Homeschooling with Bridgeway Academy Review- The Most Flexible School
We’ve been homeschooling with Bridgeway Academy for almost 2 years now and we couldn’t be happier. Here’s our review and experience with them.
Since this post has been useful to so many parents, here are some changes that Bridgeway Academy rolled in since I wrote this post:
- there are 3 required Scantron tests per year: Fall, Winter and Spring
- each test must be taken at least 6 weeks away from each other
- they no longer accept parent-generated tests: the curriculum you choose must come with their own tests or chapter reviews
- they no longer accept workbooks or supplemental curriculum as a main curriculum. That means no Evan Moor or Scholastic curricula will be approved.
Everything else is the same and Bridgeway is still our favorite school in 2022!
From Boxed Curriculum to a Flexible School
When we first started homeschooling, like any fresh homeschoolers, we thought that having a boxed curriculum and a fixed schedule would help us.
Four years down the line, I loosened up a bit about the curriculum and schedule. I managed to make my own schedule and lesson plans that fit our needs and make it bend to suit us, not the other way around.
Bridgeway Academy is the second accredited distance school that we try. The first one was Calvert School. Unfortunately Calvert has been sold off and the quality of their curriculum is nowhere close to what we got in the first 2 years with them. Let me tell you the story.
Why Calvert lost its appeal
After 2 years of using Calvert, We were ready to enroll M. for his 3rd grade with Calvert. We were all set, just waiting for their February sale to purchase. I was a couple of days late for the sale though because I had missed their e-mail and I went on their website to see that the prices had gone up considerably! (from $2000 to $6000). I had no idea what was happening. When I wrote to them and they said they no longer offer offline curriculum for 3rd grade, only online, I knew something was up.
Later, I found they had been sold to another company (credit-recovery type of school). They would no longer offer the old Calvert curriculum so loved and appreciated by thousands of families worldwide, but their new “enhanced” one. I was so disappointed and felt betrayed by their move, without even announcing the families upfront of the changes that would take place.
As a consequence, a lot of Calvert families decided to leave the school and look elsewhere and we were among them.
And that’s how my hunt for a new school began once again. I wrote a separate post about the different types of schools I researched over the years and the difference between them.
Homeschooling with Bridgeway Academy- our new school
Our rating: Excellent
Read more reviews on Trust Pilot.
- tricky to navigate when submitting paperwork
I knew about Bridgeway Academy because I actually considered them when M. started first grade, so revisiting their website and talking to their representatives, I decided to give them a try even if at the time I couldn’t find a lot of details from homeschooling parents using them.
1. Flexible – Bridgeway Academy Homeschooling Options
Bridgeway Academy is one of the most flexible, accredited schools around! They have a mix of programs for everyone: total care, blended, online or offline and even LIVE classes with real teachers.
Bridgeway are tailored to fit any type of homeschool family: from the most rigorous to the most flexible, from secular to Christian. They are all about PERSONALIZED homeschooling, something you will not find when looking at most accredited schools online!
- Independent Study (Non-accredited) – they just offer their curriculum kits here with the option of upgrading.
- Academy (Accredited) – their programs are listed here.
- Charter School – for USA residents that would like to homeschool through a charter.
I decided to make a short video of HOW to navigate to the 2 accredited and non-accredited sections, so it’s easier for you to find them and also see how you can place an order with them and get $100 discount by using my referral code at the end of this article.
Enrolling with Bridgeway Academy was very easy. You can enroll at ANY time of the year. For the online options there are certain timelines so make sure to check that before enrolling.
Placement Test- Scantron
One of the things I like about Bridgeway Academy is that when you enroll they have a placement test to show you your child’s level. The kids take this test for every end-of-year assessment, too.
The test they have is Scantron and it’s completely online. At the end you get to see how your child performed compared to other children his/her age. It’s useful to see how they grow every year and to find out about their strong and weak spots. It’s also great for appeasing the usual homeschooling parent fears of your child being “behind” their school peers.
Records and Support – our choice
The program we chose was “Records and Support“. That means we’ve got no curriculum and no set daily schedule. From Bridgeway we just got an advisory teacher and an accredited diploma and transcript. We have to buy our own curriculum and work on it at our own pace, but complete it within about 10 months of school.
The “Records and Support” option gives you the choice of picking from their already approved curriculum or making your own. They have a list of publishers and books that are pre-approved that you can check and choose from.
Please note that you will still have to buy all the curriculum, separately from the school fee.
You can pick a total of 7 subjects. 2 of them are electives and PE is a compulsory elective.
If your choices are not on their list, you will need to submit course approval forms. You will find all forms to download from your dashboard. The process is easy. I also submit the Contents from each book along with the course approval form.
Once approved, you just go ahead and create your own schedule and pacing, your own lesson plans. You can see how I organize our school year here.
Tests and grading
By using the “Records and Support” option, we have to submit tests for every main subject and work samples for every elective.
If the manuals you choose don’t have review sections or tests you will have to make your own. I make mine using Super Teacher Worksheets.
You then need to correct the tests and grade them. I use the percentage because it’s easier. There are a lot of online calculators to make your job easier.
You can choose to submit the tests every time you grade one, or at the end of each semester. I just submit them at the end of each semester because it’s easier for me to scan them all at once.
And here is the only “negative” point I found in the whole experience: their submission aspect. It is a bit disorienting at first and with no clear path because you need to download and fill multiple PDFs which you need to then scan and upload. I think it can be greatly simplified with an online forms system for an amazing overall experience of both parents and teachers. Maybe they will consider this in the future and simplify the process.
After uploading everything, your teacher will check the tests, the corrections you made and the grades before approving your final transcript.
Then you will get the placement test result, the transcript and diploma which you can keep in a digital format, print, or even order online!
Recap: Timeline for Records and Support
Here is a general overview on how a Bridgeway Academy year looks like from the parent perspective, for all the new homeschoolers out there:
- Enrolling/paying the fee (they have installment options as well!) – don’t forget to use my referral code at the end of this article for $100 off
- Getting an advisory teacher
- Picking curriculum and getting it approved – yes, you can pick your own, too!
- Picking a START date for your year – you can choose when YOU want to start the year.
- Placement test online
- Homeschooling and getting all the support you need from your teacher
- Submitting tests and forms
- Final placement test online
- Getting a transcript and diploma
2. Friendly staff and advisory teachers
From the very first chat, Bridgeway Academy showed me how involved they are. They answered promptly and patiently to all of my questions.
After paying the enrollment fee, we were assigned an advisory teacher, Mrs. Kull. We just love her so much that I had to mention her name here. She is so patient and so thorough in explaining and answering questions that I knew I had made the right decision right away!
Mrs. Kull helped me navigate the curriculum choices I had in mind. I discussed with her about our previous experience with Calvert and I explained to her what we were looking for: a tailored experience for M. that would let him move at his pace through the curriculum (slower for the things he found difficult, like composition and faster through the aspects that he excelled at like science and math). I then made a list of possible manuals for each subject.
She actually went through my list, looked at the samples, and gave me her opinion. It’s so important to have someone experienced that you can discuss your options with.
This year she helped me solve another important problem. M. is already reading at a high-school level even if he is in 4th grade officially. While I was looking for a reading and comprehension curriculum I felt like nothing was right for us. I actually picked one, discussed it with our teacher and she approved it. Then I changed my mind. I wrote an e-mail at 3 am because I couldn’t rest well knowing that we won’t be truly happy going through this curriculum and working one full year on books that were not resonating with us.
Mrs. Kull was incredibly helpful once more! She offered M. the option to submit book reports, sent us a list of books to pick from and helped us pick books we already owned.
I feel so happy with our decision! If you want to read more about what we picked this year for 4th grade, you can read more here.
I know accreditation for elementary schools is not so important for some homeschoolers, but since we live in Romania and we need to show appropriate documents to the authorities, accreditation just offers me more peace of mind. An accredited school just offers more credibility.
I explained in detail the difference between accredited and non-accredited schools in my schools article here but basically an accredited school looks more closely at the work you do with your child to make sure you and your child conform to some standards aka you are not behind and you work with your child.
Bridgeway Academy is accredited by AdvancED, NCA CASI, NWAC, SACS CASI, and The National Association of Private Schools and they review their accreditation yearly! You can read more about it on their website here.
There are many types of accreditation when it comes to US schools, but one of the most solid programs (according to my research) are: AdvancED, NCA, CASI, NWAC, SACS CASI. The schools accredited by these programs are recognized in all 50 states of the USA and internationally.
While Bridgeway Academy is not one of the cheapest options when it comes to umbrella schools for homeschoolers, they are pretty affordable.
While for Calvert we were paying close to $2000 per year (curriculum included), for Bridgeway’s Records & Support we pay around $1000. That leaves us the other $1000 to choose a curriculum to follow which is more than enough to cover what we need.
Whether a new homeschooler that is scared to get started on your own or a veteran, I highly recommend that you consider this school as an option.
We love their flexibility, the way we managed to tailor an accredited program to fit M. and not the other way around, the way we are treated by our advisory teacher with so much care and dedication and the freedom of schedule and curriculum while still being held accountable.
I really feel that Bridgeway Academy is the best school out there for homeschoolers like us that want both an accredited program and the maximum flexibility.
Want to enroll? Get a discount
Are you convinced yet that Bridgeway Academy is an awesome distance school? And I say this in all honesty, I am not being paid for it! From our previous experience, this is a totally new and very pleasant journey that we plan to continue for many years to come!
If you liked my review, talked to their representatives, studied their options, and decided to go ahead and enroll with them (no matter what option you pick), you can get $100 discount by using my referral code (and I get a discount as well).
I hope that this Bridgeway Academy review has been useful.
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Am parcurs cu interes blogul, care este foarte util si foarte bine scris si documentat.
Sunt interesata de Bridgeway Academy si as avea o intrebare: as vrea sa stiu daca pe “transcripts” apare scrisa mentiunea “Records and Support Package” si as mai vrea sa stiu daca se poate alege limba Romana in curriculum ca si curs optional. Va multumesc!
Da, apare mențiunea Records and Support pe Transcripts.
Se poate alege o limba straina la Opțional și limba romana ar figura așa eventual. Dar eu personal nu as menționa nicăieri limba romana. Este o școala internațională din SUA și e mai bine (și din punct de vedere legal/birocratic) sa rămână toate materiile in engleză. Limba romana nu e o limba de circulație internațională și poate ridica semne de întrebare la o eventuala reintrare in sistem.
Noi am avut trecută limba germana la Opțional și a trebuit sa trimitem mostre din cartea după care am lucrat.
Mii de mulțumiri pentru informațiile oferite!
Daca nu alegi limba română ca si obiect, o predai pe lângă materiile deja alese? Dar geografia si istoria României?
Cu drag <3
Exact, limba romana nu apare oficial in hartii, dar asta nu impiedica pe nimeni sa-i invete pe copii romana, gramatica, istoria si geografia Romaniei. Pana la urma cunostintele sunt importante. Noi lucram la gramatica dupa caiete de lucru Gama si Copilul Destept iar la istorie citim din cartile disponibile pe subiect la noi.
Bună. M ar interesa și pe mine. Cam ce nivel trebuie sa aibă copilul la limba engleza dacă ar fi sa l înscriu? Fetita mea are 6 ani și o luna dar nu știe engleza. Ar trebui la anul sa o înscriu la pregătitoare dar parca nu sunt împăcată. As prefera homeschooling ul doar ca nu știe engleza. Dacă as înscrie o la engleza în particular din acest monent oare as avea șanse de reușită sau ar fi tarziu? Mulțumesc
La Bridgeway trebuie sa se facă totul în limba engleză. Deci nivelul de engleză ar trebui sa fie bun spre foarte bun. Toate materiile se fac exclusiv în engleză.
Un an va ajunge pentru a învața engleza la nivel bun, dacă va concentrați pe asta și sunteti consistenți. Eu cunosc un profesor de engleză bun, nativ. O sa iti trimit email cu numărul lui de telefon.
Pana învață engleză, puteți alege o școală umbrela (am pus o lista aici: https://monkeyandmom.com/ro/homeschooling-in-europe-picking-an-accredited-or-an-umbrella-school/
I’m planning to enroll my 11th grade this upcoming year. Thanks for your update and your referral code!
You’re very welcome! ❤️ Good luck in your new school year!
How are the Scantron tests administered? Pencil and paper or online? I am thinking of a first grader, would he be required to sit in front of a computer?
The tests are online. But they just administer them 3 times per year and there is no time limit. So your son can take as many breaks as he needs to. Plus, for younger children, everything is read out oud to them.
It’s really different from a regular test, too. This test will increase or decrease in difficulty as they answer and it tests their critical thinking.
Thank you for sharing, can you recommend the curriculum you used alongside Bridgeways’ Record & Support?
What grades are you interested in?
I posted our 4th-grade curriculum and I kept postponing the 5th grade’s. But I have to make time for it and post it soon. If you let me know a bit about your kids, I could help point you in the right direction.
Mă poți ajuta și pe mine cu câteva detalii despre acest tip de educație?
Te rog sa imi lasi un email sau sa intri pe grupul de Facebook Homeschooling in Romania de la A la Z. Pe grup am postat cam toate detaliile ce tin de acest aspect.
Excelente informatii. Baiatul meu a inceput acum clasa a VIII-a si m-am gandit abia acum la aceasta optiune. S-ar mai putea inscrie acum? Daca da, cum am proceda cu Evaluarea Nationala unde ar trebui sa sustina examen la romana? I s-ar echivala clasa a VIII-a? Multumesc anticipat.
Poate incepe oricand. Pe grupul de Facebook “Homeschooling in Romania de la A la Z” gasesti mai multe informatii: https://www.facebook.com/groups/homeschoolinginromania
Depinde ce sistem alegi pe urma. In SUA nu se dau examene pentru trecere dintr-o clasa in alta. Deci daca il retragi acum, nu va mai avea Evaluarea Nationala.
Poti astepta un an daca vrei sa ramana cu examenul si sa il retragi la liceu.
Nivelul de engleza trebuie sa fie unul bun daca vrei optiunea unei facultati pentru ca se cere minim examenul GED (in engleza) pentru echivalarea studiilor in Romania.
Articolul dvs mi-a raspuns la foarte multe intrebari. Cochetez de ceva timp cu aceasta idee. Fata mea are 13 ani (clasa aVI-a) si nu se mai regaseste in sistemul nostru clasic de invatamant. Invatam de toate si nimic. Ea este un copil dornic sa afle multe. Timpul pe care il mai are dupa scoala este spre zero..
Multumim pentru informatiile furnizate. Ne scuteste de mult timp de documentare.
Ma bucur mult sa aud asta. Va doresc succes pe noul drum!
Voi pe ce plan mergeți la Bridgeway? Records and Support Only?
Da, doar Records and Support am folosit de la ei in cei 4 ani de cand suntem acolo.