Frequently Asked Questions
How is your academic year divided?
We have four terms, but the majority of our students take their classes during Michaelmas, Christmas, and Easter terms. Trinity term is offered over the summer.
How did your terms get those names?
Our Michaelmas term begins in the autumn time and is named after the arch-angel Saint Michael (Daniel 10 & 12, Revelation 12, Jude 1), whose name means “who is like God.” The holy angels see God’s face (Matthew 18:10), they heed God’s voice (Psalm 103:20-21), indeed they know it well so that in godly wisdom they excel. Just as we begin each day asking that God’s holy angel be with us, we begin our teaching and learning asking God’s protection and guidance, as we receive godly wisdom and also seek it out.
Our Christmas term begins in the early winter and crosses over into the first two months of the new calendar year. The Gospel-writer Saint Luke, after having penned the wonderful happenings leading up to and surrounding Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, summed it all up by saying of the young Jesus that “He grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52).” We who have received God’s indescribable gift in His Son (2 Corinthians 9:15) likewise grow in all that is good, since every good thing comes from God (James 1:17).
Our Easter term commences in the very early days of the spring of the year and usually spans the joyful season of our Lord’s resurrection. Because of the risen Christ and what He has done for us dying sinners we know that neither our faith in God (1 Corinthians 15:17) nor our labors in the Lord as learners or teachers (1 Corinthians 15:58) are in vain or useless. Since Christ has indeed been raised from the dead let us keep the feast of victory, and even the banquet of this world’s knowledge, in sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:8).
Our Trinity term runs through the summer months and takes its name from the Sunday and the season following Pentecost. The angel host praise the true God in the Trisagion (Isaiah 6:3b), and we who dwell on earth acknowledge even our home in this fallen world is full of His glory due to the divine Word. This Word teaches us the ways of God and His gracious and holy will both toward and for His creatures. Faith in God’s Word and life in His world results in right confession and praise, as we sing in the antiphon for Trinity Sunday—“blessed be the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity; let us give glory to Him because He has shown His mercy to us (liturgical text).”
Research has shown that asynchronous and synchronous delivery afford different benefits for students. Synchronous delivery's strengths are discussing less complex issues, getting acquainted, and planning tasks. Conversely, asynchronous delivery's strengths are reflecting on complex issues and flexibility. In keeping with the mission of Wittenberg Academy (providing high quality classical Lutheran education), we chose asynchronous delivery so as to afford all students the opportunity to deeply process complex issues as they learn how to live in the faith of their baptism as they love and serve their neighbor.
Do you ever meet live?
Teachers and students receive, at a minimum, one hour of live time each week. During that time, students and teacher have discussions, give speeches, work on cognitive challenges, assess work, and the like. If students or teachers request additional live time, that is certainly arranged.
There seem to be asynchronous and synchronous elements to the classes. How does that look day to day for families?
Asynchronous is “not live.” There are some online schools that do their primary teaching in a pre-scheduled live class, essentially replicating a classroom, but the students are sitting at home. Wittenberg Academy utilizes “not live” methods for the primary teaching. The lectures are pre-recorded, the majority of discussions occur via discussion forums within the online classrooms, the assignments are submitted in the online classrooms, etc. All of those things can be watched, read, completed, and submitted throughout the day. Teachers may put stipulations on readings or assignments that they are due Tuesday at 11:55 p.m., for example, but the students can complete the work at any time prior to Tuesday at 11:55 p.m. Lectures can be watched any time during the day or night as is convenient for a family’s schedule.
The only official time the students gather together synchronously, or live, for class is one hour per week. That session is scheduled once classes begin so as to accommodate as many schedules as possible. We have students all over the world, so that can be an exciting challenge. If students are absolutely unable to participate in the live session each week, we do record those sessions. It is extremely beneficial if students are able to attend those sessions as teachers use them for labs, student speeches, art critiques, and other activities that are more challenging, though not impossible, to accomplish in a “not live” environment.
We think that this confluence of synchronous delivery of teaching and learning one hour each week and asynchronous delivery for all other teaching and learning throughout the week provides families great amounts of flexibility, but still gives students the benefits both delivery methods offer.