The Aim Academy Online Handbook provides full explanation of our mission, policies, and procedures. Download a copy of our latest edition here.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Will my child’s safety and privacy be secure in Aim Academy Online classes?
We take our responsibility to create a safe and private online learning environment for your child seriously. Here is a full statement on how we do this. Our teachers and staff have passed background checks and we provide ongoing training related to student safety, privacy, and well being. We keep student information safe and secure.
What is your refund policy?
Please read the course description, confirm the class schedule (all times are Eastern), and get all your questions answered before registering. If there is a placement test or course application, please use that to help you determine whether or not your child is ready for the difficulties of the course. Thanks! (When a class is not a good fit for your family, it is also a disappointment for the teacher, too.)
Request a course change/withdrawal/refund using THIS FORM.
Registration fees are nonrefundable. Refunds are issued through the original payment method unless otherwise specified by you.
For full year classes paid in full, the following refund policies apply:
- We issue a 80% refund if you withdraw from the course prior to the third Monday of August.
- We issue an 60% refund if you withdraw from the course prior to Week 7. ( First week of October)
- No refunds are issued after Oct. 1.
For mini-courses and one semester courses paid in full:
- 80% refund if you withdraw prior to the first Monday of the first week of the course.
- 60% if you withdraw prior to 3rd week of the course.
- No refunds issued after 1st Monday of Week 3.
For students on a payment plan, the following refund policies apply:
- We will issue a refund, less 20% of the full scheduled payment, if you withdraw prior to the third Monday in August. (For example, if full payment would have been $600, we return what you have paid, less $120).
- We will issue a refund, less 40% of full scheduled payment, if you withdraw prior to Week 7. (no refunds after October 1)
- The same policies apply to mini-courses and semester courses if you withdraw prior to the 3rd week of the course. No refunds after the 1st Monday of Week 3.
Credit Option: You may elect to receive 80% credit for the amount paid, excluding technology fee, toward a future AAO course. The credit option is only available up to the deadlines for 60% refund (prior to week 7 of full year course; prior to week 3 of semester/mini-courses.)
Do you offer payment plans?
Yes. You can distribute the cost of a mini over 3 months, the cost of a semester over 5 months, and the cost of a full year class over 5 or 8 months. A service charge of $10 per month is added to each class on a payment plan. This helps defray the cost of processing each payment and following up with families when a payment does not go through. We refund the $10/month service charge for the remaining months if you pay off your balance early.
Payment plans begin when your order is placed–we are not able to delay the start of the payment plan until the beginning of class.
By selecting a payment plan, you agree to complete payment even if your child withdraws or stops participating in the class after the refund period has passed.
What kind of technology is required?
High speed, broadband Internet, sound card, webcam, and microphone are necessary to participate in the live class sessions. Streaming video capabilities are necessary to watch recorded lectures. A quality headset is also recommended for live lectures (one with a USB connection is best). A scanner is recommended for most high school level classes; as well as, the ability to convert documents to a PDF format. Microsoft Office is also helpful. If you are using Apple’s Pages, these have to be converted to PDF format to submit as an assignment in Canvas.
What is your AI-assisted policy for students?
At this time, AI assistance is prohibited unless otherwise noted as approved by the teacher for a specific assignment. We are piloting the responsible use of AI in education and will update our policy once we’ve concluded our study.
How do I request accommodations for a student with exceptionalities or unique circumstances (i.e. travel, other commitments, etc.)?
We understand that our families homeschool in part for the flexibility it affords. We are here to support your homeschool goals. Please make teachers aware of areas where you hope they will be flexible prior to enrollment–if they are known at that time. For example, late work, missed classes, accommodations for special circumstances or student exceptionalities, etc. We flex where we can when requests are made by the supervising parent in advance. If unforeseen circumstances arise, please reach out to the teacher to request accommodations as soon as possible. Feel free to contact our Director of Student Services if you prefer to discuss your need for flexibility or accommodations with an administrator.
Please note: We may not be able to accommodate all requests and additional remuneration may be requested if additional time is needed from the teacher.
Can I transfer to another course if a class isn’t a good fit?
Yes, these policies apply:
Before the first Monday of the first week of the course you are enrolled in:
- There is a $34 change fee to change classes.
- The only except is, there is no charge to transfer to another class taught by the same teacher of the same length (full year swap to another full year, etc.)
- If there is a price difference, the upcharge must be paid first.
- Transfers from full year to minis or semester courses do not apply. The refund policy applies in those cases.
Change fee after classes begin and within the drop/add period (Before Oct 1)
- There is a $34 change fee and an 80% credit toward the new class. The change fee and price difference must be paid first.
In all other circumstances the refund policy applies.
What is the maximum number of students in a class? What is a typical class size?
Classes are limited to 21 students—though many classes such as French or English are limited to 12–15 students. If enrollment will exceed 21 students, parents will be notified. We do not run a class with less than 3 students. It is very rare for us to cancel a course.
How available is the teacher? What options are available if my student needs extra help?
By contract, teachers have agreed to respond to student/parent emails within 48 business hours. In most cases you will receive a response much sooner. Most teachers are available by appointment either before/after class or during their weekly office hours.
If your student needs extra help, tutoring can be arranged directly through our website. Our math and many English classes also offer a homework session once a week. See examples of math labs and ELA labs here and here.
Is class attendance required? What should we do if we must miss a class?
Class attendance is expected and will count toward a portion of the student’s class participation grade. If a student must miss a class, the student or parent should notify the teacher in advance and provide an explanation. Teachers set their excused/unexcused absence policies. We understand homeschool families need flexibility, so our excused absences policies are reasonable.
If your child will routinely miss the live class, they should apply to be an asynchronous student prior to enrollment. Asynchronous students are excused from the class attendance policy. Asynchronous students apply directly to the teacher. Not all classes accept asynchronous students.
What is included in my child’s class participation grade?
A portion of a student’s final grade will include a participation grade–this is because research shows that student engagement is critical to student learning. Evidence of student engagement includes the following: class attendance; camera on during live class; consistent, on point contribution to class discussions; work turned in on time, and requesting help from the teacher when confused, frustrated, or struggling to understand.
We expect students to have their cameras on during the live class unless the teacher requests they be turned off. Parents should contact the teacher in advance if they wish their child to be excused from this requirement (we understand there may be some legitimate exceptions.)
From our own experience and from the research, students with their cameras on are far more engaged in learning than those who have them off.
Do you provide student grade reports and transcripts?
Yes, student grades can be printed as a PDF by parents from their Canvas observer account. Grade reports from previous classes can be accessed by selecting Courses>All Courses>Past Enrollments from the parent’s or student’s dashboard in Canvas, our learning management system.
Teachers send a final grade report directly to the parent’s email on file at the end of the course.
Parents may request one unofficial transcript per year free of charge for their records. Please request a transcript through the AAO Transcript Request form. If a student drops or withdraws from a course during the drop/add period that course does not appear on the transcript. We report all courses the student enrolled in at AAO regardless of final grade, incomplete, or withdrawal, after the drop/add period ends. Grades are final 30 days after the term ends and cannot be changed after that date. The school year ends May 31st for all full year and second semester classes.
Official transcripts are $25/per request and are emailed directly to schools and universities admissions’ offices. We will email to up to 5 email addresses per request. Official transcripts snail mailed are $25/per mailed transcript.
Transcripts require 5 business days. Rushed requests, if possible, are $50. We cannot guarantee fulfillment of a rushed request, especially over a weekend.
My student is younger/older than the recommended grades for a course. May I enroll an out-of-level student?
For a variety of reasons, we do not place elementary and middle school students in classes with older high school students. If a parent wishes to place a younger student in an out-of-level class, we first discuss the potential problems. If the student is capable and the parent agrees to take responsibility for the risks involved, the student may be placed in the out-of-level class per permission from the teacher.
Older students may not enroll in a class designed for younger students without first meeting with AAO Director of Student Services. Adults (18 and older) may not enroll in AAO classes (the only exception is a student who turns 18 during their senior year.)
Do you offer any discounts or coupons for classes?
As a general rule, we do not. Here’s why: Our goal is to set Aim Academy Online apart for consistent, excellent teaching, no matter what classes you enroll in. To achieve that, teachers have to be fairly compensated. If we start to discount or sell their labor at a reduced cost, we run the risk of losing exceptional teachers or undermining their motivation.
Instead we carefully consider the pricing of our classes each year. We honestly are not padding our prices so we can afford to run sales or offer discounts–instead we are setting the price each year that is reasonable compensation for a qualified teacher to provide live, graded classes weekly with quality feedback and support for each child in his or her class. If that is what you want for your kids, then we are the online learning provider for you!
We do have a group rate — you save $50/student on full year classes when 4 or more students sign up for the same class or $30/student for a semester course. Contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to receive your coupon code for a group enrollment. Also, students in our Distinguished Scholar Program earn 10% off their classes if they maintain a 95% average in their classes.
Do you charge a registration fee?
Yes. We charge $34 per order to help cover our costs for customer support, record-keeping, and technology. The fee is non-refundable and automatically applied to each new order.
A separate order must be placed for each student who registers for classes. The administration fee is applied to each order and is the same no matter how many classes are on the order. If you are on a payment plan, the administration fee is only charged on the first order.
When does registration open for returning families for the following school year?
Registration opens for returning families the last week of February.
When does registration open for new families for the following school year?
March 1 is registration day — a preview of our schedule and course line up is finalized in February. Sign up for our e-mail list to stay abreast of developments.
What is the schedule for the school year?
Full year and semester long courses begin the third week of August. Classes end between the last week of April and the second week of May. Classes meet at least 32 weeks. Classes that prepare students for end of the year AP or CLEP exams typically meet 34 weeks. Class breaks are scheduled for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and early spring.
The current school year schedule is listed here and in the handbook.
What is included in the cost of a class?
Your payment covers student and parent access to the course website and access to the live class sessions (one student only). Live sessions are provided once or twice a week as per course description. If a live session is not provided, the teacher will provide a recorded lecture. Any modification of this provision will be clearly noted in the sign-up materials.
Teachers may cancel one live class per semester for personal reasons. If additional live classes must be canceled, the teacher will provide a make-up session.
What is not included in the cost of a class?
The cost of the course does not include the required texts or lab materials, unless noted in the course description. Teachers have selected texts that are appropriate for the course and, as a secondary priority, those that are easily available used.
The cost also doesn’t include any extra tutoring you may wish to ask of the teacher.
What is the class format?
- Students and parents have access to all class materials via the class website, built with Instructure’s Canvas learning management system (LMS). Separate invitations to both student and parent will be e-mailed the week the course begins. It is important that each student and each parent accept their invitations and set up their individual accounts for signing into the class website. After the start of the class, all communications with the teacher should take place within Canvas so a permanent record of teacher/student and teacher/parent interactions is created.
- The class syllabus will be available at the start of the course; this may be updated or modified as needed by the teacher, though these are kept to a minimum. Students always have at least seven days to complete an assignment.
Students and teacher will be able to discuss the material via a class discussion forum which is private. Parents also have full access to the class website and discussion forums but cannot interact with class.
- Instructors regularly use the Zoom conferencing tool to offer a live discussion or chat with students. Students receive the link to the live discussion prior to the start of class. The first time a student uses the Zoom conferencing tool, a small file will be downloaded to the student’s computer that will allow the student to enter the classroom.
- The time slot for the live sessions is predetermined and posted on the AAO website.
- Students will also have access to recorded lectures made by the instructor. These will also include media, such as, PowerPoint presentations, whiteboard demonstrations or video.
- Students and parents will be able to track student progress through an online grade book.
- Canvas also provides analytics, which allows teacher and parent to see student activity and progress in the course.
My child has never taken an online class before. How will we know what to do?
We’ve got you covered. We provide an orientation video for new families, and our teachers understand that they are acclimating students to online learning; as well as, the challenges of college prep work. They are coached to help all students get comfortable with an online environment during the first few weeks.
Additionally, teachers use the same technology in all our classes and organized their course website with the AAO template – so you can expect a quicker adjustment with each of our classes you enroll in.
Technical support is provide 5 days a week. Submit a support ticket here.
What kind of time commitment is necessary?
The time commitment increases with level and it will vary from student to student. In general, the time commitment is affected by the student’s reading level. If the student is already reading beyond grade level, he or she will move through the material more quickly. If the student is weak in critical reading skills, then more time will be needed.
All of our classes focus on developing a student’s critical reading and comprehension skills. What follows is a general rule of thumb for each level:
Middle school – 3-4 hrs. a week
High School – 4-6 hrs. a week
Honors- 5-7 hrs. a week
AP – 8-10 hrs. a week
What should we do about technical issues?
We provide technical support 5 days a week. If we cannot solve your problem, we can escalate to Canvas support desk. You can submit a support ticket inside Canvas or by filling out this form.
Are classes recorded?
Yes, all classes are recorded and made available for students to view and review throughout the course.
The time slot doesn’t work for us. Must students attend the live class?
Yes, students are expected to attend the live classes and teachers may include attendance as a portion of the student’s class participation grade. Excused absences should be requested in advance (if possible) or explained after the fact by the parent/observer.
All classes are recorded and posted to the class website for students to view or review.
If your student cannot attend the live class, with prior approval by the teacher, the student may enroll as an asynchronous student as long as the student is able to stay on pace with the rest of the class and watch the recorded live class within 5 days of the live class.
What are equivalency exams?
Equivalency exams (also know as credit-by-exam) test a student’s knowledge and skill in a college level subject area. Students who score well on these exams may be awarded either credit or advanced placement at the university or college where they matriculate. The AP and CLEP exams administered by the CollegeBoard are the most frequently accepted equivalency exams. Each individual college or university determines which equivalency exams they will accept and the credit or advanced placement they will award. This information is typically listed on the college’s website.
What is the difference between earning credit and advanced placement for these exams?
If a college awards credit for a CLEP or AP exam score, then the student does not have to take the class the exam replaces. The student also earns the credits the college would have awarded a student who successfully completed that course (without having to pay the college for those credits). This is the best policy, as it saves you money and advances the student towards a degree.
If a college awards advanced placement, then the student is only exempt from taking the class the exam replaces. The student does not earn credit toward a degree but may take more advanced coursework in its place. This can be advantageous in allowing the student to earn advanced standing at the college or university earlier ( which will have its own set of privileges.) For example, a student who receives advanced placement in French because of AP or CLEP exam scores, may be able to take graduate level classes which count concurrently toward an undergraduate and graduate level degree.