We have used the Abeka Book phonics curriculum since our daughter who is now (going to be) in 3rd grade was in k4. She began reading right away. Now, at 8 years old she reads at an adult level and is currently in the ABeka 5th grade readers.
Since it was such a glorious fit for her, I thought, that after our fifth child arrived I would go ahead and get the A Abeka Academy streaming for three of our five children. I thought how amazing it would be to sit beside them with a teacher and how fun they would have in a “classroom” with other kids.
I must say, our oldest daughter did quite well in 2nd grade. She listened well and did the lessons well. Yet, not so with our other two children. They were bored and crying that it was too long; each “class” is about 30 minutes long. They learned their Bible verses and they loved acivity time (art, science, history and singing) but it was a thug to get them to sit through a class. Once the class was over with and we were done, we were all emotionally exhausted and then there was still the seat work and book work, tests and handwriting to do!!!!
Also, if you are streaming classes you must have a good internet connection. It’s a must. We are missionaries in a different country and our internet is not the best. Once our kids would get into a flow in the mornings with their classes, the Internet would slow and so would the teacher. That was the beginning of the end.
In the end it was sadly a HUGE waste of money, and a big lesson learned. We stopped using the streaming about four months into it and I taught the remainder of the curriculum. We are flourished. Peace filled our home again.
Next year we will be using some A Abeka, mostly with our daughter. But I realized through this experience, that I teacher better and most importantly our children learn so much better with a slower Charlotte Mason approach. We also skipped the extra seat work and all the testing! The seat work is because the kids who are in the ABeka school must keep busy, but as homeschoolers it just doesn’t fit our lifestyle, it’s just not necessary.
Our oldest daughter will mostly be using the A Beka curriculum because she loves it. When she is in fourth grade we will place her in the Academy DVD program and most likely get the actual DVDs not the steaming.
As a parent and a teacher, I don't think ANY child should be condemned to spending every waking second on schoolwork. You're not going to raise a very well-rounded person that way. It's important for them to engage in activities with their peers--be it sports, dancing, music, arts, gymnastics. In my opinion, it's VITAL for them to be encouraged to do a significant amount of volunteer work (at that age, my dd was raising puppies for the Seeing Eye--I'm sure, with the nightmarish curriculum you're describing, she would NOT have had time for the daily care of her puppies, nor the 4-H club meetings, activities and trips that were involved in the project). And really? They just to be able to have hours for 'down' time--time to go for a bike ride, or visit grandma, or bake some cookies--or help Dad rake the leaves, talking on the phone with friends, going to the mall, etc. As a teacher, I'd have to say that a child who is restricted to spending virtual every waking hour on school work, is going to grow up to be one who may have some serious issues--including things like not being able to interact well with peers, or maybe not being able to relax when it's appropriate for example.
You're going to have to sit down, evaluate what you like about this school, how important it is for your child to be able to engage in other activities outside of school, whether or not you can provide him with a good academic education--that you can afford--in another way. Only after you've looked at all your alternatives, will you be able to make the right decision.
I don't know you--but if what you've described is completely accurate, then I feel so sorry for your child, if he's going to be put in a situation where he's going to lose a year of childhood's golden days.