- Reviewed on Saturday, April 14, 2012
- Grades Used: 9-12
- Dates used: 2008-2012
My parents moved to a rural area when I was in high school in the 1970's. I was a very mature and academically advanced student and we were disappointed in the "hick town" high school (we had moved to be near grandparents) so I began researching correspondence schools so to find an accredited program where I could study on my own. I chose American School when I was 15 because I noticed Donny and Marie Osmond and other entertainers my own age were using it and it was fully accredited by the same agencies that accredit regular high schools and colleges. I was amazed at how super simple it was to do 4 years of work in a year.
Fast forward to now. I have been homeschooling my daughter and using American School as a side dish to get an accredited diploma. It is so easy it is pitiful. This is for kids who don't need or want any academic challenge at all. She has done the American School curriculum in her spare time from doing the much more advanced work I have developed for her. I went to college and graduate school and I am a homeschool consultant and teach parents how to homeschool and offer many classes and activities for homeschooled kids from preschool to and including college.
The texts are so easy, my daughter would be bored if this was it. The general science text is dry as dust and tries to ram all of science into one course in a text the school wrote with no color photos and very few details. The math is a joke. The "health and physiology" is a kiddie book on abstinence . All in all, go with American School if you want an accredited diploma but do continue to homeschool with much more challenging work than this. This is "high school lite" to be sure.
- Reviewed on Tuesday, June 14, 2011
- Grades Used: 9th/10th
- Dates used: 2011-2013
My oldest son began using this program in February of 2011. We chose American School because we knew several families that had used it as their high school program and it is very affordable.
So, far it has been just fine. He just completed his first course, Psychology, and is waiting for the replacement subject to arrive in the mail. They only send 2 courses at a time, but I believe you can request more. Also, you can choose to substitute other courses for those on the primary list. I agree that Math Essentials is too basic for high school. I looked at the at the entrance requirements for our local colleges and have requested those classes from American School.
There have been no lost tests, however, there have been a few times when it seemed to take a long time to get the grades, especially the first test. We usually get the test result e-mail about a week before the graded test arrives in the mail. Each test is graded by a different person. However, these test are primarily multi-choice, so I don't think it really matters if different people grade them.
My son is *not* a self-motivated student and he also has a disability which requires him to use special equipment to read. However, he's done really well with the courses so far. He has been finishing up some of his 8th grade coursework while doing these two 9th grade A.S. courses and this has worked well for him. I look over his self-check tests as he goes along and am available to help if he needs me.
I read several negative reviews here before I ordered American School, but decided to go ahead because the friends I knew who were using it were satisfied. It is secular, however, this is high school so by this age kids know what they believe and its time to start preparing for college, so academics take priority, in my opinion. A.S. also now offer a few classes online.
The main selling points for us were the price, the standard HS curriculum, the accredited diploma, and accountability to someone other than mom! Also, if my son were to need to go to public school at some point during his high school years he will have a transcript.
Update: Dec 2012
We are still using this curriculum and although I do have some complaints, which I will mention, we are overall still happy with the choice to go with an accredited diploma under American School.
Issue 1: Only 2 courses at a time are fine if the student has other non-accredited coursework to do, but otherwise it's unrealistic and doesn't provide enough material for each school day.
Issue 2: They don't tell you which courses they're going to send first and the order in which subjects are sent needs improvement. My son received Psychology and Career Planning before ever seeing a math book! Both of these classes are better suited for the older student finishing his high school career. I felt they were a waste of time for thim at that age. They need to stick with the basics first. Also, if your student is good at math and up to speed, make sure you tell them NOT to send Essential Math. If they do, send it back and get Pre-Algebra or Algebra I.
Issue 4: The first English class he received was called Building Your Writing Skills 1. I truly LOATHE this particular class. The texts are written "in house" and are very poorly laid out. The course is unneccesarily long and bloated (2 textbooks!!) for a freshman level english class and the title is not accurate. It's heavily focused on grammar with some creative writing instruction. There is no instruction in basic the basic forms of writing. If I had known better, I would have sent it back and requested a different English class for freshman level.
The courses that have used a standard educational publisher textboook have been very good. The customer service at the school has been excellent. The people who grade the tests leave encouraging remarks (although sometimes they overdo it a bit).
They only require 18 credits for graduation, whereas my state requires a minimum of 22 and recommends 26. But additional courses can be requested to meet the requirements for your state.
This isn't an advanced program by any means, but it works fine for any homeschool student who wants an accredited diploma and the freedom to supplement his education as he sees fit or needs time for other interests or a job, etc.
- Reviewed on Monday, March 8, 2010
- Grades Used: 9-12
- Dates used: 2006-2010
My daughter wanted to use American school high school because she wanted an accredited school (which it is in all 50 states) and she wanted to be able to work independently. There is a mix of required courses and electives and one can choose a college prep program or a general program. It is an economical choice. During our time frame it was $1100.00 for the whole 4 year program including books, study guides, tests, grading and record keeping. You could pay $50 per month interest free until the entire amount was paid.
They use typical public school type textbooks and have study guides to guide one through. The student can go at their own pace, they do not have quarters or semesters, etc. The students mail in their tests and the American school grades them and sends them back.
So, my daughter liked it initially until...
This past year American school lost 17 of her tests in 5 different subjects all mailed at different times over a period of many months!
We are completely disappointed and disgusted. I can see them maybe losing a test now and then or maybe one complete subject but so many tests in so many subjects? What on earth could have happened to them?
We asked them to just send the rest of the textbooks and study guides and we will go through them on our own. I will grade the tests myself and make my own transcript and our own diploma.
They have about 40,000 students currently and it must be too many.
If you choose American school be sure to have your student make copies of completed tests before sending them. If you haven't seen a grade posted in 3 weeks call them (and call them and call them-you will get a different person each time most likely and the next one you talk with may have no idea what you are talking about and no record that you previously talked with someone at the school).
I should have stayed on top of this before letting so many tests get by but we were in the midst of selling our business and moving.
- Reviewed on Saturday, February 23, 2008
- Grades Used: high school
- Dates used: 1989 and 2004
I completed high school with this curriculum in 1989 but I was very self-motivated as a student. I found a lot of the texts dry.
My oldest used it in 2004 and it wasn't a success at all.
A student who is very geared to text book learning and very self-motivated will do well with this option, but any student needing more individual attention or hands-on learning will need this to be heavily supplemented. I wouldn't recommend it for kids who are any type of learner except book learners.