2022-23 School Year
This handbook brings together all that you need to know about the workings of the school as well as the responsibilities of the parents, teachers, and staff. We strive to make it as complete as possible.
- Registering as a homeschooler. Remember, you are a homeschooler. While our school provides the foundational schooling with teachers (in the case of full classes) you are still responsible for following all the homeschool laws in your city, county, province, state or country. For the United States, you can find those requirements at HSLDA.org. By being enrolled in Seasons of Seven, you agree that you are taking on this responsibility. Seasons of Seven can not provide official records. You are responsible for abiding by your governing body’s requirements.
- The portal. Parents are responsible for getting to know the family portal and if you have an older child, helping them get to know the portal. Remember, you should log in as yourself and your children as themselves when connecting with class content.
- Waldorf is not secular. You understand that the belief systems of many cultures are covered in Waldorf. Any beliefs that are shared, reflect those of the cultures studied and are not necessarily the beliefs of the teachers or the staff. We believe that the path to peace with humanity comes in understanding each other. We do this by understanding the beliefs of many people. If you have more questions about the nature of Waldorf and religious content, please see our article HERE
- Parental involvement. Our school is a hybrid meaning it is not 100% online synchronous learning and it is also not 100% offline or asynchronous learning. It is a hybrid of both. We very much see parents as partners with our teachers and the school.
In the lower grades, below class three, parents will notice that there is more involvement required. While the teacher is in charge of providing the content, parents need to provide the opportunity for the content to be consumed and assist the child in being prepared for the lessons. This might include helping them prepare their paintings to be sent to the teacher or it may include helping them complete an assignment. Parents in these younger grades are also encouraged to help bring some of the content if the desire is to limit screen time. Parents can learn the songs and stories and bring them to the children if desired. Parents are requested to work on daily reading with their child once the letters have been introduced to aid in the process of practicing their new skill.
For upper elementary, middle and high school classes, children will be expected to be more responsible for their own work. There should be less help from the parent at this stage and an active encouragement for the student to connect with the teacher. Parents should regularly hold their child accountable for submitting quality school assignments on a daily basis.
Please remember that the Zoom connections are part of school. What makes Seasons of Seven different from other models is the connection piece. The Zooms are intended for connection with the teacher and community with other students. Please work to have your children consistently attend these sessions, missing Zoom meetings can equal missing content.
- Block teaching. In Waldorf, we teach by blocks. A block is a focused span of time on one subject. Within that subject, many things are covered. Please be aware that in the lower grades, through class 5, mathematics are also covered in blocks and while there will be some daily mathematics practice, it will not be as focused as it will be during a mathematics block. If you have any questions about how this works, feel free to ask your teacher.
- Technology requirements. A strong stable internet connection as well as a working camera and microphone.
- Zoom etiquette. Zoom time will be new for many children. Other children will be pros from the start. We have advised the teachers to disable the written chat feature in each Zoom, especially for the younger children, so the focus is on the teacher and not on all the buttons. We are asking parents to disable ALL Zoom backgrounds as they can be distracting to the other students. Teachers will keep Zoom time for the younger children shorter and all teachers will be actively working on engagement with their students. Please be sure that your child is dressed when they come to their Zoom classes - pajamas are of course fine, we just want them to have clothing on. Please also ensure that anything going on in the background in your home is appropriate for public view. We also request that clothing not be political or commercial in nature if possible.
- Release for recording Zooms. As part of Seasons of Seven, you consent to your child being recorded each week for the sole purposes of connection and community with the rest of the class. These will not be used for any commercial or advertising purpose unless the expressed consent is given by the parents and teacher.
- Email and social media protocol. This is covered in depth below in the section titled Code of Conduct.
- Code of conduct. To comply with the code of conduct as outlined below.
- Withdrawal Policy. If you choose to withdraw your child from Seasons of Seven, no refunds will be given.
- Sharing of Seasons of Seven Class Content and Log In. Your Seasons of Seven/Homeschool Life account is for you and your family only. Class content, Zoom recordings and/or login information is not to be shared with anyone else in any way without the written consent of Seasons of Seven Directors. Sharing content may result in complete removal of access with no refund.
- Make lesson work a priority. While it is the parents ultimate responsibility to assist the children in their work, we ask that children be made aware they have a responsibility to attend, to do the work and to show up. For many students that may have come from a homeschooling or unschooling background, this might be very different from how they have learned in the past. Having a family discussion about expectations is a great way for everyone to understand what lies before them.
- Community. We love how young minds work! When they bring you ideas for community that we haven’t thought of, please let us know! We want to help them make connections with their classmates.
- Code of conduct. To comply with the code of conduct as outlined below.
- Who are they? Our teachers college is made up of Waldorf school teachers and Waldorf homeschool teachers. Our teachers come from several walks of life from all over the world.
- Lessons & Zoom Calls. Our teachers provide your children with the lesson content. The lesson content will be consistent with Waldorf pedagogical guidelines set forth by Rudolf Steiner. The content comes in the form of pre-recorded videos, audios, live Zooms and PDF (where appropriate.) This content is intended to be consumed throughout the week by your child. The classes are set on a schedule and lessons will only be available for a limited amount of time. Classes are not go at your own pace. In addition to this content, there will be 1-6 Zoom calls per week depending on the age of your child and the content of their class. All Zoom calls will be recorded for administrative purposes but not distributed as we encourage student attendance.
- Parent Office Hours. This is a weekly, optional, parent time to connect with the teacher. Each teacher will communicate his/her office hours with you. This is an open, group video chat on Zoom and is open to all the parents in your child’s class. This is a safe space and a perfect space to bring up any concerns or questions you may have about your child, their progress and the direction of the class. These office hours should follow the Code of Conduct posted below.
- Collecting Assignments. Teachers will collect and review assignments through the portal. Please be aware that if your child does not submit sufficient school work then the teachers will not evaluate your child at the end of the term, block or school year.
- Evaluations. At the completion of the class, if your child has consistently turned in work, the teacher will evaluate your child’s progress and give you a report . In some cases families have asked for a letter grade and while this is not standard in Waldorf, you should feel free to contact your child’s teacher if you need this.
- Class 8 and above. In order for your child to receive a class 8 or class 12 Seasons of Seven diploma, they must have earned a score of at least 70% for the work assigned. If your child hasn’t completed the necessary work they will receive a certificate of participation in lieu of a diploma. A transcript will be created and maintained for classes 9-12 and will reflect actual grades earned. A class 12 diploma will only be given to students that have completed their entire 12th grade year with Seasons of Seven and earned a score of 70% for the work assigned. Every family is responsible for the legal requirements of their state/country for homeschooling and graduation.
- Connection & Community. Teachers are fully aware that your children need connection and community. Zoom times may be awkward at first, but the teacher will be working quickly to break down the barriers that can come with online learning. You should expect that your child’s teacher will work hard to get the children comfortable not only with them as the teacher, but also with the other students in their class.
- Anti-racism and inclusiveness. Seasons of Seven offers ongoing inclusion training for our teachers. All of our teachers are aware and actively committed to have an attitude of anti-racism in their teaching as well as interactions with their classes. Content is always chosen with a great deal of prudence. Open discussions of inclusivity in an age appropriate manner will occur as needed. Open discussions of anti-racism, the affects of slavery and racist agendas will be part of the curriculum in many areas, including but not limited to the local history, Age of Exploration, the abolishment of slavery in the United States and around the world, as well as many other main lesson topics.
We realize that families come in all shapes, sizes and types. Our teachers are committed to an inclusive classroom. In return, please keep in mind, our teachers come from many different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs and may experience racism and discrimination in a different manner.
Code of Conduct
At Seasons of Seven Virtual School we are dedicated to open communication with staff, teachers and families. In order to reach this ideal, patience, respect and transparency is key. We endeavor to treat each other with respect and always be thoughtful in what we say and how we say it. If conflict should arise, we should always strive to focus on the issues and assume that others have good intentions.
Seasons of Seven staff and teachers respect the confidentiality of all information shared with us. Information collected by family and student portal will only be used for school purposes. Your privacy is important to us.
Guidelines of Proper Conduct
- If a conflict with a staff member, a teacher or parent arises, all parties should work to handle it swiftly, taking the matter directly to the individual(s) involved, requesting a face to face Zoom meeting when possible and appropriate. It is respectful to speak to people directly. When such a meeting is not possible, it is recommended that you reach out to the school directors, beginning with Melanie Novakovitch, Director of School Operations and Admissions, Melisa Nielsen or Nicole Dorsey.
- When parents request a meeting with a teacher or a member of the team of directors, a response will be given priority.
- Please keep all communication with your teacher within the Seasons of Seven email accounts.
- Please use email and any electronic communication thoughtfully. This includes Facebook messenger, texting, Marco Polo, What’s App, FaceTime, Zoom, and any other form of electronic communication.
- Please keep all teacher communication within the portal or the email address provided by the school in the portal. The communication in the portal gives us a written and time stamped record of events.
- For all electronic communications, please keep in mind the tone of your message. When communicating face to face we can hear tone, when communicating via electronic means, tone is lost. We encourage you to write a draft of your communication and ponder it before sending.
- When replying to emails, please do so thoughtfully and give time to reply thoughtfully.
- Take care when writing in CAPITALS to not yell at those you are trying to communicate with.
- Take care not to engage in harassment of any kind. Sexual, physical, racial and creed harassment will not be tolerated in any way.
- Interactions on social media can be tricky. We have a strict no bullying policy in place for our teachers and staff. This being said, the opinions expressed by our team are their own and do not reflect the attitudes and opinions of Seasons of Seven Virtual School. We expect that our team will have opinions that will at times likely differ from yours, as long as there is no bullying involved and as long as they are not sexually explicit, racially motivated or ethnically insensitive, we can not comment on what they do on their personal social media. Bullying of any kind will not be tolerated (teachers, staff, students, or families, etc.)
- Please do NOT reach out to your child’s teacher on social media. Please encourage your children, if on social media, to respect this boundary as well.
- When is it appropriate to contact my teacher and how do I do it? If you have a question regarding your child’s class, you can ask in the portal forum, you can send your teacher a message through the portal or you can ask that question at your teacher’s weekly office hours. If you have a concern, it is a good idea to connect with your teacher, using the guidelines above and use statements that begin with “I” rather than accusing statements that begin with “You.”
Sample School Day Rhythm
- Rise before your children.
- Family breakfast & gathering.
- School lessons (1-4 hours depending on age)
Each day will look a bit different with Zooms and enrichment classes. We encourage you to plot it all out on a weekly calendar so you can see it on paper and it isn’t overwhelming in your head. Putting it on paper will allow your family to see where lessons will flow as well as non-school exploration time.
There will be some video training for parents during Welcome Week giving direction for home rhythm.
Terms and Policies
These are the Terms and Policies you agreed to when you applied for our program.
All students and families must adhere to the following:
- All Application fees, registration fees, and tuition fees are completely non-refundable. See below for more information.
- Payment is due upon class registration. Non-payers will be removed from registered classes. Late fees of $50 will be assessed for late payments. Those with payment plans, payments are due on the 1st, a reminder will be sent on the 2nd for all non-payments. Late fees will be applied on the 7th. Outstanding accounts that are 14 days past due will be “parked” and not able to access content until the account has been made current. At 21 days past due, students with outstanding accounts will be removed from the class. The spot in the class will then be opened to our waitlist. To rejoin your class, if a spot is still available, all payments must be made in full.
- Families are homeschoolers and must register and/or meet their required State/Country Laws. United States Homeschool Laws can be found at https://hslda.org/legal. While we are a cooperative of teachers, we are not an accredited school at this time.
- All students will be placed in the grade/class based on their age and Steiner’s placement guidelines.
- We believe that all students have a right to a safe and healthy school environment. All students, teachers, staff and families should treat each other with kindness and respect regardless of differing beliefs, views and opinions.
- All work and communication must be respectful. Profanity, racism, bullying, harassment and pornography will not be tolerated.
- All course materials can be used for the student registered for the class and can not be reproduced or shared with any other student.
- Parents and students are responsible for the success of their student’s learning. Teachers are expected to provide the lessons based on Waldorf pedagogy
- Parents and students are expected to do the work and stay up to date with class assignments. Our classes are not set up to go at your own pace, they are set up to run on a schedule to cover all material for that class period. Lessons will only be visible for 15 to 30 days and then removed. It is imperative that you treat this as you would an in person class. For the success of your student and your experience with the course, regular contact with the teacher is recommended.
- Late coming students will not have access to content that has been missed unless that content is critical to future lessons.
- Each grade's teacher will provide evaluations for each class. Evaluations are only possible when a sufficient amount of consistent work is turned in.
- The parent is responsible for keeping all lesson books and records you may need to meet your State/Country homeschool requirements.
- Class teachers will follow a 32 week schedule, if your State/Country homeschool laws require more days or time you are required to fulfill those requirements independently.
- Seasons of Seven Virtual School does not provide Standardized testing. If testing is a requirement for your State/Country, parents are responsible for seeking these resources.
- We can accept Arizona ESA but please contact us first. Families will be responsible for the 2.5% charge that ClassWallet charges Seasons of Seven.
- *Charter School Policies for Melisa Nielsen LLC (Seasons of Seven & Waldorf Essentials)* We are now accepting California charters funds.
Seasons of Seven Virtual School strives to support our teachers, students and school in the best way possible. We work hard to keep our overhead costs low to allow most of the funds received to go straight to our amazing teachers. The registration fee covers Admin support and technology expenses. All payments are non-refundable to cover these areas.
Our college of teachers is composed of certified Waldorf teachers as well as seasoned Waldorf homeschooling teachers who are well versed in bringing lively lessons.
These terms of service are subject to change as needs arise to meet the standards of our school.
Sparkle Stories ~ www.sparklestories.com a collection of audio stories written by a Waldorf teacher and master storyteller, David Sewell McCann. Stories are divided by age and range from 3-4 years through adult.
How to Story ~ www.davidsewellmccann.com/ a set of courses and community membership for parents, teachers and children to strengthen their art of storytelling.
Jamie York Math Academy ~ www.jamieyorkpress.com/math-academy/ mathematics courses for grades 5 and up as well as teacher training.
Cathy Bird ~ https://www.facebook.com/eLearningSupportTeacher/ Reading specialist and dyslexia coach.
Melisa Nielsen ~ www.melisanielsen.com parent, marriage and homeschool coaching.
Nancy Gruskay ~ grief counseling for parents and teens.