12th grade level, students take on more of the responsibility for their home day studies. See the Heart High FAQ below for more information on what this looks like in our model.
What does a home day look like?
Home days will look different for each family, week by week. As a program, we can partner well with many varied styles of homeschooling families. We do admit that the method of “unschooling” does not serve students at Heart well. We are careful to partner with families who are seeking academic standards to meet grade level expectations yearly, and are also willing to work with families that cherish a bit more freedom and authority in their education trajectory for their individual students.
Heart partners best with parents who utilize the daily accountability that is provided by our lesson plan. We do not assign “homework”, but ask that each day’s lessons are accomplished to the best of the ability of each student, understanding the unique circumstances each family comes in with. While our lesson plans are thoughtfully curated and well-paced, which will allow each family to confidently complete each grade level annually, we also uphold our families in what they need to homeschool well on their home days by offering creative wisdom to accomplish the lessons via our mentor teachers.
At the 9th-12th grade level, students take on more of the responsibility for their home day studies. See the Heart High FAQ below for more information on what this looks like in our model.
What do campus days look like, and how are classes structured?
Our hybrid programs blend 3 days at home with 2 campus days. Students spend two days of each week in grade-level classes with one mentor teacher through 6th grade and subject-area mentor teachers for 7th grade and up.
We allow our campus mentor teachers to adjust their daily classroom schedules to best fit the needs of their classroom, however most find it successful to follow the lesson plans near to the order they are written, knocking out the heavy-hitters of brainwork before lunch and allowing the hands-on, experience driven subjects to be what carries through the afternoon. Bible and Math remain unmoved each day as the first two subjects.
For students up through 3rd grade, we offer 3 recesses a day [one morning, one attached to lunch, and another in the afternoon]. The 7th and 8th grades receive a morning break as well as a longer break attached to their lunch period. Our youngest students enjoy a brain break in the afternoon during their rest time as well.
How do curriculum items travel to and from the classroom setting for students?
Since we partner with churches for space sharing, we economize on space and store lightly - which means all materials must be transported to and from home for use on campus. We use a binder system, which allows your student to transition easily between home and campus.
Through 8th Grade, parents will use the monthly lesson plan as a guide and pull out consumable pages from workbooks and print supplemental materials as needed for the month. From there, using a notebook with binder tabs to separate subjects, the student can stay organized, and keep most of their work in one place.
This ensures that young students aren’t carrying so many heavy books back and forth for campus. This system allows our families to enjoy life on-the-go as they please, making learning from a plane, a beach, or a bed very feasible!
How do you hire classroom mentor teachers and what are their educational requirements?
As Heart is not a school, but an educational partner program for homeschooling families, an up-to-date teaching credential is not a requirement to teach at Heart. While many of our mentor teachers are credentialed, we align staff based on both the ability to utilize curriculum and manage a classroom. We also emphasize to staff that their job is to honor our parents’ role as the primary instructor, and provide support for them and their students to succeed.
When hiring subject-specific experts for our advanced grades [7th and 8th, and extending up to 12th in 2023], we seek individuals with specified degrees or experience in a classroom setting or other applicable experience.
Some of our most successful mentor teachers have backgrounds as homeschool parents or ministry workers. We consider the main responsibility of a classroom leader to be representing Christ and time-managing classroom days so that all tasks set out before them are accomplished, with a dash of fun, too.
If you are interested in working at Heart, please connect with your local Campus Director for further information.
Is there a uniform or dress code for campus days?
Yes, students wear uniforms while on campus. We have a simple guideline: red, navy or white polo shirts for boys and girls, black, navy or tan bottoms, plus plaid skirts or jumpers in approved colors for girls. We do not require any specific brand, but do ask that all items be logo-free. On a shared campus, uniforms allow our staff to easily identify Heart students, and they make mornings easier, too.
For free dress days, we do ask families to use their judgment and dress with modesty and respect, using discernment for the environment. Inappropriate choices will result in a phone call to the parent, or in extreme conditions, a student will be sent home to change.
Our current JK-8th Uniform Guidelines can be viewed here (subject to revision).
Current Heart High Uniform Guidelines can be viewed here (subject to revision).
Additional Questions - We Can Help!
Can you accommodate children with severe or life-threatening allergies?
Yes. Heart has chosen to accommodate student safety by banning all nut products, and has procedures in place to accommodate students with all kinds of food allergies.
Does Heart request medical files such as vaccine status for students?
No. Since Heart is not a school, we are not required to directly request any medical files for students. Your student may attend whether or not they are fully vaccinated.
Depending on your state and local homeschool regulations, the local education authority may require vaccination records to be filed with another entity. You will need to become familiar with your state and local homeschool regulations in regard to vaccination records.
However, Heart will not ask to see them on our campuses.
What special activities do you provide throughout the year for on-campus students?
Although this will look different on each local campus, Heart seeks to cultivate our environment intentionally throughout the year in various ways. Our unique blend of flexible home education is mixed in with many of the heartwarming traditions that students might receive in a traditional school experience.
Here are a few examples of activities we love to honor and uphold:
Monthly Chapel: On the first campus day of the month, we celebrate together as a student body in chapel. Our chapel includes a time of worship and devotion, we honor students with Character Awards, monthly announcements and introduce the monthly verse. Parents are always encouraged to attend and take part in this monthly time of fellowship.
Worship Team: Students tap into their musical abilities by auditioning for our worship team. Working closely with a Worship mentor, students meet monthly to rehearse, gain community with other students on campus, and prepare to lead the program at our monthly chapel. Guitar, keyboard, ukulele, percussion, and vocals all blend beautifully and bless our community. Please note - not every campus has a student worship team, however if you wish to start one on your campus please reach out to your local Campus Director.
Yearbook: Our students are offered a yearbook each academic year, utilizing pictures submitted from each family and organized in part by a parent as part of their campus Heart of Service, alongside of a volunteer yearbook coordinator. We also host yearly photos of both the individual student as well as the classes by grade, similar to the traditional experience.
Field Trips: Locally organized field trips are available to Heart students and their families, usually reflecting or enhancing our Literature, History and Science studies or simply designed to build community! All field trips are optional but add an enriching element to the homeschool experience. These trips are typically planned and offered on Fridays.
Campus Parties and Community Events:
Campus parties are hosted in the classroom by classroom parents. We ask that parents sign up at the beginning of the year to support 2-3 parties in the classroom annually. Community events are aligned by a volunteer events team and campus administration to offer even more special moments on campus for students and families. Below is a sample of events our campus students have enjoyed in the past:
I have more questions. Who can I contact?
There are more FAQ specific to JK-8th and Heart High below.
If your questions are still not answered after reviewing each section, use these contacts to inquire:
JK-8th HYBRID PROGRAM FAQ
In addition to the general information above, the information here is focused on our JK-8th grade-level hybrid program:
HEART HIGH FAQ (9th-12th HYBRID PROGRAM)
In addition to the general information above, the information here is specifically applicable to our Heart High program:
HEART@HOME FAQ (JK-8th NON-CAMPUS PROGRAM)
In addition to the general information above, the information here is specifically applicable to our Heart@Home program:
Do you have further questions?
We are happy to answer your questions about our unique programs.