Accreditation

What does accreditation mean?

In the United States, education is controlled by each state. The US Constitution does not give this power to the federal government. Each state has its own laws that govern education in the state. In order to assure that public and private schools have uniform standards, accreditation organizations were created. They are supposed to be independent from the government and independent from the schools. They assure that the schools meet their standards so that students in every state will receive a similar education.

The federal government established a Department of Education, which gives money to schools that offer certain programs and comply with their standards. The desire for federal government funding is what tempts the states to include the federal programs in their schools and comply with standards.

Accreditation is not related to a school’s legal status in the state where it has offices. West River Academy started in Colorado as a Colorado corporation. In California, it operates as a foreign corporation. Each year, West River Academy files an affidavit with the California Department of Education and is listed on their website as a private school. You can find this list here: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/si/ps/index.asp

West River Academy is accredited by the National Association for the Legal Support of Alternative Schools.This organization assures the student who is considering this school that it has done an on-site visit to the school and can assure the public that the school complies with all legal requirements and performs the services that it offers.

Certificate of Accreditation 2020-2021

NALSAS does not have curriculum requirements for member schools. It honors the right of the family to choose the program that will work best for their children. This is the reason that West River Academy chose to seek accreditation by NALSAS and not by other accreditation organizations.

Most US colleges and universities that West River Academy seniors have applied to have recognized our diploma and transcript as valid. Our documents have also been accepted in other countries and by universities in other countries. For students in countries that are members of The Hague Convention, the documents are usually sent to the Secretary of State of Colorado to receive an Apostille and then presented to the Ministry of Education or a university in that country.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I live outside the United States?

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Group Enrollment

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Accreditation and Legalities

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Curriculum, Support and Resources

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Fees and Services

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Enrollment and Records Transfer

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Requirements and Reporting

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Transcripts and Graduation

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What if I live outside the United States?

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Fees and Services

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Group Enrollment

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Enrollment and Records Transfer

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Accreditation and Legalities

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Requirements and Reporting

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Curriculum, Support and Resources

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Transcripts and Graduation

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What if I live outside the United States?

Can I enroll if I live in a country outside the U.S.?

You are invited to enroll with us from any country in the world. You can also travel from country to country and be covered by West River Academy to show proof of enrollment in a school.

We have representatives in many countries that can help you understand more about what we offer and local legal requirements and issues. Please choose the country or language from the list below and message us in the language you prefer.

You are responsible for understanding the homeschooling laws in your country and complying with them. We can request that records be sent from your previous school to us to help you withdraw from that school.

You can enroll beginning August 1 or February 1. The enrollment period is for 12 months, so your local school year can be accommodated within your 12-month enrollment period. Students in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Europe should choose the August 1 start date. If you live in Latin America or Asia, choose the February 1 start date.

What documents do I have to submit when I enroll?

We do not require any documents. You create an account and then fill out the enrollment information and pay the fee.

Can my studies be certified?

At the end of the year, you can order a transcript. It can be notarized and/or sent for an Apostille. It is recommended that you have it mailed to you by Express Mail with tracking to your home.

If you wish to certify previous years, you can first enroll for those years. Then you can include those years on your transcript.

What should I do if I live outside the U.S. and want to go to a university in my country?

We cannot guarantee that your preferred colleges will accept you, as their admissions policies are up to them. However, we do have a good track record of having our transcript accepted at private and public universities in the United States, Canada, UK, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. A list of some of the institutions our graduates have been accepted into can be found on our Graduation page.

If you live outside the U.S., the diploma will be mailed to our office and then we will ship it to you. We recommend that you order only the document, without the padded cover, so that it will not be held in customs. Most students outside the U.S. wish to have both the diploma and the transcript sent for Apostilles. This process take 2-3 weeks. We strongly recommend that you purchase Express Mail so that you can track it door-to-door.

After you receive your Apostilled documents, you will have to present them to the Ministry of Education of your country to request that they be validated. Each country has its own regulations and in many countries, there are no regulations for education outside their country. So we don’t know if your country will validate our documents until you try or if we have previous experience. We strongly recommend that you check with local officials before you enroll in West River Academy to find out if your documents will be validated and if not, what your course of action would be.

 

Group Enrollment

If you already have a group of at least 10 students that you are offering paid services to, you can enroll as a group and receive discounted student fees as follows:

$225 per student

$40 per sibling

This includes digital delivery of the confirmation of enrollment letters. For physical delivery by mail, with original signature and school stamp, the fee is $10 added to the above prices. Postage with tracking can also be ordered.

If the group is larger, we apply discounts off of the above prices:

  1. 10 - 99 students: $225, $40 per sibling
  2. 100 - 499 students: 20% off the fees in A
  3. 500 - 999 students: 40% off the fees in A
  4. 1000+ students: 60% off the fees in A

We can issue transcripts at the end of each year. They can be notarized and, for students outside the U.S., they can be sent for Apostilles and mailed to the Group Administrator.

There must be one person who acts as the Administrator of the group and handles all the transactions and communication between the families and West River Academy. We will not work directly with any families in the group. The Administrator is the liaison.

Admins can pay from their Paypal accounts with this link: Paypal.me/WRA

 

Accreditation and Legalities

Are you accredited?

We are accredited by the National Association for the Legal Support of Alternative Schools (NALSAS), an organization that accredits alternative schools in the U.S. Their website is nalsas.org.

Because we choose not to comply with the curriculum requirements of any entity, we do not seek seek accreditation from any of the large regional accreditation organizations in the U.S. Therefore, our accreditation may not be universally recognized.

We encourage you to take responsibility for your decision to educate outside the system and do all the research necessary to make sure you are making a wise decision for your family. We do our best to support you and help you achieve your educational goals, but we cannot be held responsible if things don’t go as expected.

Do I have to file a Notice of Intent to homeschool with my school district?

It depends on your state’s laws. In most states, by enrolling in West River Academy, you will be in compliance with your state’s compulsory attendance laws and will not have to comply with its homeschooling laws. That means you would not have to file a Notice of Intent to homeschool or do the testing or evaluation required of homeschoolers.

Are you a California PSP?

Yes. We are a California Private Satellite School (PSP) and file an affidavit with the California Department of Education each year.

What is your status in Colorado?

West River Academy is a Colorado corporation and a private school. This means that your family is in compliance with the compulsory attendance laws of the state and will not have to comply with the homeschooling laws. You will not have to file a Notice of Intent to homeschool with your school district each year. You will not have to do the testing or evaluations required at the end of grades 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11. It also means that you do not have the right to attend public school part-time or participate in sports or other extra-curricular activities. Some students have been able to do this, but it is up to the school district.

Are you an online school?

No. We do not offer online courses.

Are you an umbrella school?

Yes. West River Academy is an umbrella school, meaning that your enrollment with us allows you to homeschool under the umbrella of a private school.

Are you legal in all 50 states?

There is nothing in any state law that forbids you from enrolling with West River Academy. However, not all states will accept your enrollment as a means to avoid their requirements for homeschoolers. That means you may still have to get permission from the school superintendent and file periodic reports, be tested or evaluated, etc. If this is the case in your state, the main benefit of enrolling with West River Academy is earning a high school diploma and transcript, which can be very valuable when applying for employment or to college. You would apply to college as a private school student and avoid the tedious process of applying as a homeschooler and having to prove everything you learned.

Curriculum, Support and Resources

What support do you provide after we enroll?

We offer consultations that you can purchase if and when you need our help with your situation. We can help you create an impressive transcript, put together a daily plan, advise on learning styles and methodologies, offer resources and explore with you post-secondary options.

Do you supply books, materials and curricula?

We believe that a curriculum is designed for a group of students who must all be learning standard information at certain ages. This is not how humans learn best. So we do not recommend, sell or provide curriculum of any kind. However, you are free to choose any materials, books, programs of study or methodology that you wish, in keeping with your own beliefs, philosophy or convictions. We do not interfere, but we are available to assist if and when you need us. You may order consultations if and when needed.

We promote natural learning, also called unschooling, which returns the authority for choosing an educational path to the student in cooperation with the parents. We want your children to thrive in a safe, healthy and free environment, in which pursuing their Interests will lead them to a satisfying and happy life.

Can you recommend any resources?

For young children in Kindergarten through Grade 6, there is an inexpensive book series that may be useful to you and enjoyed by your children:

What Your __Grader Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

For teens that would like to do some formal courses, we first recommend checking into your local community college. Teens can take courses and earn both high school and college credit simultaneously.

Another option for teens is enrolling in online courses, such as those offered by Khan Academy, which are free and self-paced.

www.khanacademy.org

What is unschooling or natural learning and how can I learn more about it?

Unschooling is a term coined by educator John Holt, who believed that children should be free to learn naturally, following their interests, not bound by the dictates of a school curriculum. Unschooling returns the authority for choosing an educational path to the student in cooperation with the parents. It provides the foundation for your children to thrive because they are able to follow their heart and create a satisfying and happy life for themselves.

John Holt was a pioneer in school reform in the US. He was a Yale University graduate and spent time as a teacher. He started wondering why toddlers and pre-school children had so much fun exercising their curiosity and loved learning and then, as 10-year-olds, acted up in class and appeared bored with learning. He came to realize that when the element of coercion is added to the learning model, it turns off love of learning and students just try to get by with the least effort. John Holt’s solution to this was to do the opposite of what is done in school. Instead of being required to participate, let it be voluntary. Instead of changing subjects every hour, let the child continue learning in an area of interest as long as his interest continues. Let him stop when he loses interest. Let his interests lead his learning. Isn’t that how adults learn things?

Unschooling or natural learning is referred to as self-directed education, interest-based learning, child-led learning and relaxed homeschooling, among other terms. Think of it as putting the child in the driver’s seat of the car. The parent is in the passenger’s seat, making sure the car is not driven off a cliff, being the navigator with map in hand, letting the driver know what appears to be up ahead, etc. The child is then free to take the interstate or go off on a scenic byway, explore different places along the way or get to the destination as fast as he can. It’s letting the child drive the car while the parent offers guidance and assures safety.

Unschooling is usually eased into, as there is a lot of programming that both parents and children have received while being in the system. West River Academy will support you as you move comfortably into a learning style that is right for your family.

To learn more about learning naturally, please visit these websites:

  1. John Holt’s Growing Without Schooling at http://www.johnholtgws.com
  2. Muddy Smiles at https://muddysmiles.com/unschooling-evidence/
  3. Homeschooling Why and How at http://www.homeschoolingwhyandhow.com

 

Fees and Services

What does it cost to enroll a student for one academic year?

To enroll one student for one year, the annual fee is $375. You can add children to your family enrollment by paying $50 per child. So, for example, if you wish to enroll 3 children for one school year, you will pay $475.

If you are part of an official West River Academy Group of 10 or more students, there is different pricing. See Group Enrollment.

Can I enroll in the middle of the year?

If you take your child out of school mid-year, you can enroll for the second semester only by paying $200 for one student plus $50 for each additional student in the same family.

When do I have to enroll? Is there a deadline?

We offer year-round open enrollment. Your enrollment will cover you for the full 12 months, beginning either August 1 or February 1. We recommend that you enroll by the time school starts in your area. If you enroll for the second semester only, you can do so anytime and be covered for the full semester, beginning either January 1 or July 1.

If I withdraw a student in the middle of the year after having paid for the full year, will I get a refund?

Our refund policy clearly states that once payment is received, no refunds will be issued unless a prior agreement is in place.

What additional services do you provide?

  1. Transcripts: You may order a transcript at any time and put as many years on it as you wish, as long as you were enrolled in West River Academy or transferred credits from a former school. The first transcript for a student is $80. Subsequent transcripts for the same student cost $25.
  2. Notarization: Any document we issue can be notarized upon request. The fee is $20.
  3. Apostille: If you live outside the U.S., your document, such as a transcript or diploma, can be sent for an Apostille if your country is a member of The Hague Convention. The fee is $75. We also recommend Express Mail for official documents, which costs $85.
  4. Postage: First class postage is included in the fee you pay for the document. Priority and Express mail can be purchased. If you live outside the U.S, we recommend Express Mail, which has door-to-door tracking. The cost is $85. We are not responsible for lost mail.
  5. Consultations: We are happy to speak to you and your children any time you need support with your children’s education. You can purchase consultations if and when the need arises. The fee is $80 for an hour.
  6. Custom Letter: If you need a custom letter for your auto insurance company or for any official that requires specific wording, you may order pay for it as a custom amount. A one-page custom document costs $35.

 

Enrollment and Records Transfer

Is there an enrollment deadline?

You may enroll at any time for the full year or the second semester only. You can also enroll retroactively to cover previous years. We recommend that you enroll by the time school starts in your area.

Is there a minimum or maximum age to enroll?

There is no minimum or maximum age to enroll. We recommend that you enroll your child when your state laws require children to be enrolled in a public or private school. There is no maximum age to enroll. We can even enroll adults who wish to get their high school diploma.

When does my enrollment begin?

Your enrollment begins either on August 1 or February 1. At any time during the year, you can decide to enroll and select the annual enrollment, which will cover the full academic year. Your enrollment is for 12 months, so your country’s academic year can be accommodated within this period. The annual enrollment fee is $375 for one student plus $50 for each additional child in the family.

If you decide to leave your current school sometime after the school year begins, you can start your enrollment either January 1 or July 1. It will end 7 months later.

Can I talk to someone before I enroll?

We are happy to offer you a free 15-minute consultation to help you understand how West River Academy can benefit you and see if we are a fit for your family.

Please read all the FAQs that apply to you before the consultation so you will have all the information you need and can use the 15 minutes wisely.

I have a special needs child. Can you help?

Since there are no academic requirements at West River Academy, you are free to work with your child in the way you feel is best. We can offer consultations if and when necessary to help you negotiate this challenging path with your child.

Can my child skip grades or do two grades in one year?

We do not assign grade levels; you are free to do so if you wish. If you are using a curriculum and your child completes 2 grade levels in one academic year, you can put those 2 grade levels on a one-year transcript. The only caution we offer is that if you submit a transcript that does not look “normal”, you may be opening yourself up to undesired scrutiny and questions.

Can we enroll in West River Academy if we travel from state to state or country to country?

We have many world schooling families. Our official confirmation of enrollment letter can be presented to any state or country’s officials to prove enrollment in a private U.S. school to show compliance with compulsory attendance laws. We cannot guarantee that you will not have to comply with local laws, but in most cases families have been free to continue along their educational path without problems.

How do I withdraw my child from the previous school?

You will complete the creation of your personal West River Academy account and immediately be able to download your confirmation of enrollment document.

If your child has been in school, you will be able to give us the school’s contact information so we can transfer school records. A Record Request form will be sent to the school. When we receive the records, either digitally or by mail, we will let you know that we have them.

As a courtesy to the school, you may wish to let them know that you are enrolling your child in a private school effective immediately or on a certain date and that they will be receiving a request to transfer records shortly. Be sure you have no outstanding fees or other loose ends to tie up or the school will not release the records.

What if my child has been homeschooling according to state law?

In this case, there are no school records to transfer. But your child will still be registered as a homeschooler in the district. We recommend that you contact the district office and let them know that you have decided to enroll your child in a private school.

What if my child wants to go back to school?

You can order a transcript that covers the time the student was with us. We will send the transcript on to the next school when we receive a request for records from the new school.

What if I change my mind about enrolling after I have paid the fees?

Our refund policy states that no refunds will be issued after payment is made unless a prior agreement is in place. Please be sure to read all the FAQs and do your own research before you enroll. We welcome a free 15-minute consultation to help you decide if we are a fit for your family.

Requirements and Reporting

What is required in order for me to enroll?

You will only need to create an account, provide student information and pay the fee. No documents or academic records are required.

What is required of me after I enroll?

Since there are no academic requirements and we do not provide materials or curricula, you are free to choose the educational style and materials for your family. We are available to assist and support if and when you need us.

How much record-keeping is required?

We encourage you to keep your own records, but you are not required to report to us until the end of the year.

We recommend keeping a journal if you are in high school so that an accurate final transcript can be made.

As for attendance records, we consider that your student’s attendance is 100%. In most cases, you do not have to comply with the homeschooling laws, which may require a specific number of hours of study per day or year. By being enrolled in a private school, you only have to follow the policies of the school.

What do I have to send you at the end of the year?

At the end of each year, we ask you to send us a summary of what was learned during the year. If you use a curriculum, your report might take the form of course names and grades, along with other activities and your comments. If you learn naturally, your report might be a refection on your year’s activities and the individual growth you have observed. Some families like to put together a portfolio that includes pictures and artwork. The year-end report is designed to help you prove to yourself how much your children learned. So choose a format that will be of value to you.

If you would like an official transcript at the end of each year or one at the end of multiple years, you may purchase it at the published fees.

Transcripts and Graduation

Can I get a transcript?

You may order a transcript for any period of enrollment in West River Academy. The transcript may include prior years if we receive official school records proving enrollment in another school. If you homeschooled independently and wish to have those years on your transcript, you will have to pay the annual enrollment fee for those years. Once enrolled, you may put those years on your transcript.

How does the transcript get created?

After you order the transcript, we will provide a template for you to enter the course names and grades that represent the learning that took place. We will review your transcript and give you our feedback. Then you will give us your final approval that the transcript is true and accurate.

Can I get a high school diploma?

After your Graduation Project is approved, we will issue you a high school diploma. You can also receive a high school transcript to send to colleges and universities.

What do I have to do to graduate?

West River Academy, in keeping with our educational philosophy, has only one requirement for graduation. It does not include completing a specific number of courses.

You submit a Graduation Project, which can be educational biography or a custom project. The educational biography is a recounting of your educational journey from as far back as you can remember up until the present time. It must be at least 3 single-spaced pages written in high school level English or Spanish. It may be possible for you to submit your educational biography in other languages as well.

Alternatively, you may submit a proposal for a project of your own creation that presents your educational journey, such as a multi-media presentation, artwork with narration, etc.

After your project is submitted and approved, a parent endorses your readiness to graduate. A diploma is issued and together we create a final high school transcript (grades 9-12). The fee for the Graduation Project is $395, in addition to the annual enrollment fee of $375.

You enroll for the Graduation Project during your final year of high school. The project should be submitted no sooner than a month before graduation.

If you have not been enrolled in West River Academy for all your high school years, your previous school’s credits can be transferred in. If you don’t have records from a previous school, you can enroll retroactively for those years at any time by paying the enrollment fee of $375 per year.

What doors will my West River Academy diploma and transcript open for me?

Our graduates have been able to enroll in colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, UK, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. A list of some of the institutions our graduates have been accepted into can be found on our Graduation page.

What if the college I apply to does not accept my West River Academy transcript?

We recommend that you apply to more than one college or university in the rare case that an institution does not accept our transcript. Enrolling in a community college and receiving your Associate Degree is always an option. You can then enroll in a 4-year college as a transfer student.

What should I do if I live outside the U.S. and want to go to a university in my country?

If you live outside the U.S., the diploma will be mailed to our office and then we will ship it to you. We recommend that you order only the document, without the padded cover, so that it will not be held in customs. Most students outside the U.S. wish to have both the diploma and the transcript sent for Apostilles. This process take 2-3 weeks. We strongly recommend that you purchase Express Mail so that you can track it door-to-door.

After you receive your Apostilled documents, you will have to present them to the Ministry of Education of your country to request that they be validated. Once validated, you can present them to the university. We strongly recommend that you check with local officials before you enroll in West River Academy to find out the likelihood that your documents will be validated and if not, what your course of action would be.

What if I don’t make a transcript right after I graduate? Can I make one later?

We recommend creating the transcript immediately while you can easily remember what you did and learned during your high school years. If you don’t create the transcript within a year of graduating, you can make one later, but you will have to pay the published fee for a transcript at that time.

 

What if I live outside the United States?

Can I enroll if I live in a country outside the U.S.?

You are invited to enroll with us from any country in the world. You can also travel from country to country and be covered by West River Academy to show proof of enrollment in a school.

We have representatives in many countries that can help you understand more about what we offer and local legal requirements and issues. Please choose the country or language from the list below and message us in the language you prefer.

You are responsible for understanding the homeschooling laws in your country and complying with them. We can request that records be sent from your previous school to us to help you withdraw from that school.

You can enroll beginning August 1 or February 1. The enrollment period is for 12 months, so your local school year can be accommodated within your 12-month enrollment period. Students in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Europe should choose the August 1 start date. If you live in Latin America or Asia, choose the February 1 start date.

What documents do I have to submit when I enroll?

We do not require any documents. You create an account and then fill out the enrollment information and pay the fee.

Can my studies be certified?

At the end of the year, you can order a transcript. It can be notarized and/or sent for an Apostille. It is recommended that you have it mailed to you by Express Mail with tracking to your home.

If you wish to certify previous years, you can first enroll for those years. Then you can include those years on your transcript.

What should I do if I live outside the U.S. and want to go to a university in my country?

We cannot guarantee that your preferred colleges will accept you, as their admissions policies are up to them. However, we do have a good track record of having our transcript accepted at private and public universities in the United States, Canada, UK, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. A list of some of the institutions our graduates have been accepted into can be found on our Graduation page.

If you live outside the U.S., the diploma will be mailed to our office and then we will ship it to you. We recommend that you order only the document, without the padded cover, so that it will not be held in customs. Most students outside the U.S. wish to have both the diploma and the transcript sent for Apostilles. This process take 2-3 weeks. We strongly recommend that you purchase Express Mail so that you can track it door-to-door.

After you receive your Apostilled documents, you will have to present them to the Ministry of Education of your country to request that they be validated. Each country has its own regulations and in many countries, there are no regulations for education outside their country. So we don’t know if your country will validate our documents until you try or if we have previous experience. We strongly recommend that you check with local officials before you enroll in West River Academy to find out if your documents will be validated and if not, what your course of action would be.

 

Fees and Services

What does it cost to enroll a student for one academic year?

To enroll one student for one year, the annual fee is $375. You can add children to your family enrollment by paying $50 per child. So, for example, if you wish to enroll 3 children for one school year, you will pay $475.

If you are part of an official West River Academy Group of 10 or more students, there is different pricing. See Group Enrollment.

Can I enroll in the middle of the year?

If you take your child out of school mid-year, you can enroll for the second semester only by paying $200 for one student plus $50 for each additional student in the same family.

When do I have to enroll? Is there a deadline?

We offer year-round open enrollment. Your enrollment will cover you for the full 12 months, beginning either August 1 or February 1. We recommend that you enroll by the time school starts in your area. If you enroll for the second semester only, you can do so anytime and be covered for the full semester, beginning either January 1 or July 1.

If I withdraw a student in the middle of the year after having paid for the full year, will I get a refund?

Our refund policy clearly states that once payment is received, no refunds will be issued unless a prior agreement is in place.

What additional services do you provide?

  1. Transcripts: You may order a transcript at any time and put as many years on it as you wish, as long as you were enrolled in West River Academy or transferred credits from a former school. The first transcript for a student is $80. Subsequent transcripts for the same student cost $25.
  2. Notarization: Any document we issue can be notarized upon request. The fee is $20.
  3. Apostille: If you live outside the U.S., your document, such as a transcript or diploma, can be sent for an Apostille if your country is a member of The Hague Convention. The fee is $75. We also recommend Express Mail for official documents, which costs $85.
  4. Postage: First class postage is included in the fee you pay for the document. Priority and Express mail can be purchased. If you live outside the U.S, we recommend Express Mail, which has door-to-door tracking. The cost is $85. We are not responsible for lost mail.
  5. Consultations: We are happy to speak to you and your children any time you need support with your children’s education. You can purchase consultations if and when the need arises. The fee is $80 for an hour.
  6. Custom Letter: If you need a custom letter for your auto insurance company or for any official that requires specific wording, you may order pay for it as a custom amount. A one-page custom document costs $35.

 

Group Enrollment

If you already have a group of at least 10 students that you are offering paid services to, you can enroll as a group and receive discounted student fees as follows:

$225 per student

$40 per sibling

This includes digital delivery of the confirmation of enrollment letters. For physical delivery by mail, with original signature and school stamp, the fee is $10 added to the above prices. Postage with tracking can also be ordered.

If the group is larger, we apply discounts off of the above prices:

  1. 10 - 99 students: $225, $40 per sibling
  2. 100 - 499 students: 20% off the fees in A
  3. 500 - 999 students: 40% off the fees in A
  4. 1000+ students: 60% off the fees in A

We can issue transcripts at the end of each year. They can be notarized and, for students outside the U.S., they can be sent for Apostilles and mailed to the Group Administrator.

There must be one person who acts as the Administrator of the group and handles all the transactions and communication between the families and West River Academy. We will not work directly with any families in the group. The Administrator is the liaison.

Admins can pay from their Paypal accounts with this link: Paypal.me/WRA

 

Enrollment and Records Transfer

Is there an enrollment deadline?

You may enroll at any time for the full year or the second semester only. You can also enroll retroactively to cover previous years. We recommend that you enroll by the time school starts in your area.

Is there a minimum or maximum age to enroll?

There is no minimum or maximum age to enroll. We recommend that you enroll your child when your state laws require children to be enrolled in a public or private school. There is no maximum age to enroll. We can even enroll adults who wish to get their high school diploma.

When does my enrollment begin?

Your enrollment begins either on August 1 or February 1. At any time during the year, you can decide to enroll and select the annual enrollment, which will cover the full academic year. Your enrollment is for 12 months, so your country’s academic year can be accommodated within this period. The annual enrollment fee is $375 for one student plus $50 for each additional child in the family.

If you decide to leave your current school sometime after the school year begins, you can start your enrollment either January 1 or July 1. It will end 7 months later.

Can I talk to someone before I enroll?

We are happy to offer you a free 15-minute consultation to help you understand how West River Academy can benefit you and see if we are a fit for your family.

Please read all the FAQs that apply to you before the consultation so you will have all the information you need and can use the 15 minutes wisely.

I have a special needs child. Can you help?

Since there are no academic requirements at West River Academy, you are free to work with your child in the way you feel is best. We can offer consultations if and when necessary to help you negotiate this challenging path with your child.

Can my child skip grades or do two grades in one year?

We do not assign grade levels; you are free to do so if you wish. If you are using a curriculum and your child completes 2 grade levels in one academic year, you can put those 2 grade levels on a one-year transcript. The only caution we offer is that if you submit a transcript that does not look “normal”, you may be opening yourself up to undesired scrutiny and questions.

Can we enroll in West River Academy if we travel from state to state or country to country?

We have many world schooling families. Our official confirmation of enrollment letter can be presented to any state or country’s officials to prove enrollment in a private U.S. school to show compliance with compulsory attendance laws. We cannot guarantee that you will not have to comply with local laws, but in most cases families have been free to continue along their educational path without problems.

How do I withdraw my child from the previous school?

You will complete the creation of your personal West River Academy account and immediately be able to download your confirmation of enrollment document.

If your child has been in school, you will be able to give us the school’s contact information so we can transfer school records. A Record Request form will be sent to the school. When we receive the records, either digitally or by mail, we will let you know that we have them.

As a courtesy to the school, you may wish to let them know that you are enrolling your child in a private school effective immediately or on a certain date and that they will be receiving a request to transfer records shortly. Be sure you have no outstanding fees or other loose ends to tie up or the school will not release the records.

What if my child has been homeschooling according to state law?

In this case, there are no school records to transfer. But your child will still be registered as a homeschooler in the district. We recommend that you contact the district office and let them know that you have decided to enroll your child in a private school.

What if my child wants to go back to school?

You can order a transcript that covers the time the student was with us. We will send the transcript on to the next school when we receive a request for records from the new school.

What if I change my mind about enrolling after I have paid the fees?

Our refund policy states that no refunds will be issued after payment is made unless a prior agreement is in place. Please be sure to read all the FAQs and do your own research before you enroll. We welcome a free 15-minute consultation to help you decide if we are a fit for your family.

Accreditation and Legalities

Are you accredited?

We are accredited by the National Association for the Legal Support of Alternative Schools (NALSAS), an organization that accredits alternative schools in the U.S. Their website is nalsas.org.

Because we choose not to comply with the curriculum requirements of any entity, we do not seek seek accreditation from any of the large regional accreditation organizations in the U.S. Therefore, our accreditation may not be universally recognized.

We encourage you to take responsibility for your decision to educate outside the system and do all the research necessary to make sure you are making a wise decision for your family. We do our best to support you and help you achieve your educational goals, but we cannot be held responsible if things don’t go as expected.

Do I have to file a Notice of Intent to homeschool with my school district?

It depends on your state’s laws. In most states, by enrolling in West River Academy, you will be in compliance with your state’s compulsory attendance laws and will not have to comply with its homeschooling laws. That means you would not have to file a Notice of Intent to homeschool or do the testing or evaluation required of homeschoolers.

Are you a California PSP?

Yes. We are a California Private Satellite School (PSP) and file an affidavit with the California Department of Education each year.

What is your status in Colorado?

West River Academy is a Colorado corporation and a private school. This means that your family is in compliance with the compulsory attendance laws of the state and will not have to comply with the homeschooling laws. You will not have to file a Notice of Intent to homeschool with your school district each year. You will not have to do the testing or evaluations required at the end of grades 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11. It also means that you do not have the right to attend public school part-time or participate in sports or other extra-curricular activities. Some students have been able to do this, but it is up to the school district.

Are you an online school?

No. We do not offer online courses.

Are you an umbrella school?

Yes. West River Academy is an umbrella school, meaning that your enrollment with us allows you to homeschool under the umbrella of a private school.

Are you legal in all 50 states?

There is nothing in any state law that forbids you from enrolling with West River Academy. However, not all states will accept your enrollment as a means to avoid their requirements for homeschoolers. That means you may still have to get permission from the school superintendent and file periodic reports, be tested or evaluated, etc. If this is the case in your state, the main benefit of enrolling with West River Academy is earning a high school diploma and transcript, which can be very valuable when applying for employment or to college. You would apply to college as a private school student and avoid the tedious process of applying as a homeschooler and having to prove everything you learned.

Requirements and Reporting

What is required in order for me to enroll?

You will only need to create an account, provide student information and pay the fee. No documents or academic records are required.

What is required of me after I enroll?

Since there are no academic requirements and we do not provide materials or curricula, you are free to choose the educational style and materials for your family. We are available to assist and support if and when you need us.

How much record-keeping is required?

We encourage you to keep your own records, but you are not required to report to us until the end of the year.

We recommend keeping a journal if you are in high school so that an accurate final transcript can be made.

As for attendance records, we consider that your student’s attendance is 100%. In most cases, you do not have to comply with the homeschooling laws, which may require a specific number of hours of study per day or year. By being enrolled in a private school, you only have to follow the policies of the school.

What do I have to send you at the end of the year?

At the end of each year, we ask you to send us a summary of what was learned during the year. If you use a curriculum, your report might take the form of course names and grades, along with other activities and your comments. If you learn naturally, your report might be a refection on your year’s activities and the individual growth you have observed. Some families like to put together a portfolio that includes pictures and artwork. The year-end report is designed to help you prove to yourself how much your children learned. So choose a format that will be of value to you.

If you would like an official transcript at the end of each year or one at the end of multiple years, you may purchase it at the published fees.

Curriculum, Support and Resources

What support do you provide after we enroll?

We offer consultations that you can purchase if and when you need our help with your situation. We can help you create an impressive transcript, put together a daily plan, advise on learning styles and methodologies, offer resources and explore with you post-secondary options.

Do you supply books, materials and curricula?

We believe that a curriculum is designed for a group of students who must all be learning standard information at certain ages. This is not how humans learn best. So we do not recommend, sell or provide curriculum of any kind. However, you are free to choose any materials, books, programs of study or methodology that you wish, in keeping with your own beliefs, philosophy or convictions. We do not interfere, but we are available to assist if and when you need us. You may order consultations if and when needed.

We promote natural learning, also called unschooling, which returns the authority for choosing an educational path to the student in cooperation with the parents. We want your children to thrive in a safe, healthy and free environment, in which pursuing their Interests will lead them to a satisfying and happy life.

Can you recommend any resources?

For young children in Kindergarten through Grade 6, there is an inexpensive book series that may be useful to you and enjoyed by your children:

What Your __Grader Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

For teens that would like to do some formal courses, we first recommend checking into your local community college. Teens can take courses and earn both high school and college credit simultaneously.

Another option for teens is enrolling in online courses, such as those offered by Khan Academy, which are free and self-paced.

www.khanacademy.org

What is unschooling or natural learning and how can I learn more about it?

Unschooling is a term coined by educator John Holt, who believed that children should be free to learn naturally, following their interests, not bound by the dictates of a school curriculum. Unschooling returns the authority for choosing an educational path to the student in cooperation with the parents. It provides the foundation for your children to thrive because they are able to follow their heart and create a satisfying and happy life for themselves.

John Holt was a pioneer in school reform in the US. He was a Yale University graduate and spent time as a teacher. He started wondering why toddlers and pre-school children had so much fun exercising their curiosity and loved learning and then, as 10-year-olds, acted up in class and appeared bored with learning. He came to realize that when the element of coercion is added to the learning model, it turns off love of learning and students just try to get by with the least effort. John Holt’s solution to this was to do the opposite of what is done in school. Instead of being required to participate, let it be voluntary. Instead of changing subjects every hour, let the child continue learning in an area of interest as long as his interest continues. Let him stop when he loses interest. Let his interests lead his learning. Isn’t that how adults learn things?

Unschooling or natural learning is referred to as self-directed education, interest-based learning, child-led learning and relaxed homeschooling, among other terms. Think of it as putting the child in the driver’s seat of the car. The parent is in the passenger’s seat, making sure the car is not driven off a cliff, being the navigator with map in hand, letting the driver know what appears to be up ahead, etc. The child is then free to take the interstate or go off on a scenic byway, explore different places along the way or get to the destination as fast as he can. It’s letting the child drive the car while the parent offers guidance and assures safety.

Unschooling is usually eased into, as there is a lot of programming that both parents and children have received while being in the system. West River Academy will support you as you move comfortably into a learning style that is right for your family.

To learn more about learning naturally, please visit these websites:

  1. John Holt’s Growing Without Schooling at http://www.johnholtgws.com
  2. Muddy Smiles at https://muddysmiles.com/unschooling-evidence/
  3. Homeschooling Why and How at http://www.homeschoolingwhyandhow.com

 

Transcripts and Graduation

Can I get a transcript?

You may order a transcript for any period of enrollment in West River Academy. The transcript may include prior years if we receive official school records proving enrollment in another school. If you homeschooled independently and wish to have those years on your transcript, you will have to pay the annual enrollment fee for those years. Once enrolled, you may put those years on your transcript.

How does the transcript get created?

After you order the transcript, we will provide a template for you to enter the course names and grades that represent the learning that took place. We will review your transcript and give you our feedback. Then you will give us your final approval that the transcript is true and accurate.

Can I get a high school diploma?

After your Graduation Project is approved, we will issue you a high school diploma. You can also receive a high school transcript to send to colleges and universities.

What do I have to do to graduate?

West River Academy, in keeping with our educational philosophy, has only one requirement for graduation. It does not include completing a specific number of courses.

You submit a Graduation Project, which can be educational biography or a custom project. The educational biography is a recounting of your educational journey from as far back as you can remember up until the present time. It must be at least 3 single-spaced pages written in high school level English or Spanish. It may be possible for you to submit your educational biography in other languages as well.

Alternatively, you may submit a proposal for a project of your own creation that presents your educational journey, such as a multi-media presentation, artwork with narration, etc.

After your project is submitted and approved, a parent endorses your readiness to graduate. A diploma is issued and together we create a final high school transcript (grades 9-12). The fee for the Graduation Project is $395, in addition to the annual enrollment fee of $375.

You enroll for the Graduation Project during your final year of high school. The project should be submitted no sooner than a month before graduation.

If you have not been enrolled in West River Academy for all your high school years, your previous school’s credits can be transferred in. If you don’t have records from a previous school, you can enroll retroactively for those years at any time by paying the enrollment fee of $375 per year.

What doors will my West River Academy diploma and transcript open for me?

Our graduates have been able to enroll in colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, UK, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. A list of some of the institutions our graduates have been accepted into can be found on our Graduation page.

What if the college I apply to does not accept my West River Academy transcript?

We recommend that you apply to more than one college or university in the rare case that an institution does not accept our transcript. Enrolling in a community college and receiving your Associate Degree is always an option. You can then enroll in a 4-year college as a transfer student.

What should I do if I live outside the U.S. and want to go to a university in my country?

If you live outside the U.S., the diploma will be mailed to our office and then we will ship it to you. We recommend that you order only the document, without the padded cover, so that it will not be held in customs. Most students outside the U.S. wish to have both the diploma and the transcript sent for Apostilles. This process take 2-3 weeks. We strongly recommend that you purchase Express Mail so that you can track it door-to-door.

After you receive your Apostilled documents, you will have to present them to the Ministry of Education of your country to request that they be validated. Once validated, you can present them to the university. We strongly recommend that you check with local officials before you enroll in West River Academy to find out the likelihood that your documents will be validated and if not, what your course of action would be.

What if I don’t make a transcript right after I graduate? Can I make one later?

We recommend creating the transcript immediately while you can easily remember what you did and learned during your high school years. If you don’t create the transcript within a year of graduating, you can make one later, but you will have to pay the published fee for a transcript at that time.