It is our mission to provide academically rigorous courses from a biblical worldview, because we want our students to know they are ready to do well when they get to college and beyond. We consistently hear from our graduates that in the subjects they took from TPS, they were far better prepared than their peers. For our students who want to be competitive for top-tier colleges and scholarships, TPS wants to provide top-tier preparation and credibility.
For many families, a primary benefit of homeschooling is freedom from external standards and requirements. For a student whose college and career goals do not require validation to external standards, these requirements are arbitrary and unwarranted.
The information below applies to all students and courses, with thoughtful differentiable options to allow each student to enjoy and benefit from each course with his own individual purposes, priorities, and standards.
- Each course is designed and managed for a total (includes class time) workload based on course level (elementary school 4-6 hours per week, middle school 6-8 hours, high school 8-10 hours, AP courses 10-12 hours).
- Timely effective individual feedback is a hallmark of TPS that distinguishes it from other programs.
- Assignment deadlines are enforced with small grade penalties. No penalties are applied for students taking a course without the TPS transcript.
- Academic leave is managed by TPS for students in cases of humanitarian crisis (e.g., sudden illness or injury, death in the immediate family using waivers rather than extensions (to avoid adding to the crisis by requiring the student to “catch back up”).
- For students taking a middle school or high school course for TPS transcript credit, we require that a parent or designated adult proctor each exam using our proctor guidelines. Otherwise, exam proctoring is not required.
Workload and Pace
Our courses are academically rigorous, but we keep the workload achievable. We design our courses so a diligent student can carry 5-6 TPS courses and at least one major activity (music, sports, debate) — plus family and church activities — working six days per week and taking one “Sabbath” day off. We design our high school courses so that an average student working 8-10 hours per week total work (includes class time, exams, papers, homework, study time) will earn an average grade (around 85%, or a high B). Stronger students in that subject, or students who work harder, will see higher grades. Along these same lines, we design our middle school (junior high) courses to take 6-8 hours per week, our elementary school courses to take 4-6 hours per week, and our AP courses to take 10-12 hours per week (includes time for AP exam study at a steady pace during the course).
Evaluation and Feedback
Timely effective individual feedback is a hallmark of TPS, and this is where our teachers put most of their time. The amount and quality of teacher feedback is also one of the things that distinguish TPS from other programs. In our courses the teacher evaluates all major work, including reports, papers, projects, and exams. Teacher evaluation includes an objective grade plus specific feedback for improvement. Students can usually expect feedback within one to two weeks after the teacher receives the work in the correct format. For large assignments (e.g., major papers, long lab reports) or during busy periods (e.g., mid-terms, finals) it may take teachers longer to provide feedback. In principle, our intent is to provide feedback before the next evaluation on the same material or skills.
We respect parent responsibility and authority in their children’s education. We assume parents will actively supervise their children as necessary in all aspects of our courses, including assignment management and academic priorities. We also assume parents will remain aware of and responsible for their children’s behavior during class time and in any correspondence with their teachers or school staff.
No TPS course requires or expects that a parent has any expertise in the course material, and parents are never required to evaluate student assignments. Especially for high school courses, we also assume that the parent is not directly preparing or participating in assignments or exams submitted for teacher evaluation (with exceptions in cases of approved academic accommodation or where the student is taking the course without the TPS transcript).
Due Dates and Deadlines
TPS commits that every assignment will provide sufficient equitable opportunity (by our measure) for every student in the course to complete the assignment outside of a break or personal Sabbath. Students are expected to plan and manage their work flow, milestones and personal completion dates to submit all work by the due dates (an essential skill for college and career).
We evaluate assignments submitted only up to five days late.
- For students taking the course for TPS transcript credit, there are small lateness penalties (penalties not applied for students taking a course without the TPS transcript).
- We do not support any extension requests. However, lateness penalties are waived during the grading when the lateness is entirely unavoidable by our determination (penalties not applied for students taking a course without the TPS transcript).
- For assignments submitted in an ungradable format (e.g., blank document, wrong file type, wrong assignment), we provide a reasonable period for resubmit with a small penalty (penalty not applied for students taking a course without the TPS transcript).
- No grade penalties are applied for students taking a course without the TPS transcript. This provides a clean grade calculation as a starting point for parents assigning their own course grades for their own transcripts (to save you the trouble of doing the complex calculation yourself if you want it).
Some assignments (e.g., mid-term and final exams) are cumulative, and students should prepare for them by planning review time spread out during the weeks or months prior (another essential skill for college and career). TPS courses do not provide extended dedicated time to prepare for cumulative exams or projects.
As a courtesy to hard-working students, a TPS course may assign a due date that allows (but does not require) a particular assignment or exam to be carried over into a break. When it is available, this option is provided by setting an longer assignment due date for the entire course, not by individual extension.
We do not evaluate any assignments submitted after five days. Extensions required beyond that due to humanitarian reasons (e.g., sudden illness or injury, death in the immediate family) are managed through a humanitarian leave process with waiver of assignments rather than extension of assignments. Requiring a student in crisis recovery to “catch up” past work adds to the crisis and may be impossible to recover without impacting the course grade. Therefore, waivers rather than extensions are provided when TPS manages academic leave and recovery for humanitarian reasons.
For students taking a high school course for TPS transcript credit, we require that a parent or designated adult proctor each exam using our proctor guidelines. For students taking the high school course for TPS transcript credit, exams not proctored under our guidelines receive a small grade penalty. Elementary school (Target Grade Levels 4-6) and middle school (Target Grade levels 7-8) courses do not require exam proctoring for any students. Parent proctoring is also not required (and there are no proctoring penalties) for students taking a high school course without the TPS transcript.
Modified Assignments, Deadlines, or Evaluation Criteria
Each course is offered as is and as committed in the course catalog. We are unable to support individual modifications to assignments, deadlines, or evaluation criteria. We are unable to provide individual tutoring or regrading. However, for the family that is providing its own homeschool transcript, these accommodations are also unnecessary to allow you to benefit from our course on your terms.