An Honest and In-Depth Review of Connections Academy

Updated on July 12, 2018
Alyssa Nichol profile image

Education is one of Alyssa's top priorities. She has one son who has been enrolled in Ohio Connections Academy for seven years.

Education is important. In today's society, you would be hard-pressed to find a good paying job without a college degree, trade school certificate, or a technical skill.

As a parent, one of the biggest concerns is making sure your child is getting a quality education. Before buying a house, it's important and common to research school districts. If stuck in a less than desirable one, many parents seek out private or charter school options, and some will choose a home-school option.

Online classes have been a popular choice among college students for over ten years, but now that option has expanded into the elementary, middle, and high school realm. More families are seeking out e-school options for their children's education than ever before for a variety of reasons. For some, this is a taboo topic, but for many families, online public school is an amazing benefit.

Connections Academy is one of the leading e-schools available in the United States. My son started with Connections as a kindergartener in 2013. Placing a high value on education and faced with limited options when it came to our local school district, reinforced my husband's and my decision to enroll our son in Connections. Five years later, it remains one of the best decisions we've ever made.

Over the years, we've had many people ask questions about Connections Academy. They are curious to know what it is, how it works, and how we like it. Below I've addressed the most common questions we get and outlined what a typical day looks like for us. In addition, I've included some important factors to keep in mind before making the decision to enroll your child in Connections.

What is Connections Academy and How Does It Work?

Connections Academy is an online public school for grades K-12. There is no tuition fee to attend and it is currently offered in 28 states.

Connections gives your child a unique, virtual classroom experience. After enrollment, you and your child are given special log in information. All course materials are sent to your house prior to the start of the school year. Depending on your child's grade level, this includes:

  • Text books
  • Workbooks
  • Manipulatives for math, such as base ten blocks and fraction strips
  • Science tools, such as goggles, magnets, and a thermometer
  • An art kit, including items such as drawing paper, construction paper, and paint brushes
  • A gym kit, including items such as a yoga DVD and jump rope

The lessons are planned out for you, and found on both your student's log in, as well as your own. As the parent, you are your child's learning coach, unless you designate that responsibility to someone else, such as a grandparent or hired tutor. Your responsibility as a learning coach is to assist your child with their daily lessons. How much time you spend with your child doing school work depends on several factors:

  • Grade level
  • How independent your child is
  • If your child has special needs
  • If you are transferring from a brick and mortar school

Your child will be assigned a homeroom teacher. Every month, your teacher will give you a call and check in on how things are going. The teacher will give you important updates, answer any questions and concerns you might have, and chat with your student to make sure he or she is on track. The teachers can also be reached by telephone or webmail anytime you or your student have questions, concerns, or need help with something.

Live lessons are an important aspect of Connections Academy. The name is exactly what it is: a live lesson with the teacher for all the students in your child's grade. The subjects for live lessons vary by grade level, but for elementary students, there are live lesson sessions for math and language arts. These sessions last between 30 minutes to an hour. These are important because the teachers are explaining the concepts found in the lesson plans. It gives your child the opportunity to ask questions and engage with their classmates while learning. Attendance requirements for live lessons will depend on your state and child's grade level.

Each state sets laws for attendance requirements. How many hours of school time your child needs to have each week will depend on your state. How you mark and verify attendance will also vary.

Because Connections Academy is a public school, students are required to complete state testing. This is done at a separate location, under the guidance of certified teachers.

Connections also provides a wide range of clubs for students to join. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Arts and crafts club
  • Math club
  • Robotics club
  • Chess club
  • Movie club
  • Sports club
  • Gaming and Technology club
  • Music club
  • And so many more!

A Typical Day

Everyone's routine is different. We are early risers and like to get started in the morning, usually between 8 am and 9 am, and end our school day between 2 pm and 3 pm. I have a strict technology and TV policy: my son is not allowed to have his phone or play any video games until after school. In addition, he must earn them each day by showing up to class with a good attitude, a willingness to learn, and by giving his best effort in all his subjects. As for TV, if he is up early, he is only allowed to watch educational programming before school. Usually it's Magic School Bus or Bill Nye the Science Guy. He loves it because it's fun and gives him time to wake up. I love it because I can coincide the episodes with what he's learning in class.

We have a separate room designated as our "school room." All of his school supplies, books, and his laptop are in that room. In addition, I have a white board on the wall where he can work out math problems or write spelling words. I also like to put extra notes up that he can copy down. I have a few educational and inspirational posters hung up, a huge vintage world map, a calendar, and plenty of space on two desks for him to complete school work. We spend a good chunk of our day in this room completing lessons, however, the beauty of being at home is that we can take school anywhere. We often head to the kitchen or go outside for science experiments, art class, and gym. In addition, there are times when my son enjoys doing his book work at the kitchen counter while I get a few household chores completed. Because we get started with school early, we like to take a break for a snack or lunch between 10 am and 11 am. Afterward, it's right back to learning.

We don't have a set subject routine, sometimes we start with a language arts lesson, other days we'll begin with social studies. We like to mix it up. Often the subject schedule will depend on what the lesson requires or what live lessons he needs to attend for that day.

The school week for Ohio Connections Academy runs Monday through Sunday. Each week, my son needs to have 27.5 hours of educational activity accounted for, this includes online and offline activities. He spends roughly 2.5 to 3.5 hours online each school day completing various lesson activities, quizzes, tests, and attending live lessons. While that might seem like a lot of screen time, it isn't mindless scrolling through the deep-sea internet, just staring at the computer. He is actively engaging in his virtual classroom, reading through what each lesson requires, completing any book work activities, taking notes, and listening to what I add to each lesson. Alternatively, he might be engaging with his teacher and classmates in live lesson, taking notes and answering questions.

The rest of his day is composed of other educational activities, such as reading, writing, physical activity, hands-on learning activities, going more in-depth on concepts learned within his lessons, exploring other topics of interest, etc.

Because Connections is an online school, we can be flexible with our school schedule. My son does not have to attend school Monday through Friday. He is able to take days off during the week and attend school on the weekends. This is a wonderful benefit, especially for families who have non-traditional work schedules or children who participate in competitive sports. We work my son's school schedule around my husband's work schedule to optimize family time and give us the freedom to take trips away from home.

But What About Socialization?

This is the biggest question I get about Connections. People are always concerned about socialization. Connections Academy offers many opportunities for students to engage with their classmates, from daily live lesson sessions and participation in clubs, to school-sponsored field trips. Each state is a little different, but in Ohio, we've had school-wide field trips to some pretty awesome places:

  • The Bob Evans Farm
  • Wright-Patterson Air Force Museum
  • The Cleveland Zoo
  • The University of Toledo Planetarium and The Marietta Planetarium
  • The King Arts Complex

Every year, we have a back to school family mixer at various parks around our state. This is an opportunity for families to meet each other and connect. Building these relationships is a great way to make friends, find a support system, and plan future meet-ups.

Connections Academy also has private Facebook groups for learning coaches to join, where they can find additional support and connect with other families in their area. This is a great resource for planning extra field trips or meet-ups.

The flexibility of an online school also allows students to get their school work done while participating in special extra-curricular activities, such as gymnastics, competition dance, or competitive ice-skating.

There are plenty of opportunities for students to socialize with their peers while enrolled in Connections Academy.

How to Determine If Connections Is Right For Your Family

Connections Academy is a great option, but it isn't for everyone. In order to succeed, you must be organized and disciplined. While there is flexibility when it comes to scheduling, there are deadlines and work must be completed. Keep in mind, it can be time consuming. You can't simply set your child in front of the computer and expect him or her to learn, especially when you first begin. As the parent and learning coach, you are there to help your child with his or her lessons, guiding him or her through the activities, helping to reinforce concepts, adding in bits of information, and answering questions as they arise. If your child is in the elementary years, you should be there most, if not all, of the time, gradually helping him or her become more independent. As your child gets older, he or she will develop more independence and you may only need to pop in to make sure he or she is staying on task or to answer questions. Remember, this is your child's education. By enrolling in Connections Academy, you are taking charge of that responsibility.

Factors to Keep In Mind

These are some important factors to keep in mind about Connections that many people don't talk about.

  • It takes time to find your groove and patience is a must as you and your child adjust. My son started Connections in Kindergarten, so the biggest adjustment for him was having a chunk of his day dedicated to learning. If your child is transferring to Connections from a brick and mortar school, there is going to be an adjustment period as you navigate this new environment. There is suddenly a lot of freedom and flexibility allowed in your schedule, so you have to find what works for you and your child. Getting organized and staying disciplined is key to success. Take advantage of the resources available and don't hesitate to reach out to your teacher with questions and concerns.
  • You may encounter negativity from friends, family members, neighbors, co-workers, or complete strangers about your decision to enroll your child in an online school. This is common. The idea of an online K-12 school is still a new concept that many people don't know a lot about. Even after five years of my son doing online school, we still get pushback. I've found the best thing to do is to be willing to answer questions about the school and talk about how well your child is doing. At the end of the day, you are the parent and you know what's best for your child. In addition, it's important to seek out people who encourage and support your decision. I love meeting people who have home-schooled their children or who have enrolled their children in an online school and swapping stories. It's always uplifting to hear how successful their experiences have been and the amazing things their children have accomplished.

Questions & Answers

  • How much did it cost to enroll your kids?

    Connections Academy is tuition-free. It didn't cost me anything to enroll my son. If you have enrollment questions, I recommend giving them a call. The customer support team has always been incredibly friendly and helpful!

    International Connections Academy, however, is a private online school and does have tuition. I recommend giving them a call if you're interested in the private school option.

  • Are the live classes through Connections Academy everyday? We have done K12 online before but there are so many live classes Monday through Friday, plus the other online work each day. It is overwhelming and NOT flexible.

    I have friends and have talked to other parents, who have enrolled their students in K12 and they have complained about this same issue.

    I can't speak for all the Connections Academies, as different states vary in laws and requirements, but I can tell you that Ohio Connections Academy is very flexible when it comes to live lessons, at least at the elementary level. (My son will be entering middle school this year.) From Kindergarten to 4th grade, the students have math and language arts live lessons. In Kindergarten, my son had two a week -- one math and one language arts. As he got older the number increased.. by 4th grade, he had math live lessons every day and language arts live lessons twice a week. In Ohio, live lessons are not mandatory, but students are encouraged to attend as many as possible. The live lessons are always recorded so if your student misses a live lesson, he or she can watch the recording when time allows. In 5th grade, students have math live lessons every day, language arts live lessons twice a week, with a writing live lesson once a week, and science once a week. Students are required to have contact with their teacher at least once every two weeks, this comes in the form of attending live lessons and their monthly phone call. I have found Ohio Connections Academy to be extremely flexible. My son did not attend every live lesson and he did very well. We also have a nontraditional school schedule. My son does school work Friday - Tuesday and has Wednesdays and Thursdays off. We've had this schedule for five years and it has never been an issue.

  • I have enrolled my children for the next school year in Connections Academy. They will be in 4th and 7th grades. My question is about grading assignments: do the learning coaches grade assignments/tests/quizzes, or do the teachers?

    The teachers grade assessments. Some will have multiple choice questions. Those are graded automatically, you and your students will be able to see their grade immediately. When there are short answer questions, you won't see a final grade on the assessment until the teacher grades it.

© 2018 Alyssa


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Alyssa Nichol profile imageAUTHOR


      4 months ago from Ohio

      Hello Mary! Yes, Connections does do letter grades. As for flexibility, Connections is also great. My son does school in accordance with his dad's work schedule and we haven't had any problems. Live lessons are not mandatory and they are recorded, so if you miss one you can always go back and review them. It is always encouraged to attend as many as possible, though, and your student will need to be in regular contact with his or her teacher.. I believe it's once every two weeks. Contact meaning attending a live lesson, sending webmail, and/or the monthly phone call. I would look into the flexibility and requirements for K12 to compare before making a final decision.

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      We are in Ohio.. At the elementary level, do they do letter grades? We're trying to decide between k12 and Connections. I like that k12 focuses on mastry instead of a letter grading scale.. but ultimately I'm looking for the most flexible option as my husband works 2nd shift and we would like to align more to his schedule so we can spend more time with him.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Fascinating! I had never heard of it, so this was all new and interesting for me.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)