Our goal is to help your family succeed in homeschooling, producing children of beautiful Catholic character with a passion for learning and the skills necessary to succeed in their adult life. We strive to protect against burnout in the teaching parent and the student. We work hard to make sure that most of your energies as the homeschooling parent are spent actually teaching instead of chasing paperwork. We have a system for tracking high school academic progress that is efficient, time effective, and, by including your high school student in the process, also a teaching tool for organization, goal setting, and preparing university appropriate work assignments. This tracking system culminates in the student earning a St. Thomas Aquinas Academy high school diploma.

The ten conditions for earning a diploma from St. Thomas Aquinas Academy follow. These conditions apply to all fully enrolled St. Thomas Aquinas Academy students who enter high school in 2014 or after and wish to earn a high school diploma from the academy. These conditions do not apply to students that fully enroll and do not participate in the semester reporting/transcript development process. These conditions also do not impact the plans of students who enroll in the "course support only" option. If helping your teen earn a diploma from the academy is your goal, your academic advisor and high school advisor will help you craft a plan that is personalized for your student and meets the conditions of the program.


If the St. Thomas Aquinas Academy Diploma Program is not for your students, but you would like the support of a cohesive program and experienced homeschool advisor, we encourage you to enroll in our full program so your academic advisor can start the basic skills evaluation process with you and match your students to appropriate materials to get your family back on track for academic success.



1. Attendance
2. Transcripts
3. Required Course List

4. Minimum Number of Credits
5. Standardized Testing
6. High School Appropriate Work
7. Age of Student
8. Paperwork Sent to the Academy
9. Substitutions and Non-STAA Courses
10. Diploma Application


1. Attendance

The student must complete eight full quarters with St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, four quarters of 11th grade and four quarters of 12th grade. A quarter is 45 school days (nine weeks). A school day is defined as three or more hours of academic activity. We strongly recommend at least six hours of daily academic activity to achieve academic excellence.


The minimum number of credits needed per year to earn a diploma is 60 credits in the required subjects -- that is six key, academic courses each semester. The student will need to earn 15 credits each quarter. This breaks down to around 6 or 7 full-time courses in the subjects listed in the Required Course List (see below) , which is around 5 to 7 hours a day for 45 days a quarter of course time. General studying and coursework includes (but is not limited to) reading aloud, independent reading, developing reading notes, writing, research for papers, written exercises, online quizzing, oral presentation, in-home schedule discussions, coursework corrections, testing, performances, and preparing progress reporting packets for St. Thomas Aquinas Academy to review. We recommend a minimum of 1080 hours of academics each school year (six hours a school day for 180 school days).

The academy utilizes a two semester system. Each semester consists of 90 school days, which are divided into eighteen 5-day school weeks. The first two weeks of the semester are preparatory weeks called Weeks A and B and are dedicated to organization, planning, and review. The eight school weeks following, Weeks 1 - 8, are Quarter 1. The next eight school weeks, Weeks 9 - 16, are Quarter 2. This pattern repeats itself in Semester 2: Weeks A and B are preparatory weeks, Weeks 1 - 8 are Quarter 3, and Weeks 9 - 16 are Quarter 4.

Teaching-parents are encouraged to develop their own school calendars and class period schedules that meet the above system in a way that is responsive to the needs of their family. However, annual enrollment in St. Thomas Aquinas Academy expires on June 30th, so please plan accordingly.


2. Transcripts

To graduate, your student must have four years of high school transcripts with St. Thomas Aquinas Academy. If homeschooled independently for Grades 9 and 10 and transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas Academy for Grades 11 and 12, please schedule a consultation with a high school advisor to discuss options for satisfying this requirement.

Note: Students transferring in high school credits from a previous year of high school or outside institution should expect the credit evaluation process to cost between $35-$65 per academic year, per institution.  The credit evaluation process will take place after your planning appointment.  (Pricing update for transfer service 1/15/2018).


3. Required Course List

Listed below are the essential courses to complete to graduate from St. Thomas Aquinas Academy as well as prepare students for college and other future paths. Whether or not students take more than the minimum number of credits required for graduation depends on the student's desired college major, vocation, personal goals, and interests.

Courses marked with ** can be swapped with a remedial course in the same subject area for students with moderate to severe remediation needs in Math and Language Arts.

Transfer students that have completed a full year of U.S. History at another school or while homeschooling independently without a program will have their credits evaluated to see if they are eligible swap their previously earned credits for the required St. Thomas Aquinas Academy course in U.S. History (U.S. Hist & Geogr I & II).

All students petitioning for a diploma from St. Thomas Aquinas Academy must complete the Essay Writing B, Logic, Essay Writing A, and Critical Reading course sequence mentioned in “3A. Composition/Reasoning.”


Minimum Requirement: 30 credits / 3 years / 450 course hours.

Complete STAA courses:

  1. Essay Writing B
  2. Logic
  3. Essay Writing A
  4. Critical Reading
  5. Complete two additional semesters of courses from St. Thomas Aquinas Academy or other sources.



At least three years of math are required and must include at least one year of Algebra (preferably Algebra II) and one year of Geometry. An additional 10 credits is recommended for all college bound students.

Preferred homeschool math courses: Saxon, Math U See, Harold Jacobs, Teaching Textbook, and Pearson's Pre-Algebra. Series such as Key To... or Life of Fred are accepted as supplements or labs to accompany primary math texts.

Credits can be earned for Consumer Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I & II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, and college level math.

All math studies must include working the problem sets on paper, neat-and-complete-show-your-work-paper, math study cards or math study notebooks, and regular, closed-book testing. Students are expected to earn 91% or above on their closed-book testing before moving on to new lessons.

Typical Math Sequences STAA's Preferred Math Sequence* Alternative Sequence**
Grade 7 Saxon 87 Math U See Pre-Algebra
Grade 8 Saxon Algebra 1/2 Math U See Algebra I or
Teaching Textbook Algebra I
Grade 9 Saxon Algebra I or
Jacobs’ Elementary Algebra
Math U See Geometry or
Teaching Textbook Geometry
Grade 10 Saxon Algebra II or
Jacobs’ Geometry
Math U See Algebra II or
Teaching Textbook Algebra II
Grade 11 Saxon Advanced Math or
Jacobs’ Geometry
Math U See Pre-Calculus or
Teaching Textbook Pre-Calculus
Grade 12 Saxon Advanced Math Math U See Calculus


*Students that are interested in taking the SAT Math Subject Tests or pursuing a STEM major are best served by following STAA's Preferred Math Sequence.

**Students utilizing an alternative sequence or programming for math are encouraged to take a standardized test such as the CAT, Iowa Basics, Terra Nova, or Stanford Achievement Test each spring as well as the St. Thomas Aquinas Academy assessment test.



Minimum Requirement: Four semesters studying a single language (20 credits; 300 hours of oral work, grammar, and composition).

St. Thomas Aquinas Academy encourages students to study Latin but gladly accepts German, Italian, French, or Spanish.

St. Thomas Aquinas Academy recommended Latin course sequence:



Minimum Requirement: 30 credits / 3 years / 450 course hours

Complete STAA courses:

  1. Moral Apologetics
  2. Church History I
  3. Old Testament I**
  4. Catholic Apologetics
  5. Complete two additional semesters of courses from St. Thomas Aquinas Academy or other sources.



Minimum Requirement:
10 credits / 1 year of U.S. History & Geography
20 credits / 2 years of World History & Geography

Complete STAA courses:

  1. U.S. Hist & Geogr I and II (two semesters)
  2. Greek History I** (semester)
  3. Roman History I** (semester)
  4. European History I and II (two semesters)



Minimum Requirement:
5 credits / 1 semester of Government
5 credits / 1 semester of Economics

Complete STAA courses:

  1. Govt & Natural Law (semester)
  2. Economics (semester)



Minimum Requirements: 20 credits / 2 years / 300 hours

Students are encouraged to complete one semester (75 hours) of Physical Education or Health each school year. Home-generated, local community activities, private lessons, safety, health, nutrition studies, first-aid, and the like may be reported for Physical Education credit.



Minimum Requirement: 30 credits / 3 years / 450 course hours

Complete STAA courses:

  1. American Literature I (semester)
  2. Greek Literature I & II** (two semesters)
  3. Roman Literature I** (semester)
  4. Shakespeare (semester)
  5. Complete one additional semester course from St. Thomas Aquinas Academy or other source.



Minimum Requirement: 20 credits / 2 years / 300 course hours

Complete the STAA course:

  1. Art & Music
  2. Complete three additional semesters from St. Thomas Aquinas Academy or other sources.
  3. Community-based music lessons are also strongly encouraged.



Minimum Requirement:
10 credits / 1 year of Physical Science
10 credits / 1 year of Biology

Complete STAA courses:

  1. Biology I and II (two semesters)
  2. One full year of physical science. St. Thomas Aquinas Academy strongly recommends completing at least three of the following, but students are eligible to graduate if they complete at least two of the following:
    1. Physical Science I (semester)
    2. Astronomy I (semester)
    3. Chemistry I (semester)
    4. Physics I (semester)

Optional science electives are available: Astronomy II, Chemistry II, Physical Science II, and Physics II.

At least two semesters of lab work is strongly recommended (for instance, lab work with Biology I and Chemistry I).

Students transferring in with a year of high school biology credits must complete at least Astronomy I and two other physical science courses from the STAA course list.


4. Minimum Number of Credits

Students must complete the requirements of 3A through 3J (see above) and meet the minimum goal of 240 high school credits. One semester of one course is 75+ hours of academic activity and instruction (or completing St. Thomas Aquinas Academy's 18-week course plan). Each school year students will need to complete at least 60 credits from the "Required Course List" until the requirements of each subject area are met AND the 240 credits have been earned.

4A. Summary of Required Credits:


5. Standardized Testing

St. Thomas Aquinas Academy requires that students take a standardized test in 11th grade and at least one more in grades 9, 10, or 12. Furthermore, the student must demonstrate reasonable scholastic achievement on his or her standardized tests. The testing requirement cannot be marked as complete when any of the student’s scores fall below the 50th national percentile. Students with an overall score or any of the subscores (Math, English, Science, Writing, and the like) that fall below the 50th national percentile may retest as many times as needed or utilize another standardized test until the scores on at least two high school tests meet or exceed the 50th national percentile.

Member Families: Log in to learn more about standardized testing.


6. High School Appropriate Work

The student’s coursework must be high school level or above. Your academic advisor will have St. Thomas Aquinas Academy approved alternatives to the required courses for a student with remediation needs in some areas. Of course, exceptions and individualized plans are made for students with documented learning disabilities or special needs.


7. Age of Student

St. Thomas Aquinas Academy is an authentic K-12 homeschool program, not an adult education or self-directed program. The student must be instructed and graded by a teaching-parent, legal guardian, or other adult instructor hired by the student's family. We do not issue diplomas to students older than the age of 19 unless arrangements have been made at the beginning of 11th grade because of documented learning disabilities, special needs, illness, or other extreme circumstances (subject to the Academy's review and approval; official documentation is required for all of the listed circumstances).


8. Paperwork Sent to the Academy

Semester reporting is required to be eligible for a high school diploma. The paperwork submitted:

  1. Must clearly show that the student demonstrates reasonable scholastic achievement in his or her daily course work
  2. Must be received by St. Thomas Aquinas Academy in a timely fashion (Semester 1 must be postmarked by February 28th, Semester 2 must be postmarked by June 30th, and all amendments must be submitted within 30 days of the request for additional information)
  3. Must be neat and orderly
  4. Must include the requested paperwork (approved Course Registration, neat and complete Semester Forms, Gradebooks or Weekly Assignment Sheets, quarterly work samples, official copy of standardized test results, etc.)









Semester 1 packets including all of the above listed paperwork and information are due before February 28. Semester 2 packets are due before June 30.


9. Substitutions and Non-STAA Courses

We refer to substitutions and home-generated courses as Non-STAA Courses (NSC). St. Thomas Aquinas Academy will gladly accept properly reported NSC courses as part of the student’s academic plan. Dramatic departure from the STAA core plan tends to compromise the cohesiveness of the program and may leave holes in the development of certain college-preparatory skills. Please discuss any planned swapping of STAA courses for NSC courses with your academic planning advisor to verify that your plan will skill keep your student on track for graduation.

Non-STAA Courses are welcome, but the courses on St. Thomas Aquinas Academy's "Required Course List" (see above) must be completed to remain eligible for a diploma from the academy.

Students that utilize Non-STAA Courses in composition, math, and science will need to submit standardized test results each school year these substitutions are in place.

While we encourage and accept reasonable book substitutions and the development of home-generated courses (courses NOT designed by St. Thomas Aquinas Academy), each year of high school over fifty percent of the high school student's academic credits must be from courses designed by St. Thomas Aquinas Academy for high school students in order to stay in our diploma program. For instance, if a student is taking Religion (10 credits), English (10 credits), Latin (10 credits), History (10 credits), Literature (10 credits), and Science (10 credits) then over 30 credits of this 60 credit plan must be from St. Thomas Aquinas Academy designed courses, following STAA Study Guides.
Properly reported Non-STAA Courses showing adequate academic achievement WILL be eligible to appear on the report cards and transcript. They will be labeled “Non-STAA Courses.” Quality work samples must be submitted to qualify the courses for academic credit.

For more information about Non-STAA Courses, visit the Personalizing the Course of Study page to read about the GS, GE, CP, LA, and NSC course classifications.


10. Diploma Application

The Diploma Application form petitioning for a diploma must be submitted with the student's Semester 2, Grade 12 reporting packet. The form asks the teaching-parents and student to confirm that all conditions for earning a diploma from St. Thomas Aquinas Academy have been met in their entirety. This application is found in the appendix of the High School Orientation booklet.

This document was last revised on 1/11/2014.
Minor edit to transfer pricing on 1/15/2018.

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