This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Branson School Online1
Posted October 22, 2014
- a parent
Although I love the concept of public school at home, I think this school gets it all wrong. There is very little freedom for individual families to pursue their goals. That wouldn't be too bad if they had good teachers. This is our second and last year of trying to make this bad situation good. The only good thing to say about the teachers is that some of them are good, and even the bad ones are better than the administrators.
My children have been with Branson for over 10 years now. We've had nothing but great teachers who have been wonderful in their teaching. When one of my children started having difficulty it was picked up on by two teachers and relayed back to his homeroom teacher who immediately set up a meeting with all teachers, my son and myself to get him on the right track. We have only had two teachers (out of 24 we've had) that were not great teachers. My 6th grader did very well with the two teachers she had and my 9th and 12th graders had excellent support from teachers and counselors. Online schooling isn't for everyone and those who enroll their kids should look closely at it and not go in blindly.
Branson is a wonderful school which is unlike any other online program out there. Branson's teachers create their own curriculum that is aligned with state standards. Students receive individualized attention and instruction and teachers are invested in making the experience positive for each child. It is also a great place to work and allows teachers to balance their family and personal lives with work.
(What I thought I was getting? The flexibility of homeschool with the benefit of a strong curriculum.) What I got? Much less flexibility than homeschool with poor, pieced-together curricula. (What I thought I was getting? The support of excellent teachers.) What I got? One excellent teacher who knew her subjects and helped her students, and mostly awful teachers who knew less than their students and refused to be swayed by truth. (What I thought I was getting? A creative alternative to a bricks-and-mortar school.) What I got? A brick wall. (What they tell you is that just about everybody there loves it.) What they don t tell you is that there are a LOT of people who leave because they don t like it. There s a reason (um, actually many, many reasons) their rating is so low.
Well, they certainly do not spend much money on curriculum for middle school students. The information they get is piecemeal, taken from various sources that are often in conflict with one another. An excellent teacher can work through that, but unfortunately my daughter does not even have a good teacher. As we near the end of the school year, I find myself realizing that my child got good grades but didn't really learn much of anything.
Branson School Online is a wonderful alternative to public school. We have been with them for six years and find it to be great for our family. The good: elementary has a very set structure so it is easy to follow. the teachers (with a few exceptions) are pushing your kids to succeed, The gifted and talented programs is phenomenal, and there is the opportunity for concurrent enrollment. You will find that the teachers who care, really, really care. These teacher are what makes BSO such a great school. The Bad:As you get to junior high and high school the set structure begins to fade, and not in a good way. The kids find it hard to determine what is due during the week because there is a lack of structured checklists; and the fact that every teacher is doing their own thing. Branson would be smart to have the board set up a structure that all teachers had to follow instead of allowing different rules in each class. I was told by one teacher that this was preparing them for college, but me son is taking college coarses that are much more organized. Overall I am pleased with BSO, they have great teachers (with a few exceptions), and present great opportunities for the kids.
"My son is a 6th grader at Branson this year. He is thriving and is motivated because he gets to decide his schedule which is empowering. His is not into sports and since Branson allows him to plan his gym class, he loves trying different creative ways of exercising. He is very artistic and enjoys completing his work each day early so he can have more time learning and implementing art. When he attended the local school he would spend about 40 minutes on the bus ride one way every day. Instead of riding the bus for 180 minutes a day, he takes that time for art and other interests. The teachers are very patient, organized and they follow up each week with a phone call. This allows the parent to go over any concerns. What sets Branson apart from the public school is that a student will not fall through any cracks, meaning, if there is a missing assignment or your child is struggling, you will be notified right away. This is the key to success, catching it right away so there will be less confusion for your child, and if you need to get involved as a parent, you have the opportunity to do so. This is what I so appreciate about Branson, thank you 6th grade teachers!!!"
My daughter attended Branson School Online (BSO) four years and graduated in May 2013. She is now happily attending a selective college in Texas, studying vocal music performance, and is doing very well as a freshman with all As and Bs. She recently commented in a phone call home that in comparison with many of the other incoming freshmen, she feels she was extremely well-prepared for college through her academic experiences at BSO. Her teachers, counselors and the administrative staff were exemplary in meeting her needs in preparing her for college. Part of her success she also attributes to the opportunities BSO afforded her, such as their concurrent enrollment program. She ended up graduating from high school with 45 credit hours from a community college and the majority of those credits were accepted by her school. She, as well as we parents, received personal attention and all problems that arose were resolved quickly and expediently. Without reservation, she and I recommend BSO as a superb alternative to bricks-and-mortar school for the mature, diligent and ambitious student.
I had a positive experience at this school. I am a graduate from this school (2004) and I appreciated the expanded opportunities I was able to engage in without sacrificing my education. Attending BSO encouraged me to develop independent study habits that have served me through college and career. I found value in taking ownership of my education and time. In response to the post on 11/15/13 - wow, it sounds like your family has had a frustrating year. I am a parent now with one school age child and I would heavily advise you to communicate clearly your concerns to the school's administration. You will very likely find that they are willing to work to address your concerns. In my experience, attending an online school requires a strong partnership between the school's staff and the families in order to provide a thorough and positive educational experience for the students. Communication and exploration of potential solutions to perceived issues is key. For your children's sake, please escalate your concerns to the administration and help them gain the insight they need to make your family's experience as positive as many other students', including my own. Best of luck!