Middle School (5th-8th) FAQs
Q: What goals do you have for your Middle School program?
A: We desire to provide a Christ-centered, relationship-based educational experience that is relevant to our students and which rightly values faith and character development, parental involvement and each student’s unique, God-given gifts and skills. We keenly feel the importance of being in the “here and now” with our students and helping them grow and develop into young women and men who know the Lord. We also desire to produce students who are intellectually curious, who are moving toward greater independence in their learning, and who will be prepared to be successful in High School and beyond.
Q: How is the Christian aspect of the school implemented?
A: First and foremost, our teachers work from the basis of a Christian worldview, both in their example as Christian character models and in the instruction and training of the students. We are more concerned about the state of our students' hearts toward God and their character than we are in where they are functioning academically, and as such our teachers take the time to speak into these most important areas. While we feel that parents have a direct call to train their children from scripture, we see our role as one which lends support to what parents are teaching in the home. Our teachers lead devotionals and also raise discussions on Biblical truths as opportunities arise throughout the course of the school day. Our Middle Schoolers also engage in a Biblical Studies class as a part of their regular classroom instruction.
Q: Is it expected that parents will personally hold the same Biblical views as laid out in CHLG's Doctrinal and Positional Statements?
A: Our desire is to bring together families who hold the Christian worldview as a priority, and as such we ask that at least one parent be able to sign CHLG's Doctrinal and Positional Statements indicating that these doctrinal and positional points are a reflection of their sincerely held religious beliefs. If both parents cannot, in good conscience, sign based on sincerely held religious beliefs, we ask that the second parent sign under the section that indicates a willingness for his/her child to be taught by the principals laid out in the Doctrinal and Positional Statements. This also includes an understanding that CHLG has an expectation that parents and students will not raise objections within the context of the school community with regards to CHLG's Doctrinal and Positional Statements, conduct expectations (which are based in scripture), or the Biblical principals taught and discussed within the classroom, during extra-curricular activities, or during other school events or field trips.
Q: I heard that CHLG is a Micro-School. What does that mean?
A: Micro-schools are often defined as schools of less than 150 students, with small class sizes and a reduced in-school schedule. Some experts believe that micro-schools could be the next big trend in education. Trendy or not, we know that the model works! We began in 2011 as DC’s first micro-school, and we’ve seen the positive results first-hand.
Q: Is CHLG a certified University-Model® school?
A: We are currently in the process of becoming certified as a University-Model® school (there are approximately 90 U-M® schools across the country). The University-Model® combines the best attributes of traditional schooling with the best attributes of homeschooling and integrates them into one model. The result is a quality, cost-effective, college-preparatory education that utilizes one of the strongest indicators for long term academic success, parent involvement. In addition to this, the model also provides parents with more time to impart their own faith and values to their children.
Q: Is CHLG accredited?
A: Once we receive our certification as a University-Model® school we can move forward with accreditation as a U-M® school through the international educational accrediting agency Cognia. The accreditation process is tied to the certification process.
Q: What is the student/teacher ratio?
A: Classes are capped at 12 students in the Middle School. Smaller class sizes mean more individualized attention and also allow the teacher greater ease in adapting to the learning styles of the individual students. You won’t find many programs that have such a low student to teacher ratio (and most will not even state a maximum class size on their website or in their materials). We feel strongly, however, that class sizes should be stated, as there is a big difference between a class of twelve and a class of twenty-five. We believe that small class sizes are essential to our model, as this allows our teachers to easily get to know and understand each of their students as individual learners, which then allows for greater collaboration between home and school.
Q: How is the Middle School at CHLG organized?
A: Our Middle School program includes subject specific teachers for Language Arts, Math, Science, History, Latin and Biblical Studies. CHLG provides all the textbooks, workbooks, etc. that are used in the program, and students bring materials back and forth between school and home. We use a school management system called ClassReach to communicate weekly assignments to both students and their parents, which includes both the assignments that are completed in the classroom and those which are to be completed at home. Parents have all the information needed to come alongside their middle school student to both provide accountability and to help with organization, study skills or specific coursework. Our Middle Schoolers are in the classroom on T, TH and F from 9:00-2:00.
Q: Does CHLG follow a particular educational philosophy?
A: Our educational philosophy stems from Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Our starting place is one of humility and includes a recognition that while there is much truth that we can glean from this beautiful world that God has given us, there is also much that God has chosen not to reveal to us. We teach our students that, whether we are dealing in the knowns or the unknowns, we can rest in God’s goodness to us, which is shown most clearly through Christ. As we guide our students as learners we use an eclectic teaching methodology (i.e., we are not aligned with a particular educational model). We look for dynamic Christian teachers who will be excellent role models and who can ignite a fire of learning in their students. Most of us can think back to a few Christian mentors who inspired us to run hard after God, or a few teachers who excelled at connecting us (and our classmates) to the subject material. We believe that those mentors and teachers excelled not because they were following a particular plan or educational model, but because they had a God given ability to dynamically connect with students (Robin William's character in the movie Dead Poet’s Society exemplifies this, albeit in a secular way). Therefore, it’s probably most accurate to say that our program is built around relationships rather than around a particular methodology (and because of this we have always held that parents are a child’s most influential teacher). That said, if we had to choose a couple of methodologies that we regularly draw from we would point to the Classical and Charlotte Mason methods. Much of the curriculum that we use has a Classical or Charlotte Mason bent to it (go HERE for a list of our curriculum). If you’re interested in reading more about these methodologies there are summaries of each at the bottom of this page (taken from the book 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum).
Q: How are parents of Middle Schoolers expected to be involved in the school?
A: Our expectations for parent involvement fall into two main categories:
1) We ask parents to work their schedules so that they (or another adult) is at home to mentor and guide their Middle Schooler as he/she works on the home-based assignments on Mondays and Wednesdays, as well as to provide more direct instruction for times when their child requires extra help in understanding a concept or an assignment. Middle School is a time where students are learning to be increasingly independent in their learning, but it’s still important for parents to stay engaged and involved. Parents play an important role in their child’s education at CHLG by providing accountability, ensuring that quality work is being completed, and guiding their child to acquire study and organizational skills. Parents should also assist their Middle Schooler by keeping tabs on how the student is progressing with his/her subjects so that, if necessary, changes to study habits can be implemented or other study aids can be added.
2) We ask parents to invest in the school by serving 20 volunteer hours annually (and that's 20 hours regardless of how many K-8th grade students a parent has in our program). There are some specific requirements for fulfilling these hours, such as completing a certain number of cleaning hours or teacher support hours (ie: copying, helping prep for projects, etc.). Other hours are earned by signing up for various needs such as hosting social events for our students and/or families, encouraging our teachers with lunch deliveries and other treats, planning and organizing field trips, helping out with special events like science fair, open house, prospective parent information meetings, career fairs, etc. Parents who are handy will also find opportunities to help with repairs, painting, and other improvements to the building, and those who like to clean will always be welcome to help with various cleaning needs, including the very satisfying job of running the carpet cleaning machine! Working together to support CHLG is one way that we build strong community ties, and our middle schoolers join in with this as well by helping to clean their classrooms and common spaces at the end of each school day (in this we are teaching them to be contributors to the school rather than merely consumers).
Q: How much time will my Middle Schooler spend on schoolwork at home?
A: This will be dependent on a number of things, including your child’s work ethic, ability to stay focused and the speed in which he/she typically works, but the average CHLG Middle School student can expect to work approximately 5-6 hours each day on the two satellite days, and approximately 2-4 additional hours spread out over the other weekdays and the weekend.
Q What curriculum do you use?
A: You'll find a listing of our curriculum HERE.
Q: Are there events scheduled for times when students are not in class?
A: One of the wonderful things about our program is that our families are truly learning and playing together in community. It’s not at all unusual to see many CHLG families / students hanging out at Sherwood Recreation Center after a morning of classes, or meeting up at Yard’s Park in the afternoon after a morning of homeschooling (or, for older students, working out a time amongst themselves to get together outside of class). Middle School families also join together occasionally for field trips on Mondays or Wednesdays (non-class days). Field trips may directly relate to current studies or may simply be interesting, educational opportunities that would peak the interest of the students. In addition to field trip opportunities we also provide some after school class offerings that are fee based (i.e., general P.E., art, and chess) which are held either at the school or at nearby facilities (parents choose whether they would like their child to participate in these additional class offerings).
Q: Does CHLG follow the DCPS school calendar?
A: We have our own calendar, which includes four teacher work days (two of which are for parent/teacher conferences). With regards to holidays we typically take off Wednesday-Friday for Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas, and Good Friday and the week following Easter for Spring Break.
Q: What are CHLG’s tuition costs?
A: Tuition for Middle School for 2023-24 is $850/month ($8500 annually). Our costs are considerably less than a typical private school, where 35+ hours of classroom time is necessary due to larger student/teacher ratios and less involvement by parents at home. The University-Model® provides our students with more time to pursue other interests and also allows for more family time, giving you the opportunity to teach your child "as you go" (and not just in academic areas and life skills, but in the more important areas of knowing and loving God and character development).
Q: Do you offer tuition assistance?
A: We do offer assistance for families who qualify. If you’re interested in being considered please complete the Tuition Assistance Application on our website and submit it by January 18th, along with your most recent tax return, to the email address on the form. If you have applied for tuition assistance you can apply First Priority by February 1st without a financial commitment (no application fee or deposit is needed until awards have been decided, which typically happens by February 15th). Once you have received information about any award we are able to offer, you can then decide if you would like to confirm your First Priority application with the signed Membership Agreement, signed Doctrinal and Positional Statements, and the deposit/application fee (the deposit will be determined based on any tuition award offered). The signed documents and fees will need to be submitted by February 22nd in order to maintain your First Priority application status.
Q: How difficult is it to get into CHLG's Middle School program?
A: Because we are a micro-school with small class sizes and no plans to expand it can sometimes be difficult to get in. If you apply using the First Priority option (with deposit by February 1st) your chances of placement increase. Additionally, DC is a transient place, and we certainly have families who move out of the area and leave open placements behind. Please use the contact tab to let us know about your interest in hearing more (we'd love to give you a tour and provide more information about our program). Even if we don't have a placement available for your child we always encourage interested families to go through our application process in order to be placed on our waitlist (placements sometimes open up just before or during the school year due to families moving out of the area).
Q: How can I find out more about CHLG's Middle School program?
A: View the recording from our Middle School Parent Informational Session and attend our Open House on Friday, January 20th. See our home page for more information about these events. If you can't make the 1/20 Open House please reach out to us HERE to request another day for a tour.
Q: When can I make application for 2023-24?
A: Applications for the 2023-24 school year will be online by January 6th (you'll find everything you need for the application process under the "APPLY" tab). The First Priority application deadline (which gives your child the best chance of placement) is February 1st.