Queen of Heaven Academy

When you’ve decided to educate your children at home, there are many choices to make.

  • What’s the goal of your school?
  • What subjects will the children learn?
  • What resources, like textbooks, will you use?
  • How will you measure success?
  • How will you provide a transcript?
  • How will you schedule school activities?

Regina Coeli Academy is well known in home schooling circles for delivering on line education to families.  The school began in 1995 and has developed a model which is fairly close to the familiar brick and mortar Catholic system.  Classes are at scheduled times.  Each class has a teacher and students who are together for the year.  The school year is divided into quarters with exams and major essays.  Homework has deadlines.  Each class has an experienced teacher. How do they do all that? The students are divided into classes based on subjects and time zones and each has an instructor.  Classes meet on the computer using Adobe Connect (they use to use WebEx).  These technologies allow for students and teachers with cameras and microphones to hold video conferences.  The teachers share their materials as presentations and shared whiteboards.  The students interact live or through a chat.  It’s just like I do at work!  All the tools of modern business collaboration are at the disposal of the educators at this on line school. Homework (assignments) and tests are managed in a system from an educational startup named Populi.  The system is a web based school management system.  Each student logs in and has a dashboard with links to current assignments and class meeting rooms.  There are discussion boards and a calendar.  Most exciting for me as a parent (and programmer), there’s an API which I can query for live information.  Let’s pause there for a moment.  I am able to get a list every morning of all assignments which are due for my children.  I choose to look 10 days out just in case there’s a big test coming up which needs extra study, or a biology lab which need time for the radishes to grow and can’t wait until the night before.  As a father, I can be engaged in the management of my children’s workload in a much more intimate way.  I can pull reports on grades…. in real time.  I choose to generate a report card every morning.  I get an e-mail every time an assignment is graded.  Does that mean I micromanage my students’ work?  There’s a real danger there.  The benefit is that the students learn to manage their own time and I can step in before something goes wrong.  For example, on the rare occasion of a missed assignment I can take the time to teach my child how to contact his teacher to ask for another chance.  This is one of the benefits of an assignment driven system.  If a student is not doing well in a class, I can see why. I can tell whether the problem is in homework, quizzes, or class participation and can reinforce changes in behavior.  The school also uses external testing systems including MathXL and quia when it makes sense.  It is inspiring to see technology used for such a good purpose as assisting in the education of children. What subjects are taught? My freshman is enrolled in:

  • Mass and the Sacraments
  • HSAlgebra 1
  • HSEnglish 1
  • HSPhysical Science
  • HSHistory 1
  • HSLatin Text A
She has already completed the CLAA Latin Grammar and was registered in a higher Latin class after a simple test.  I’ve been impressed with the flexibility offered by the school to place students where they fit based on their experience.
My sophomore is enrolled in:
  • Catholic Morality
  • HSGeometry
  • HSEnglish 2
  • HSBiology
  • HSHistory 2
  • French 2
  • Philosophy for Biology
  • Latin Text
Note that the biology class is split into two parts.  The second is a philosophy class.  My impression is that this exposure to philosophy joined with the science is a good step toward healing the break between science and philosophy which has come about over the centuries.  My son has also completed the CLAA Latin Grammar but really wanted to learn French.  The school was very flexible and registered him in the Latin Text at the college so that he could take the French which was offered at the same time.
What about sports and all that?
That’s up to you.  We’ve got Boy Scouts, the Richmond Kickers Recreational Soccer, the An Cor Rud school of Irish Dance, Little Sisters of The Poor Hospitality club, and a great piano teacher who comes weekly.  The schedule allows for integration of many activities.

Why is the title of this post Queen of Heaven and not Regina Coeli?

That’s an interesting story.  The school was founded in 1995 as Regina Coeli Academy.  The school is accredited and has a time tested curriculum.  If you’re worried about going to college, there’s a list of colleges which have accepted students from the school.   See #14 on this FAQ.  Once in a while an opportunity that’s too good to be true comes along.  Imagine if a Catholic College with an on line program wanted to develop a school where you could complete your senior year of high school and your freshman year of college at the same time.  Brilliant!  In 2013 Regina Coeli partnered with Fisher More College in Texas to provide a program under the name Fisher More Academy.  The program flourished and all seemed well for a time and there was great hope and joy in this new thing.  The experiment only lasted for a year and with the closing of the college residential program, the principals of Regina Coeli have separated from the college and now the program is called Queen of Heaven.

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