Power Homeschool (Acellus)

My tenth grade son recently switched from Time4Learning to Power Homeschool for his high school curriculum.  Power Homeschool is the homeschool version of Acellus, which is an online learning system used in many public schools.  This is not to be confused with Acellus Academy, an accredited online school option offered by the same company.

Power Homeschool introduces each subject with a pretest (which we usually skip).  A video lesson introduces each topic, followed by a short quiz.  If a student does not do well on the quiz, a video is usually offered prior to repeating the quiz.  Depending on the subject, additional worksheets are sometimes available for the student to print and complete for extra practice, but grades from the worksheets are not included in the scores provided by the program.  Each unit includes a review and an exam.  Scores are available to view in the parent dashboard.  There is also a feature to request a transcript via email.  Additional features in the parent dashboard include a list of daily work completed, a syllabus for each course, student hours and attendance.  There is also a live monitor option that allows a parent to see if the child is currently working and on what topic.  

Overall, these features compare with previous online programs we have used.  My only significant complaint with Power Homeschool is that there is no way for a parent to view the videos and content offered to the student without logging in as the student.  This poses a problem because there is no way to preview material prior to the student viewing it without watching it AS the student.  Also, you will need to change the setting for the student from homeschool mode to tutoring mode in order to be able to go back and re-watch content.  The homeschool mode keeps up with where the student leaves off and opens the next video when the student logs back in.  The tutoring mode offers a syllabus view with a green dot to indicate a section has been completed.  The student can skip around in the content and re-watch videos as needed.  This is helpful when you want to skip particular topics in the curriculum.  It is not helpful if the parent is also watching the videos, because it could be confusing for the student to know where he left off if a video is already marked as viewed.  Another minor complaint some may have about the reporting features in the parent dashboard is how attendance is recorded.  Attendance is recorded by each lesson completed in every subject rather than by each day attended, so one day of school with four classes would be listed as 4 in attendance.  This issue does not concern us much, but someone looking to use it as a way to easily record attendance days may be disappointed.

The price for the program is very reasonable.  At this time, Power Homeschool costs approximately $25 per month for up to six courses at a time.  I have been very impressed with the course selection for high school, especially electives.  There are in foreign language, personal finance, computer science, drawing, music appreciation and even vocational courses in HVAC, plumbing, and electrical technology.

So why have we chosen to use Power Homeschool at this time?  My son really benefits from the video instruction as opposed to learning from a textbook.  While he still finds many of the topics “boring” (as he does with most “school”), he is able to follow along and understand the content.  For subjects he finds difficult (some of the math and science), we airplay the video from the app to our living room television using an Apple TV and watch together so I can help as needed.  He prefers Power Homeschool videos and instructors to the video content from previous programs we have tried.  I love that I am able to easily follow his progress in the parent dashboard in the app on my iPad.

While I am using other options for my youngest daughter at this time, I believe I could find or adapt content from Power Homeschool to meet her special needs.  The parent is able to select courses from any grade level if needed.  There are also several basic courses offered with special needs students in mind.  For example, there is Basic Math Concepts for High School I and II, which presents the material at a much lower grade level.

You can view available Power Homeschool courses here.

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