A Homeschooling Mom's Review of Power Homeschool (Formerly Acellus Homeschool Mode)
There are three different modes to Acellus; one is Homeschool Mode, Tutor Mode, and Academy Mode. This article focuses on Homeschool Mode. While homeschool mode is terrific, many people also opt for Tutor Mode, as Tutor mode gives the parent more control over what material is accessed, and parents can skip lessons or stay on specific lessons as they wish.
Acellus is a great online tool for homeschooling. It can be accessed on tablets through an App on IPad or Google Play Store. Acellus Homeschool mode is $29.95 for one month, or $299 for one year. The great thing about Acellus homeschool is that there are no contracts, and Acellus can be cancelled at any time. A drawback is there isn't a trial mode. One has to use a card or PayPal to pay for a month's services to try it out and see if it's acceptable within the family's homeschool curriculum.
Acellus Homeschool boasts over two-hundred and fifty courses, and each student can take up to six courses at one time. Acellus is lovely because logging in is a comfortable experience, and the learning format is self-paced and quite flexible. My favorite part about Acellus is that there are an automatic grading and record-keeping system. This is great for busy parents who also juggle work and college lives while trying to provide a well-rounded homeschool curriculum for their children. Acellus has courses ranging from PreK to Twelfth grade. The progress reports and attendance are excellent, and they are printable as well. More good points include the fact that parents can register their students year round and no paperwork like custody paper, former school records, or vaccination records need to be submitted. Parents can have the child take 'breaks' when they would like without any repercussion, such as summer breaks, winter breaks, and spring breaks.
Acellus can use improvements in some areas. It would be good if Acellus had a checkmark system to help children keep track of lessons that they have accomplished on the 'homepage.' The homepage does show what work is available for the day, but it does not show when that particular subject's daily goals have been accomplished. Also, the videos do tend to stream automatically without a pause in between. The first day that we tried to use Acellus, my child ended up doing fifteen 'lessons' because we weren't sure where the end was. The end was actually when there was a short quiz administered. As soon as the short quiz was finished, the video immediately started on the next lesson. My children have encountered some mistakes in the written text and also some strange accents that they could not understand by some of the 'staff' that teach on the videos. The placements tests are lengthy, which is fine, but they need a lot of improvement. The placement tests do a less than stellar job at placing students within courses that are better suited for them. In our case, they assigned my fourth grader a kindergarten class for math, but her math was way beyond that. Luckily, one can opt out of the placement tests and just pick courses that are appropriate.
Making an account is easy. First one must create an account and then process the payment using a credit card, debit card or PayPal. Then a parent has to select courses. Remember only to select six courses per child. At this point, the individual student accounts are made with separate screen names and passwords, and then students can log in through the app. There is a help desk provided through email, phone, and a live chat app. The live Chat app is available under Help Desk, and it's located under a small blue tab that says "Live Chat." You do have an option to review your child's work after they are done by using the parent account to look at the day's lesson and see what answers they got right or wrong, and see what lessons they worked on. The attendance tab helps one examine how many hours have been utilized in a particular subject, and in general on all topics. This can come in handy for states that require attendance hours to turn in at specified intervals.
In the end, even with the shortcomings, I do recommend Acellus. It's easy to use, convenient, has an App, and covers many important subjects, whether core or not, and even specialized subjects, like Spanish, HVAC training, Middle School Health, etc. I supplement Acellus with 7-8 different workbooks ranging in subjects like cursive, multiplication, math, grammar, and so on. Even though Acellus is a great program, it's essential to supplement with material that is beneficial, and it's also important to try to go over any subjects that the child has issues with. If you're not much of a teacher, you can always look up child-friendly videos on YouTube on a particular subject that your child is struggling with on Acellus.
© 2017 Charlotte Doyle