Feature Article “The VPSA Diploma Program” by Deb Nissley

Educational Helpsby Laurie Detweiler

Free Offer




August 2011


Feature Article


The Veritas Press Scholars Academy Diploma Program

Over the past five years or so, our homeschool families have been experiencing classical education through our curriculum and online classes. While successful, there seemed to be something missing … particular guidance for your child. Questions such as the following are commonplace: “How do I know what classes my son should be taking?  What classes does my child need to be competitive in applying for college? How many years of Omnibus are necessary for my child?”  It’s one thing to master the daily mechanics of homeschooling life, but for many it is equally challenging to “put it all together” and craft an educational curriculum that is uniquely appropriate for their child. Thus, the VPSA (Veritas Press Scholars Academy) Diploma Program was launched in the 2009-10 academic year to assist families in defining and implementing an educational track appropriate for each student.

Moreover, in case you hadn’t noticed, today’s world is changing at a pace that would boggle the minds of people in past centuries. We can go almost anywhere, do almost anything, and communicate with virtually anyone instantaneously. With the frenetic pace all around, society puts pressure on parents and children to aggressively pursue the biggest and the best … in education, sports and other endeavors. It is difficult to understand and select from the myriad number of opportunities and options. Our Diploma Program helps navigate these waters, helping you make decisions about what best suits your child.

Do we want to approach education to just meet the state mandated requirements? No, yet in some cases the pendulum swings in the other direction. That extreme would have all of us taking all AP classes. Many times this leaves our parents frazzled and our student stressed. Take a moment and reflect on our educational pursuits. What should be the ultimate purpose of our pursuits?  Ultimately as Christians our purpose should be to train our children’s minds so they can think and serve for His glory. Yes, it is that simple.

There is, however, some complexity on the practical side of things. We need to decide on courses each year with the goal of graduation in mind. The courses taken should adequately prepare the child for post-graduation life and meet the graduation requirements of the institution awarding the diploma. So it is important to have thought through some basic goals of post-graduation. Getting into an Ivy League college may be a valid goal for one student but completely off base for another. Each child is created uniquely, with different gifts and abilities. Each can be used to further God’s kingdom when they are using his gifts for His glory.

Our Diploma Program maps out four potential paths of study each with a different purpose in mind. The Standard Diploma is the normal diploma for students who in their education have come through the grades with a classical education. Some will find it a bit rigorous compared to other standards, but it is typical of the best classical Christian schools. The Honors Diploma is for gifted children. It is quite rigorous. Our Highest Honors program is for extremely gifted students. Students in this program begin in the Honors program and are invited into the Highest Honors program after demonstrating excellence in both their academic and extracurricular activities. Standards vary according to the level of the diploma sought. In the Standard Diploma students do not have to take as many classes online as higher levels and grades must be kept above 70%, unlike the Honors program which requires 80% or above in every class. Lastly, we have our Associate diploma level. Although classical in methodology, it is less rigorous and can include more outside work. It requires course study only up through Chemistry and Algebra II, not Organic Chemistry or Calculus II as is required in the Honors diploma level. The Associate program is more flexible and allows students to pursue other interests in electives. It works well for students now seeking a classical education who may not have had the foundational elements of a classical education.

When a family enrolls in the program, they are assigned a diploma consultant. An initial consultation is arranged and time is spent with the consultant learning about the parent and the student. It is important for the consultant to understand the student in order to make good recommendations. As our program is growing, it is our goal to have one consultant assigned to a family. The consultant will follow each of the children in the family through their academic years. The importance of understanding our students in the diploma program is also seen in the fact that we allow families to use curriculum other than what is recommended in the Veritas Press catalog. Why? Because each child is different and each situation needs to be evaluated individually. All outside curriculum is evaluated by our trained staff. Alternative curriculum is approved if the content and methodology matches the classical educational goals of VPSA.

So that’s what the Diploma Program is all about. It provides families with a guiding framework while offering flexibility. We use our experience to help you plan and give you confidence in your decisions.

Deb Nissley


Deb Nissley is the mother of five and the Director of the VPSA Diploma Program.



Educational Helps


Poetry Writing Contest


This month we are offering a poetry writing contest.  We have three examples of poetry to stir your creative juices. Click here to view.


Topic:              A poem completed on the form found here.

Who:               Students in 1st through 12th grade. Judging will be based on these age groups: grades 1-3

grades 4-6

grades 7-9

grades 10-12

Where:            Send submissions as an attached Word file or write on the form, scan and e-mail to Please include your parents' name, e-mail address, phone number, city, and state along with your student name and grade.

When:             Submissions must be received by 5:00 PM EDT, September 15, 2011.

Winners:         The winner in each age group will receive a $50 gift certificate for books from Veritas Press. Winners will be announced in the October epistula.


Laurie Detweiler



Free Offer


Free Online History Course for a Limited Time

Back by popular demand. Last summer we tried this and the response was overwhelming, so during the month of August we are offering it again. We want you to experience what we believe is the best way to learn history—and it’s FREE. The award-winning Veritas Press grammar school history curriculum is now (or shortly will be) available online in our new self-paced courses. We are so convinced you’ll love them that we are giving them away for a limited time. Customers have told us, “the courses are so much fun that their children must not be learning.” Click here to sign up for a free 30 day trial. Here are the available courses:


Course (click on the title to learn more)



Old Testament and Ancient Egypt History



New Testament, Greece and Rome



Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation



Explorers to 1815



1815 to the Present

Sept. 1






Q. How much time is needed to complete one of the self-paced history courses? Because we can only work on it 3-4 days per week will we have time to complete the course within the 12-month access time?

A. You will have plenty of time to finish and here's why. Each of the five courses consists of 32 historical events.  The events are in chronological order.  The cards (which are also necessary) have one event per card, so the set numbers 32. There are 5 lessons per topic/card which are intended to be completed 1 lesson per day. If taught in a traditional 5-day per week school it would take 32 weeks.  You have 52 weeks to complete it. With a 4 lesson per week pace, it would take 40 weeks.  A few of the lessons get longer in duration as the year progresses because there is more material to review, but lesson #5 for each topic is simply a graded test.  Remember, everything is self-paced; the child can pause, go back and review, etc., so the time spent varies.  Some parents tell us that they have more trouble limiting their child to 1-2 lessons per day because they enjoy the course so much.


Q. I've slowly become convinced of the importance of teaching Latin, but my oldest child is doing 6th grade work. Should I start him at the beginning with Latin for Children A like I plan for his 2 younger siblings?

A. While you can do as you suggest (it will make your teaching preparations a bit simpler) we recommend that your oldest start with Latin Alive. It is perfectly suited to his age and will prepare him in one year for secondary level Latin.  He would need to cover all three books of Latin for Children to gain the same knowledge and practice. Of course, we also hope you will consider enrolling him in our Latin Transition course which uses the Latin Alive text. That scenario would enable you to focus on your younger children and give your son the benefit of an expert teacher.


Please submit any questions you’d like answered here to





Live Online Classes Seats Vanishing Quickly

Don't wait to check out our live online class options. We continue to experience rapid growth in these courses, and classes don’t start for another month! Many sections are already filled and have waiting lists, and we've added new sections to accommodate demand. Click here to learn more. Click on the titles below to read more about some of our never-before-taught courses coming up in September.


Primary Literature 3

Saxon 65

Saxon 76

Memory Period II

Latin Transition

Grammar and Writing Transition

Omnibus VI Primary     

Omnibus VI Secondary

Anatomy and Physiology

Marine Biology


U.S. Government


Summer Reading Contest

Are you making good progress on your summer reading goals? Don't forget to finish strong and enter the summer reading contest. Click here to download a reading chart if you would like to track your student’s progress. We only ask that you as parents or teachers verify what the children have read, and then, after they have met their goals, complete the online entry form by September 15, 2011. Please encourage them to read good literature, not just look for a book that meets the page count criteria. Look here for some bookmarks which your children can decorate and enjoy this summer and beyond.


Veritas Press Reading Contest Rules

1.      Reading Quantity

a.      K – 2nd Grade: 40 Easy Readers (ex., Frog and Toad are Friends)

b.      3rd & 4th Grades: 25 books at least 125 pages (ex., The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

c.       5th & 6th Grades: 25 books at least 150 pages (ex., Treasure Island)

d.      7th – 12th Grades: 25 books at least 200 pages (ex., The Fellowship of the Ring)

2.      After the child has completed the readings, entries must be submitted online  by 5:00 PM EDT, September 15, 2011.

3.      The first 250 submissions in each age division will be given a $10 gift certificate.

4.      A drawing will be held from all submissions and will be announced in the October epistula. There will be three winners from the drawing.

a.      $150 First Prize

b.      $100 Second Prize

c.       $70 Third Prize


To get you started, check out these summer reading lists: K–2nd, 3rd–6th, 7th–12th.


Veritas Press Scholars Academy Diploma Program
Are you looking for your child to go to college? Do you desire accountability and assistance in knowing that each year your students are accomplishing what they need to? We now offer yearly certification services culminating in a high school diploma. There are four different diploma levels, each addressing the varying levels of a student's abilities and circumstances. Year-by-year certification services ensure you are on track for your objectives, meeting an outside standard, and, in many cases, satisfying state requirements. We've even made provision for qualifying courses completed elsewhere or using other curricula. For more information, click


Teaching Openings with Veritas Press Scholars Academy

Online Teachers Needed Immediately!—We have needs for experienced teachers. Teachers can work from home, the beach, or anywhere high-speed internet is available. Send résumé to Bruce Etter.


Interesting Facts about Veritas Press

In July we asked, "How many pages were in the very first multi-page catalog that Veritas Press distributed?"  Tie-breaker question is, "In what year was that catalog sent?" The winner was Heather Apgar of East Earl, PA, with the correct answer of 32 pages. (The correct answer for the year in which it was sent was 1998, which Heather also answered correctly.)

Our question for August is, "The heaviest order we shipped in July 2011 weighed how much?"  Tie-breaker question is, "To what destination was it shipped?" (Name a US state or foreign country.)

The first person to e-mail the correct or closest answer by August 15, 2011, 5:00 PM to will again receive a $25 gift certificate.




Visit us on the web at or call us at 1-800-922-5082.


Browse the Veritas Press virtual catalog online!