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The Keystone School Reviews

The Keystone School is an online high school and middle school offering flexible and engaging school programs open for enrollment year round. Keystone offers over 120 online high school and middle school courses all supported by certified teachers. Students can enroll full-time to earn an accredited online high school diploma or part-time to supplement a traditional school or homeschool curriculum.

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(10 Reviews)

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  1. The Keystone School Review by Stressed Out
    Pros: Self Paced
    Cons: Insanely vague, hard to understand

    Grades Used: Summer before 12

    This was an awful experience. I took Spanish II because it would not fit into my schedule senior year and I thought this would be a good alternative.

    Man I was wrong.

    First of all virtually the entire textbook is in Spanish. How am I supposed to learn Spanish when I can’t even read the captions under the pictures? The textbook is random and confusing, and the tests even more so. Additionally, the audio for the listening part of the test is basically incomprehensible, I ended up using voice dictate on my phone and filling in the blanks with my best guesses.

    During the school year I am a straight A AP/Honors level student.

    Additionally, the tests took about two weeks to come back, with no confirmation that they were received, and all the emails I sent to Keystone took about a week to get a response, which held me back from completing the course swiftly.

    One other pet peeve of mine with the course- I was required to send in CDs with my voice recording of various passages, except Keystone left no instructions or options on how to do so, and no instructions on how to send them the CD in the mail.

    Extremely disappointed.

  2. The Keystone School Review by Tricia
    Pros: Accredited, good customer service, quick access to class, good communication, helps/tutorials offered, class outline and assignments were easy to find
    Cons: Takes a while to figure out how their system works the first time around, some assignments vague or confusing, a bit pricey

    Grades Used: 10th grade biology

    I tried Keystone for a summer biology course because my son needed another credit to transfer into a new high school. I spent several days navigating through their system and getting it to run on my laptop. Once I became accustomed to their system, the class layout seemed fairly organized, and my son took a tutorial/introductory course (several hours long) to get familiar with the system. I spent several hours going through the first unit with my son. There were some helpful features (vocab practice, crosswords, etc) but he was also asked to define vocab words and identify chemicals that had not even been mentioned in the lesson. He was directed to websites, but not told what to do or look at on those sites. I started scanning future units and found some of the assignment instructions to be vague or confusing. The course also is heavy on evolutionary content, much more than my AP biology high school course. This school may have worked for my son if he were using it as part of a full year curriculum, but it seemed like too much to try to figure out the online format and assignment requirements in a short time. I disenrolled him (and was given a prompt refund with no hassles) and found a correspondence course through another school.

  3. The Keystone School Review by Laurel
    Pros: Flexible Schedule
    Cons: Terrible curriculum, horrible support

    Grades Used: 8th

    Avoid this school at all costs.
    As stated in other reviews, this curriculum is vague, incomplete, and tedious. It took my daughter 9 months to complete one semester. She is very intelligent and earned all “A’s”, but it was a struggle! They do not give you all the resources you need. They assign project after project after project. Their tests are flawed and contain many errors. The refund is only good after 30 days. Don’t waste your time or money.

  4. The Keystone School Review by Sam
    Pros: Self-paced, gives high school credit
    Cons: Outdated, hard to navigate, harsh grading, teachers are not helpful, most of the assignments are busy work

    Grades Used: sophomore

    I am a Sophmore who is using keystone for an online Spanish course since my school doesn’t offer Spanish. Although I have only been using this program for two semesters, I can say I will not be using it again. This program is outdated and not helpful at all. The program is hard to understand, and the “teachers” are not helpful at all. It is a completely independent program, which was nice for me, but when I came to some information in needed help on, the teacher wasn’t helpful at all. The program used very outdated technology.
    My course was hard to navigate, and grading was too harsh. The only nice part of the program was that it was self-paced, and it was offering a variety of courses. I will not be continuing to use this program for my Spanish 3 course. The program gave me useless assignments that seemed more like busy work than for an actual learning purpose.
    I would not recommend this program to anyone who wants to get a good education.

  5. The Keystone School Review by Jill
    Pros: flexible, curriculum provided, self-paced
    Cons: The worst LMS I've ever seen - it's archaic!, Not designed for elementary level kids, Excessive busy work

    Grades Used: 1

    My 6 year old has a chronic illness and the public schools are unable or unwilling (both!) to accommodate him, so we sought out online programs to try to homeschool as I work full time from home. After looking at many different programs and reviews, we decided on Keystone.

    Like most the reviews here, we are not very impressed with Keystone’s program. Given that my son is six, he is unable to read the instructions and only about 50% of the lessons have audio buttons. So that means Mom gets to attend the first grade all over again as I sit through EVERY SINGLE LESSON telling him what is required of him, (Ex: Reading quiz answers that he is unable to read himself because he is SIX, reading him daily chapters from Ramona the Brave, and explaining how to complete a visual book report). It’s a LOT of work. On top of that, they beat a dead horse with their lessons. Even my son is annoyed by having to do twelve lessons of addition, when he understood it perfectly in six.

    I don’t really know of a viable alternative here, but I hope there is one out there. I just can’t commit the level of time required to help my son complete all their busy work.

  6. The Keystone School Review by Florida family
    Pros: Flexible and you have a year to complete
    Cons: Terrible instructions, diffcult to understand, horrible curriculum

    Grades Used: 7

    I cannot share enough how much I HATE this program and even though it cost TWO THOUSAND dollars for the year, I don’t know if I’m going to make my daughter finish the second semester. The instructions are horrible, the questions and answers are horrible – earning a bachelors degree was sooo much easier than this curriculum

  7. The Keystone School Review by Tara Mildenberger
    Pros: None
    Cons: Everything

    Grades Used: 8th and 9th

    We have homeshooled for quite a while and before that, I was a classroom teacher and I can honestly say that I have never seen a more ridiculous excuse for a curriculum than the Keystone School.

    My 8th grader was confused on day one of trying to get acclimated to their material. I assumed it was him and tried to help by going over it with him. After many hours in front of the computer, I was just as confused. I sent an email to his “teacher.” After 4 days of hearing nothing, I called. The representative made the assumption that I just hadn’t read or understood things clearly; after about 45 minutes with her, she realized that I was correct and it didn’t make sense. I was put in touch with the person in charge of that subject. She told me that the teacher had made her aware of my email (but nobody bothered to respond to me) and they were unsure what to do, as this particular class was new and they were still, “trying to imagine what the assignments for the class might look like.” So, in short, they sold my an incomplete, unwritten curriculum for $400!

    To top all of this off, we withdrew immediately and 30+ days have passed and I still don’t have a refund. Of course, I had to purchase more curriculum in the meantime. The whole experience has cost me many hours of frustration and money that I don’t know if I’ll ever get back, even though I have complied with all of their policies and procedures.

    I don’t know a time that I have been more displeased with a purchase.

  8. The Keystone School Review by Russella
    Pros: Self-paced, virtual, good intentions
    Cons: Parents must teach / no instruction or teachers, takes too long, expensive

    Grades Used: 7-10

    My daughter has completed grades 7-9 of the curriculum and is in danger of failing to complete grade 10. The curriculum takes MUCH longer to complete through Keystone due to the lack of instruction and the fact that each course includes several more chapters and units of work than found in a physical school, whether public or private. This is a self-taught, self-paced program. Keystone utilizes a standard core high school curriculum. The first year was a nightmare due to the amount of work (I’d say it was too much for a middle-schooler), but we trudged on, and she got straight As. In order to accomplish this, she sat working at her computer for 9-16 hours a day for years. Consequently, she developed kyphosis (hunched back), and her lifetime 20/20 vision deteriorated due to excessive near vision usage and underused distance vision (yes, our lifestyles dramatically affect our vision as well as every other bodily system — something I learned from her ophthalmologist). As a stay-at-home mother dedicated to education, I have spent an average of four hours a day teaching her, assisting her in deciphering poorly written or insensible assignment rubrics, doing research on the higher-level chemistry and math topics to instruct her, and making prolific use of KHAN ACADEMY instructional videos. The course material, as well as the too-frequent quizzes and exams, are laden with errors that render a correct answer impossible without first calling or emailing the school to verify the existence of the error and then what the exam question was supposed to say. Highly intelligent, attentive, and articulate, my daughter has succeeded due to her own academic rigors and my daily assistance. She has significantly expanded her knowledge and educational skills, HOWEVER, the price — financially, economically, and physically — has not been worth it or a good trade-off. The curriculum is taught by Blackboard text with animated avatars. Keystone “teachers” should be called “graders”. They rarely offered genuine instruction when she was stuck on a concept. Feedback consisted of variations of “good job” from all teachers except for two. Some are dedicated, responding to email questions and requests for help within 24 hours, but others are not because they take a week or more to reply if at all. I began to suspect many of them were not actual teachers due to their poor grammar, misspellings, and facile communication styles. The Guidance Center, despite employing friendly, courteous, and professional people, is a complete waste of time: we reached out frequently during the beginning and received only basic, rote advice on student motivation, such as keeping your work area clean, making it “fun” with highlighters, using their basic online scheduler, and trying to minimize distractions. Even though the course material is sound, it is not prudent to pay $3,000 a year to a school that has me do all the teaching. I am searching for educational alternatives for her.

  9. The Keystone School Review by LAbraham
    Pros: Cheap, flexible schedule
    Cons: No refunds, no support, unorganized/uninteresting curriculum

    Grades Used: 10th-11th

    Keystone was a bad experience. I should have paid attention to the reviews. My daughter signed up for 6 courses over 2 years but the schoolwork was too easy and uninteresting. It’s a money-making machine with no support for students or parents.

    I requested assistance from the Keystone “Learning Coach” but she knew less about the program and motivational skills than I did. She showed no concern and had no advice on how to handle the online experience.

    I was able to cancel 2 courses and receive a partial refund. But the second time around, NO REFUND because my daughter had not submitted any assignments within 30 days. Keystone will warn you if the student is going too slowly through the course, but will not warn you that there is NO REFUND if there is NO ACTIVITY.

    We had a decent experience with George Washington University Online High School, part of the K-12 company. The advisor and administrators were attentive and acted like they cared.

  10. The Keystone School Review by Jake
    Pros: The first month was ok
    Cons: Extremely vague instructions for assignments, nobody helps you with anything

    Grades Used: 11th

    Without a doubt the laziest scam anybody has ever attempted to pass off as an online schooling program. It started out alright, they managed to make it easy enough to get through without help for the first month or so but as you progress you’ll notice the curriculum and the teachers just get lazier and lazier. For example, every “lab” project in my Biology class (except one which is so vague I didn’t know what to do and the teacher just gave me a 0 with no explanation) had THE EXACT SAME INSTRUCTIONS WITH DIFFERENT SUBJECTS PLUGGED IN. Ever single one had an incredibly vague (and according to the teacher when she finally replied, incorrect) explanation of what to do. Long story short, it’s a lazy curriculum overseen by lazy teachers who take at LEAST 3 days to respond to your questions.

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