Frequently Asked Questions
Biola Youth Academics
What is Biola Youth Academics?
A valuable resource to the homeschooling community since 1996, Biola Youth Academics is a supplementary education program for home-educated students through Biola University, a Christian university with over 100 years of faithful service and doctrinal integrity. Biola Youth Academics offers Star Academics college prep-level courses along with electives for grades 6-12 and eight-week enrichment courses for grades 1-6, Torrey Academy classically informed humanities courses for grades 9-12, and an array of summer offerings. Star Academics and Torrey Academy classes are offered on-campus and at extension sites throughout Southern California and online.
What technology is used for online course delivery?
Star Academics online courses utilize Blackboard, a leader in asynchronous course management systems. Torrey Academy online courses are conducted in real-time via Adobe Connect. The Torrey Academy Writing Lab and other course materials and resources are accessed through our custom built Torrey Academy Toolbox program.
What are your word processing software requirements?
You will need a word processing program and some classes use Microsoft PowerPoint. You may use Microsoft Office (including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel). You may use other programs such as Open Office and Google Documents as long as coursework files are saved and submitted as Word documents AND proper formatting is either retained or restored as required by your instructor. This is applicable even if you are using mobile device technology. Please see computer requirements for a comprehensive listing of technology specifications.
Does Biola Youth Academics provide textbooks?
No; Biola Youth Academics does not provide curriculum, and it is not included in the price of the program. A Curriculum Summary Chart with ISBN listings is provided on our website. As a service to our families, we partner with the book distributor MBS Direct to offer a convenient way to order books. Please allow adequate time for ordering materials from MBS Direct or your preferred distributor so that your students are prepared to begin course work at orientation. For easy access to ordering curriculum, please see our books page. Some courses will incur an additional course material fee for program provided coursepacks. Some Star Academics online classes will use electronic textbook options as well as free open sources for course materials. Detailed information on purchasing and/or viewing electronic resources will be on the specific Blackboard course website.
Does Biola Youth Academics provide transcripts?
No. Biola Youth Academics is a supplementary education program, and as such does not provide transcripts, and neither offers nor grants academic credit for classes offered. Enrolled families are either members of a transcript-issuing Private School Satellite Program (PSP) or file their own private school affidavit**. It is through these schools that academic credit is received and transcripts are issued when parents, who remain the primary educators, can demonstrate their student's completion of coursework to warrant granting credit. Biola Youth Academics does provide documentation to parents to help validate the classes through letters of introduction, course descriptions, syllabi, and full quarter and semester quarterly summaries or grade reports.
Additionally, parents whose students are enrolled in Torrey Academy classes are on their honor to report on their student's transcripts the grade received. Torrey Academy and its advisors avow that completing a full year of The Inklings, Foundations of American Thought, or Faith of our Fathers is equivalent to completing all three of the following honors level courses: Literature, Bible/Theology, and History/Philosophy. Completing a full year of Logic is equivalent to completing an honors level Logic/Critical Thinking course, a full year of Plato is equivalent to an honors level Philosophy course, and a full year of Shakespeare is equivalent to an honors level Fine Arts or British Literature course. (Other humanities courses may be substituted for one or more of the above.)
**This pertains to California residents only. Residents of other states or countries should check the education laws for the state or country they reside in.
Are online instructors/tutors available for consultation during the week?
Yes. Instructors and tutors are ready and willing to answer course related questions and are committed to helping your students succeed in their course completion. They will publish phone numbers and/or email addresses where they can be reached on their introductory letters at the beginning of each semester. Star Academics instructors will also post virtual office hours for web or phone conferencing. Prior appointments are required for any virtual conferencing requests. Torrey Academy students may request a Connect meeting outside of class with the tutor.
How is online class behavior managed?
Students are expected to abide by the Standards of Conduct and the Student Consent to Policy, which they sign before attending classes. If violations to these policies are observed, the parents will be notified immediately so that the behavior can be corrected. If the student continues to violate the policy, he/she may be placed on probation, parents may be expected to attend classes with the student for a predetermined period, and a meeting between the instructor or tutor, student, and parents will take place. If the violation of policy continues, the student may be dismissed from the class and not be allowed to register for the following semester.
What is the parents' role?
Although the student receives instruction, parents are ultimately responsible for their student's achievement and remain the primary educator, providing continual oversight and supervision of their student's education, including timely follow through on all required assignments. Parental involvement is important and crucial for student success.
Do classes change at the semester?
Most classes are intended to be two semesters in length. Students enrolled in the fall semester are automatically enrolled and billed for the spring semester. If necessary, parents may change their student's schedule at the semester. Adding a class at the second semester is not always possible due to either enrollment numbers or the advanced nature of the previously covered material in the first semester. Yet, even in these cases, second semester additions will be considered with permission from Administration under special circumstances.
Does Biola Youth Academics allow rolling enrollment?
At the heart of Biola Youth Academics' mission is community formation and collaborative learning. Families often choose our program because of our warm community and the commitment of our instructors and tutors to create such environments for learning. While we value the needs of each student who comes to our program, it is important to keep our community involved in each other's learning. For Star Academics online courses only, special consideration for accommodating academic schedule and pacing may be given for international students and missionary families. Please contact the Registration office to inquire about enrolling under special circumstances.
How is Star Academics Online different from other online programs?
Star Academics online courses provide a hybrid-learning environment where real-time community blends perfectly with the flexibility of learning online. Hybrid online courses will meet once a month face-to-face in a physical classroom setting. Those who cannot physically be on-campus have the option to meet via virtual tools using the latest Web-conferencing technology. A mix of virtual and face-to-face learning environments fosters collaboration among learners online as well as enhances the flexibility to work at an individual pace in-between live classroom sessions. Students will use Internet-based Blackboard Learning Management Systems (LMS) via smart phones, tablet devices, laptops and desktop computers anywhere in the world. Classes will be held regularly via the Blackboard system and constant interaction with instructors and fellow classmates are expected as in a traditional classroom setting.
Are Star Academics online classes exclusively for accelerated students?
No; Classes are open to all students of average, above average and exceptional academic ability. Parents may enroll students in any class desired, keeping in mind that classes are taught at a college preparatory level. Expect the workload to be rigorous, with each class requiring at least 3-5 hours of study per week. For online courses only, students with minor learning challenges are welcome to reap the benefits of a flexible environment where students work at their individual pace while meeting the requirements of the course objectives. It is the decision of the online instructor whether or not different due dates for various assignments are allowed. Pacing charts and workload guides are provided for each online class to guide student's individual work. Additional hours are required for Advanced Track classes.
What are Advanced Track classes?
Advanced Track courses are equivalent to Advanced Placement (AP)* courses and will prepare students to take AP* Exams. Students will need to score 3 or higher to receive undergraduate college credit. Please check with local school districts to find exam date, time and locations.
*AP, Advanced Placement and Advanced Placement Program are registered trademarks of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this website.
Can I decide what work my student is required to do?
All work assigned in Star Academics classes is required and instructors plan lessons according to these assignments. In extreme cases, when students are unable to complete a task, parents may excuse an occasional assignment or request (in advance) an extension from the instructor. It is strongly recommended that students complete ALL assignments and exams for the Advanced Track online courses since skipping assignments may hinder students from successfully earning a passing score on the AP* exam.
We take a family vacation every year. How will my student make-up the missed work?
Students are given a syllabus with assignments listed for each week of class. Online students also receive a pace chart. Assigned work may be completed before departure or turned in when the student returns to class. Please discuss details with your individual instructors to find the best arrangement before planned vacations to ensure the success of your student.
Why is it called Torrey Academy?
Torrey Academy is modeled after Biola University's Torrey Honors Institute for undergraduates. The name "Torrey" is taken in honor of Reuben Archer Torrey, dean of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (now Biola University) from 1912 to 1924. A graduate of Yale divinity school, he combined thoughtful yet strongly orthodox theology with practical and global ministry. The goal of Torrey Academy courses and the Torrey Honors Institute is to send into contemporary society persons of such dedication and courage.
How are Torrey Academy online courses different from other online programs?
Torrey Academy offers the latest in audio-conferencing technology to enhance the quality of your online academic experience. Torrey Academy online classes are identical to on-site classes except that the discussion is done online through audio conferencing and grading through email conferencing. Online students will have the opportunity to interact "live" with their tutor and peers and experience some of the benefits of a classroom-like setting in their own home. Discussions occur in a tutor-moderated "audio class" at regular weekly times. Participation at these scheduled audio classes is required and constitutes a significant portion of the student's final score in the class. As an added benefit, students may also participate in asynchronous discussions via Google Groups at any time of night or day to further capitalize on their learning experience.
What classes/credits does a Torrey Academy class count for?
Logic: 10 credits per year of Logic/Critical Thinking; The Inklings: 30 credits per year of British Literature, Philosophy, and Bible/Theology; Foundations of American Thought: 35 credits per year of American Literature, American History, Government, and Bible/Theology; Plato: 10 credits per year of philosophy; Faith of our Fathers: 30 credits per year of World Literature, World History, and Bible/Theology; Shakespeare: 10 credits per year of Fine Arts or British Literature. Other credits for The Inklings, Foundations, or Faith can be given in place of the recommended courses as long as it is within the humanities (English Language Arts, History, Philosophy, Social Science, Theology, Bible) and compatible with the curriculum (e.g. you cannot give American History credit for The Inklings).
How much time will this class require each day or week?
Because The Inklings, Foundations, and Faith are each the equivalent of three classes, your student should expect to spend an average of 20 hours per week on Torrey Academy work, including class discussions, reading, writing, and other assignments. Since Torrey Academy classes are challenging, honors-level courses, it is appropriate for a class to make up half to two-thirds of the student's semester course load. Because Logic, Plato, and Shakespeare are each a single class, your student should expect to spend an average of 6-7 hours a week on them, including class time, reading, writing, and other assignments.
What is an average week like for core classes?
- Students read an average of 125 pages of primary source material
- Students complete at least one substantial written assignment
- Students participate in group discussions
- Students complete online Writing Lab assignments
Is it okay if our student misses class for a couple weeks?
What if we would like to take a family vacation or go on a mission trip during the school year? Short answer: No.
Long answer: Missing assignments and class discussions will negatively affect the student's grade, since all course work in Torrey Academy is required, and letter grades are given by the tutor each semester. If the student works ahead over the summer, does work on the trip, or makes up work within the semester, then his grade will be maintained. Apart from the grade, the student's experience in the class will be compromised if they miss out on a significant portion of the ongoing class conversation that builds over the course of the year as students bond as a class, and discover new insights together.
We do not recommend missing any significant amount of class time and are reluctant to make special arrangements.
Does my student have to be a "gifted" student to make it in this class?
No; we expect the students in Torrey Academy to be at varying levels of reading, writing, and thinking ability. We believe that the best way to become a good reader is to read good books and write and talk about them with friends who can help you think critically about what you've read. We also believe that the best way to become a good writer is to read work written by good writers and to practice writing with clearly communicated expectations combined with plenty of personalized feedback. Torrey Academy provides these opportunities.
Does my student need to meet any special requirements or prerequisites?
Prerequisites for Logic and The Inklings are the ability to read at a basic high school level, the ability to write complete sentences and paragraphs, and a willing attitude. Excessively lazy or apathetic students will find this class unbearable, however bright they happen to be. Basic word processing and typing skills are also necessary.
Is the curriculum difficult?
No. We have designed the curriculum to be very accessible. The authors in The Inklings class are fun to read since they write at the common or "lay" level. Students at many levels thoroughly enjoy reading fiction by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, just to mention a few.
What if my student is a slow reader, or has a learning disability?
Our commitment to you as the parent and to your student is to ensure that the student spends no more than 20 hours per week on a Torrey Academy core class, or 10 hours per week for Logic and Shakespeare. This means that if, under your supervision, your student is honestly working their hardest and doing their best work and is consistently spending more than the specified time per week, we will lower the work load for your student. If you think that this is the case, you will need to log and document the times your student works on Torrey Academy for a couple of weeks. The log should be shown to the tutor, so he can work with you to find ways to improve efficiency and/or to lower the workload.
Can my first-year student take Foundations of American Thought instead of The Inklings?
Yes, only if the student is a graduating senior. This is to accommodate seniors who still need U.S. History, American Literature, and/or Government credits to graduate. However, we almost always recommend The Inklings as the place to start. Students who will be juniors or younger must begin with The Inklings. We hold to this policy because we believe that The Inklings is the best introduction and foundation for the other two classes both in terms of academic rigor and in spiritual formation.
Can my student take Faith of our Fathers instead of Foundations of American Thought?
Yes, only if the student is a graduating senior and has completed The Inklings.
Who should take Logic?
Logic is considered a prequel to the core Torrey Academy classes, and is best taken as a freshman, but can be taken by any student in 8th-12th grade. Logic helps many students succeed in Torrey Academy, and so we recommend that all Torrey Academy students take it.
Can my student take Inklings as a 9th grader?
Yes. If your student is emotionally and socially mature enough, can write an essay, and is able to work at a fast enough pace to keep up with the quantity of assignments within the 20-hour-per-week average work time, your student is probably ready to start Torrey Academy. To see if your student is prepared for the curriculum, have your student read a copy of C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. If your student understands the main ideas more or less and can finish the book within a week (10 to 20 hours), please call or email Torrey Academy to request permission from the Senior Academic Administrator to sign him up for Torrey!
Who can take Torrey Academy Shakespeare?
Students who are concurrently enrolled in Foundations (as a senior) or Faith, or students who have completed all three core Torrey Academy classes, may sign up to take Shakespeare. We do not allow Logic or The Inklings students to take Shakespeare because discussions will assume that students are more mature and can develop ideas without as much hand-holding from the tutor, and written assignments are less structured, and encourage more independent work than in The Inklings. We do not allow non-Torrey students to take Shakespeare because we think the core Torrey Academy classes are the best preparation for this class.
Who can take Torrey Academy Plato?
Students concurrently enrolled in Foundations of American Thought may take Plato, as it is designed to complement the discussions of government, society, justice, and other themes that take place in Foundations. Additionally, students in a gap year who have completed The Inklings, Foundations, and Faith may take Plato.
What are my responsibilities as the parent for a class of this type?
Parent involvement is absolutely essential for the student's success. Parents will need to supervise computer time, proofread writing assignments, and, very importantly, oversee the student's time management and scheduling for the class assignments. Whether or not the parent has time to read the books, continuing the discussions from class at home is extremely valuable to the student's experience. Being able to address the same foundational questions at home as in class fosters unity within the family and supports the student's journey toward a personal faith. It also gives you as the parent the opportunity to share your beliefs with your student on the key issues of faith and living. Additionally, it is necessary for parents of Logic students to review homework and in-class assignments with their students and to read enough of the text to be able to help their students with their homework and practicum preparation.
What are some suggestions for dealing with the workload of Torrey Academy?
Families can alleviate some of the stress of the school year by doing math, language or science during the summer months and not during the crowded academic year. Driver's Training, Health and P. E. are also easy summer subjects. Students can also lessen the potential stress of high school by beginning foreign language, taking Physical Science and/or taking Business/Computer in the junior high years. Students with less rigorous post-graduate goals need not take all the higher math, language, or science classes, and electives are more versatile.
TranscriptsTranscript 101 Workshop Outline
For information about homeschool-friendly college admissions, see HSLDA's "Rating Colleges & Universities by their Home School Admission Policies" page.
Suggested High School Course Schedule
For an idea of how to fit Torrey Academy into your high school schedule, see our Sample Class Schedule with TA Courses