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I'm (sort of surprisingly) leaning towards enroling our oldest in American School for 9th (she's in 7th right now).

 

She is an independent worker, very resourceful, but would like more teacher feedback. I'm doing some online upgrading myself and she thinks it looks neat.

 

We can't afford a full slate of the courses I'm taking though, AS looks much more affordable.

 

So, are the online courses decent? Can anyone let me know how it's going? What should we focus on her knowing before we start 9th with them?

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I didn't find those reviews too helpful. They either weren't for the right school (at least one talking about somewhere else) and the others were mostly talking about the old paper courses. I'd love to hear experiences about the online stuff.

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OP if you will search the WTM Forum you will (hopefully) find threads and/or mentions of American School. I believe there are some people here who have DC who are in American School now, or who are  graduates of American School.  Not sure about the "online" vs "correspondence" versions of their courses.   I seem to recall that one can opt for more advanced courses when applicable.  GL

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Both of my dc are enrolled in AS. Our favorite/preferred courses are paper with online exams. They have a textbook and very well-written and helpful study guide, but the exams are completed online. They are identical to the paper exams, but without dealing with snail mail. The fully online courses have no paper resources at all, and my kids want/need books. There are a few courses that do not offer online exams, such as math and lab science courses, so if you really want to avoid paper exams, you might consider the online courses for those. Personally, I would not do all online courses. If you choose to do any, I would limit it to 2 per year. This would give a better balance. I also wouldn't have her first online course be a demanding, required course, in case she really dislikes the format. Starting with a fun elective is always best.

 

Some kids do well with all online courses, but I really don't think it is using AS' s program to its fullest potential. So many schools have online courses; the ones AS are from Florida Virtual Academy. I really love their in-house created courses and their personal service. The online courses can serve a need, but I find their paper courses to be their biggest strength, and using those with the online exams has been the best format for us (with a couple online electives not offered as a paper course).

 

I believe you are in Canada? If so, one thing to keep in mind is that, although the paper courses are much less expensive than the online ones, AS does charge more than the posted price for paper courses shipped outside of the US to offset the shipping cost.

 

I have written several detailed posts on AS previously, that you will likely find in your searches. Feel free to ask any further questions.

 

HTH,

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Thanks, Asmaa!

 

Do you think the paper courses are much better? I am in Canada and there isn't a big price difference - around $500 more for online, I think, over 4 years. I think if you sign up for the full diploma program you have to go one way or the other? I don't see a hybrid option other than adding on individual courses.

 

I did look up some of your past relies, thanks for the tip!

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Yes, huge difference in deadlines. The online courses have a 9 month limit, with the ability to purchase an extension for a couple more months. This caused a lot of stress in our house. The paper courses have no deadlines for individual courses, the student just needs to complete all the required course work within a total of 5 or 6 years, but that's it.

 

In our case, the paper courses were much better, but maybe that was because we were able to try both. If we hadn't, maybe the online would have seemed just fine. My kids just didn't like having to read everything on screen, they really prefer real books, and the tight deadline was tough.

 

My kids are enrolled in the paper course program, but they are allowed to replace a couple of those (2 or 3, can't remember) with online courses. Anything beyond that has to be purchased separately. It's still a great deal.

 

We pay $75 per month, interest-free, until tuition is paid off, about 2 1/2 years. You can call to find out what the monthly payment would be in Canada, or you can just pay it all at once.

 

It is also possible to purchase courses individually, try one online and one paper, for example, and see how she likes it. My daughter took a couple of courses in 8th grade for that reason. If you do end up enrolling her, the cost of those courses is put toward the full program tuition, so you aren't out any money.

 

HTH,

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Both of my boys take the paper based/online tests courses at AS. The older has been taking courses for two years now, so if he wanted to take an online course it would cost extra. He also doesn't like online courses, so we haven't bothered. The younger just started in August so his tuition includes two online courses. He hasn't completed 4 courses yet, so he cannot take any electives yet. I figure we will try one of the online classes for an elective sometime next year.

 

Both of my guys really like having a textbook, so that will matter in the decision to take any of their online classes. Unfortunately, some of the classes they are interested in are only online (culinary and music appreciation, for example).

 

A few weeks ago, AS had a posting on their blog stating they were thinking of starting middle school classes next year. That might be a great way to try out a course before high school.

 

Sheri

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I would look at their list of required courses, and make sure your dc is prepared for that course work. If she is ready for Algebra in grade 9, for example, they will let her take that rather than Basic Math I and II. But, she could take the basic maths in grade 8 (my dd did) rather than another pre-Alg. course so she could begin accumulating credits. She also took an elective of her choosing (Child Development), but either Psychology for Life Today or Health, both grade 9 requirements, could be completed in grade 8. This gives her an intro to the AS format while leaving more time in later years to fit in electives, higher level courses, or simply a lighter course load as the work becomes progressively more difficult.

 

Tell them you want to purchase independent study courses, and pay for them individually. Then you can enroll her in the diploma program for grade 9. Or, just enjoy this year of wrapping up your mom-led homeschool adventure before she has to focus on meeting someone else's requirements and expectations.

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Thanks for those wonderful suggestions! I was hoping we might be able to do something like that :).

 

Oh, would the first English course be appropriate for 8th? It looks fairly straight forward from the description.

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I guess that would depend on her comfort level with grammar and composition. The composition aspect is quite straight forward and incremental, and most assignments consist of individual paragraphs. The grammar does become more challenging in the 2nd semester. That said, you could always give it a try, and if it takes her a little longer to finish, no worries, since she would be ahead of the game anyway. If you choose the college prep track, the last 2 English courses are much more demanding, especially British Lit., so it's not a bad idea to leave more time for those.

 

Just a reminder, that the cost of the diploma program only covers the required 18 credits, so if she wants to bulk up her transcript with additional courses in later years, those will need to be purchased individually. But, if you get in the habit of budgeting for the monthly payments, once they are paid up, you can put those funds toward additional courses.

 

Also keep in mind that this is a high school program giving high school credit, although some of the 9th grade courses can seem remedial. Therefore, there is no reason to get into the fact that your daughter is an 8th grader when you purchase independent study courses. Since she is not enrolled, but taking courses for "personal enrichment," it shouldn't be an issue and no one ever asked. If you volunteer the information unsolicited, however, you might have a problem, or not, I don't know, I just wouldn't mention it if not asked.

 

HTH,

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Right-o. What did you think of Essential Math as a pre-algebra option? Was it decent? I know I've seen some people ranting about its badness, but at this point we just need pre-algebra of one kind or another, either take AS or something else and then skip Essential Math and straight to algebra.

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It is a decent review of basic math, but not a formal "pre-algebra" course. The second course does introduce algebraic concepts, though. The first course covers all of basic math: 4 operations, fractions, decimals, percents. It is a mastery program, so there would be a chapter on each topic, progressing from the basics to advanced, take an exam, then move onto the next topic. The 2nd course is mainly geometry, from basic perimeter and area to volume of cones. The algebraic concepts introduced in the 2nd course are done incrementally, beginning with concrete visual presentations, then translating that into an algebraic expression. There are word problems throughout both courses.

 

AS does offer pre-Algebra as an online course, which is another option.

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  • 1 month later...

To start, they send you two courses. I had to make an extra payment or two and was able to get two more courses. Now, both of my kids have 4 or 5 courses at a time and we have had no problems requesting more (though as you can see, it can depend on how far along your payments are).

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Exactly. Their default is 2 courses at a time, but if you or your dc prefer more, you just have to make enough payments up front to cover the cost of more courses. You want to be careful with online courses, though, since they have strict deadlines for completion, unlike paper courses. Be sure your dc will be able to finish all the courses within the deadline before signing up for too many. I'd start with one or two just to see how they do with the format.

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Experienced AS mom here. We've been with AS for 5 years and I can tell you that the education your student receives is pretty basic and not very advanced, even with the upper classes. It took my kids, who went to public school, 40 credits to graduate high school. American School requires only 18 basic credits to graduate.

 

When we started they didn't have online courses so we've only done textbooks with paper tests that we turn in. This gives you 4 years to complete all courses, which can easily be done in 2 1/2-3 years. The online courses have a deadline, which is good for students who need that push not to procrastinate. Also, if your student doesn't get done in 4 years, you can pay an extra $75 for another year.

 

This was great for my one student who doesn't have any desire to attend college and doesn't need higher math, science with labs, and extra electives to get what they need for college prep. Like I said, this is very basic and the texts are all secular and not well known.

 

There are no special courses your student needs to take before starting AS. You need to have them do math, science, history, and English appropriate for eighth graders. I've noticed by the grading remarks on my student's tests that the teachers aren't spending much time grading and I've caught several mistakes so be aware. Hope this helps.

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Old thread I see, but we do American School.

 

I don't really do it for the education, though. I do it more for that external transcript. I don't bother with the college prep as distance foreign language just doesn't work well, IMO. 

 

We do our regular homeschool thing and co-op classes but AS is that basic transcript with some life courses: childcare, food study, car care, consumer economics, just stuff like that. 

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Not too old to come back to! That's interesting, so which other things do you keep doing in addition to AS? I'm not sure I could convince DD to do more than the 'package deal', but I'm thinking that for her, I definitely want/need to keep her doing math when AS hasn't sent her any.

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