Hi everyone, I am currently in Connections Academy of Texas and I guess I am the new victim of this school program. At first, everything seemed fine, but it was a lie.
There are very good teachers, I do not deny it.
But most of them teach in a boring way doing more for their job and not for the student.
The school requires each student to complete 6 hours of daily school plus the live lessons for another 4 hours adding up to 10 daily hours.
I start at 8 AM and finish at 9 PM literally and it is not that I am a slow working student the system is badly organized When it comes to a modified lesson you have to see recorded live lessons or follow other directions from the message board to complete it. Another thing is that they say that you can overtake but it is a farce you have to keep in pace as the others.
I understand that I am in high school and this is about working hard but honestly it is not what a teen is looking for. It frightens me to be in this routine not having partners with whom to talk, activities and etc
I have a 7th grader on an IEP for all subjects (averaging about 1-2 years behind). We started Oregon Connections Academy this year because he continued to get further behind in his Brick and Mortar school. With his ADHD, it was difficult for him to pay attention. This is not Home Schooling except in the literal sense, he is going to school at home but it's an accredited public school. The curriculum is challenging and fast paced but I was able to take 2 years off to be his personal 1:1 staff assistant. If you have (or are) a motivated middle-high schooler with no support during the day, this program could work. Otherwise, without a personal assistant, my son would never be able to keep up or even be motivated to want to. I wish there were more days off, as we do need a few hours in the weekends to catch up but Oregon connections academy teachers have been very attentive and helpful. It takes a while to adjust to the program, and it can be confusing at times if you're not organized (I am not organized). It's almost all online. We haven't had any issues with technology, nor any grading issues. They do send text books, but we still need the computer for most assignments. We have a little flexibility, but not much. If you're looking into Connections Academy keep into perspective that every kiddo is different. I see a lot of negative reviews about teachers (there are poor teachers everywhere), difficult curriculum (It does seem advanced in some ways than the schools I've taught, but my kiddo has me to help him. This would not be the right school if he didn't have me), Lots of hours spent on the curriculum each day (You can modify, it's an online school and only portfolios and quizzes are recorded, see below), No social life (It's the one bummer about online programs but we knew that going in. My son isn't into the field trips and "chatting" at the beginning of live lessons isn't "connection". He does after school programs through the rec center 3x a week for the social). All schools have pro's and con's.
Here's our experience of tips: We only do about 5-6 hours a day of work and take a lot of short breaks. I will have him skip some parts of lessons that I don't find relevant to the main concepts of that particular lesson. Just like in a brick and mortar school, he wouldn't be doing 100% of the lesson (because he's lazy and off task), but if he's reaching 70-75% capacity it's a win win. Understanding the main concept is the key and I draw lots of pictures. All his notes are written on the chromebook with voice to text. Nothing is hand written for the sake of time and some teachers are allowing him use of notes on tests, which he's finding he doesn't usually need. I sometimes make him do all the math problems if he's struggling, but most of the time just enough to really understand. His worst subject has always been math (HATED IT) He's now averaging 94% and actually told someone the other day he's good at math (that was an amazing moment). He listens to audio for his books in Language Arts and otherwise I read almost everything, including the quizzes and tests. After every lesson is a quick check quiz that is 3-4 questions, to check comprehension. Quizzes are 10 points and generally every 2 weeks and there's a test at the end of the unit. In some classes he can correct tests and quizzes for full points. He finds (and I at times reading them) the Social Studies tests tricky but the other courses are pretty self explanatory if you've studied and can narrow down. He is required to watch a live lesson, call a teacher or email a teacher twice a week. He doesn't get a lot out of watching Live Lessons, he tends to turn his brain off, so I often have him call or email. Language arts is always a 2 day lesson, Science is most of the time and Social Studies and Art sometimes, that averages out to 3 1/2 classes a day. We average getting through about 3 a day. On two day lessons we'll do 3-4 pages of the class on the 1st day then finish it up the next day. If we're going to get behind (this curriculum would be impossible for our family to do on vacation) I focus on keeping him up in Math and Science. P.E.,Technology and Art he does without my help (currently getting a D in Tech because he doesn't try but I want him to have classes I don't micromanage). Also, a lot of our portfolios are dropped. I'm not sure if that's an Oregon thing or if it's because he's on an IEP... but we would be swamped if he had to do all of them.
I would love for my son to be magically attentive and take charge of his education, but we have a lot of bad habits to chip through first and even then he may never be fully motivated. He still doesn't like school, it's still hard, he still fails tests, he still complains, but my kiddo used to hide in the back of the class and not participate during lessons. He's currently getting the best education of his life. It works for us.
I am a senior at Connections and it is the best decision I have ever made. Brick and mortar school was so hard for me because of all the distractions and bratty kids. At connections you don't have to worry about other kids. My teachers always respond very quickly and set up private livelessons whenever I need them, which helps a lot. I start working at 9am and work until around 8 or 9pm with LOTS of long breaks in between. My favorite classes I'm taking are living music and photography, but next semester I get to do AP psychology and sociology too! The work is easy and manageable as long as you put effort into your classes every day. I went from C's and D's to 4 A+s and 2 As! I think kids going into online school expect it to be easier so they don't work as hard, that's why they don't do as well. It's a normal school (a great one at that!), it's just on your computer. I go to GLCA.
I'm still at connections the curiculum is harder than a 7th grade student and the students bully you
it was good for the first couple weeks but they kept adding on lessons one of the teachers cussed me out they said I was failing cause im slow that B***
There are some days that it will have a lot, granted, but I am currently enrolled in 7th in there and I love it, i have constant help from my parents so it really helps, but i ask for the help.
We have just withdrawned our son who was in 7th grade. This is our first time homeschooling our son. The lessons are insane. He spent 10-16 hours a day. 8 subjects, 6 classes per day. The writing and reading are beyond 7th grade. We have never behind the homework, but you have to sit and be with your kid the while time. The rubric is so hard. Each big project is given only 2 days to do. We started to hate it since first month. When he was in 1-6 grade, he hardly had any homeworks. I am not a big fan on homeworks.... Do you like to bring report and office work to do at home every night? No... The test is crazy.. Every single day, every subject. Some teachers are so unhelpful, some are very nice. I don't like the part that kid already had 6 classes per day and 3-4 LIVE online class that are mandatory and you tell me, how the kid can spend only 6 hours a day? It is impossible!
When we emailed and decided to withdraw our son, the principle said, "we are not a homeschool program, we are an accredited high school." So why you advertise as a free homeschool program then.
We hate this online school so much.
My daughter is in 7th grade and this is our first year with OCA. She has always had good grades and has an impeccable work ethic. The OCA curriculum is crazy. Tons of work that takes ell over the 5.5 hours to complete. Some days she has done 8-10 hours.
The quizzes and tests are horrible too. I have had to actually sit down with her to help read these questions and many times there could be more than one answer and you just have to be lucky enough to pick it. The questions that require you to click on multiple answers or fill in the blank on 4-5 items, miss one, miss the entire question. My honor role daughter has a 67% and an F in social studies and a D- in science. Mind you, science is usually her strongest subject. My happy daughter that left regular school due to physical bullying is actually more depressed now then she was when girls were putting their hands on her. I am lost what to do. It is so late in the semester we can't go anywhere else and we don't want to repeat 7th grade because of this school. So upset and frustrated. I teach College courses and my courses are way more organized and fair than this school.
so at first i liked it
it was fun
and i like some clubs
and THREE teachers are nice
but it sucks now. and here is why.
1. when i answer a question they for some reason say i dont answer it and give me no points
2. so much stuff to do
3. when i turn something in it says overdue and gives me no points
4. live lesson placements SUCK
5. my overall grade never goes up when i do really good, but if i get 2 questions wrong my overall grade goes down 10%. what???
6. i sometimes have way to many essays at once. i had 4!!! in my opinion thats a bit to much for 1 day
7.THEY ARE SOOOOO SLOW! i have something still not graded from 1 day ago, which doesn't seem bad, but then today i just realized something from 4 WEEKS AGO is still not graded
8. like i said in 5, my overall grade went down 5% because i got 3 questions wrong on a 15 question F**KING PRACTICE!!! WHICH DONT HAVE A BIG EFFECT ON YOUR GRADE!!! UGGGGHHHH
please. i like it a TEENY BIT but so far i've been so depressed and i hate it.
EDIT: OH MY GODDDD I HATE THIS!!!
It's 3 months in and I'm already 12 lessons behind and have been falsely accused of cheating, you don't really learn and frankly most of the teachers don't teach. A normal school is so much better, save yourselves!
My daughter has had multiple days where she works on school until bedtime. ALL DAY. She is a very good student & has always gotten good grades. We lost our house in a fire & had to move in with relatives. The local public school here is really bad, so I did Connections Academy as a alternative, figured it would just be while we got back on our feet.
We are all miserable. It takes up HOURS every day of our lives. All 3 of us (my spouse, me, our daughter) will work on things & it will still take HOURS to do.
But the real kicker came yesterday. I have been unable to find time to schedule a conference call with her homeroom teacher.
These calls, she has had 2 already this year, in like 3 months... have never been important in any way. The teacher has chatted about what my child had for dinner... forgive me for not thinking this call was vital...
Now, for 2 days I have been unable to access the website. Her teacher told my daughter, through email, that it was because I didn't schedule the call....
If I cant log in, I cant record my child's attendance, which means she falls behind on required public school attendance, AND I cant submit her school work, which is part of my job as her "learning coach".
So we did schedule a call, for this morning, and her teacher never called! So I STILL cant submit her hours or work. At this point my childs education & future is on hold because of a phone call.
I have emailed them 3 times & left a voicemail & never heard back.
DO NOT USE THIS SCHOOL!
This was defiantly not for my son ...He ended up so depressed and hated it ..Always confused and we always had issues with the lessons and no one would help or get back with you in a timely manner. This was a big mistake and I'm so glad he's back in regular school he's so happy and actually is having fun now!
The curriculum is fine and meets public school standards by state. I think our real issue is just with public school. We have unenrolled after 2 weeks to try full on homeschooling for our 1st and 4th graders.
Here are the positives of the program:
Obviously, you can set your on schedule. This is a bonus for families who have children who are heavily involved in sports or the arts. Also, if your child has difficulty getting out the door in the morning, it's nice to have the option to do school at home. The teachers were very nice and helpful. My 4th grader really enjoyed the live lessons and interacting with the other kids. She loved the teacher. The live lessons for my 1st grader were not as engaging to her because too many kids were talking or typing in the chat box, but she still thought it was a cool concept. We did like the little characters used in the learning videos and they compliment the books and work books well. They were engaging and relevant, although sometimes very repetitive. For the most part, the interface was easy to use and follow.
Here are the negatives:
TOO much time spent on a computer. We are not heavy technology users, so our kids get excited each time they get to use a computer or play a game online. However, they were both DONE being on the computer for so many hours each day. For our 1st grader, it was about 3-5 hours a day (depending on the course load that day) of computer time. Granted, some of that time was reading a story or working in the workbook, but it was all related to the lesson on the computer so we had to keep going back. Many lessons have an assessment as the last "step" and of course all assessments were online. After the first week,
our youngest would ask if she had to be on the computer again and then cry when we told her it was another school day. We understand there was a lot to review as it was the start of a new year, but much of the course work was quite repetitive. Like the same lessons or videos with one small difference day after day. She was so bored and frustrated by this. Our 4th grader was doing lessons 5-8 hours a day, depending on the day. There was just SO much work to do that it was not possible for her to complete it all. And she is an advanced student. Again, a lot of it was review but it was daunting to figure out what she actually needed to do for the lesson versus what was just repetitive for kids who might have been struggling. In her frustration, she would end up missing important information because she was trying to rush through it. Many times, her friends from the local elementary school would get home and she'd still be stuck on her computer finishing an assignment or assessment. It was nice to have flexibility but still, there was so much work it required being on point many hours a day.
One of our main desires in trying school at home was to take away some of the stress and anxiety our kids experienced at their local public school last year. If you're looking into online public school for this reason, understand it will help with flexibility as to WHEN you do your work. It will NOT help with workload anxiety and it will NOT help kids who learn best in a nontraditional school. Also, we were hoping that this would allow us to augment their lessons and delve further into subjects they're interested in or are naturally inclined towards. There was absolutely NO time for this. We were all just too overwhelmed with trying to finish the enormous amount of material in each lesson.
A lot of reviews talk about the kids needing help. Obviously, I knew this going in and understood that my husband and I would essentially be teaching our daughters. I was okay with this aspect and expected as much. It is definitely true that this is not for "hands off parents." They will need a lot of assistance.
Overall, I would say if you're content with the public school curriculum, workload and style of teaching, this will be a great program for you. I hold no ill feelings toward Connections Academy or our state's CA program (we are in Washington state). It is a great program for public school enthusiasts and definitely helps take off some of the pressure some kids experience in a public school setting. It was just not for us. We are taking the big leap into full on homeschool now with a better understanding of why public school (at home or at
a campus) just does not work for our kids or our family.
BELIEVE ALL THE AWFUL REVIEWS YOU READ. I can not believe my tax dollars are being spent on this place. The teachers are good people. The company has a TERRIBLE product. I AM A TEACHER. The curriculum is trash. THAT is my professional opinion. It is busy work. It is impossible to actually learn ANYTHING. Please save yourself time and aggravation and do ANYTHING else.
On September 17 I made a review about how the admittance is terrible and how they wouldn't let me in because there's two which people in the school. Well they officially let me in the school and I love it so much. The teachers respond to me quickly they let me know what to do if I go on vacation or if I get sick till always answer me almost immediately if I need any help and I think it's just overall a great school. They even sent over a couple textbooks and a computer just in case you didn't have what you needed. The only thing that is bad is when you're rolling because it just takes a very long time but other than that it's a great school
I worked at Connections Academy East in Lake Forest for a month and was treated like $#*!. When I approached the principal Shannon she ignored me, but when a white staff made a complaint against me I was the one fired. Worse job ever, I was hated so much, being 1 out of the 5 minorities and they treated the children like garbage. The therapists, teachers, and administration all talk $#*! about the students and are horrible with each other. I would not recommend this place to anyone or have their children go through. This is a cash cow for most teachers. Also the high school math teacher Kirby threaten me about filing a complaint against her before I was let go.
My son and I decided to give it a try as he really liked to be home schooled. Granted it was partly my fault for not doing enough research before enrolling him. I don't care for it very much. It feels very much overloaded on school work. They encourage you to give the kids a lot of little breaks in between but when I do that the lessons end up being super long. They even added an extra credited class which I feel should be an elective but instead it's a required class.
I mean the poor kid is already doing his basics of Math, Science, English, History, P.E. But no this isn't nearly enough...They decide to through in an formal ART class as a required class. I'm not talking about few little art pieces here and there but actual Art class the kind you would take in HIGH SCHOOL. Meaning history about art and having to make art piece a long with submitting book report on the history of art. I feel this is very excessive for a 5th grader but this doesn't just hit the fact they are requiring the kids to learn computer science on top of that. My son is feeling overwhelmed with how much he has to do.
I even as a parent feel overwhelmed to have to try and keep up and I'm a single mom. So yeah it will be difficult for me to keep up anyway but the type of jobs I have make it easier for me to be able to work with him. I have asked the teacher for more help with my son as he is struggling with math and don't get me wrong his teacher doing a lot and has been helpful but. I feel that if you know the students are going to struggle with a new subject like dismals that they have more live lessons to break it down for the kids. But they expect the parents to teach all of that. I expressed that I need extra help in teaching this to my son as I have learning disabilties in math. I'm having my son being helped by family and friends as well as Khon achemy. The teacher ressures me I'm doing everything I'm suppose to. But yet my son is struggling. Well he did a live lesson with my son and the other students he then admits that a lot of the students are struggling to understand dismals. WHY are they throwing out home work without explaining it first? I think it be far more effective if they had the teacher live breaking down and explaining dismals then have parents and kids working together on dismals. Then touch base with the students in where they are at.
Long story short: Being a student here requires you to study long hours working with difficult courses.
After being enrolled in this online school for more than a year now, I guarantee you will start to feel more like a client and less of a student. It is entirely possible to work from dawn to dusk and still have overdue lessons.
The best way I can describe being a student here is if normal, traditional school was stripped of everything but the bare curriculum and lesson material. It isn't fun, nor is it rewarding.
It is not the fault of teachers either. Most of them have one hundred or more students to call, e-mail, and log conversations. When you're behind, it takes immense discipline to not cheat for answers. I recommend going to a traditional school, but if you must go online, keep all of this in mind.
My husband and I thought we did our research and attended parent sessions as well as a school event before making our decision into what we thought was going to be an amazing opportunity. Only 1 week in we called it quits...after myself and my children having been in tears and so totally overwhelmed. I honestly feel duped ...how can 1 teacher have a class size of over 90 students? The Live Lesson rooms have a cap of 90 so students we getting bumped off to only have to watch the recording later. My kids were strapped to their desks for over 7 hours a day trying to complete the work, no breaks not even an adequate lunch break! They talk about kids having the opportunity to socialize??? If you saw the "chat pod" that goes on in the live lesson rooms with 90 kids typing at once about their favorite subject, music, color....it is flying by at such a high speed there is no way to keep up never mind form a relationship. In what school do they offer a field trip for students to attend...only to learn that their full day of lessons will be waiting for them when they get home? This school right here. I feel like a failure that I put my kids through such a horrible experience to start the school year....when we pulled the plug and told my kids they were going back into their school district I never saw them so relieved and happy. Biggest regret!!!!
We liked it until this year, when they switched to Edio. Now I have to find a new school for my child, who is in her senior year. Edio is the worst learning system imaginable, which means scrambling to find a new school and go through the entire registration process again. What a terrible ending to what was once a great alternative to public school.
I enrolled my child in the middle of last year and at first thought it was a great alternative. Within a few weeks however I saw a massive slip in her grades and she was placed on "academic probation". Basically it's a span of span where you struggle to pull up an grade that is considered failing and as the time I think you were only allotted two or three. Regardless, she managed to pull up the grades even got a message from the adviser that they had placed her with and yet the day the probation was up one grade slipped and she was placed back on which I felt was completely unfair, but it didn't matter.
Flash forward to the current school year. We are approaching the one month mark and already I'm seeing the same slip in grades. I have seen many mentions of the workload and I can attest to the fact that it is a bit crazy. The first week of school we had a research paper due as well as two portfolios, one of which was a slide show that took us two and a half hours between looking up information and putting together.
My final straw was when I received a call on the 31st from the Algebra teacher accusing my child of cheating. She first called my child who was very upset that this woman was accusing her of copying and pasting answers from a website. Told her multiple times that she knew for a fact she had gotten them from a website then when this teacher called me told me that the accusation was do to the time it took her to complete the quiz...
In the span of Friday to Tuesday my student went from being on track to being in alarm and was placed once again on academic probation. I filled out the withdraw form yesterday.
I know lots of people think by going to this school they will have a more open schedule but you most certainly will not. At the beginning I thought it was amazing being able to get up at whatever time I wanted and only had to come to live lessons when I wanted to but I saw wrong. After a while it felt like all I did was do my schoolwork and if I missed a day if I was sick I would have to catch up on those assignments and after a while you get this feeling of being trapped. Some of the teachers were nice and tried to help you get back on track but most were not very helpful and just told you something you already knew. I found that this school made me more depressed than regular high school and I am so happy that I am done with this school. If you don't mind being on a laptop for 8 hours a day and not having much free time then this might work for you, however if you are looking for a school that you can have a more open availability I would look for a different online school. I am so happy to go to another online school now and am much happier and would recommend anyone that was thinking about trying online school to find a different one because this school made me very unhappy with all the work you are assigned to get done in one day. But I guess if you are willing to do 10 hours of busy work a day and try to balance a job with that than be my guest but it was not fun for me. Even the weekends I had to be on the computer to finish all the work I didn't finish because I had to go to work and such.
This school is a joke. They give a lot of work however, as long as the work is turned in they never question the difference in previous work. I've seen first hand two kids who constantly cheated and it was fine by their parents. They would do some of the workbook work, but things that needed to be turned in like essays,projects or art was not done by them. The parents or an aide would do it and the child wod get credit as it's own. The worst was watching the children have multiple windows open or the textbooks on tests. I would object but the parent would be fine with it. One has flown through the grades and he should really be in 6th or 7th grade. Its ridiculous. Since I am not the parent there was nothing I could do. It was never questioned the grades that would be D's when they actually do it and magically the test was 100. Go somewhere else. They just pass you along.
they give you a shocking amount of work everyday. All day long you will be working, and its so boring. The system itself is very complex and confusing. I am a parent. So my child can rest, I end up finishing his work for him. I hate this school so much. It has brought me to tears many times. My child use to love History, now he hates everything about learning. We are just going to cheat I suppose. There is no other way. The live lessons are pure boring crap. Send your kid to a real school with human interaction, exercise , recess . I wish I had read the reviews first. It would be easier to make your own curriculum
Customer Questions & Answers
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Lol no.. there's no "your own pace". You have to follow their pace or else you'll have 100 lessons overdue with 3 weeks to complete them all.
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do not put your child in this program i hate it i switched to connexus i could get more time in the gym and work out i used to spend five hours in the gym in normal school but now im only limited to one hour a day because i have so much work.the teachers never respond and its horrible they dont help me and when im at gym they call then i cant i pick up so they call my parents who are at work and will get in trouble if on there phones. i hate tis school and everyone in it and your kids will to so DO NOT DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111
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That is a very good question Dee. We were drawn in with that promise as well. They use exampmes of child athletes and child actors (at least they did when we were going through their website looking for schooling options) as examples of how flexible their program is but we found it to be a very different experience.
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Attendance is more important to the school keeping it's Charter, than making sure a student is truly on track academically. The School has no communication skills, which is why it probably attracts lazy teachers.
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Maybe once a month. The student might get a phone call from his or her homeroom teacher on a monthly basis. Other than that, unless you or the student contact the teacher individually, then the interaction is done as a whole in the Live Lesson rooms. And so much outside stuff goes on during Live Lessons, the students do not get a lot out of them.
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Sadly, yes, it now follows Common Core. It never did before, which was one of the reasons I loved it. Now they've adjusted the Elementary program to follow CCSS. Look into a different program if you disagree with CCSS.
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I find that people take the time to vent about bad experiences rather than take the time to write reviews for good experiences. If things are working, why scour the internet for reviews. Every kiddo/parent will have a different experience with Connections Academy. Like any school program, it's not going to be right for everyone, not everyone will like a teacher, or administration or class..... It's a rigorous school, not a homeschool program with lots of flexibility and curriculum that can be changed. It's working for my 7th grader, but it is hard and we wouldn't be enrolled if he didn't have me to sit by him 80% of the time. Otherwise he's getting an excellent education in Oregon and we love the teachers.
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They did not follow Common Core. However, this year has changed in the elementary schools and they now follow Common Core standards. They've also started using the assessments and tests as a prep for State testing.
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In Middle School, each teacher usually has 2 Live Lessons a week. Math usually has Live Lessons all 5 days. In 6-8 grades students have a different teacher for each subject. Also, most teachers have appointment times that students can sign up for whenever they need extra one-on-one time. In Elementary school the Live Lessons are not as often as the parent agrees to the role of the Learning Coach and is there to help the student most of the time. I am not familiar with High School yet.
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