The reason this school only ranks a 4 out of 10 is because they have a sub-standard faculty (with a few excellent teachers sprinkled in) receiving oversight from bumbling administrators. If the school were doing well at educating our children, the state would issue them a "performance plan." Instead, Branson has an "improvement plan" in place, but it really doesn't seem to be doing much good.
There are only two problems with this school--its unequipped faculty and its inept administration. Those are the only two problems I spotted anyway, and quickly at that, before I withdrew my child.
I wanted to speak with my child's teacher at a picnic event, but she was too busy gossiping with an administrator about a past student/parent to notice my presence. Her performance in "class" was even more atrocious. The online format allowed me to witness the teacher denigrating a student--thankfully not my child--who got a question wrong and then asked why it was wrong. I thought about bringing this to the attention of the administration, but I didn't want to be the next family they insulted.
I am surprised at some of these bad reviews. I don't think some of these parents new what they were getting in to when they signed up. My 3 children have been with Branson for 2 years and they are definitely stronger and more independent learner s than they were when we started. I have found their teachers to be excellent and very supportive. I feel that my children are more prepared to enter college than most of the kids I see from public schools.
Homeschoolers beware. Our experience with the first and second grade teachers was not wonderful, and our experience with the administration was even worse. I thought I couldn't do it on my own, that I needed help with curriculum selection (and the cost of it all) and that my child would be lacking academically. Since I have been doing this "on my own" now a couple years, I found that just connecting online with other homeschoolers is much better support. I even get curriculum suggestions--and often excellent, free materials people hand down. I see now what my child was lacking from being in Branson for two years. I can't get that time back, but maybe by posting this I can help others.
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.
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.