Zion Academy is a homeschool only in the sense that its students complete their coursework from home. It is, perhaps, best described as a private school with a campus in your home or a distance learning school. This article is a review of their website.
Zion Academy is not a homeschool in the sense most people understand. It is an accredited school that your child can attend from home. Just as in other private schools, the faculty and staff of Zion Academy set the curriculum, teach, give grades, and administer school records. But your child does not have to be there to receive these services. Your child can receive this education from home. There is an application process, but all applications are accepted. The curriculum is Bible-based, Christian homeschool, and published by Accelerated Christian Education.
Zion Academy offers core courses in English, Math, Social Studies, Science and something called “Word Building,” which combines Language Arts and Spelling. Extra courses for students in grades 1- 8 are called “Enrichment” and include courses in Animal Science, Bible Reading, Literature and Creative Writing, and Basic Literature.
High school electives include Accounting, Etymology, French, Life of Christ, Literature, Music, Nutrition, Typing, American Sign Language, Spanish, Computer Literacy, and Speech. Some college curriculum is also available, including Greek, English Composition, College Math, Geography, and History of Civilization.
No samples of the Zion Academy curriculum are available for preview, so one is limited to judging by the website. Zion Academy offers a list of colleges that have accepted students using their curriculum, including University of Chicago, Harvard, Cornell, Oxford, and McGill, and the program is accredited by the National Association of Private Schools.
Zion Academy materials are workbooks and are designed for self-instruction. This is very narrow. An academic program with no textbooks, no literature, no activities, and no laboratory component that claims to be a full curriculum raises some serious questions. I cannot find any review of Zion Academy of American online, so I cannot speak to their customer satisfaction.
In terms of their course offerings, it is rather puzzling to note that in the enrichment courses in Bible reading, students study the Book of John in Grade 2, prior to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which are less poetic and conceptually challenging and therefore easier to understand. “In the beginning was the Word” is much more difficult to grasp than “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior who is Christ the Lord” – unto notwithstanding.
However, although Zion Academy claims to be run by “experienced professionals in the field of education,” the website casts doubts on this claim in that the writing is filled with errors.
On the Mission Statement page, one finds the following:
“All children will succeed when diagnosed properly of their strengths and weaknesses, given the right tools, and are taught to become a ‘self-learner.’
. . .
We believe that when the student is given proper tools to use, and becomes a ‘self learner’; then they are able to succeed at most anything they wish in life.
It is our goal to assist the parent in discovering the potential of their child; to give the student the diagnosis needed to set them towards that goal; and to develop the skills needed to be a winner in life.”
Let’s analyze this prose:
In the first sentence,
- the particle of is not appropriate with the verb diagnose.
- the three items in the series are not parallel
- the subject moves from plural (children) to singular (a ‘self learner’)
- the period should be inside the single quotation at the end of the sentence by the rules of American English
In the second sentence,
- the comma before and is wrong because it separates the two parts of a compound predicate
- the semicolon is wrong: it should be a comma
- the subject moves from singular (the student) to plural (they)
- the phrase succeed at . . . anything they wish in life has an odd ellipsis: one would expect to find a word like try or attempt, perhaps something like “anything they wish to try” . . .
In the third sentence:
- the potential of their child is not colloquial; one would expect “their child’s potential”
- the direct object moves from singular to plural twice: (the parent – their child;the student – them)
- that goal is not a clear reference back to the potential of their child, aspotential and goal are not synonymous
- there is no stated subject of the final clause, thus it reads as if the faculty of Zion Academy is the subject : It is our goal . . . to develop the skills needed to be a winner in life.
- That’s three goals, not one, suggesting that the sentence should have been constructed with goals in the plural.
It’s possible to have mistakes and typos on websites. It can happen to the best of us. But this reads like an exemplar of poor English and calls the qualifications of this organization into question. And it’s the organization’s mission statement .