Power Homeschool Questions Answered by a Homeschooling Mom (Formerly Acellus Homeschool)
The Acellus Learning Curve for Parents
Acellus may be a challenge to navigate at times. Sometimes a parent may be confused about how to navigate the Manage Account Screen. A parent may also wonder if Acellus is comprehensive, or if other learning material is needed. This guide is meant to answer some common questions that parents may have regarding the program and the lessons within it.
Manage Account Screen and Acellus
What does the Manage Account screen show on Acellus? Manage Account is how you will change classes, goals, and pause Acellus (for vacations, emergencies, and extended breaks). Clicking a child's name takes you to their scores, work completed, attendance, and more. Under Manage Account, a parent can add a student. A parent can also view the Tuition calculator for all students. The calculator will give a total as to how much is owed monthly. It expresses the next scheduled payment, and also shows the payment method. The payment method for tuition can be changed on this screen as well. To make a payment, a parent can click on the blue button that says, "Make Payment" on the left-hand side.
In the grey boxes on the left hand side of this screen, under Manage Account, a parent can view all the children enrolled in Acellus, and the classes they are taking. Children must take six classes each. More classes are not permitted at this time. The student ID for each child will be shown. The Program that the child is enrolled in will also be seen. The small, light blue button in the upper right-hand corner of the grey student box can be clicked if a parent wishes to make changes to a student’s class in Homeschool Mode.
Number of Weekly Lessons on Acellus
How can the parents increase the number of lessons in a week? A parent will be able to see a child's weekly progress report, with a progress score. A parent may need to increase the number of lessons that are required in a week, especially for older children. The default is two lessons per day, so it’s very easy to do a week in a day! If you sign in on the parent side and click on account, there is a place to edit the number of classes they do per day to earn the star. Most people take the number of lessons in the class and divide how many weeks they plan to school for the year and set that number for the weekly goal.
Manipulating Acellus's Number of Steps
How can a parent find out how many classes are in each course? Under the student sign in, click on the progress bar, and it will show you the step number the student is on and total number of steps. You’ll need to select steps for each class. For instance, math could show 18/525. 18 is the current step and 525 total for the course. There are ten classes per course per week. If you want to increase it, you can go to 'manage my account' and then click on edit to the right of your child's name. From there you can increase the number of lessons per week. You can also see from the parent side by placing your mouse over the progress bar in the scores screen.
Length of Lessons for Acellus
Are the lessons short? The lessons are relatively short and succinct. The videos vary for the age of the kids. For many 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade classes, very few are over 5min long. Some lecture videos may be as long as 6min. After fourth grade, some lessons are 10 minutes long. A second grader may take four lessons (two lessons and two reviews) in science, language arts, ecology, social studies, and coding every day, starting at 9 AM and completing the work by noon or one in the afternoon. This is an example of course to give a bird's eye view of the length of the lessons.
Adding Lessons on Acellus
In Homeschool Mode, can lessons be added mid-year? What if my student completes a class mid-year? What if my student is having a hard time in one subject, or what if the subject is too easy? Yes, lessons can be added mid-year with homeschool mode. It's important to remember that in Homeschool mode, children must take six classes at a time. An advanced 2nd or 3rd grader could be placed in Middle School Health if the parent thinks that they are mature enough for it. It is recommended that parents
Can Students Cheat Acellus?
In Homeschool Mode, students may find ways to 'cheat the system.' A mother mentioned that her son watched many old videos so that they counted for his steps for the week. He wasn't doing enough new work. This resulted in him having only completed a quarter of some of his classes instead of the 50% he should have been at this point in the year. To prevent this, a parent has to keep track of where their child needs to be at the end of each week. If the son, in this scenario, starts the week at step twenty, and he needs to do 15 steps a week, then he should be at 35 steps by the end of the week.
What are Steps in Acellus?
From the parent account, one can see what steps the child completes each day, or have completed in the past. A parent can also see what step their child is on, and how many steps they are on by hovering over the progress bar on the Scores page. A step is each clickable thing, so a video is one step, the questions after one step, a quiz, unit exam and so on. A parent can figure out how many things to do for the week, for weekly goals, by looking at the complete number of steps and dividing it by the number of school weeks.
Revisiting Lessons on Acellus
In Homeschool Mode, What happens if my son does poorly on a spelling drill or any other portion? Does the program revisit it or do I need to revisit it with him separately? If he scores below 70%, he will be forced to repeat it on Acellus. If he's above that, but the score is not satisfactory, the parent may want to go over the information in the lesson with the child and then have him retake for credit. Chances are those words will come up for an exam. To retake for credit, Log into his student account and select scores next to the lesson is a retake for credit button. He can redo the questions and if needed on the right side he can re-watch any videos that apply to those questions.
Is Acellus Comprehensive?
Is Acellus comprehensive, or should a parent provide supplemental programs and literature? Many parents add supplemental material for their children, even though Acellus is very well-rounded. Because Acellus Homeschool does go at a fast pace, additional material that is done after Acellus studies may go a long way in helping a child retain what they have learned. At this moment, I supplement my children's Acellus studies with a few apps such as Epic (a reading/book app), Mondly (a Spanish-learning app, Superbook (a daily devotional app), Daylio (a daily journal app), and HeadSpace (a meditation app). After their app work is done, they go on to the workbook portion. I have a workbook full of multiplication problems for them to solve, and a cursive book for them to practice handwriting. They also have workbooks for science, word ladders, Word-A-Day, Grammar, and Mathematics for their grade level. Many parents like to supplement writing, with activities such as journaling or using specific writing programs.
Ultimately, Acellus gives parents a choice to focus on the program itself, or supplement with additional literature and workbooks. Acellus offers parents a way to tailor their student's learning in an environment where they feel loved and safe: at home. Knowing ways that children may try to circumvent the 'system' may help parents keep a closer eye on their student's studies to make sure that the students are on track.
© 2018 Charlotte Doyle