top of page

Parent Handbook 2024

Learning Philosophy

 

At Via Classica we seek to educate each child in the truest and fullest sense by giving them the necessary tools of learning and by fostering wonder and love for all that is genuinely true, good, and beautiful.  Classical Education is an education in wisdom and virtue by means of the seven liberal arts and great books. Wisdom is what we seek for our children. This virtue is the quality of being wise, or being a good decision maker, or navigating the world with sense and sensibility. The pursuit of wisdom underpins all of our instruction, whether it be in our reading, writing, speaking, language classes or mathematics. A Classical Education, then, is an academically rigorous but joy-filled adventure. It is a communication with the past. By ‘speaking with’ our wise forebears, submitting to the truths they discovered and bequeathed, and working diligently to grow in the tradition they considered best suited to forming humans, we hope to become the well-rounded and virtuous men and women we were created to be. We value education in the broad and comprehensive sense which extends beyond the classroom and is more than just the acquisition of skills. It encompasses the whole of one’s life.  We are committed to the use of traditional teaching methods with teacher directed learning and a disciplined learning environment.

Learning Environment

 

Our learning environment, by necessity of the use of an online platform, makes use of technology. Of course, technology in and of itself is not a moral virtue or vice. It is in the way it is utilised. Our classes will be conducted using the online platform Microsoft Teams. This allows for whole classes direct instruction, didactic teaching, Socratic discussion as well as smaller group breakout rooms. Students will be discouraged from using computers to note take. Rather we believe students should predominantly use handwriting in all aspects of their learning. Therefore, in each course we require students to have a student workbook- so that they hand write rather than type responses.

 

All classes will utilise a mastery approach to learning. Each lesson will commence with prayer. The instructor will then follow a familiar pattern in each lesson. Instructors will generally include the following in each lesson, as appropriate for different subjects and levels of learning.

 

  • Clear learning objectives

  • Chanting/ memorisiation

  • Review of mastery of prior learning

  • Direct instruction of new knowledge

  • Guided reading

  • Worked examples

  • Didactic questioning

  • Socratic discussion

  • Class feedback on written work

  • Set work to be completed/ mastered prior to the next lesson

 

Every student will be required to actively engage in lessons. This engagement will be directed by the teacher, to ensure student participation. Via Classica will also use the online platform Microsoft Teams. This will allow instructions to be communicated with students, set formative quizzes and for students to ask questions of instructors.

Christian Traditions and Western Civilisation

 

Via Classica is committed to the cultivation of each student’s unique identity through engagement within the Christian tradition. We are committed to ensuring all students have a detailed understanding and appreciation of the wisdom that has been brought to the world through the religion, literature, art, history and music of Western Civilisation.

Via Classica is:

  1. Inspired by a supernatural vision: Understanding that almighty God is the creator of all things, we seek to encourage and engender a deep love of God in the hearts of our students so that they may grow to love, honour and serve God in their lives.

  2. Grounded in a Christian anthropology: Recognising that each child is made in God’s image and has a transcendent destiny we respect the dignity of the human person as a child of God and seek to fully develop the best aspects of human nature by focussing on Jesus as both model and means of holiness.

  3. Animated by communion and community: We seek to foster cooperation and teamwork amongst all involved from students and parents through to teachers and the broader Christian community.

  4. Sustained by Gospel witness: We seek to promote Christian values in all staff and students by a code of behaviour modelled on Jesus Christ.

Instructors

Via Classica instructors are all specialists in the subjects they teach. Whilst many of our instructors are qualified teachers, according to Australia Education authorities, some do not hold formal teaching qualifications. We embrace this, as we firmly believe that the progressive pedagogical approaches that are taught at University Education Departments are detrimental to a child’s education, so not having a teaching degree is not detrimental to student learning. Our instructors are committed to developing the delivery of their subjects based on Nine Classical Education Principles that have been identified by Christopher Perrin.

 

  • Festina Lente | Make Haste Slowly. This means that instructors will take time to ensure learning has flourished, not rush through learning, as if reaching the end is the point.  Mastery of learning is what we aim for.

  • Multum Non-Multa | Much Not Many. Instructors will focus on depth of study instead of breath. This is also reflective of the broader approach of Via Classica. We don’t offer every subject; we focus on what we believe is important.

  • Repetitio Mater Memoriae | Repetition Is the Mother of Memory. This is more than just memorisation. It is the approach to all learning, inside and outside of the classroom, that education is really the cultivation of the soul.

  • Songs and Chants. This is used when we want students to remember something important, predominantly in younger students. Lively, meaningful review makes learning permanent.

  • Embodied Learning. Instructors think about how they can appeal through the five senses (beauty).

  • Wonder and Curiosity. Instructors seek to impart a love for truth, goodness, and beauty. To cultivate the natural wonder and curiosity in students.

  • Educational Virtues. Instructors will seek to cultivate intellectual virtues through good modelling. To help the student grow in love, humility, diligence, constancy, courage, temperance. The instructor will also guide students away from vices of pride, sloth, inconstancy, irregularity, and capriciousness.

  • Docendo Discimus.  By teaching we learn. Instructors will provide opportunities for students to teach back to others what they are learning. This can happen in the Microsoft Teams lesson, or even in the home.

  • Schole and Contemplation. This is an important principle. Whilst assessing student mastery is important. It is equally important to create space for undistracted, unassessed time to study with fellow students and instructors.

 

Via Classica Instructors are committed to a Christian World view and to the principles of a classical education. Our instructors will be individuals who pursue virtue and holiness in their own lives as they are challenged to serve as living examples for our students. All our instructors have current working with children checks, from the relevant state jurisdiction where they reside.

Classroom Technology

 

At Via Classical we will use an online platform to facilitate learning. The live online classes will be conducted over the Microsoft Teams platform.  Teams is an educational and video conference platform that is easy to use and has been utilised by many educational institutions over the last two years. Students join their instructors for real-time, face-to-face class sessions. Teams is also a communication platform that allows teachers to communicate to students and parents. Parent emails (and student emails, where age appropriate), will be shared with the Teams platform to allow Via Classica to use this education platform.

 

Class participants can see and hear each other throughout each session which facilitates the ability to conduct didactic teaching and Socratic discussion- as appropriate. Instructors can also create break out virtual classrooms on this platform.

 

Our instructors can also share their computer screens to show students documents and photos, use a virtual white board to annotate, and even allow students to share their own work on the screen. This streamlined technology allows us to bring our students face-to-face with master instructors and engaged peers while affording the flexibility of learning from home.

 

Using Microsoft Teams, allows us to offer students interactive learning and overcome the tyranny of distance. We believe this is far superior to video only content, as it allows for important interactive learning.

 

A week prior to the commencement of classes you will be sent a code via email, to facilitate the setting up of the class on Microsoft Teams.

Technical Requirements

Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer. We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be a better solution. 

High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet to enable video conferencing without any lag time.

Webcam: If you do not have a webcam built into your computer, you will need to purchase an external webcam. We also recommend using a headset for audio rather than a built-in microphone and speakers, as this will help reduce background noise heard by the entire class. 

Class Recordings and Permissions for Recording Use

 

All classes will be recorded and may be made available to students if necessary. This will not be done on a routine basis. The only time recordings will be made available is in the case of an approved absence that follows our attendance and participation policies. 

 

Making Course Selections

 

In our first Semester we will only have a small number of subject offerings- living out the principle of Festina Lente. In our experience a classical mastery program is more academically advanced than what is found in mainstream education. For that reason, we have not specified a specific age for each subject. Rather we will identify a broad range of ages that might be appropriate for a student to commence mastery. The correct placement of a child in a course is paramount for great learning and growth in virtue for the student.

 

A detailed description of each subject is available, including the course objectives; the target grade range; the pedagogical/teaching style; student expectations; and a sketch of how they plan to assess the students, including the skills and virtues students should be cultivating during the course. 
 

The target age is outlined below for each of the subject areas.If you have any questions about the suitability of the course, please contact us at director@viaclassica.com

  • Beginner: 8–12 years old

  • Intermediate 12–16 years old

  • Advanced: 14–18 years old

 

Once you have taken into consideration this information you can go ahead and register your child in the course.

Enrolments and Withdrawals

 

Class Size

Via Classica will limit class sizes and generally caps enrolment at 10 students. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. In some instances, instructors choose to lower the enrollment number to better facilitate the desired class dynamic and student engagement. In some subjects instructors may allow up to 12 students.

 

Tuition & Payment Plans

Course purchases may be made online on the Via Classica website. Tuition for each course is listed on the course page and at checkout. 

 

Withdrawing from a Class

There is a $75 deposit built into the cost of each course. 

  • From November 13 and before December 20, 2023 withdrawals are granted a full tuition refund less the $75 deposit. 

  • For Semester 1, withdrawals are granted a ½ tuition refund less the deposit between December 21, 2023 and January 22, 2024 .

  • All other withdrawal times for any reasons after the drop/add date will only receive a ½ refund if one of the below conditions is met:

  1. Parents must initiate a substantive conversation with the instructor regarding the possibility of withdrawal and/or describe significant student struggles, scheduling conflicts, or other concerns with the course prior to the end of the second week of class. If those conversations are in process prior to the end of the second week of class, and if the student ultimately withdraws, withdrawals are granted a ½ tuition refund.

  2. If parents initiate a conversation with the instructor regarding the possibility of withdrawal and/or describe significant student struggles, scheduling conflicts, or other concerns related to the course after the end of the second week of class and if a withdrawal occurs, no refund will be given

 

If a family withdraws (with or without a refund), the family is not entitled to access any of the work, assignments, handouts, recordings, projects, or exercises provided by the instructor during the student’s enrollment. The student will be withdrawn from his/her Microsoft Teams classroom and all access to the course.

 

The parent should email Via Classica email to request a withdrawal. All withdrawals are final.

 

Even if the student is withdrawn without a refund, the family should not expect those funds to remain as a financial credit for future services. The student cannot be readmitted to the same course later in the year citing their full payment without refund.

 

If a student is enrolled in a course and wishes to withdraw and pursue private tutoring instead, the student should officially withdraw from the course and then purchase additional tutoring. Course purchase funds do not transfer to tutor purchases.

 

Waiting Lists

If a given course is designated “full, with waiting list” and you’d like to be added to the waiting list, please email us at director@viaclassica.com, including the course you would like to be wait listed for,  name, phone number, and email address, as well as the following student information: name and date of birth. 

Class Cancellations or Changes

On rare occasions, Via Classica might have to cancel a class, move students to a new section of a class with a different instructor, or replace an instructor (usually for health reasons). For these cases, please note the following:

  • If a class has been cancelled, a full refund (including the full deposit) will be issued to parents of participating students.

  • If a student has been moved to a new section of the class with a different instructor, parents will be permitted to withdraw their student from the course and receive a full refund within 10 business days of receiving notice of the new assignment.

Attendance and Participation Policies

Class Participation and Webcams

 

At Via Classica we believe strongly in instructors as a master and students as an apprentice. Learning happens through regular interaction with the instructor and other peers. This requires students, not only, to be present, but they must also be actively engaged in each lesson. All students must have their video and microphone on throughout each lesson. They must be ready to contribute when called on by the instructor. Students who do not have their video on will be removed from the lesson and marked absent by the instructor. If the issue is caused by a technological issue and the student is engaging with the instructor, the instructor will use their prudent judgment in resolving the issue. Students who do not contribute throughout the lesson, will result in loss of marks. Repeated failure to do so will require a discussion with the instructor and parents.

 

Absence Policy and Class Recordings

 

At Via Classica, we recognise that some students, on occasion may have a legitimate reason for being absent from a lesson. If an absence is planned, please notify your instructor as soon as you become aware of the lesson missed. Where possible, if a student is ill, please notify the instructor prior to the lesson.  In such circumstances, we provide students with a recording of the live class session so that they may watch the session they missed. While recordings of live sessions are a helpful tool for occasional absences, they are not a sufficient replacement for class participation in the long term. With this in mind:

  • We allow a maximum of 4 absences for one-semester courses that meet two times per week.

  • During the summer term, absence permissions are handled by the course instructor on a case-by-case basis.

Please note: Though we will endeavor to have recordings for each and every class, we cannot guarantee that we will have recordings 100 percent of the time (e.g., occasionally we run into technical difficulties). Our instructors are available to their students in class and via Microsoft Teams messaging. If your student has to miss a class, anything you can do to minimise the extra work required of the instructor would be greatly appreciated. 

 

If, at any time, a student’s absences begin to near the maximum number of missed days, the course instructor will reach out to begin a conversation with the parents and take meaningful steps to help resolve the problem. 

 

If a student reaches or exceeds the maximum number of missed days, the course instructor and the director will work diligently with the family to resolve the issue. If the parent is unresponsive, or if no resolution can be reached, we will suspend the student’s enrollment in the course until the issue can be resolved. 

 

We will compassionately work with families to find a reasonable way forward. However, without resolution, the student will be withdrawn from the course without refund.

 

Special Circumstances

Naturally there are many reasons why problems may arise- Australia is the land of drought and flooding plains. We are happy to support students when they are facing circumstances outside their control. Please contact your instructor so that we can make special arrangements.

Grading Philosophy, Practices, and Reporting

Via Classica Grading Philosophy

 

While Via Classica courses seek to live out the principle of schole and contemplation, we understand that parents will want some feedback on the progress of their child at the end of the course. It is a delicate balance of striving for academic excellence, as well as a restful approach to learning.

 

Earning a specific grade should not overshadow achievement goals for mastery of a discipline. Often, for disciplines in classical education, learning the concepts introduced will be a necessary and significant component of future success in upper-level classical education. In that sense, attaining mastery is its own reward. 

 

Grading Practices

Instructors typically assign the following grades based on students’ level of achievement: magna cum laude (with great praise), cum laude (with praise), satis (sufficient, satisfactory), and non satis (not sufficient). Ideally, every average student working diligently should do praiseworthy work (cum laude).  

 

Those who excel beyond this expectation will be the magna cum laude students. Students who do adequate but not praiseworthy work should be designated satis. Non satis means lacking sufficiency or adequacy. These assessments are not mere grading instruments but ways for instructors to signal progress towards mastery with students and parents.

 

These results will be awarded for both Academic achievement and well as Participation (an acknowledgment of the equally important virtues the student displays in their learning).

 

Grade Reporting

 

We recognise that many parents who use Via Classica will be home-schooling and will have registered with their relevant state bodies. Parents are responsible for their children’s ongoing registration. Each state's registration and reporting requirements are different. In our course descriptions we have included information related to the specific areas that will be covered in lessons.  You can use this information to support your registration as well as ongoing accreditation.The Australian Curriculum is used in QLD, NT, SA and the ACT. All other states have developed their own curriculum, although they have strong correlation with the Australian Curriculum. 

 

Parents are not expected to provide alphabet/ numerical grades to the relevant registration body. Most state bodies require sample work and some written feedback. We will provide you in the Semester Report a sample piece of work, a grade,  as outlined above, as well as some written feedback. Via Classica does not replace the parents- who are legally required to fulfil the relevant requirements for home-schooling students. 

 

Student Concerns

There are occasionally times when a student’s behavior necessitates academic probation, a change in enrolment status, or withdrawal after the start of a course.

 

These situations will be handled with compassion and great care. Most of the specific details of the situation will be handled on a case-by-case basis. The instructor will consult with the director when the student’s performance indicates that academic probation, a change in enrolment status, or withdrawal might be necessary.

 

In other cases of poor student performance (such as a student ill-suited to the demands of the course, excessive absences, failure to submit homework, refusal to participate, refusal to turn on video or audio, egregious behavior, etc.), the instructor will first reach out to the parents, making them aware of the situation(s), and asking for their assistance in resolving those concerns.

 

If, after the meeting, the behavior continues, it might be necessary for the director to become more involved in the situation. It might be necessary to place the student (and family) on academic probation.

 

Academic probation may consist of the following requirements that must be fulfilled by the parents and students. An individualized plan addressing the concerns of the specific situation will be determined by the course instructor.

  • The parents will agree to take a more active role, maintaining good communication and serving as a partner on the home front in the following ways:

    • The parents will help encourage the student to faithfully attend classes, arrive on time, stay for the duration of the classes, be sufficiently prepared for each class, and engage appropriately in class.

    • The parents will regularly check in with the student to ensure her assignments and other homework are completed with his best effort.

  • The student will agree to faithfully attend all classes, arrive on time, stay for the duration of each class, and engage appropriately during class.

  • The student will agree to faithfully submit homework on time, complete assignments in their entirety, and apply a best effort to coursework.

  • The student will agree to maintain good communication with the instructor, helping the instructor better understand where the student might be struggling or when he is feeling overwhelmed.

  • The student and family agree to achieve satisfactory-level work (or higher) during the process. The student and family agree to avoid absences and tardy arrivals during the process.

  • The family will be provided with a reasonable window of opportunity to make adjustments and improve grades and performance. The student will be reevaluated at a specified date to reassess the situation.

 

If academic probation is a success, the instructor, the director, and the parents can discuss which, if any, of the requirements may be lifted, and continue on with positive growth.

 

Should the academic probation not yield the desired results, it may become necessary to move the student to audit status (a refund will not be given), or officially withdraw him from a course. 

 

In these cases, if the student is not exhibiting virtuous behavior, and the ongoing concerns are within the scope of poor student scholarship, willful negligence, pride, laziness, etc., it might be time to withdraw the student. This decision will be made by the principal and the instructor, both of whom will discuss this with the parents. 

 

The specifics of this process will be handled on a case-by-case basis and in collaboration with the principal.  

 

Addressing Concerns:

.

If, at any time, parents have a concern regarding their own student or the course, we encourage them to contact the course instructor as soon as the concern arises. If the issue remains unresolved or requires further attention, we encourage the parent to contact the Director of Students director@viaclassica.com

 

If a parent has a concern regarding a principal, policy, or school wide issue, we encourage them to contact the Via Classica Student Director as soon as the concern arises. 

 

 We encourage parents, instructors, and school leaders to maintain a good and true partnership by respecting all involved parties using proper etiquette and language indicative of Christian virtue. In the spirit of Christian charity, we ask that involved parties use healthy ways to communicate.

 

Student-to-Student Communications and Conduct

 

Students and parents are encouraged to build relationships with other members of our community. Whilst our platforms are only to be used for communication in relation to study, families may wish to allow contact between students outside these platforms. We would urge an abundance of caution in considering the use of technology for this purpose.

It is the responsibility of parents to monitor the relationships their students are forging with other Via Classica students, as well as the social media tools their students use to communicate with others outside of our community. We would always recommend prioritisation of friendships in a direct face to face manner- recognising that the tyranny of distance may make this difficult.

 

Please note that while Via Classica uses Zoom Video Conferencing to host classes and instructors supervise the interactions with students during live class sessions, Via Classica and its instructors do not take responsibility for nor do they monitor the use of student’s individual Microsoft Teams rooms or chats that take place outside of live classes.

Via Classica is not responsible for the conversations, meetings, or interactions of individual students who use their social engagement platforms to connect with other Via Classica students or those outside of our community. 

bottom of page