1. Where is the school located?
St. Augustine is located at Highland Colony Baptist Church in Ridgeland, MS.
2. What is the difference between homeschool co-ops and University-Model Schools (UMS)?
UMS and homeschool co-ops should not be equated. Homeschool co-ops are a good way for homeschooling families to pool their resources and expertise for specific and usually short-term study projects. One parent, for instance, may be especially proficient in math or science and teach a group of students that subject for a period of time. Generally speaking, homeschool co-ops are age-integrated, specialized, parent-run and do not simulate a college structure. In some cases, co-ops also take over the primary responsibility of teaching certain courses instead of integrating the teacher and parent effectively for each course as is done in the University Model. UMS is also different by virtue of having specific grade levels, consistent accountability from semester to semester, a full spectrum of courses complete with prerequisites and diploma plans, and a professional administration and faculty (much like a traditional school has) partnering with the parents.
3. What if parents aren’t teachers? How can they teach their children if they have never homeschooled?
Parents need not have teaching experience. St. Augustine School takes the lead in the area of academics. New concepts are introduced and taught at school by paid professional faculty while the application of the concept often takes place at home, much like that of college studies. St. Augustine School teachers provide detailed course overviews and assignment each week while maintaining open lines of communication.
Parents act as co-instructors under the guidance of the classroom teacher. In addition, the school offers training to parents in various areas including academics and character development. Finally, bear in mind that as a child progresses to higher grade levels, the academic role of the parent gradually migrates from that of co-instructor to proctor/mentor, so that by the time a student graduates he is prepared (trained and experienced) to assume the individual responsibility required for success at the collegiate level.
4. Both of us work full time outside our home. Would UMS work for us?
One of the most important ingredients in the success of the University Model is an available parent who can assist and properly work with the student. For a family in which both parents work outside the home on a full-time, or almost full-time, basis, a more traditional 35-40 hours/week school is probably a better choice.
5. Do I have to sign the statement of faith in the application for admission?
We are best able to effectively partner with families when unified in our core beliefs, therefore at least one parent from each family must agree with and sign our Statement of Faith and the Doctrinal and Ethical Statements. As a discipleship school, St. Augustine School is committed to ministering to Christian families in order to reinforce and support the faith and Biblical worldview instilled in your child at home and at your local church. It is not the school’s desire, nor our role, to become the primary influence in a child’s life.
6. Can students transfer into St. Augustine School after being in other schools?
Yes, St. Augustine does admit transfer students. However, due to the model of our school, we are unable to admit transfer students to academic classes after the start of the school year. It is important that all applicants go through our complete admissions process and attend Family Education Week to help prepare for the unique partnership St. Augustine offers.
7. I have children in several different grade levels. How much time will each need to spend doing schoolwork on their days at home?
A rule of thumb at university-model schools is that for every hour spent in the classroom, an additional hour to hour-and-a-half on each core subject is required in the “satellite classroom” at home. This rule, of course, varies according to the needs and age of a student. If a student is academically strong in a particular area, perhaps less time will be needed. If a student is weak in a subject or the subject is particularly challenging, then more time will be needed. Parents need to be alert to each of their children’s individual needs and lead them accordingly in the structuring of their time.
8. Since parents are team teaching with the teachers at school, how does communication take place between the two?
Communication between teachers and parents plays a large role in a UMS, and there are several ways that clear communication can take place. First, each course is described, along with its prerequisites and parent role, in the school catalog, available each spring. The parent role is defined for each course so that parents understand the required level of assistance for their children. Vitally important are the lesson plans and assignment sheets that are prepared by the teacher and made available to parents and students. Instructions to parents are included as part of these assignments, as are long-term study projects that are forthcoming. Parents are also invited to communicate any of their questions back to the teacher as needed.
9. Who chooses the curriculum?
The curriculum at St. Augustine School is chosen by a team of teachers and staff with backgrounds in curriculum development. Much research and prayer is put into each decision. Prospective curriculum must be of high quality and conducive to our high standards in classical education. In addition, it must fit well within the university model format allowing both primary teachers and co-teachers to effectively administer it in the formal classroom, as well as in the satellite classroom at home. Each year we continue to evaluate the curriculum and make changes as needed.
10. Does this type of schooling fulfill state requirements?
Yes, our academic standards meet or exceed standards held by the State of Mississippi.
11. Does St. Augustine School teach Latin? Why?
Yes, St. Augustine School students are strongly encouraged to take Latin. The grammatical structure of English is based on Latin, as is about 50 percent of English vocabulary. Consequently, the study of Latin tends to expand students’ vocabularies, as well as enhance their grammar skills. Latin also prepares children for the study of other foreign languages: French, Spanish and Italian are all related to Latin. In addition, contrary to popular belief, the study of Latin guards against arrogance. In his studies, a child begins to recognize that his world, his language, his vocabulary and his way of expressing himself are only one way of living and thinking in a big, complicated world. Finally, the very process of learning Latin requires mental gymnastics that strengthen the mind.
12. Are there uniforms at St. Augustine School?
Yes. The Uniform Committee is finalizing the policy and selections, and the details will be available by early summer.
13. What is the cost of tuition?
Because of the nature of the university-model, the cost of tuition for a full time student will be less than a typical 5-day-a-week school. However, our desire to attract and retain the very best teachers will be reflected in our tuition as well.
Tuition & Fee schedule
14. Is St. Augustine School governed by a church?
No, a board of men and women from this community independently govern the school.
15. Is St. Augustine School a non-profit organization?
Yes, St. Augustine School is a registered non-profit organization formed in Mississippi and is in the process of seeking 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.
16. Are colleges accepting students from University-Model schools?
Students from the original University-Model School in Arlington, Texas, which has been in operation since 1993, have had no difficulty in gaining entrance to colleges and universities nationwide. In fact, the majority of graduates have been awarded scholarships for academic achievement, student leadership, and athletic or artistic ability.
UM schools stay informed on the current and projected entrance requirements of major four-year universities. This allows school officials to be sure that the course offerings are meeting or exceeding college standards. In addition, UMS students are attractive to colleges because of their strong work ethic, successful study habits, leadership skills, and character as demonstrated through various student activities—academic, athletic, artistic, and governmental.