Connections Academy - Never full time again...
Product: Connections Academy
Subject: Math, Science, Social Studies, Communication Arts, Spanish, Home Life and sign language
Levels Used: 3rd grade
Dates Used: 2008-2009 School Year
Likes: The Spanish program was great. But you can actually get the exact same one from www.power-glide.com It will cost you money there, but it was a really great Spanish program.
I also like that this kind of schooling "locks you in" with the public schools as far as grade level goes. My son is three grades ahead in school compared to his agemates. We signed up because we thought that if we were ever in a situation where we would not be able to homeschool any longer, like if one of us died or we both needed to have jobs outside the home, then we would be able to enroll our son in a school and not have to worry about them demoting him three grades.
Dislikes: As I said in the "likes" category, this locks you in with the public schools. I had been told that it locks you in with all schools since this IS a public school and is accredited. But when we looked into the possibility of enrolling our son in a private Christian school for next year (just checking on the possibility, not definitely going to do it as we will probably just go back to regular homeschooling) they told us that they don't consider it valid and that even if it is legally a public school, they don't have to take their word for it as far as grade placement.
We definitely do NOT want to send our son to a regular public school, and if we had know that the private schools didn't have to accept the public school placements we never would have done it.
We also dislike that the curriculum is so unbelievably easy. My son finished his first semester work completely back in November and is on target to finish second semester in late February. This was with us adding a bunch of stuff to his workload and him only working two hours a day on it, and the school not allowing him to start 2nd semester work until January. This is a state rule though and most states would have let him continue on faster.
Also, because of his age, even though he was in the 3rd-5th grade range they would not allow him into the gifted program. That might just be a state-by-state rule though.
Not all the states work the same. Some of them require 6 hours a day of work. If we had been in one of those states he'd be doing four grades a year and be set for college by the January after he turns eight years old.
In conclusion, I feel that this curriculum might help some people, but it didn't help our family, as least not in the way that we wanted. Maybe it saved me the trouble of looking up "what 3rd graders should know" but I really don't think that's a big benefit. All I got out of it is that they don't expect much.
I might use their foreign language program again if given the choice (Missouri might not be using Connections Academy next year, as MoVIP is switching over to a new administration, eMINTs). After all, I could pay for it myself, but I am of the opinion that I've already paid for it with my tax dollars. We are not sending our children to regular public schools because of the negative peer influences, the anti-Christian values and the poor quality of education, not because we don't want the government watching us (as some of my friends give for their reasoning for homeschooling) or because we're afraid of more restrictions on homeschooling. If new restrictions go into place, as long as they aren't outlawing the whole thing, I'll conform to the restrictions. They want standardized tests? He'll take 'em. They want more specific records? I'll keep 'em. They want me to go get a teaching certificate? I'll go get one, although they'd better give a two year heads up on that one or I'd be ticked. When homeschooling is important, you do what it takes to continue.
I will not be using this, or any other virtual school program, as full time curriculum next year. Maybe if they lift the restriction of how many grades you can complete in a year I would consider it. But for the foreseeable future? No way Jose.