Frequently Asked Questions
Alpha Omega Academy

Q: Is Alpha Omega Academy® accredited?

A: Yes. Alpha Omega Academy is fully accredited by the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation (CITA) and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI). AdvancED, the world's largest educational community with over 27,000 public and private schools, is now the parent organization for CITA and NCA CASI. For more information, visit our accreditation page.

Q: How much time does my student have to finish the school year?

A: The school year is typically 180 days, which is about nine months, although students have up to 10 months to complete one school year's coursework. A semester is 90 days or approximately four and one-half months. Students have up to five months to complete a one-semester course.

Q: How quickly can my student work through curriculum?

A: While there is flexibility to doing schoolwork at home, the Alpha Omega Academy requires approximately 180 school days of instruction for each school year. It is especially important to meet these requirements at the high school level in order to receive credit. Students can complete their courses over a shorter period of time by occasionally increasing hours of study, working on weekends, or adding a summer session.

Q: If I'm not able to teach my student academic concepts, what should I do?

A: SOS and Ignitia teachers will answer academic questions for your student in the program using the message system and the problem notepad. For more extensive explanations, you or your student may call one of our Iowa teachers Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CT). Between our well-written curriculum, our regular SOS teachers, and our call center teachers, your student will get plenty of help.

Q: Does Alpha Omega Academy offer achievement testing?

A: Yes. Achievement testing is included at no charge for all full-time AOA students. Alpha Omega Academy offers enrolled students the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test through the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). MAP is a nationally normed and accepted achievement test delivered to enrolled students through the home computer. During the first year of enrollment, achievement testing is scheduled before beginning the curriculum to provide a baseline of comparison. Thereafter, achievement testing is scheduled near the completion of each year's program.

Q: Do you know my state's distance learning requirements?

A: Certain states view enrollment in any form of distance education as "homeschooling." Other states recognize accredited distance education institutions. It is the responsibility of parents to know or be familiar with the education laws in their home state and know how enrollment in Alpha Omega Academy is viewed by their state.

Q: How does the content of the Switched-On Schoolhouse curriculum compare to LIFEPAC®?

A: Switched-On Schoolhouse lesson content was originally drawn from the LIFEPAC curriculum. SOS developers have since updated the content, rewritten sections, and enriched the material with interactive multimedia like animation, video clips, and learning games. Made for today's generation, this flexible, computer-based curriculum offers multiple printing options, a helpful resource center, and an automated "text-to-speech" feature.

Q: Can my student use other curriculum?

A: All students must use Ignitia, Switched-On Schoolhouse, LIFEPAC, or Horizons curriculum from Alpha Omega Publications®. For an additional fee, high school students may use outside courses that are pre-approved by a counselor and are not offered in Alpha Omega Publications' curriculum.

Q: Will your program prepare my student for college?

A: Alpha Omega Academy's college preparatory course of study is designed to prepare students for entrance into most universities and colleges. Because each college or university has its own entrance requirements, the student or parent will want to consult with each school to tailor a high school program that meets specific requirements of that institution.

Q: Does my student have to be connected to the Internet with Switched-On Schoolhouse?

A: If you are using remote access, you need to be connected to the Internet, so your student can do his SOS schoolwork. If you are using the synchronization option, you do not need to be connected to the Internet while your student is working. You only need to connect when you're synchronizing. This needs to be done at the beginning and the end of the school day.

Q: If my student is enrolled in the academy, do I still control his schedule?

A: One of the benefits of Alpha Omega Academy is the flexibility of the schedule. The parent has the freedom to change the student's schedule, provided he stays within the deadline for the course. Parents do not need to notify the academy of a school day that has been missed. However, if the student will not be working for a week or more, we recommend informing the academy.

Q: I do not know if distance learning is for me. May I talk to someone?

A: Absolutely. Our educational specialists are available Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CT). Please call 800.682.7396 and press 2. We look forward to discussing your student's educational needs.

Q: Are students only admitted during certain times of the year?

A: No. We understand that not everyone operates on the same calendar. Because of that, we offer rolling enrollment. Rolling enrollment means that you can start your school year at any day or month during the year.

Q: Can I use a satellite Internet connection if I live in a remote area?

A: We do not recommend using satellite Internet connections because of frequent reports of difficulty transmitting SOS schoolwork. An ordinary dial-up connection usually works better than a satellite connection. However, if there is no better way, families may try using a satellite connection if they are willing to assume the risk that it may prove unsatisfactory.

Q: Does AOA have an adult education program?

A: Yes. The academy has a diploma program for independent adults 19 and older who may need the flexibility of enrolling in one course at a time, while holding down a full-time job. For more information, log in to the Virtual Campus to view the AOA Resource Center or call an enrollment specialist at 800-682-7396.

Q: Does the academy have any scholarships available?

A: Yes. The academy has one needs-based scholarship called the One Another Scholarship. For information on applying for or contributing to this scholarship, please access our scholarship page.

Q: What kind of computer and operating system will I need for Switched-On Schoolhouse?

A: To maintain compatibility with current technology, the 2009 version of SOS is designed to run only on computers with an operating system of Microsoft® Windows® XP SP3 or later, including Microsoft Windows Vista®. Minimum system requirements are as follows:

Windows® XP Service Pack 3

  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 7 or higher
  • 500 MHz or higher processor
  • 512 MB memory (RAM)
  • 600 MB hard drive space
  • 1024x768 or higher resolution monitor, 16 bit color
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Adobe® Acrobat® Reader®
  • Printer recommended

Windows Vista®

  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 7 or higher
  • 1 GHz or higher processor
  • 1 GB memory (RAM)
  • 600 MB hard drive space
  • 1024x768 or higher resolution monitor, 16 bit color
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Adobe® Acrobat® Reader®
  • Printer recommended

Windows® 7

  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 7 or higher
  • 1 GHz or higher processor
  • 1 GB memory (RAM) (2 GB for 64-bit)
  • 600 MB hard drive space
  • 1024x768 or higher resolution monitor, 16 bit color
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Adobe® Acrobat® Reader®
  • Printer recommended

Switched-On Schoolhouse (SOS) requires a Windows® operating system. Academy families with an Apple® Macintosh® computer should enroll their student in the Ignitia curriculum rather than the Switched-On Schoolhouse curriculum.