Schedules and Calendar
Q: What if my student needs to miss a week of class?A: Our expectation is that every student will attend every class day, health permitting. If a student must miss class due to illness, the full lesson plans are available for the days that were missed, and the child's teacher may also provide some additional guidance for the best way to make up the missed days. Since each week includes only two on-campus days, it is especially important that students attend on-campus school days if possible.
Q: Do you follow a particular school system for calendar purposes?A: For Spring Break and weather-related cancellations we follow the Spring Branch Independent School District (SBISD). However, TCS does not observe all the same holidays as SBISD and our first day of school in August, our last day of school in May, and Christmas break dates may be different.
TCS observes the following holidays and breaks:
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Break
- Christmas Break
- MLK Day
- Spring Break
- Good Friday
Q: What is the school's enrollment?A: Total enrollment is 728 students, as follows:
Q: What is the student-to-faculty ratio?A: The student/faculty ratio in the TCS Rhetoric School (Grades 9-12) is 8:1. All TCS faculty members hold college degrees; 50% of the Rhetoric faculty hold advanced degrees.
Q: What is the typical class size?A: Our average classroom size is between 12 and 15 students.
Q: What is the maximum class size?A: As the school grows, maximum class size will vary by grade. Enrollment for Pre-K is targeted at 13 students per classroom, and 15 students per classroom for classes in all other grades.
At-Home School Days
Q: What is the role of the parent when teaching at home?A: Parents assume the role of "co-teacher" for the younger grades. The on-campus teacher introduces new concepts in class, and prepares detailed lesson plans and a checklist for each subject that parents use at home with their student. In the older grades, as students begin to work more independently, parents transition to the role of course monitor. We do not expect parents to master and teach the more advanced material in the upper grades. TCS provides extensive course material and resources for the advanced subjects in the upper grades.
Q: How much time is spent on lessons during the at-home days?A: The amount of time spent on lessons at home on Tuesday and Thursday depends on many factors, including family size, your student's age and maturity, learning style and speed, and family dynamics. For the Tuesday and Thursday at-home course load, we provide the following as a rough estimate:
Pre-Kindergarten: at-home day formal lessons are optional for Pre-K; less than one hour per at-home day
Kindergarten: 1.5 to 3.0 hours per at-home day
First Grade: 2.5 to 4.0 hours per at-home day
Second Grade: 3.0 to 4.5 hours per at-home day
Third Grade: 3.5 to to 5.0 hours per at-home day
Fourth Grade: 4.0 to 5.0 hours per at-home day
Fifth and Sixth Grade: 4.0 to 6.0 hours per at-home day
Seventh Grade and up: 6.0 or more hours per at-home day
Additionally, some families may choose to supplement the lesson plans with enrichment activities, optional assignments, or extra reading.
Fridays. For grades 4 and below, Fridays are a "flex day" which are used for completing reading assignments or other projects. For Grammar school students, the Friday course load is usually one hour or less. Beginning in 5th grade, Logic School students have assignments on Fridays.
It is important to remember that there is no evening homework assigned. Most families complete the at-home assignments during the daytime, eliminating late nights and opening up time for families to spend time together.
Q: How do I teach my older child during the at-home days while my younger children are also in the home?A: TCS families use a variety of strategies to teach at home effectively. Our parent orientation in August (before the Fall semester begins) provides a wide range of suggestions and ideas for effective teaching at home. Some ideas for teaching older children while having younger children include the following:
- Have all children participate together in some subjects, as appropriate. Even young children may be able to follow along (or sit or play quietly) when you help your older child with flash cards, a history story, memory work, singing/chanting, or read-aloud time.
- Keep separate activities or learning centers available for use the younger children to use during the school day (e.g., coloring pages, handwriting activities, sorting things into egg cartons, painting, cutting magazines, play dough, wiki sticks, magic noodles, glue and pasta or beans, window markers, shaving cream, dull knife with fruit, Legos, blocks, educational videos).
- Have older children read to younger ones.
- Work on memorization at the dinner table, during a family walk, or in the car.
- Listen to Story of the World (history curriculum) using the unabridged CD version.
- Have older children alternate in helping with the younger ones.
- Have one parent care for the younger children while the other parent works with the older child(ren). This can be done in the late afternoon or early evening when both parents are home.
- Save some subjects for the other parent to complete after the work day. For example, some families save Math or Latin for Dad to help teach when he comes home from work.
- Teach while younger children are occupied with another activity such as napping, eating, sleeping, quiet room time, nursing.
- Teach while younger children are out of the house at a Mother's Day Out program, at preschool, at a play date, at a grandparent or relative's house.
- Arrange a study date with another family who has a child in the same grade as yours.
Q: How do I teach multiple children in the older grades?A: Lessons can be staggered so that the parent can teach one child while another is working independently. Also, as students get older they are able to work on more portions of their lessons independently which allows the parent to work with other children. By 2nd or 3rd grade portions of assignments can be completed without the parent needing to be directly involved. This allows flexibility for working with multiple older children.
Some parents print the day's lesson plan and highlight all the items that can be completed independently by the student. Then when the teaching parent is busy with another sibling, the student can work through the highlighted items independently.
Q: Is there a set schedule that we must follow during at-home days?A: No, you have complete flexibility in choosing the times for your at-home lessons. We do, however, recommend that once you find a daily schedule that works for your family you stick with this schedule to provide consistency and a familiar routine.
The lessons assigned by the on-campus teacher need to be completed by the due date, which is typically the next on-campus school day, but you may choose when the at-home learning occurs. Some assignments, such as presentations or reports, may be spread out over multiple days. It is up to the family to decide when these longer projects will be completed.
Q: What if I get stuck and don't know what to do for a particular assignment?A: We encourage parents to contact the on-campus teacher by email, text, or phone with any questions. Parents may also choose to interact with other parents from their child's class to swap ideas and tips. TCS also organizes quarterly Dads' Mornings and Moms' Nights for parents to connect and network.
On-Campus School Days
Q: Do you have uniforms and a dress code?A: Yes, for grades PreK through 6th, all students wear a polo shirt embroidered with the school crest. Colors are navy blue, white, or light blue. Girls may wear a khaki skirt, pants, or jumper. Boys may wear khaki trousers or shorts. Students may also wear a navy blue cardigan or pullover sweater during colder weather.
Students in Grade 7 and above wear their House colors (tie or scarf) with khakis or a skirt.
Our uniform supplier is Lands' End and you may view the specific items at the TCS Store on the Lands' End website.
Q: What if I just want my child to attend a half-day?A: The school's curriculum is formed around a group of integrated classes called the "Classical Core," which includes Language Arts, History, Science, Math, and Latin. The Classical Core is a full-day program that meets two days per week. Because of the level of integration between the various subjects, a half-day option is not available.
Q: What are school hours?A: For the Grammar Campus (grades PreK through 4), parents may drop off their children at 7:50am on Monday and Wednesday. Morning Assembly begins at 8:10am. Regular classes end at 2:55pm and electives end at 3:45pm. For the Logic Campus (grades 5 through 8), parents may drop off their students at 7:30am on Monday and Wednesday. Classes begin at 7:50am. Regular classes end at 2:25pm and electives end at 3:15pm.
Q: What happens in the classroom during a typical on-campus school day?A: The pace and format of the on-campus classroom time is tailored to each grade level. Students bring a morning and afternoon snack which is eaten in the classroom. Class time combines sitting and listening with movement and activities to keep students engaged and learning. Classroom activities can include the following: direct instruction from the teacher, discussing lessons or recent reading, making student presentations, students working example problems on the whiteboard, singing songs, reading groups, listening to a read-aloud by the teacher, working on projects, repeating chants and mnemonics, students reciting their memory work, participating in a question-and-answer time, praying, working on assignments individually, writing, taking tests and assessments, playing learning games, working with math manipulatives, and completing assignments under the guidance of the teacher.
Q: What curriculum do you use?A: TCS has chosen "best of breed" textbooks from a variety of publishers such as Peace Hill Press, Memoria Press, and Novare Science and Math. Each textbook and resource is chosen based its suitability for use in a collaborative, classical setting. Not all of the curriculum publishers that TCS uses are explicitly Christian, but all courses are taught from a Christian worldview. In addition, the upper grade use primary sources (translated into English if necessary) as part of their language arts and history courses. In addition to the published textbooks and resources, TCS creates detailed lesson plans for on-campus and at-home days. These lesson plans integrate various aspects of the curriculum and provide step-by-step instructions for parents to use when teaching at home on Tuesday and Thursday. You can receive a set of sample lesson plans by attending an Information Meeting.
Q: What is th\e school's pedagogy and curriculum?A: Classical Methods. The curriculum and pedagogy of the school follow the liberal arts trivium of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. In the Rhetoric School (9-12), classes across the disciplines employ both Socratic and Harkness pedagogy, so that students learn to articulate, defend, and refine their ideas.
Math and Science courses are taught in two tracks (accelerated or grade-level) designed for students to achieve true mastery of upper level concepts.
Humanities courses integrate Literature and History as students study Great Texts. Highlights include The Iliad, Augustine’s Confessions, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and novels by Dostoevsky, Steinbeck, and Lewis. This pairs with their studies in theology, logic, rhetoric and philosophy, where students read the Bible and works by Plato, Aristotle, Athanasius, and Luther. Students are graded primarily on their class discussion and their essays.
Latin study begins in Second Grade, with an instructional approach that combines Latin conversation with a formal study of grammar. 9th-12th grade students read Latin works, including Caesar’s Gallic War and Virgil’s Aeneid.
Q: Does TCS offer courses with dual (college) credit?A: TCS offers dual credit courses in History, English, and Latin through Houston Baptist University.
Q: What is the Senior Thesis?A: TCS seniors culminate their rhetoric studies with an intensive research project. During their 12th Grade year, students develop and prepare to defend a thesis paper. This thesis defense, made before a panel of judges, is the capstone of their experience at TCS.
Q: Is your Bible curriculum linked to a particular church or denomination?A: No. It is consistent with the school's statement of faith, but it does not espouse a particular denominational viewpoint. We use the English Standard Version (ESV) translation for scripture memory, but students may use any translation they wish for reading.
Q: What are the coursework and graduation requirements?A:
|Physics 1 Advanced
|Early Modern Literature
|History & Economics
|Early Modern History & Economics
|Logic, Rhetoric, & Philosophy
|Material Logic & Algorithms
|The scope and sequence below shows the Latin sequence from 4th to 12th Grade. Students complete their study of Latin Grammar in 7th and then read Latin from 8th to 12th, culminating with some of the great classical writers: Caesar, Virgil, and Apuleius. Students who begin TCS after 4th grade take a Latin placement test and work through the scope and sequence as they are able.
Middle Latin I: Grammar I
Middle Latin IV: Grammar IV & Intro Latin Readings
Upper Latin II: Vulgate
Upper Latin IV: Virgil
Grades, Testing, and Assessments
Q: Do you administer standardized tests to students?A: Yes, we administer a nationally-normed, standardized test each spring. We use the Comprehensive Testing Program, 4th edition (CTP4) from Educational Records Bureau (ERB).
Q: Is the standardized testing mandatory?A: There is no cost to participate in the standardized testing, and a family may opt out if they wish.
Q: Is there admissions or placement testing?A: Yes. For new students entering Kindergarten and above we administer a Student Assessment. This allows our teachers to better understand the profile of their class and prepare lessons which meet the needs of all their students.
Q: Are there grades given for the Bible curriculum?A: Separate grades are not given for Bible in Grammar School, since Biblical concepts are integrated into the overall curriculum through history, science, reading, and memory work.
Q: Do you give report cards?A: Yes, grade reports are issued four times per year. If a parent has a particular area of interest or concern, the child's teacher can provide informal updates on a student's progress.
Q: Do you have Parent-Teacher conferences?A: Yes, Parent-Teacher conferences are held twice per year, in the middle of each semester. Teachers are always available by email or phone to answer questions about assignments, grades, or expectations.
Q: Do you have transcripts?A: Yes, transcripts are created for each student and can be provided for transfers to others schools or for college admissions.
Q: How is grade point average calculated?A: TCS uses a 5.0 scale based on the average of numerical grades in all Core Courses, with the exception of Chorus. The conversion from Numerical Grade to GPA is as follows:
Calculation Method GPA is calculated by direct conversion from the Numeric Grade. A variation of 1.0 in the Numeric Grade is reflected as a change of 0.1 in the GPA. Thus, an 87 results in a GPA of 3.7, while an 86 results in a GPA of 3.6. Only courses taken during high school are counted for GPA.
Weighting TCS GPA is unweighted; all courses have the same weight.
Grading Calendar Students earn credit when they complete a course, so grades appear on the transcript only at the end of the year. A first-semester grade report will be sent in mid-January to colleges requesting mid-year grades.
Q: Does TCS calculate class rank?A: Due to the caliber of TCS students, the school does not calculate class rank.
Q: What colleges have TCS students been accepted into?A: The 39 students from the first four graduating classes were accepted to the following schools:
Private Research Universities
- California Institute of Technology
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Rice University
Public Colleges & Universities
- Blinn College
- Colorado School of Mines
- Louisiana State University
- Texas A&M University (Honors)
- Texas A&M University, Galveston
- Texas Tech University
- University of Arkansas
- University of Colorado - Boulder
- University of Houston (Honors)
- University of Oklahoma - Norman
- University of Texas - Austin (Plan II Honors)
- University of Texas - San Antonio
- University of Wyoming
- Virginia Tech University
Private Colleges & Universities
- Abilene Christian University
- Asbury University
- Austin College
- Baylor University (Honors)
- Belmont University (Honors)
- Boyce College
- Dallas Baptist University
- Houston Baptist U. (Honors)
- Letourneau University (Honors)
- Lipscomb University (Honors)
- Oral Roberts University (Honors)
- Patrick Henry College
- St. John’s College
- Samford University (Honors)
- Southwestern University
- Texas Christian University
- Trinity University
- The King’s College
- University of St. Thomas
- Wheaton College
Q: How are grades and assessments handled?A: As work is completed throughout the semester, students receive their graded work in their "Home Folder" and this is available daily for review by the student and parents. Each quarter students receive a grade for each subject. Younger grades receive grades on an E-G-N scale, where E is "Excellent. Consistent outstanding work on all assignments," G is "Good. Meets most grade level expectations," and N is "Needs improvement. Failing to meet grade-level objectives." Older grades use the A-B-C-F grading scale.
Q: What is the standard for passing from one grade to the next?A: If a student has received N's or F's, then the on-campus teacher and Head of School will confer with the student's parents to explore the options for improving the specific areas that need attention.
Expectations of Parents
Q: Are parents expected to be on-campus on Monday and Wednesday?A: Parents are not required to be in the on-campus classroom on Monday and Wednesday. You may drop off your child at 7:50am and pick them up at the end of the school day. If you wish to observe your child's TCS class during an on-campus day, please arrange that with the Head of School. We do ask that parents assist with drop off/pick up and/or the lunch hour two times per semester.
Q: What exactly is meant by "parental involvement" in the school?A: The primary way that parents are involved is facilitating your student's at-home learning on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We also expect parents to be available for our annual training and orientation prior to the the start of the school year in August, and be available to help with monitoring lunch/recess twice per semester. Other volunteer opportunities are available, such as planning field trips or serving as "Room Mom." We welcome the involvement of our parents!
Q: Can both parents work and our child attend TCS?A: It's possible, and some TCS families have two working parents. In these cases, however, the families have carefully planned their schedules to allow adequate time for teaching and caring for their children during the at-home days each week (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday). Since Monday and Wednesday are on-campus days, some teaching parents pursue part-time work on those days. Some parents involve grandparents, relatives, or other caregivers in the at-home teaching.
Q: How is on-campus discipline implemented?A: We fully understand that young children can be rambunctious at times. We also set expectations for our students in the area of classroom behavior, recess and lunchtime behavior, language, and courtesy. Any problems which the on-campus teacher cannot resolve will be referred to an Academic Coordinator or the Head of School. We discuss any lingering problems with parents, since we believe that the ultimate responsibility for appropriate behavior lies with parents. The TCS Family Handbook provides full details on our discipline policy and the TCS Head of School is available to answer specific questions.
Activities, Sports, Fine Arts, and Electives
Q: Do TCS students participate in National Merit?A: Among 56 students in the Classes of 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023:
- 2 National Merit Finalist
- 10 National Merit Commended
Q: What are your electives?A: TCS offers a Fine Arts Primer for Pre-K and Kindergarten and Eloquium for older grades. The Pre-K and Kinder Fine Arts Primer will include visual art, music, and theater arts. Eloquium (from the Latin word for Eloquence) is a set of TCS Fine Arts courses designed around the performing, rhetorical, and visual arts. More details are available under "Do you have Fine Arts?" below.
Q: Do you have sports?A: Yes, we have a Cross Country team for Grades 5 and up. TCS families also participate in a wide range of athletics and sports in the following categories:
- Community leagues
- Church sports leagues
- Homeschool leagues
- Club teams / select teams
- YMCA leagues
- Private lessons
The TCS schedule (with only two on-campus days per week) allows families to pursue a variety of sports with varying practice times and game days. TCS families have participated in the following sports:
Q: Do you have Fine Arts?A: Yes, Pre-K and Kindergarten students may enroll in the Fine Arts Primer with explores great works from notable artists in visual arts and music. For older grades, we offer Eloquium, which is an elective fine arts program at the end of each on-campus school day (Monday and Wednesday). Eloquium classes include Playwriting, Musical Theater, Stage Combat, Pantomime, Drawing, and Journalism. The specific courses available vary by grade level. Additionally, TCS families may choose to participate in Fine Arts classes, lessons, and programs outside of the TCS curriculum. TCS families have participated in the following:
- Drawing and Painting