FAQ

Your Questions. Answered.

What are some
Frequently Asked Questions?

Educational choices are some of the most important that you will make as a parent. Making good decisions that will positively impact your child's future requires good information, and answers to some important questions.

How Can I Improve my children's lives?

How Can I motivate and support them?

We all know that public school systems are a wonderful modern invention that brings the masses in society up educationally to a level unheard of previously in human history. But we also recognize that left on its own, public education alone produces students that are just a bit below average in general.

With modern technology and some more careful management and support, a better result can be achieved by using the core curriculum standards of the public schools in a more personalized, better delivered way. And using a US curriculum in a Korean environment has added benefits as well.

We aim high for our school, for our students, and for your child.

Working together with teachers and parents, we can accomplish things that other schools can't do.

You can find answers to some of your important questions below.

Why are EECA - TOPS prices so reasonable compared to other international schools in Korea?

Our low costs are due to our unique delivery structure. We spread our student support between field classrooms, self study support, and online delivery systems so we don't need a giant campus. This keeps our costs down, and yours too.

Why don't my kids have to go to a dormitory, like at other international schools?

Experience shows that sending kids away from home for extended periods is harmful to family relationships. Many times the kids come home as strangers to their parents, often having picked up harmful traits and habits while away from their parent's care. Schools can't replace parents, and although we encourage ethical behavior and qualities like patience, kindness, and self control, the teachers and staff of a school are not the same as a good parent, and can't replace what caring parents provide for kids at elementary and high school age.

How can Korean kids expect to perform well with an all English curriculum?

There are three parts to this answer. First, your child must pass an English Proficiency test before we can take responsibility for their learning. That is why we tell parents of children who are under third grade to make sure their kids get good English training from Kindergarten up through second grade before they enroll in our program. Secondly, we very seldom take kids for classes below the third grade level. Third, we provide very granular support for the younger kids, reducing that support as they get older and more proficient in English. That way they gain English skill while working on the lower level, easier curriculum, before they advance to higher grades and need to function with more sophisticated English performance.

How do I know that my kids will not lose out on some important aspects of their education taking the TOPS - EECA programs?

That is a complicated question, and on our side we will do our part. Our coursework is of very high standards, and our teaching and delivery will be more personal and careful academically than a child can receive in a public school with a class size of 30. But truthfully, the student plays the largest role, and parental support is the main key to having good students. Parents who are not aware of their children's homework assignments, their grades, their triumphs, and their challenges, are not in a good position to support their kids, no matter what type of program they are in.

Will my kids get social benefits from your program? At public school they have friends, they interact with a wide range of adults, and they go on outings every school year, sometimes overnight.

That is a good point, and we have not left out that important component. One reason why our program is not simply a "SELF STUDY" system is because young people definitely need socialization. For this reason, we work through the important classroom component of our program to address this critical need. Our field classroom partners are required to gather a 5-10 student minimum in order to qualify for EECA - TOPS partnership. So your student will never be alone in the program. These classrooms expose our students to counselors, teachers, and administrators as well as to other students.

Regarding field trips, we make Study Abroad opportunities available to kids twice per year. It is true that these trips are optional, and they cost extra beyond the monthly payments, but they are no less than two weeks, and no more than one month (we don't think it is healthy to younger kids to be away from parents longer). We highly recommend that all students go abroad for at least two weeks per year, although it is not a mandatory part of the program.

How do I know your classes are legally accredited and will deliver what they promise in credibility?

On our Home page, you can find three of our accrediting agencies that back up our school and the authority of our curriculum. These are the exact same agencies that give accreditation to classical style Elementary, Middle, and High Schools, not to mention colleges and universities as well. We regularly accept credits from State run school when we enroll new students, and occasionally our students have to leave and go back to a brick and mortar school. In those cases, every school accepts credits that have been earned through our programs. This is a question that need not concern you.

How does your Learning Abroad program work?

Our students go to Florida State and enroll in a public school there for two weeks or one month. This allows them to mix with native English speaking children, make new friends, get comfortable around foreigners, experience multi-culture immersion, and still not miss out on any of their required yearly school time. Of course we allow some travel and leisure time too, focused most regularly on the East Coast historical areas of America, and on educational sites, like the Smithsonian, or The Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

Accommodations are home stay with families who have similarly aged kids. We like to encourage their American friends to come to Korea and visit too, during school break time in the Summer.

Older High School students may arrange for stays longer than one month, but for younger kids, it just isn't healthy for them. They come home with too many problems that negatively affect their learning trajectory.

How do school vacations work with EECA - TOPS programs?

There is flexibility to the way vacation days are taken. One of the advantages of our program is that it has a non-classroom component to it, so as long as there is adult confirmation, or online confirmation of time spent in class, students can do their coursework away from the classroom on an internet connection, or even away from the computer using our text material instead. They just need an adult's assurance that they spent the time and did the work. Perhaps you can see how this will free up a student to enjoy a more flexible overall schedule.

Otherwise, there is a minimum day requirement of 180 days attendance for a US accredited school year, which leaves 185 free days all together. If you take out 52 weekends (104 days) you will be left with 81 free weekdays that can be taken any time you want to schedule them throughout the year.

Remember too, if your child finishes a grade early, say in 120 days instead of 180, they can simply begin on the next grade early and spend the remaining 60 days getting ahead in their schooling so they can graduate early and get a jump on life.

How is it possible that some TOPS - EECA students finish school so early?

This is because of our flexible delivery system. In a public school there are too many logistical issues to allow for flexibility, but with modern tools, we can let kids work at their own pace instead of forcing every student, even the faster kids, to go slow and wait for slowest kids in the community.

Another factor is that our students receive more personalized assistance than do kids at a public school. Public schools do their best, but it is just impossible to give much personalized attention to a learner when there are 30 people in a class.

Another important factor is that we stay with our students more closely and for a longer time. In a public school, teachers only know their students for a year, and then they get an entire new batch of unknown kids. The class they had previously goes to an entirely new team of teachers. They don't know the strengths and weaknesses of the kids well, and can't intervene as effectively when and how the individual child needs help.

Is there a discount if we pay for an entire year?

It is possible to get discounts that way, but there is no direct policy for that here in Korea. If you are interested in working that out, you will want to call Korea EECA directly and discuss the situation. A yearly arrangement will involve the optional Study Abroad opportunities too, and some decisions about add-ons will have to be made on a case by case basis.

Are there any hidden costs beyond the monthly fees?

Legal documentation has to be sent back and forth sometimes between the USA and Korea, but most of that is covered in the monthly price. If the cost of postage exceeds the amount we have allowed for, there might be an extra 5 or 10 dollars USD at some point in the year, but normally not.

Starting High School in the middle of a term can sometimes involve an extra cost. In that case, your guidance counselor and School administration will discuss the matter with you. The best case is to begin High School terms at the appropriate time (there are windows every quarter - 3 months) in order to avoid additional costs.

What happens if I have a dispute about grades or payments?

Fortunately, this almost never happens because we have pretty good communication with our students and their parents. But in the event something uncomfortable comes up in any of those areas, we have a policy for conflict resolution that works well. All prospective parents would do well to look over the conflict resolution policy in advance, and then try to follow it carefully together with TOPS and the EECA administration to get the best results together.

What if my child struggles too much with your class, or simply doesn't like it?

We recommend highly that parents have this discussion with their children carefully in advance of enrolling in our school. The relationship we have will be a multi-lateral agreement, where the student commits to working hard, the parent commits to financial and emotional support for the student, and we commit to providing a strong education through a flexible and economically beneficial program. Character traits like determination, following through, not giving up, managing emotions, and many others like these, are often learned in practice through a good combination of parental training at home and experience at school, so it isn't just the academics that the scholastic journey provides.

We find that many of the same students who might struggle temporarily in our program actually struggle even more in a public school setting because fundamentally, our program is more flexible and easier on the kids than a public school experience is for them, especially in Korea. If the kids do not realize that, it may be up to the parents and TOPS teachers working together to gently help the student understand, endure, and improve their attitude over time.

That having been said, there is always the option to end the relationship. We do not offer refunds, but the monthly payment arrangement makes refunds a non issue if the family's final decision is to make a change.

What if I have questions that are not addressed on this page?

We are always available by phone or by email to answer any questions you have. Email is actually the best format, because you have time to really think through your questions, and the answer we provide can be saved and reviewed by you at any time. However, we will always gladly respond to your phone questions if that is a more comfortable means of communication for you.

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