Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the most commonly asked questions are listed below with their answers. If you do not find the answer you need here, please read refer to the Compass Family Handbook or contact Compass administrators.
- We just moved here (or just decided to homeschool) mid year. Can we enroll in classes now?
Compass welcomes new families to enroll at the start of any quarter throughout the year. With the exception of a few year-long and half-year (semester-long) classes, the vast majority of Compass classes are on a 7- or 8- week quarter schedule with stand-alone themes that a student can join at any quarter. Check class descriptions for any that have prerequisites.
- We just learned about Compass (or were on vacation) and missed the first week of classes. Can my daughter still enroll in a class?
Online registration typically remains open until after the 2nd week of class if space is available in the class. Families are welcome to enroll after the first week and begin the second week in most classes. Most classes are unable to accommodate an additional student after the second week. For any questions or exceptions, please contact Compass administration.
- My child is in 2nd grade, but is loves science/is a strong readers/is advanced in math. Can she take a 3rd-4th grade class?
Homeschool families are welcome to enroll their child up or down one year from the suggested grade range if they believe a class is a good fit for their child academically. When a younger child is placed up a level, (a 2nd grader placed in 3rd-4th grade class, for example), he/she must also be socially mature enough and have appropriate classroom conduct to be indistinguishable from the students at the upper end of the grade range (4th graders in this example.) A student’s grade is based on the grade he/she would be in if enrolled in public school without acceleration or grade-skipping. For more information on the age/grade placement policy, please see page 3 of the Compass Family Handbook.
- My child has ADHD/ anxiety/ autism spectrum disorder/ sensory processing issues. He has an IEP from his old school. Can he take classes at Compass?
Compass classes are not designed to serve students with special emotional, social, psychological, or physical needs. Compass administrators and instructors do not all have special training necessary to manage the unique learning needs of students with these diagnoses, nor does the program have counselors or aides. However, some students with ADHD, anxiety, Asperger’s Syndrome, and sensory processing disorders have been successful in Compass classes. To be successful in a Compass class, a student must have appropriate classroom behavior and be able to resist shouting out, interrupting the instructor, distracting classmates, and must understand personal boundaries, for example. Sometimes the careful selection of a class can make the difference for a student with a learning difference. An active, hands-on class like Lego engineering, drumming, or CrossFit may be suitable for a student who is less able to cooperate in a more traditional classroom setting. Parents of students with these needs should contact Compass for recommendations before registering.
- I see that Compass meets at a UU church. We are Protestant/ Catholic/ Jewish/ Muslim/ Buddhist/ agnostic, etc. Can we attend?
Compass is an inclusive and secular program that welcomes homeschool families of all faiths, nationalities, and all backgrounds. The program is not sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, its Board of Directors, or staff.
- How many students are in your classes?
Compass classes generally have only 10-12 students. Some classes may have as few as 5-6 students, and occasionally, a class will have 14-16 students, depending on the assigned room, subject matter, class format, and teacher’s preference. Most classrooms have a maximum capacity of 12 students governed by the lease.
- The class my daughter wants is full. Can you just add one more student?
In most cases Compass is unable to add more students than the class’s planned maximum number of students because of the size of the room, the teacher’s preference, and/or classroom supplies. If a class is full, students are encouraged to register for a back-up, or second choice, class in addition to joining the waitlist. If anything changes in the number of enrolled students, and an additional student can be accommodated, families will be contacted in the order of the wait list sign-ups.
- My child is on the wait list. When will you tell us if he gets in the class?
Depending on how early you placed your child’s name on the wait list and how many students are ahead of him/her, it could be weeks or months before you hear anything about the wait list. Many changes, such as a job relocation or a last minute decision to enroll in traditional school, occur just weeks or days before the start of a new quarter. Therefore a wait listed family might not hear until a short time before classes are scheduled to begin, if at all.
- Can my son try a class first to see if he likes it?
In order to make sure we have enough students to run a class, families are asked to commit by registering and pre-paying for the class. If a family is unsure about the selection of a class for a specific child, contact Compass with your questions or concerns. Administrators can put you in touch with the specific instructor, connect you with a family with similar aged child(ren) who have taken the class, and/or arrange for you to visit a similar class in progress.
- Do you give grades?
Since Compass is not an accredited school, grades are not awarded. Most classes serving K-8th grade are enrichment classes, and homeschoolers do not want or need grades. Teachers of high school classes will provide qualitative feedback on a student’s preparation, participation, and understanding of the subject matter so that the parent can award an appropriate grade while also considering the student’s effort on the material at home.
- Are students given tests at Compass?
For the most part tests are not given in Compass classes. A few high school classes will use quizzes as a way to assess students’ understanding or mastery of a topic or to ensure they are keeping up with class readings and homework
- Will my child have homework?
For elementary and middle school classes, homework is optional and may be suggested if your family wants to follow up or further explore a topic. Some classes will have end-of-quarter projects or presentations, but most students have fun with these. A few high school classes will have mandatory homework as a way to ensure high school students are keeping up with class material.
- Will my high school student receive credit for this class?
Since Compass is not an accredited school, credit is not awarded for high school classes. Compass administrators and instructors may make recommendations as to whether or not a class could be considered a full or partial year’s credit, but each homeschool family must decide how each class fits into a student’s portfolio as a full credit course or a “component” course that must be bundled with other classes or outside opportunities to meet the family’s definition of a full credit. Read more about the high school program here.
- We are applying to a private school next year. Can you provide a Compass transcript for my child?
Compass does not maintain transcripts for students. Families of high school students are encouraged to keep class descriptions, class e-mails, syllabi, sample works and/or instructor’s profile and qualifications for developing their own homeschool transcripts. Families who record a record with listing of classes taken at Compass may log into their Compass Family Profile to view a history of past classes.
- Can I drop my child off and leave campus?
Compass has staggered drop off policies based on your child’s age. For a child under age 8, an adult must be on campus at all times. For students ages 8-12, parents can drop off and leave campus as long as the child is in class. For breaks before, between, or after classes, an adult must be available to supervise the student. For teens, ages 13, and up, parents may drop off in front of the building if the student understands all behavior policies and expectations and has a Teen Form on file. For a more detailed discussion on Drop Off and Supervision, see pages 20-22 of the Compass Family Handbook. For a Teen Form, log into your Compass Family Profile to completed the necessary information online.
- This is my daughter’s first formal class, and she is shy. Can I sit in the back of the classroom with her?
Parents and visitors cannot be accommodated in the back of the classroom because of space concerns and the impact on the dynamic of the class when an unfamiliar adult is present. Parent waiting areas are located throughout the academic buildings, and most parents can find a waiting spot very near the child’s classroom. Most classrooms have a glass window if a parent needs to peek to see how his/her child is doing.
- I have logged into my family profile and do not see how to drop a class.
Requests for withdrawals from class must be sent in writing, preferably by e-mail or fax. Once received, a Compass administrator will look up your child’s registration to suggest alternative classes or advise you if a refund is available. Refunds are only given if your child’s space in the class can be filled by a wait-listed child, and only if changes are made before the first class. For more information on withdrawals and refunds, see page 7 of the Family Handbook.