The High School Experience
Focused, challenging academic classes pique your interests and give you a solid foundation for your next big learning adventure.
CHART YOUR OWN COURSE
Students at The Academy work one-on-one with faculty mentors to set their own academic and personal goals within The Academy’s class structure. Because we’re a non-traditional school, we believe that what you do outside the classroom is just as important as what you do in the classroom, and we’ll help you build a program of study that incorporates—and gives you credit for—your passions.
PLAN YOUR NEXT CHAPTER
Students at The Academy get one-on-one college support, including transcripts, test prep for college entrance exams, placement tests, and AP tests, recommendation letters, application assistance, essay review, and more. But that’s not all: All Academy grads finish high school with a professional resume and ideally at least one meaningful internship or apprenticeship.
LEARN AT THE SPEED
We recognize that students come from a wide variety of backgrounds with a wide variety of academic experiences. Our small, multi-grade classes make it easy for students to work ahead of their grade level, on grade level, or to catch up where they need to without having to fit into a rigid structure.
Is the High School a school?
Yes. The Academy offers a full academic curriculum for homeschooled high school students, but it’s set up to allow students time and space to pursue other interests and activities. Full-time students attend classes two days per week and (optional) Friday enrichment sessions. Students can also take one or more a la carte classes as part of their homeschool studies.
All students must register as homeschoolers with the state of Georgia by submitting an annual Letter of Intent.
How does the schedule work?
Students attend classes two days a week, similar to university model classes. Class days are intensive, hands-on, and depend on students who have prepared for class on their days away from school.
The work you do at home is essential to your success, and while classes only meet two days a week, you should expect to put in an additional 14+ hours of focused work time at home. Assignments ask students to do substantial reading and thinking, and many students have a learning curve as they adjust to this new way of working and managing their time. You may need to experiment with different ways of scheduling and managing your time — we’re here to help you with lots of hands-on support and tools.
Optionally, students can attend extracurricular sessions on Fridays, which include everything from movie days and book club to study skills workshops and test prep sessions to credit-bearing courses and intensive seminars on special topics.
What will I learn?
The Academy follows a fairly classical liberal arts curriculum with a heavy emphasis on critical thinking, reading, and writing. The High School, the Junior High follows a four-year history cycle (Ancient History, World History, U.S. History, and Asian History) which focuses closely on a few specific topics. A typical schedule includes: Critical Thinking and Debate, Humanities (which includes literature, philosophy, theoretical science, and history in an integrated study), Latin, Spanish, and Mathematics. Optional Friday Enrichment options include short-term classes on topics such as World Religions, Social Activism, Feminism, and Creative Writing as well as study skills workshops, test preparation, and more.
Humanities classes at the Academy are based around great books, and students will be reading classics of literature, philosophy, and history. As you’d expect, this is challenging, meaningful work, and students will be stretching their thinking in new ways. We think it’s okay for work to be hard because the learning payoff for hard work is so great, and we’re looking for students who feel the same way.
How do contracts work?
Students at The Academy create their own map for high school education. With guidance and support from your faculty mentor, you’ll develop academic goals each year. We believe that education is all about learning what you need to learn to go where you want to go, and self-directing your annual academic plan allows you to take ownership of your education in a way that checking off required boxes could never do. Working with your mentor, you’ll develop a plan to demonstrate measurable growth toward your goals over the course of the year as you build a fundamental set of skills and knowledge. You may have academic goals (“I want to get all As,” “I want to improve my math SAT score,” I want to become a better writer”) as well as personal goals (“I want to get more sleep on the nights before class,” “I want to stop procrastinating and manage my time better,” “I want to complete my art portfolio to submit for a scholarship competition”), and your goals may be related to work at the Academy or elsewhere—your mentor will work with you to figure out how a volunteer project, NaNoWriMo effort, or cosplay design might fit onto your transcript. Because this kind of education is, by its nature, individualized, students in the same class may have vastly different goals and assignments.
The contract lays out a student’s goals for the coming year, but monthly meetings with mentors help students work steadily toward those goals and adjust them as needed. Mentors provide support, suggestions, and accountability for students’ contract goals. At the end of the term, mentors and students together evaluate how successful a student has been at accomplishing his or her goals.
What about grades?
Classes at the Academy are designed to be rigorous academic courses that require substantial time and focus to master. An A at the Academy is not just a random letter grade—it's a confirmation that you've done increasingly challenging work over the semester, come prepared to class with reading and homework assignments done, actively participated in class discussions and projects, and done exemplary work on major papers and projects.
We give students a clear, specific academic rubric to refer to and regular academic feedback. Students receive letter grades and calculated GPAs on their official transcripts.
How do you handle college and career counseling?
We believe high school is a wonderful time to explore different possibilities! In addition to helping you plan your academic experience at the Academy, your faculty mentor will help point you toward apprenticeships, internships, programs, and other opportunities that mesh with your educational goals and interests. If you’re interested in college, we’ll help you navigate the process, from preparing for standardized tests to writing application essays and everything in between. College is just one post-high school option, though, so your mentor can also help you plan a meaningful gap year, prepare to start a business, or enter the workforce. Ideally, each student will graduate the Academy with some hands-on experience in your field of interest and a professional resume, as well as an academic transcript.
What about social activities and extracurriculars?
Most of our current extracurricular and social activities—including drama club, prom, yearbook, movie days, etc.—came about through student initiative, so if you have a great idea for an activity, we'll be all in to help you make it a reality. Students also have built in social time every day, including a lunch break that's set up so that you can bond with your fellow students outside the classroom.
Is this the right school for me?
Maybe! Motivated students with a genuine passion for learning thrive here. Because you’re not at school more days a week than you’re here, it’s important for students to be willing to do schoolwork on non-school days. Students who want to get beyond simple multiple-choice or true-or-false learning conditions will appreciate the open-ended discussion and projects in Academy classes. Our best students quickly learn to actively engage in their own educations, taking responsibility for their work and for communicating with their teachers and mentors. Students who love reading and writing, who want to set their own learning pace, and who appreciate putting their critical thinking skills to work across the curriculum will find plenty to make them happy at the Academy.
It's not the right fit for everyone, though. If you’re just interested in coasting through high school doing the minimum, there’s nothing wrong with that, but this probably isn’t the best place to do it. Because we keep our classes small, this isn’t a great school for people who view social opportunities as a major priority. (Our students have great camaraderie, but there are only 12 of them!) If you hate reading and writing, if you dislike discussion heavy classes, if you’re not fond of critical thinking, you may be happier at another school.
The Application Process
We believe that when it comes to learning, finding the right educational fit is essential—on both sides. We know this process can be challenging for students and their parents, and we encourage you to contact us with any questions—we’ll happily respond to emails, chat with you on the phone, or meet you for a cup of coffee. In fact, we encourage you to reach out with questions before you apply—the application fee is non-refundable.
Our application process is a little different from other schools. We ask that you fill out a (brief) application, and then we'll contact you to set up an in-person entrance interview. The interview is your opportunity to let us know about your strengths and challenges, to share your academic history, and to talk about what you’d like your high school experience to look like. Parents are encouraged to attend this interview with their children. At least two of the faculty members will be present at this meeting to answer your questions about the Academy. We see the interview as a mutual opportunity to determine whether the Academy is the right fit for you, and it’s an essential part of our application process.
Once we receive your application, we will contact you within one week to set up an interview at a mutually convenient time.
Application fee (non-refundable): $50
$1,500 deposit due at registration (non-refundable)
$3,500 payable in monthly installments ((Please note that monthly payments made by credit card include an additional 8% charge to cover card-processing costs.)
Additional official transcripts: $50 (Your tuition includes an official copy of your transcript)
Your tuition as a full-time High School student includes:
Ten hours of classroom instruction each week (over a two-day period), totaling six credit hours per year
Friday Enrichment classes (an optional roster of optional academic enrichment, including workshops, classes, and social activities)
Optional homework help (ask about office hours)
Required textbooks (to be returned at the end of the semester) and curriculum materials
One-on-one mentor support to discuss academic, career, and college planning. (This includes helping students create their learning contracts, navigate and meet the requirements for dual enrollment, internship and apprenticeship support, and guidance for college applications, recommendations, and requirements.)
Full transcript for each enrolled semester
A NOTE ABOUT ACCREDITATION
The Academy is NOT an accredited school.
Over the years, we’ve talked to scores of college admissions officers about homeschool admissions, and there is no advantage for homeschoolers applying with an accredited diploma. We believe that the best education is personalized and self-directed, and our many conversations with college admissions officers suggest that a transcript that reflects these qualities is superior to an accredited diploma. Very few schools even require accredited diplomas from applicants. If you have your heart set on one that does, all of our classes meet the criteria for accreditation, and we’re happy to help you through the process of having an enrolled student’s individual diploma accredited.
It is easy enough to transfer from a traditional school to homeschooling, but it can be difficult to transfer from homeschool to a traditional high school after 9th grade. Schools don't always accept homeschool credit, and whether they choose to do so or not is at their discretion. If you know you want to try a traditional high school experience, do it for 9th grade! If you love it, you'll be able to keep going; if you don't, it's easy to switch to homeschooling after your freshman year. We accept transfer credits from homeschoolers and most other institutions.