An In-Depth Acellus & Acellus Academy Curriculum Review for Homeschoolers

Acellus Academy (AA) is not a homeschooling curriculum at all. It’s a private online school that students can join at any time of the year. They can study the course at their own pace while still enjoying the homeschool environment. Acellus offers
 non-aligned courses. It is a secular curriculum that lets children study at their own pace. Also, this curriculum is accredited, unlike Power Homeschool, the homeschool curriculum version of Acellus.

In this article, we’ll talk about many things, including:

Rebbecca Devitt

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want to do my course on how to homeschool, click here.

  • What is Acellus Academy?’
  • Acellus Academy vs. Power Homeschool
  • Courses on Offer
  • Acellus Academy Cost vs. Power Homeschool
  • Placement Tests
  • Scholarship Opportunities
  • Is Acellus Common Core?
  • What’s Different about AA (Compared to Other Online Schools)?
  • What is Their Religious Affiliation?
  • Accreditation
  • Is This Curriculum Enough? Do I Need To Supplement It?
  • How long does work take each day?

If you are a newcomer to homeschooling, I highly suggest enrolling in the Homeschool Parenting Program. This program will provide you with comprehensive knowledge of homeschooling, ensuring that you feel confident and at ease. The course is both engaging and enlightening.

But, now, let’s have a closer look at Acellus.

There are affiliate links in this post (although not Acellus or Power homeschool links). 

What is Acellus Academy?

Acellus Academy is an online school catering for Grades K to 12. Education is delivered by distance education, and students learn online through videos and remote teachers.

According to AA, it is:

An online learning system that has been used to provide primary instruction to millions of students in thousands of schools throughout the United States…Acellus is the fastest-growing learning system in America. Over one million students use the program at over 2,000 schools in every U.S. state and worldwide. [About Us]

This program is growing in popularity, especially among the homeschooling community. Perhaps this is why the umbrella company of this business created a homeschooling version, Power Homeschool.

About Acellus Academy & Acellus Curriculum Reviews. Acellus Academy is an online school where parents can get accreditation for the program they do. Find out what people think about this homeschooling curriculum and what it can do for your homeschool. #acellus #acellusacademy #acelluscurriculumreviews #howdoihomeschool

What is Power Homeschool?

Power Homeschool is the non-accredited version of Acellus Academy. Power Homeschool still uses Intelligent Interaction and has many of the Academy’s features. But, because it’s not an online school, students can’t get homeschool accreditation.

Many homeschooling parents don’t think homeschooling accreditation is essential, though – more on this further down the page.

Acellus Academy vs. Power Homeschool: What’s the Difference?

Sometimes AA is used interchangeably with Power Homeschool. However, they are different programs run by the same organization.

Suppose you’re comparing Acellus vs. Power Homeschool. In that case, you have to note that if you study with the Academy, you’ll be studying in an online school that’s accredited – and that’s a big difference.

If you’re concerned about homeschool accreditation, AA is the option for you.

However, if you’re not worried about accreditation, Power Homeschool might be better for your homeschool (see the pros and cons of accreditation here).

Another thing to note when looking at Acellus vs. Power Homeschool is that Power homeschool is a tenth of the price of the Academy. This will be a significant consideration for many parents!

With both programs, there are no contracts, and your subscription can be canceled at any time. In addition, AA will still store the work you’ve done on file, even if you don’t still have a subscription with them.

If you’re interested in this program, you should consider looking into:

Besides Power Homeschool, these programs are looked at a lot when considered. They are all online curricula that can be used for homeschoolers from K-12th grade.

What Modes or Programs does Acellus Offer?

Acellus has three main modes or programs for students in different situations. Essentially, this company has slightly different programs that serve up similar material. Specifically, the three modes are:

  • Acellus Academy -an online school.
  • Power Homeschool -a curriculum for homeschool that isn’t accredited and
  • Tutoring Mode – a program school students can use to supplement their schoolwork

It seems that the significant differences have to do with price and course accreditation.

This article will be focusing on the online school, Acellus Academy, although we might overlap a little with the other modes as we compare them side-by-side.

Homeschool curriculum review. Acellus Academy. #acellusacademy #homeschoolcurriculumreviews

What Homeschool Method Does Acellus Academy Follow?

Acellus Academy is an online school, complete with accreditation, and so on. This means it follows the traditional homeschooling method. You can read more about this method here.

Pros and Cons of Acellus Academy and Power Homeschool

After looking at about 15 Acellus curriculum reviews, I’ve come to a few conclusions about the common pros and cons of Acellus Academy and Power Homeschool.

As a side note, I usually do my research on the homeschool curriculum first, then look at reviews. Sometimes the excitement of the colorful website makes me hope the reviews will be good, but I don’t always find that. In this case, I was a little disappointed as I didn’t see as many positive reviews as I’d hoped. Still, there was a good smattering of very positive reviews and some negative ones.

Let’s take a look at them:

Pros of Acellus Academy and Power Homeschool

Some of the benefits of Acellus Academy that parents seemed to like include:

  • a decent selection of elective classes
  • ability to choose different class grades for different subjects
  • no complaints of busywork – a rarity in traditional homeschooling curricula!
  • great for use with easily distracted children as this program retains their attention well
  • great for students with ADHD, autism, and other special needs
  • children can work at their own pace
  • Power Homeschool is quite affordable.

I can see the Academy would appeal to secular homeschooling families and families with children who have special needs.

Cons of Acellus Academy and Power Homeschool

Some of the disadvantages of Acellus Academy that parents seemed to like include:

  • not as many language electives as some other homeschooling curricula
  • poor selection of worksheets to download if parents want to work with their children offline
  • the Academy is quite expensive
  • a couple of parents complained the social studies component was dry and boring
I can see the Academy wouldn’t appeal to a family who wanted to spend more of their time away from technology.

Can I Watch Samples of Acellus Homeschool Videos?

There are many samples of Acellus Homeschool videos available on their samples page. Here they have samples for:

You can see the videos appear to be pretty fun and engaging.

Is this course self-paced?

Yes! It is all self-paced so that students can finish work in their own time.

With Acellus Academy, Students Can Study Different Grades for Each Subject

If you have significantly stronger students in one subject or significantly weaker in another, you can enroll them in different Grades for that subject.

That is, your child could be doing Grade 4 English while they’re doing Grade 7 Math.

How Quickly Can I Finish Lessons?

One of the Acellus Academy review mothers testified that they could finish their lessons in 45 minutes to an hour each day. She said her family loved this because it gave them time to do hands-on projects or spend some time outside doing nature walks and so on.

The lessons are short because AA was designed to show that today’s children have short attention spans.

The videos are also concise, so the lessons are not overwhelming. Typically videos teach only one concept or theory, and then students are immediately tested on what they understood in the video.

As such, students have to learn to concentrate on what’s being said because they know they’ll be tested immediately.

Why would you study with Acellus Academy?

If you want home safety but still want to study a traditional curriculum as delivered in many American schools, you might look to the Acellus Academy.

The Academy gives a few reasons why you might study with them:

  • medical necessities
  • students have more of an interest in more rigorous studies than schools provide (i.e., gifted students)
  • safety from bullying
  • a more flexible environment in which to learn and
  • a second chance for students that have dropped out of school or been expelled.

A few Acellus Academy reviewers said their children loved studying with AA as it really helped their children deal with areas they were academically weak in.

AA is an excellent option for students with special needs like autism, dyslexia, and giftings because it can allow them to study at their own pace without worrying that they’re going too fast or too slow for the class. They also don’t need to fill up their brain space by figuring out the school culture, which can be difficult to discern, especially for many children with autism or disabilities.

About Acellus Academy & Acellus Curriculum Reviews. Acellus Academy is an online school where parents can get accreditation for the program they do. Find out what people think about this homeschooling curriculum and what it can do for your homeschool. #acellus #acellusacademy #acelluscurriculumreviews #howdoihomeschool

Acellus Courses on Offer

AA has a plethora of courses on offer. The courses encompass the following base subjects:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Fine Arts
  • Foreign Languages
  • Health
  • Personal Finance
  • STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) and
  • Career and Technical Education

Levels split up Acellus courses:

  1. elementary (Grade K-5)
  2. middle (Grade 6-8) and
  3. high school (9-12)

Students in different age brackets can gain access to specific electives. A set of electives might only be available for the middle school grade. When children graduate to the high school bracket, a new set of age-appropriate electives becomes available.

Power Homeschool vs. Acellus Academy Cost: Let’s Talk Dollars and Cents

Acellus Academy costs $2,500 per year or about $230 a month. If this is too much, maybe you can consider a scholarship (see below) or look at their option of joining the Roger Billings Mentoring Program. You can get more information about the cost of Acellus Academy and scholarships on this page.

As I mentioned before, Power Homeschool is a tenth of the price of Acellus Academy. The cost of Power Homeschool for one year is only $250. That’s a very cheap option compared to the other homeschooling curricula out there. There are no contracts, and your subscription can be canceled at any time.

Here is a comparison chart of the two. It’s a screenshot from their website as of the 11th of February 2019.

Cost Acellus Academy vs Power Homeschool. #acelluscost #powerhomeschoolcost #acellusacademyvspowerhomeschool

If Acellus is a Not-for-Profit Company, Why Do They Cost So Much?

Acellus is a not-for-profit company, and the fees you pay go back into the company and stop it from requiring state funding.

If education providers have state funding, they can sometimes be required to provide content dictated by the state, which users don’t appreciate. So, subscription fees pay for the course to be independent and stop the state dictating the content.

A subscription lets you access six courses that comprise core subjects plus electives.

Acellus Placement Tests

If you study with AA, you’ll find that each core subject has a placement test. For example, there are placement tests for Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts/Reading. This is such a win for students that don’t fit grade molds! This means you can choose the grade your child should be studying for every subject!

This is what their website says about placement exams:

When enrolled, students are given an exam in each of these areas, which begins at a given grade level, moves up from that point, evaluating the students’ academic skill level, and automatically places them in the course they need to move forward. [Source]

One of the Acellus Academy reviews said the placement test they used placed their child in the wrong area for maths. However, that parent said it was easy to enroll her in the correct grade for her understanding.

Can I get an Acellus Scholarship?

You can get a scholarship to study the Acellus curriculum in some states. A scholarship means the state will completely cover the cost in many cases.

However, it seems that not all states are offering scholarships for the Acellus curriculum. Indeed the scholarships page only listed eight states that provide Acellus Academy scholarships!

Is Acellus Common Core?

Acellus used to offer both Common Core and non-Common Core aligned.

However, now they are offering only non-Common Core aligned material.

About Acellus Academy & Acellus Curriculum Reviews. Acellus Academy is an online school where parents can get accreditation for the program they do. Find out what people think about this homeschooling curriculum and what it can do for your homeschool. #acellus #acellusacademy #acelluscurriculumreviews #howdoihomeschool

What’s Different about Acellus Academy (Compared to Other Online Schools)?

Acellus Academy seems to pride itself on being an institution that allows children to pace their learning. Because work is self-paced, AA wants children to focus on becoming self-directed learners, a skill they can take to college.

They have a particular focus on delivering great science and math courses to allow students to expand their access to career and college opportunities.

AA also has online events like:

  • mentoring forums – where students can watch motivational videos that make them want to learn more and
  • Science projects – where you can submit your science project and participate in a forum where other online students have submitted their projects online also.

Also, unlike many other programs, Acellus focuses on getting to the bottom of what a student doesn’t understand. Their program is designed to teach students their weak areas, so students reach the end of the program with fewer gaps in their knowledge. This is also why AA can be used for tutoring.

All Acellus programs use Intelligent Interaction, which allows student weaknesses to be targeted and worked on for the better. This is what the Tutoring Mode said about Intelligent Interaction, which all the modes use:

Acellus is a computer-based learning system that has changed online education as we know it today. AA is the only online learning system that utilizes I2 (Intelligent Interaction), which technology enables it to cater the educational content to the individual skill set of each student through customized, personal instruction.

Because of the nifty Intelligent Interaction feature, this online program is unique among online curricula!

Extra Features in Acellus Academy

Like Abeka and SOS, Acellus Academy offers great parent tools like automatic grading, transcripts, attendance records, and real-time monitoring of your child’s progress.

I haven’t seen other homeschooling curricula providers offer real-time tracking of a child’s progress, so this is a pretty cool and unique feature of Acellus Academy.

What is Acellus Academy’s Religious Affiliation?

Whereas many online schools are affiliated with Christian institutions or claim to have a Christian worldview, Acellus Academy doesn’t seem to have this worldview.

I couldn’t find any information about their religious affiliation on their website (or when I emailed them), so I concluded they come at education from a secular perspective. Other homeschooling blogs also came to this conclusion. Indeed, on one website, it’s listed AA as a suitable choice for secular homeschooling families.

Some of the Acellus Academy reviews by Christian homeschooling parents said they had to supplement their course with Bible, prayer, hymn study, and so on.

Because Acellus Academy is a secular curriculum, you’ll find things like evolution being promoted (if you don’t like this, go with Abeka or Alpha Omega Publishing’s Lifepac or Monarch).

About Acellus Academy & Acellus Curriculum Reviews. Acellus Academy is an online school where parents can get accreditation for the program they do. Find out what people think about this homeschooling curriculum and what it can do for your homeschool. #acellus #acellusacademy #acelluscurriculumreviews #howdoihomeschool

Acellus Academy Accreditation

Acellus Academy is accredited by the WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), a regional accreditation agency. The WASC accredits K-12 schools as well as non-degree granting postsecondary institutions.

Besides Acellus Academy, the WASC has accredited thousands of schools which you can find in their directory at this link.

In contrast, Power Homeschool is Acellus’ non-accredited version. That is, you can do the same coursework, but WASC won’t officially accredit you. Read Why You Don’t Need Homeschool Accreditation for more information on this topic.

Using Acellus if You’re Part-Time Homeschooling

Some parents don’t want to send their children to school full-time, but they don’t want to homeschool full-time. As such, Acellus Academy is an excellent option if you’re doing part-time homeschooling.

Some homeschooling parents might want their children home full-time, but they might not want to take on a full workload. This online school also allows this option, and students can happily work part-time if they choose.

Is Acellus Enough? Do I Need To Supplement Acellus?

Many Christian parents need to supplement this online course with Christian literature, Bible study, and other godly subjects as the Acellus curriculum is not aligned with Christian beliefs.

Acellus reviews also mentioned that because this course is an online curriculum, they need to supplement it with handwriting courses.

How Long Does Work Take Each Day?

On average, students spend 2-4 hours per day doing their schooling. Acellus recommends a minimum of 2 hours 5 days per week.

Students are advanced through grade levels based on their concept mastery rather than time spent on the subject.

Is it Self-Paced?

The courses are self-paced, so students can move through the course material at their own pace, depending on how quickly they pick up concepts. However, they have a set amount of work to complete before a course is considered finished. Once a course is complete, the student is welcome to move into the next grade level in that subject area.

Other Online Schools like Acellus Academy

Some alternatives to Acellus Academy are:

  • BJU – a Biblical worldview-shaping home education program that offers video lessons and accreditation. I’ve reviewed BJU Press here, and I was very impressed.
  • Abeka Academy a Christian homeschooling curriculum. This course has online videos but a lot of paper-based textbooks. It’s also accredited as it’s technically another online school.
  • Monarch – another accredited Christian homeschooling curriculum that’s essentially an online school. Monarch is probably closer to AA in that the entire curriculum is done online. The difference is that it’s from a Christian worldview. Currently, it only offers Grade 3 to 12.


Acellus Academy is one of the best secular online school curricula available today. AA also has the added features of Intelligent Interaction, which focuses on student’s weaknesses and targets these so students can improve their knowledge in these areas. The Academy also offers the option of accreditation, so if you’re a homeschool parent who wants their homeschool to be accredited, choose this curriculum over Power Homeschool. Many students seem to have tremendous fun with this curriculum, and it doesn’t seem to bore them like some other programs. As such, secular homeschooling parents will find this curriculum a perfect fit for their needs.

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Rebecca Devitt

Most adults don't particularly want to relive their schooling experience on a daily basis. They would gladly move on to a new life devoid of homework and teachers. Very, very few adults will passionately blog about their schooling some 15 years after graduating. This makes Rebecca Devitt somewhat unique. As it happens, she was homeschooled. And she loved it. Still does. And she wishes every kid could get a taste of homeschooling at its very best. Her website How Do I Homeschool, is a springboard for parents to see what a life of homeschooling could be for both them & their children. When she's not blogging Rebecca is still homeschooling her-adult-self by learning Latin, growing weird vegetables and most importantly looking after her two children Luke & Penny. She has a husband Tristan and is a participant at Wollongong Baptist Church. She's also written a book about why parents should homeschool called 'Why on Earth Homeschool'.

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  1. Thank you so much for this informative article! It has been quite useful in choosing high school classes. I was on the fence about acellus academy and was quite confused.

  2. Not sure if things have changed since this was written, but…going on a month now, we absolutely love both PHS and the Academy. They are the same / identical platforms; same curriculums/classes merely differentiated by accredidation and teachers for Academy vs Parent Taught / managed on PHS.

    COST: Acellus is VERY CHEAP for an accredited school. ANY child qualifies for the Roger Billings Scholarship Program which reduces the cost from $2400 per year to $699 per year (all 12 months included).

    The only qualification is that the student view and participate in a weekly Live broadcast and submit a response with observations, comments, questions. They also recommend participating in the science fair (remote, don’t have to travel) but that is not required.

    This makes it very inexpensive, just $79 per month on payment plan and $49 per month during summer if desired; or you can ‘pause’ during summer / vacation. Or you can pay the annual up front for even more savings…$79 per month during normal school months and $49 during summer (if not paused).

    The curriculum is as easy or challenging as you desire. It usually won’t take anywhere near as long as conventional school to complete the day…but that is due to its efficient means.

    DIAGNOSTICS: Short of going to Sylvan Learning Center or other very expensive educational tutoring / services, I was not successful in finding any free or inexpensive continual gap / comprehension diagnostic programs.

    Acellus calls it Prism Diagnostics: Based upon an initial class pre-test (not graded) and continual diagnostics of not only the grade results, but actually what they got wrong; why they got it wrong; and providing gap reinforcement instruction, lessons and supplemental review assignments to assure they understand and master the concept.

    MY SON: He was a freshman in Algebra 1 in public HS. He did well on his exams and was generally good in math. HOWEVER, once we put him into Acellus, it immediately determined he was weak / had gaps in his understanding of how to properly add / subtract and calculate division equations. So rather than going right into the Algebra, they system took the route of providing reinforcment lessons for those areas until he mastered it, then moved forward until he was adept at the precursor requisites for success in Algebra. I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW that he was weak there; unfortunately he had stumbled through that with the aid calculators (I hate calculator use prior to Trig) and just averaging his grades up.

    He now is running a 4.0 GPA and is getting the gaps filled and he now is fully confident and moves quickly through the material.

    I have 2 special needs (another son and nephew) who us PHS with some of the remedial and SE courses and are making great progress that they have NEVER achieved before.

    Simply put, and I’m merely a parent of students, after years this is the single greatest educational coup for my younger sons, nephew and family.

    • That’s great to know. I’ve often thought that if my son needs a little extra help with a concept, I’d love to go with Acellus Tutoring and use their prism diagnostics to fill the gap.

      I also didn’t know about most kids qualifying for the scholarship!

      Thanks for the info.

    • Thank you so much for this thorough review! This is some of the best information that I have gotten about Acellus Academy.

  3. Im thinking of doing power homeschool for middle school and acellus for high school? Would you know if I have to do all 4 years or just the lady year for accreditation?

    • Hi Monica, I don’t know sorry. Best to contact Acellus for that. I would guess that once your child does the last year, that accreditation would be absolutely fine (so just the lady year). Having said that you don’t need homeschooling accreditation to enter college. Read this for more info on this.

  4. I’m thinking about using PH through 8th and then the Academy once my kids start high school due to the accreditation. Other than the accreditation are there any other benefits to using the Academy over using PH?

  5. We just started with Power Homeschool. I’ve been wondering what the difference is. Imp not concerned with accreditation. But, will Power Homeschool recognize his weaknesses and adjust, or is that only offered by the Academy?

  6. Hello, I am thinking about Power Homeschool for my kids next year, and am wondering if you think it covers a sufficient amount of information since the videos are short and are only followed by a few practice questions. Does it cover as much as a public school or other curricula? Do you think it’s good for children who are slightly advanced in subjects like math and science? I am thinking about teaching textbooks for math, would you have any ideas about how the two compare or which is better in your opinion? Thank you so much for any information you can provide!

    • Hi Lisa,

      I’m afraid I don’t know the curricula in that much detail. I’ve looked at power homeschool a little and it seems like it is the unaccredited version of Accellus. Acellus is basically a public school curriculum. This means that I think it would compare with a public school curriculum.

      I think power homeschool uses special technology to help gifted kids advance. This mean sit should be better if you want more advanced subjects. Make sure you ask Power homeschool about that though!

      I haven’t reviewed Teaching Textbooks as I got really frustrated with their technology. But, this could have been teething issues as they swapped over from the old to the new platform. After spending an hour troubleshooting I was sick of it. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not good (perhaps it only means I’m impatient, haha).

      Teaching Texbooks actually gets a lot of positive reviews which you can check out on the Homeschool Mom .com. Maybe you can compare the reviews on this platforms for both curricula.

      And then if you’re looking for a homeschool curriculum that is advanced, there is also Moving Beyond the Page which is specifically designed for gifted children. All these options are secular options though which is something to think about, depending on your spiritual convictions.

      Hope that helps!

      Rebecca Devitt

  7. To do the AA does a parent need a diploma like they do for homeschooling on their own? I use a virtual free public school program now (I’m just a learning coach, no diploma needed) & have for 6 years but my son is falling behind due to them going too fast. He’s autistic & can no longer keep up. Work can’t be late, deadlines everyday. 6hr days. I’m needing a program that will help him not hurt him.

    • The Academy is actually an online school, so I don’t think you need a diploma. It’s essentially like you’re going to accredited school in your lounge room.

      I think this would help a child with autism more than a generic curriculum, but might be best to direct your questions to the curriculum providers.

  8. Thank you so much for all the great info on AA i have been trying to compare programs for days and after reading this u have made my decision clear and i can move forward with my daughters education! Thank you again for taking the time to do this research and give honest and not by bias information about this. I am truly grateful you are amazing!