by Robert Rapa
(Ft leonard wood, MO)
I am a single father of a 14 year old and serve in the military. I was deployed overseas (noncombat) and able to take my son. I did not want put him into schools and pull him as he was just getting settled again and again. He attended school just like every other child until 8th grade, when I had to deploy overseas for the military and had the opportunity to take him with me.
I checked Army resources and Abeka was touted as being a successful program of instruction that would fit our needs. After speaking with their customer service/enrollment personnel, I was assured that they work with military families in these circumstances “all the time” and that I “would have no issues with the curriculum.” This proved untrue.
We were sent the DVDs and books and my son jumped into them eagerly. He finished very quickly while we were overseas and that is when our trouble began. I contacted Abeka asking for the labels to return the DVDs and self-addressed envelopes to return the coursework. After stating over and over again that they would send them… the labels and envelopes never arrived. I held the work and continued to contact them many, many, many times. Instead of sending us the resources to return their coursework for grading, they sent emails stating that my son had not returned the work and was placed on an “inactive” status. Every time I called, I was informed “this was a mistake” and they would “reactivate” his account standing. This of course, was immediately followed by another email stating he was immediately inactive again. It was frustrating to say the least, as my son had completed everything easily and did more studies involving international entities just to fill out his education.
We left for our overseas deployment and returned to the States where I continued to attempt to return the completed coursework. In a short time, we were sent overseas again. I expressed the urgency in returning the completed work so I could order the next year (9th grade) before deploying again. Abeka, of course, stated they would be happy to take my money and send more material. I declined, stating that I wanted to ensure my son received credit for the work he had completed and then I would order the next year (9th). Once again, Abeka promised to send the material before we left the States. This simple act seemed to be an impossibility for the company as a whole.
I asked multiple times if I could send in the material without their envelopes and was informed they would arrive, just be patient (can you imagine!). We deployed yet again without sending in the work. After many months, we returned to find the envelopes had indeed arrived… AFTER we had left the country. My neighbors on post held the package for our return. I called Abeka and was again informed that my son was “inactive”. They reactivated him and
within 30 minutes we received an email stating he was inactive yet again. I was furious! I called and spoke to a Mr. Webb who informed me that he would “take care of everything” and apologized profusely. After I regained my composure, I bought into the whole “I am a supervisor and I promise to correct all issues for you.” I asked what was needed to be sent in with the books and DVDs and was informed that sending in these materials was enough.
I sent in the work and was stupid enough to order the 9th grade curriculum for my son to complete very quickly. Abeka had no issue taking my money immediately from my account. They did however, have big issues with grading my son’s work. I was informed that they would not send the 9th grade curriculum because they had not graded his 8th grade yet. Next, I was informed that my son could not complete the 9th grade coursework at his pace, and if he completed his work early, they would actually hold it for up 6 months before even looking at it to grade. Next, they stated that I did not send a progress report with his 8th grade work, even though I carried them through 2 countries not including ours and was also informed it was not needed by a supervisor, and last, they stated the work was not complete even though every single page had been checked, verified and graded by me. Being a senior non-commissioned officer and holding every instructor certification in the military along with having a graduate degree and post graduate studies, I assumed that I actually was able to impact my son’s education in a positive way by being proactive and creating a love of learning that I hoped would last a lifetime.
I spoke to Abeka yesterday. I informed them that I wanted a refund for the 9th grade curriculum that they had not sent. I also informed them that I was very disappointed in their program and would inform anyone who asked me of my experiences with them.
In my honest opinion, I would look elsewhere for an educational curriculum that actually has the best interests of your child at heart. Abeka does not assist military families in any way, no matter what they promise! They do not care for the education of your child. Their curriculum is tedious and dry at best. Consider this an honest assessment and look elsewhere for an education opportunity that will ignite your child’s interest and love of learning. My son is frustrated as we believed that he would be ahead of his peers and now he is behind. I am desperately looking for an opportunity to assist him in catching up on his 9th grade credits and getting ahead. I have to deploy to a combat zone in 2 months and my concern is getting my son caught up before I leave. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.