A Beka Academy - A Negative Experience
A Beka Academy 10-12 Grade
As a student with A Beka Academy, I found the curriculum itself to be quite thorough, I rested soundly knowing that I was grades above the public schooling system in my area, and honestly, any other public school system I've ever witnessed. The work was very challenging, but the videos were horrible. I find it unbelievable that they expect children, much younger, with much shorter attention spans than I, to stare for 6+ hours a day at a teacher from the 1970's in front of a blank blue board. Honestly, that is what every single video looked like, excluding Bible, which I thoroughly enjoyed that preacher's teaching style.
Another thing about the videos, they were so incredibly boring that it made it impossible to pay attention. In other A Beka reviews many parents say that the curriculum is moving too fast for their children, when in fact, I can say with certainty that they could keep up just fine, they just couldn't pay attention because of the complete lack of action, emotion, or even tone change in their voices. If all these teachers are so dispassionate about their subjects, how do they possibly expect their students to be passionate about learning in general. Also, I noticed that when the video students spoke on the videos they were awkward and hard to understand which made following from subject to subject difficult.
Also about their curriculum, "from a christian perspective" is fine, but when it completely obstructs the real focus of a curriculum they have taken it too far. There were several classes in which I was just infuriated with the short sightedness of the opinions taught and yet there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I am pro-choice and in my 11th grade health course, the lesson was talking about abortion, a very touchy subject that in my opinion, should be kept to oneself and decided for oneself. Instead, the book said directly that it was an abomination to the Lord and this and that about how we were all damned for even believing it. Now had I just had to read this, I would have had no problems, but then I was required to write a 2-3 page essay about why it was wrong and what happened to those in support of abortion. I had to fake my way through an essay that counted for 1/3 of my grade and had I not done it, I would have failed.
This was just the most infuriating of those incidents, although certainly not the only one. On many many occasions I was forced to read about and give a false opinion of my beliefs, beliefs that had nothing to do with practical education and wavered more on brainwashing than actual civilized classroom talk. I understand wanting God in our schools, I believe many of the Bible's practices and teachings should be more openly taught, but this school picks all the wrong subjects to vocalize. There are some things that should be taught in school and some things that just should not, and my personal opinions should not be forced into agreeing with theirs just for an A.
But this was by far the straw that broke the camels back with this curriculum:
My 12th grade year, they changed from DVDs to online video lessons. Now as I said before, these lessons were just incredibly boring and by this year I understood everything I needed to understand. I achieved a 4.5 GPA all three years I attended this school (strait A+) so I assumed that I could do it without the videos as long as I understood the work. After all, I was having to read the books more thoroughly than I did when I was just watching the videos. I was having to look for the answers myself, and honestly, it took a bit longer but I worked harder and still got it done. Little did I know, in order to have the "accredited" diploma, I HAD to watch the movies, no matter what my test scores or GPA was. They neglected to tell me this until the end of the year so I was scrambling trying to watch all the videos online, which, due to our slow internet, took 2 hours to watch one 30 minute lesson.
After a week and a half of watching videos literally at least 12-14 hours a day, I realized that there was no conceivable way for me to watch them all before the deadline b/c I am constantly on the road traveling all over the US showing horses on a world level, so I requested the DVDs. Now previously, they just sent all the videos automatically once we sent back the previous set back, so I received what I thought was all the videos I needed to finish high school. (At this point it was already July and I was just receiving them.) I watched all of those videos, on virtually the same schedule as online (12-14 hours a day) which included setting up a portable DVD player when I was on the road. I finished these videos within about 2 weeks and we had a flood in our house while my entire family was away in Oklahoma for the biggest horse show of my life. Well skipping the details, the cleanup crew lost the videos, well not really, they just threw everything in boxes, ruining many personal effects in the process. We finally found the videos by the end of August, I send them all back and assume that is it. I'm done. I should be a graduate now and I'll be receiving my diploma soon. Well, after weeks and weeks with no call from A Beka - no email, no letter, and no diploma or transcript, it finally came time for college registration, which I cannot complete without a transcript. So I logged onto my online account only to see that my online report card was still full of incompletes. So I called the toll free line and after 2+ hours of being on hold and many many departments they finally informed me that there was still a set of videos that I hadn't watched. Then they expected me to pay a $50.00 extension fee b/c it was past the end of the year.
Now my, and my family's response is "Why didnt you people tell us that there was another set?" Up until now they had all been sent automatically so after we sent our videos back, if there was another set, shouldn't they have sent them to us? and if we were past some kind of deadline, then maybe they should have given me some kind of notice? a call? email? letter? But, no. Nothing. Now I've been cheated out of a $20,000 scholarship because I have no transcript and they still expect me to pay all these fees and watch their stupid videos even with my 4.5 gpa. My alternative option? Repeat 12th grade or don't graduate.
The bottom line? I would not recommend A Beka Academy, no matter how academically advanced, to anyone.