Abeka Home Schooling Academy Pros and Cons

by Chrita Paulin
(Florida)

ABeka Home Schooling Academy Review

ABeka Home Schooling Academy Review

Despite great content and teaching helps, home educator shares why ABeka home schooling Academy may not be a good option for independent-thinking students. Read her review to learn more...

I had two children, in grades 1 and 4, who utilized the ABeka home schooling Academy program. This program is a year long, DVD based program where the children watch an actual teacher instruct an actual classroom, on DVD.

When you purchase the program you are provided 90 days worth of DVDs. The children watch the material, complete the workbooks, and then you send the grades in to ABeka Academy based on a grading system that they provide.

The subjects included Reading, Writing, Math, Geography, Science, Art, and Bible. The content of the program was extremely thorough. The workbooks gave the child the opportunity to reinforce what they had learned on the DVDs. There were timed exercises as well as independent projects for the children to do.

The teacher references and answer keys were extremely helpful. They gave instructions on how to administer tests and to grade your child's work.

I had absolutely no problem with the content that was covered in the ABeka Academy program. However, my children were very bored with the DVD teaching method. To ask a child to sit and watch "television" all day and then complete assignments was tedious and did not hold attention of the students. Unfortunately, you had to maintain the Academy schedule because you have certain time limits in which the child's work had to be returned with grades.



I would not recommend the ABeka home schooling Academy as a sole teaching method for homeschooled students. Most homeschooled children are independent thinkers; they are highly motivated and are often not challenged by the "typical" public school model. By utilizing the ABeka Academy the child will feel that they are still sitting inside a classroom, and it is my opinion, that they will be very bored.

I would, however, recommend the ABeka home schooling curriculum. You can purchase the workbooks and teacher guides separately. I really liked the workbooks because they have the teacher/parent time the students in math, reading and writing. One of the major concerns with teachers when homeschooled children return to public school is that they are not used to working within time limits and have not had practice being timed on tests. With the ABeka workbooks you have a series of timed activities to encourage your child to work within time constraints.

Chrita, you did a wonderful job at sharing some pros and cons of the ABeka home schooling Academy. Your review will help parents make a more informed decision when choosing homeschool curriculum or a teaching method for their children. Sometimes finding the best method or curriculum comes through a process of elimination. Happy homeschooling, Heather :)

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Aug 13, 2009
Thanks Abeka
by: NMMomof2

Thank you for the review on Abeka. I switched to Abeka this year and debated/prayed about the DVD's or just teacher lead. Thanks to your review, I believe I went the right way in not spending the $$ on the DVD's. I am truly encouraged!!

Aug 11, 2010
Love this program
by: Anonymous

In my opinion it's really up to each individual situation. I currently use the DVD program and is very satisfied. Because it give me more time to deal with my 16 month old baby. I follow the schedule that comes with them, but I sometimes intervene so I can personally interact with my children myself. You don't have to completely use the DVD, I only use them when a particular subject needs to be thoroughly explained or when new material is being introduced. So I would not discourage the use of the DVD program at all expecially when you can modify them to your own needs. It does come in handy when needed.

Aug 14, 2010
Love the DVD's
by: Anonymous

My daughter used the 4th grade DVD's last year and loved them. A Beka had just updated that grade, and the teachers were fantastic! We quickly fell in love with them. My daughter even corresponded with them, and she was so excited to get mail from her teachers. I also have a son that was in 1st grade last year. We all did the 4th grade Bible class together each morning. It was the best part of the day - Pledge of Allegiance, patriotic song, prayer, scripture memory, singing, Bible story. This year, both kids will be using the DVD's, and they are very excited. They do not want to switch curriculums (although sometimes I would like to)!

Sep 18, 2010
Abeka is Awesome
by: Anonymous

Hello, I am a student and have used the Abeka Academy program. I don't see what the big fuss is. I went to public school from grades k-6. I am currently homeschooled using this method. When I started high school we choose the accredited program. If you are use to structure there is little to get use to. The real problem is that many homeschoolers are NOT organized... I believe they call it unschooling. This is not how life works, not to mention how God works. Abeka is simply adding structure to education and preparing students for the hard task of college where a child can no longer complain about the structure.

Oct 11, 2010
marine wife of 4 perspective
by: Heather

I have been using the Abeka DVDs accredited program for 3 years. I have 4 children ages 9,7,5,and 4. This program has been outstanding for our military family. When we had our two oldest children tested, due to state laws, they scored VERY well, post highschool in an area for each and both were above the national 50% percent mark in their lowest subject, but they scored well above average in all the other areas. Of course the children don't want to sit in "class" after the 1st week and the novelty wears off...it's not for their entertainment, it's a very useful tool for their education. I often pause the video to explain, review or expand as needed. WONDERFUL program and I would def. recommend it for larger families to keep everyone on track.

Dec 02, 2010
Great program
by: Anonymous

We live out of the country and Abeka DVD program has been just wonderful for us. It is good to have a schedule and structure. My children are in 3rd and K5 and they enjoy their classes. I recommend this program highly

Feb 14, 2011
Abeka works for us
by: Glad

I have a 9th grader and we do the video streaming instead of keeping up with DVD's. It works great for us. We supplement and adjust slightly because some subjects are naturally boring. Overall, I recommend Abeka because the teachers are very thorough and the information is old school at it's best.

Jul 08, 2011
Wonderful
by: Anonymous

I have 3 children using Abeka Academy DVD's. My 5 yr. old is doing K4, My 7 year old is in 3rd grade and my 8 year old is in 4th grade.

We are doing the Abeka Academy Accredited version for our 3rd and 4th grader. It takes about 4 to 4 1/2 hours daily to do school. When they start between 6 and 7 am, they can usually be done by or before noon.

It is very structured, and VERY complete curriculem. The teachers Review, Review, Review! My son and daughter recently got 100% on their history and Science quizzes. The teachers review sooo much during the video time, the kids cant help but remember the things they need to know!

The promotional video for Abeka said we have chosen Academic Excellence, and it is one of the best curriculems you can ever buy.

There is no way I could spend 3 hours with my 8 year old, 3 hours with my 7 year old AND another 1 1/2 to 2 hours with my 5 year old. I wouldnt have enough time to be a mother and wife and take care of my family! By using the Dvds from Abeka, they are getting WAYYYY more teaching! I was homeschooled myself, and this is definatly more teaching than the average homeschooler would get from their mom!

Aug 12, 2011
Abeka dvd program comment
by: Anonymous

I tried the dvd's with my children. They didn't like them at all and thought they were boring. I tried the teacher based lessons next. I liked this part plus it gives you time to spend with your children one on one. This part I didn't like was that it takes a good part of my day just getting all the imformation ready for their school if you do it the right way the manuals tell you to. They still don't like this approach either. I am now looking for a cd rom program they can learn and do lessons on the computer with. I think my children would be more satisfied with this type of hands on learning.

Aug 16, 2011
A Beka is A Mazing!
by: Sherri

I agree with this review, especially the pros. I think that the cons that she lists are easily dealt with by choosing the A Beka Academy DVD program Independent Study instead of the accredited version where you send in work and they grade, keep transcipts.

I have done both the A Beka accredited DVD program for high school students and the independent study DVD program for my high schoolers plus my grade schooler. Have experience with 2nd,3rd,4th grades and 9th,10th 11th. We personally prefer the independent study so that we can work at our own pace.

After having children do some public school, private Christian school, and homeschool, I would highly recommend A Beka. The structure, the thoroughness, the very challenging pace and scope, and the Christian-centered curriculum in every subject, are excellent!!

I very much agree with this statement by a fellow commenter "The real problem is that many homeschoolers are NOT organized... I believe they call it unschooling. This is not how life works, not to mention how God works." I see this as a rampant problem among fellow homeschoolers who think they are just going to throw together subjects by random companys, usually driven by low cost as the incentive, but the excuse is that they are "unschooling" or like a laid back "eclectic" approach. Most of these kids get further and further behind as their mom's take them on fun fieldtrips and do lots of "projects" and "unit studies"... It is sad.

Feb 23, 2012
Different learning styles
by: Anonymous

I think it is sad that some in the homeschool community are so judgemental of others who are different. You would think we would be more tolerant. Not everyone learns the same way. Some children will do better with a structured learning setting and lots of review, and some don't need it, and thrive in a less structured setting. My kids were bored to tears with a structured program so we switched to a literature based one, and they can tell you more about the subjects than I could at their age. I was an A student and I knew how to memorize so I did well on tests, but I had little long term memory of most of the information that was presented in what was a boring way to me. I have learned alot myself. By the way, I am one of the most spontaneous and least organized people around, yet I finished a Master's degree. I have experienced lots of 'real' life, and I do pretty well without much organization. Give room for differences, God made us that way.

Jul 03, 2012
Thank you
by: Anonymous

I really appreciate everyones comments on here. It is a relief to know people all have different approaches to this subject. I have an opportunity to be at home with my child. My husband and I agreed years ago to homeschool or do private school. After he fell ill 3 years ago we were left with an understanding that him being ill and on disability we would not be making the financial mark for private school. So after a year of grabbing materials from here and there and everywhere, just trying to get the best for the money we had, and overwhelmed with everything else,we looked into A Beka. I help care for my husband also. At first when I began to use the DVD's, I felt guilty that I wasn't involved enough in his teaching, then realized that he was getting exellent teaching. Also,I am able to be involved when able, but not only that, when my husband is having a "good day" he also can be involved. I know it is not for everyone....but the cost of the $5,000 a year private school, compared to the less than $1,000 a year is a small price to pay knowing he is geting and excellent education. I normaly do notadvertise to people about the DVD part of his school, becaise I thnk they would judge me. I do have other homeschool mom's I know that are very intense and I personaly have no idea how they do it, znd they are amazing.....as for me, I am good where we are at. God Bless.

Jul 24, 2012
Torn
by: Delene

My son did Abeka Academy K5 and Grade 1 via video streaming. He was 4 when we did K5 (accredited and later independent) and 6 when we did grade 1 (independent). He LOVED LOVED LOVED K5, especially Mrs Bearr and still asks to go back to her "class." He absolutely hated Ms Wheeler's grade 1 class. She spoke WAY TOO FAST and did not give him time to think of the answers when drilling and quizzing. As a speech therapist and audiologist, was was worried she might cause him to have auditory processing problems and speech problems because of the speed at which she spoke. All the grade 1 videos caused us was a lot of stress, aggravation and tears and both my and my son's part. It took him over 10 hours per day to do school. We stopped doing the videos after about 5 months and went solely into teaching him ourselves, which is not easy considering my husband and I BOTH work full time and my son is absolutely NOT an independent worker.

This year, we decided to do Alpha Omega LIFEPACS for grade 2. After 1 year of School of tomorrow for reading readiness and 2 years of Abeka, I would have to say that despite the customer service rep raving to me about lifepac when I called AOP, they suck and are absolutely NOT ON PAR with school of tomorrow or abeka. I spend hours each day making up extra worksheets and supplementing what should be taught in the lifepacs because they do not teach them sequentially or logically and my son is completely lost.The only reason he likes them is because he doesn't have to read any books. All his reading is supposed to be in the lifepacs, which is very simple.

I am currently very torn as to what to do for next year. Do I go back to Abeka and KNOW that my kids are getting a well rounded, top of the line education (despite the excessive amounts of work and ensuing shouting matches, tears, and stress), or do I go to School of Tomorrow and hope my child learns to work independently, or stick with Lifepacs and know he is not getting a good enough education. The most prohibitive factor with Abeka is cost. Extremely, exceptionally expensive when compared to the other 2 curricula and absolutely no tax relief in sight! Start adding children, which I have to do next year, and it gets even more pricey since discounts only apply to multiple children in the same grade.

I think as of right now I am leaning towards going back to the Abeka Academy independent program using video streaming and hoping for the best, but I don't want all the stress and crying again. I am just SO INCREDIBLY torn! I can't put a price on my children's education, but I also can't sacrifice their and my emotional stability because they don't want to sit in front of the computer for HOURS at a time doing "work."


Jul 24, 2012
@ Torn
by: Glad

My daughter is in 11th grade now and some of the courses aren't feasible to take via video (ie: speech, home ec). I looked into a Co-op and she is taking 4 classes in the Co-op along with doing Abeka. You may have to mix and match curriculum. Remember, nothing is written in stone and you get to decide what works for you and your children. I wish you the best.

Jul 25, 2012
Great for high school
by: Anonymous

My son recently finished 10th grade with Abeka Academy DVDs (the non-accredited version). He absolutely loved it! That was his first year with Abeka and he is ready and excited to start 11th grade. The only downside was the Geometry class...it is all proofs and difficult to follow. We dumped the Abeka Geometry and used Math-U-See, which was much easier to follow.
I am assuming that Algebra II will be better.

I think that for high school kids who want some structure but also want independence from mom or dad with their schoolwork, Abeka Academy is a great option. My son tells me he thinks he is learning a lot and he feels a sense of accomplishment with his education.

One note...we use the non-accredited version. I simply cannot imagine trying to keep up with all the requirements of their accredited version. And I don't see the point of that, anyway. It's more work for the parent to send in all that work to Abeka. Skip the accredited version, there is no need for it.

Aug 02, 2012
My Story
by: Linda L

We have three kids 9,6,4 and I've always stayed strong about Homeschooling my kids. I've used Abeka 1st Grade for my oldest doughter when she was 7. At first she was very exited to watch the DVDs, but them it got boring for her. She would be sitting alone staring at the TV for 3-4 hours (Even though I paused between the lessons so she could do her seat-work). The only thing that she liked was the Bible and I very much enjoyed it too :) They sing, learn Bible verses and Great stories from the Bible! So I hate to say it but I gave up... so for the second grade we send her to private christian school. It actually helped her a lot! But it was EXPENSIVE!!
I've been doing lots of research about homeschool curriculum and what is out there. There are two that interests me is BJU Press and Abeka. I would probably still go with Abeka, but I would not buy the Full-Grade. I would do Subject Combinations were you have only Language Arts and Bible or Arithmetic, Science, History, and Bible ( Video Streaming). I haven't decided yet which one I would pick. For other subjects I would just buy Abeka curriculum. So for the Bible class all three of my daughters could watch the video and sing along, learn bible verses and listen to great stories. They'll be together and it won't be boring :) For my younger daughters I would just buy work books from Abeka and a great book " Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons.
God Bless

Dec 03, 2012
Go Abeka!
by: Chandler

I just started Abeka this year, and I absoloutley LOVE it!!! The curriculum is great, and so are the teachers. I used to flunk at math, and now I finally get those tricky concepts! They give you lots of good tips and tricks with arithmetic, and provide kids with good structure!

Apr 09, 2013
Use with discretion NEW
by: Anonymous

I think it's unfair to totally dis the Abeka DVD program. Like ANY program, it has its strengths and weaknesses. I use Abeka DVD but I use the non accredited version. The difference is you keep your own records and timeline for the school year. Doing this allows me to pick and choose what I want my children to do. They ALL (even the boys!) love the Bible class each day. Depending on each individual child, I substitute with other curriculums. My daughter is doing Veritas Press reading this year and my son is doing Sonlight. My daughter is doing Sonlight science, but I chose to stick with Abeka for my son. Yes, it takes a little planning (but seriously, it's not that bad- all the Abeka stuff is already laid put for you). You really can't beat Abeka's phonics program and their math (so far) is the best I've seen too. I'm just trying to take the best of different programs. Also, by using Abeka DVD, I can also spend my time consentrating on other subjects and children. My daughter actually would e happier if I just let her go through the program on her own she likes it so much, but I chose to challenge her with curriculums that use a different approach. I believe learning by rote (Abeka) is great in the younger years, but kids need to branch out their critical thinking skills around 5th grade. I also agree that Abeka provides structure needed in most home schools. We just don't want "too much" structure. ;)
On the other side, people that aren't willing to admit that Abeka has weaknesses (like every other curriculum) are just crazy. The Abeka rep for my state infuriates me.

Aug 06, 2013
ABEKA LACKS ETHICS NEW
by: Anonymous

WHY DO YOU THINK ABEKA REQUIRES YOU TO RETURN THE DVD'S?...THEY DON'T TRUST YOU! CAN YOU GIVE ME AN AMEN? ABEKA HOMESCHOOL STUDENTS ARE OVERCHARGED TO HELP RUN PCC. IF YOU TRUELY UNDERSTOOD THE DOUBLE STANDARDS AND POOR ETHICS OF THIS BRAINWASHING CULT YOU WOULD NOT SUBMIT YOUR KIDS TO THIS SCHOOLING.

Aug 07, 2013
Abeka Has Issues NEW
by: Glad

Pensacola Christian Academy is out there as far as being a cult. My daughter uses the Abeka curriculum because it worked for us for the most part. You can't throw out the baby with the bath water. Remember,they are also a business like every other curriculum provider out there. Of course they are making money to fund PCC. My daughter isn't going to PCC because they don't allow the students to make any decisions for themselves. That doesn't mean that the Abeka studies isn't good because the administrators are like the Scribes and Pharisees in their legalistic rules and regulations. That is something they have to stand before God on. I just use what's good and in line with the scriptures. Everything else is discarded.

Aug 15, 2013
Smart Post DVD's NEW
by: Anonymous

My DVD's were left out by the mailbox by our local mail carrier? I don't know how the mail got the box from Federal Express??? My box was all wet as it has been raining? Has something changed?

Aug 16, 2013
Abeka Is Using The Cheap Route NEW
by: Glad

My dvd's came in three separate shipments in the mail. My carrier had the decency to ring my doorbell and hand them directly to me on each occasion. I guess they can ship them how they want since they own them. But they are using Fed Ex where it leaves their facility but then they turn it over to the USPS facility and have it delivered in the mail. Your problem is if the box is still sturdy enough to send them back in. They are cutting corners to save more money.

Aug 16, 2013
DVDs to be priced the same as streaming NEW
by: Anonymous

I have heard that the cost of producing DVDs has gone down significantly over the years amd that mailing the DVDs will allow them to sell the DVDs for the same price as streaming. I hope this is true praise the Lord

Sep 04, 2013
Great program for structured learners NEW
by: Anonymous

Both my DH and I work outside of the home. We rotate teaching our kids and using Abeka DVD and books keeps all of us on the same page. As far as boring and lots of test, quizzes, it works for our kids because they really need lots of reviews. We do augment to allow them to do breaks between DVD classes. In addition I've searched high and low for a well organized Algebra program and none really came in as complete as Abeka's. Not to mention my kids prefer it. However both of my kids have been in public/private traditional schools up until last year and having a structured day, workbooks, texts, test and quizzes is normal to them since they never had a problem with that. The other thing that makes me giggle is when I hear parents complain about the 3-4 hrs it takes to run the abeka DVD school program at home when it took me that much time to do homework with my kids after they'd been in school all day. I believe the program used has to work for both the parent and the child, since if mom feels overwhelmed the child does also.

Apr 10, 2014
Never will use Abeka again NEW
by: Anonymous

Unfortunately, my children also found Abeka to be boring, and had zero interest. I don't blame them. The content was not very interesting. And, the video content did not go very well at all with the workbooks. The information and presentation of the information is out-dated.
.........
My children definitely show more of an interest, and are more focused...with the BJU Press videos. Not surprising. The content and presentation of content is more up-to-date, and the workbooks are consistent...and match up really well with the video content.

Jul 23, 2014
I agree 100% NEW
by: Cchil

I agree 100% with this statement. I first want to say that abeka is a great curriculum. My children love abeka and I love abeka. When I ordered the streaming this year I thought it would be so nice to not have to be the sole teacher. I thought I would get a little extra time to work with my three year old on fundamentals. But I was wrong!! My 8 year olds school days were lasting 7 to 8 hours. I couldn't figure out why until I sat and watched a full day of streaming. It took forever to get through each and every kid on the DVD going to the chalk board answering each and every question and more time if they got it wrong. I think the online academy it just to time consume ing for my kids. And one big problem I found ( luckily my kids have not) is that if you watch the next days video it gives you the answers to all your bookwork for that day once my kids figure this out it might be way to much of a temptation for them. Sum it up. Love abeka but streaming is not for us.

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