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We enrolled my daughter in her junior year online with Keystone as we were in an area of the country where she wasn't feeling safe and supported at her bricks and mortar school. We weren't sure if she would like it, so I told her not to open any courses she wasn't sure about (per the instructions of the agent who registered her). When we decided it wasn't a good fit, they then told us we had to PAY FOR THE COURSES WE HADN'T OPENED because their money back guarantee only applies to courses you have worked on. It makes no sense. Six years later they still have debt collectors coming after us. Avoid them like the plague.
When my child enrolled we were under the impression that the work load would be similar to a public high school. This is not so. In a geography class my daughter did little actual geography and project after project on top of quizzes, exams, discussion posts etc. She was writing papers on World Economy and things that my son was actually doing in his college level economics course. When she moved on to her English class the first thing she read was, “This is going to be harder and more work than a public school English course.” It was also very disheartening that they offered us no refund when we paid for four classes and claimed not enough assignments were done monthly. I would not recommend this program. It was so unrealistic to expect of a freshman just getting their feet wet!
I sent Keystone School the following email about my son's experience in their sixth grade math course. The course design itself is poorly done and difficult to navigate. For example, a sixth-grade student has to both discover a written assignment and then go to a link called "Classroom Resources" to get the *actual* rubric, when there is an assignment rubric right there which is not the one that is used. This is cumbersome even for adults, much less a middle schooler. There is not enough just plain good old math practice at solving problems. The lesson slides, where content is presented, is assessed by a *five-question* lesson check. These 5 questions are not always a thorough assessment of the concepts covered.
In these extremely short lesson checks, there is no opportunity for the student to remediate and increase mastery. These little quizzes are "one and done," so if the student discovers from the lesson check that he/she didn't understand the lesson, then there is no opportunity for the student to remediate the skill. There are not even suggestions of external websites or practice problems to increase the ability to work on the skill.
There are a number of tedious written assignments, which are cumbersome for the student and extremely tiresome for the parent, in that they have to be printed out, handwritten, then scanned in, then uploaded. My son, like I can imagine is the case with most middle schoolers, does not have the scanner access to do this himself; I have to do it. The student should be able to complete the course basically independently with a little help, not constant parent intervention. However, I would not have minded the written assignments so much if they were GOOD assignments. They are not. At best, they are sketchy coverage, and at worst, they are confusing.
On 2.08 with the parallelograms, the problems were unnecessarily confusing to solve - if solvable at all. I showed this to my husband, who has a master of science degree in biology and did advanced mathematics in undergraduate math and in his graduate thesis analysis. Neither of us were able to figure out one of the first parallelograms to be "deconstructed," and the simplest, most straightforward way to solve the problem was impossible. The problem could have been solved by using the formula for a triangle, but there was not enough information to use the formula (only the height was provided, not the base). I watched the video in James's class trying to show the assignment, but still found it confusing. When two adults with advanced degrees find it bewildering, you can imagine that a sixth grader will.
There was an excessive amount of cutesy, "filler" assignments like "math journals," forum responses to other students who are not engaged in any way in discussion, and a requirement to use vocabulary words which were not limited to math content taught in the module. My son does not need additional writing or vocabulary practice. As his homeschool teacher, we cover those adequately enough for him to test in the 95th percentile nationwide on the TerraNova standardized test. My son is in the 4th-6th grade Duke TIP program interestingly enough based on his 99th percentile score in math computation. Even with that ability level, he found this course frustrating and extremely un-engaging.
I have worked in education full time since earning my master's degree in 1998. I have worked full time in virtual education, including teaching and course design, since 2006. I wanted to give this course the full opportunity and hoped it would work for my son. The more and more I had to intervene and help him with it, the more I noticed the above problems which I consider to be bad pedagogy. The single worst problem is that the course does not provide adequate practice on the math concepts covered to ensure mastery.
When I initially signed my daughter up I was aware that after 30 days refunds would be based on percentage of course completed; what I was not aware of is that the student has to submit 1 assignment per 30 days and if they fail to do so it totally voids the refund policy. My complaint is that they do not state this in the refund policy, but separate it out under student activity policy making it difficult to actually connect the 2 policies. I was told that even though my daughter only completed 6% of the class I do not qualify for any refund because she did not submit an assignment within the first 30 days. I would recommend finding other options as the format of the course was confusing and the directions unclear, even my other children's online college courses give more information and guidance.
They do not care about your child's education! They lost my daughter's homework. School reps talk bad about the school to the parents! They only want your money! Don't waste your or your child's time!
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We love the Keystone Online School. It has brought so much knowledge to my daughter. Recommend it to anyone considering private online school. It is difficult, but worth it! Much better than any regular public school.
I have been homeschooled my whole life! I switched from K12 to Keystone after a long time and I love it. Great education is provided for a reasonable price per course ratio, and although assignments are long and tedious, I feel like I learn something new and significant from each one of them.
I've been Homeschooling my whole life, but recently they ran out of spots at my usual school. So, I transferred to Keystone to finish 7th Grade. Here's the problem: they overwork us. I know, I know, You might be assuming that I'm a Lazy bum who just doesn't like school. However, they give us papers and papers and papers of work to do, telling us to search (Without giving us any information, other than definitions. )about the topic, with only a week to do it. When I say papers, I mean an essay, and maybe 2 or 3 paragraphs a week, in ONE subject. Now, If I was a genius, who didn't mind the brain sucked out of her, Then I would be alright with this. However, I'm not.
We called them about this problem as well, and they said, "It was just like public school," However, my mom is friends with a Middle School Teacher, and she disagrees. She said that some things that I was doing were college-level assignments. I'm in 7th Grade, not college! On average I have about 20 graded assignments to do. A week. I'm losing motivation to do schoolwork, because there's so much to do! Whether this school is worth the money they want you to pay, or not, that's up to you.
Worse customer service ever. I tried to sign up online for my son to take a credit recovery class and it was impossible. Try to get help online and the person online support was useless. Got someone on the phone on a Monday after waiting for 45 minutes and it took them forever to get on the phone. Stated they will send me the information the following business day and I had to call them a week later to get the info for my son to start the class. I decided to withdraw my son because of the horrible service and they did not withdraw any of the money. They kept the $160 I paid for a class that my son didn't even enrolled in. I call that stealing.
Complete waste. Impossible to get ahold of anyone. MOST of the links in the site either do not work at all or no longer exist. CONSTANT issues with the site. Don't waste your money or your child's time.
My son is a high student and we tried Keystone for half a semester and it went well but after that it went downhill fast. The amount of work they make students do is ridiculous. I was told the work would be equivalent to public school. After complaining and complaining because now my son has fallen behind, I once again called and they stated it was harder than public schools. No one follows up and the teachers really do not seem to care. There is no teaching involved AT ALL. It's like having a teacher's aide just grade work all day. Once he is caught up I plan to move him to a different program. This curriculum will definitely detour kids away from college. I put myself through college online and that was a breeze compare to this. Completely disgusted!
This was my first time trying an online school and my child is in the 10th grade. It started out pretty rough and I ask for contact information of the "Mentor". The person who signed us up led me to believe he would have. I was quickly told that person did not exist. It soon became obvious the courses were more than my child could do on his own. I decided to take him out of Keystone. After withdrawing, I was told that I still have to pay the full amount as if he was still attending for the whole year. They only give full refunds up to 30 days. I understand I wouldn't get money back, but if they are no longer providing services why am I still paying as if he was there?
They say I should have read this policy in the terms and conditions during enrollment but I didn't see it! I not only feel they are deceitful but there isn't the support they lead you to believe they will provide, not really any communication with real teachers. It is unfortunate I have to give them a rating of 1 but I CANNOT HONESTLY RECOMMEND THIS COMPANY.
This was our first time trying an online school and my son is in the 8th grade. It started out pretty good but the courses quickly became more than my son could do on his own. We decided to take him out and reenroll him in our local school. After withdrawing, I was told that I still have to pay the full amount as if he was still attending for the whole year. They only give full refunds up to 30 days. I understand I wouldn't get money back, but why am I still paying as if he was there? They say I should have read this policy in the terms and conditions during enrollment but I didn't see it. Very hard to deal with and would not recommend for this reason and because there is not any communication with real teachers.
I have used the K12 public online schools for two other kids in the house, so we were not new to the online experience. This is truly a self-paced program, which my son prefers so that he can work on assignments as quickly as he can and use his afternoons for golf. The classes are challenging and focus a great deal on writing papers, and incorporating MLA format in all classes.
You can print a daily schedule based on your projected end date for the courses. It's not completely accurate, but in general works fairly well (it doesn't take into account the time you might need for a paper vs. a 5 question quiz). If your child cannot stay on task and gets behind, you do have an entire year to finish a course. However, if you are trying to finish it like a typical school year they can definitely run into problems if you are not supervising or your child is not motivated.
To give you a rough daily idea of what we're doing... he starts class between 7 and 8 am. He takes a little break between each, and works about an hour a day on each (they have 5 classes). He's done for the day around noon, and this is a schedule for him to complete the semester in 3 months (working Mon-Fri). It's great for kids in extracurricular activities, or those who work and need to change schedules around. As far as online schools go, I am very happy with the choice. People who complain about it likely wouldn't do well with any online school.
Teachers are prompt to respond to emails and you can call and get help asap during regular business hours. There are NO live classes to watch. The lessons do contain videos at times, but in general the middle school classes are materials the kids sit and read. They're organized and closely match or exceed the honors classes we switched from in our public schools.
My daughter wanted to take a language that wasn't offered at her public high school, so we signed her up at Keystone. She just finished German 1 and recently started German 2. She's very satisfied with both classes. My husband is fluent in German, he reviewed some of the lessons and says the material is accurate. There is a teacher assigned to the classroom. My daughter has contacted the teacher 3-4 times throughout the courses with questions and the teacher always responded within a day.
This program IS NOT EASY, but is on par with a high school level course. A typical course in a "brick and mortar" public school system is about 45 minutes a day for 180 days, and Keystone courses take just about the same amount of time. You need to complete all the lessons and assignments before the course is considered complete. The lessons are very comprehensive. The assessments are taken directly from learned material, so as long as the student takes notes and studies, they'll find the quizzes and tests to be relevant and of an appropriate degree of difficulty. Keystone uses "Blackboard" to deliver the course material, which is the same software most colleges use. I would definitely recommend Keystone.
We wanted to try homeschool for my daughter. We purchased 8th grade math from Keystone with the understanding that if she did well with online school, we would purchase the other courses needed for her classes. My daughter found errors in the first chapter; there was a math game that had the student "shoot" the correct answer. The problem was -4 x -5. My daughter hit 20 and was told she was wrong. She was told the correct answer was -9, which is only correct with addition -- not multiplication.
She then had a problem where the student was to change a mixed number into a fraction. The instructions said to multiply the denominator and numerator together and add the numerator. They later contradicted the original statement, saying correctly that you multiply the denominator by the whole number and add the numerator.
These are just two of the many examples of errors found in the materials. This company is now saying they will only refund a portion of the total cost, stating that my daughter already took some of the lessons. Give me a break. My 13-year-old child could teach this class better than the material we received. We reached out to find that our “teacher” was no longer working there. I emailed and then spoke to the “principal” who said that she would put in a “ticket” to correct the errors we found. When I asked why the teacher had not proofread the material I was told they did not have time to do so. My point is that the student is there to learn, not to correct the materials. I have had multiple conversations and emails and still just promises of refunds. Buyer beware!
The Keystone School expert review by ConsumerAffairs
The Keystone School is a private, tuition-based online school. Started in 1974, The Keystone School was one of the first in the industry to develop distance learning and online schooling. The Keystone School has had students from all 50 states and nearly 100 countries.
Enrollment options: The Keystone School allows students to enroll in grades K-12 for a comprehensive education or to simply purchase individual course modules to supplement another schooling program.
Flexible tuition: Students who enroll full-time can receive a discount. There are also discounts for military families and those with more than one student enrolled. Discounts will only be applied if enrollment is done over the phone.
College acceptance: Students with Keystone diplomas have been accepted at all types of colleges including prestigious institutions such as New York University, Dartmouth, Duke, Notre Dame, Stanford, Yale, Rice, and West Point.
Accreditation: Keystone is accredited by AdvancED/Northwest Accreditation Commission and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Student support: Keystone offers many ways for parents and students to get support, including access to teachers, learning coaches, counselors and staff. There are also class discussion forums, clubs, and social media pages.
Best for: homeschooled students, student performers and military families.
The Keystone School Company Information
- Company Name:
- The Keystone School
- Year Founded:
- 920 Central Road
- Postal Code:
- United States
- (800) 255-4937