Alpha Omega Switched on Schoolhouse

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txwaandrews

  • Reviewed on Wednesday, October 1, 2014
  • Grades Used: 3rd Grade Bible
  • Dates used: 2014
I felt obligated to share this review, since purchasing software anywhere means NON REFUNDABLE. So we wasted $95ish.

I wanted to sample SOS and had always been curious about it. I have friends that use it in upper grade levels and recommend it. So I felt like using it for one subject would be a nice way to get our feet wet.

My daughter is 8 and is progressing well through a typing curriculum, frequently uses the computer for internet shopping and can use an iPhone better then I can. Technology is no stranger to her. She is also free of any "learning disabilities".

We don't like this curriculum.

It's irritating to try to navigate thru the chapter questions because access to the material is on a split screen alongside the questions. I realize that much of what kids learn these days is in the form of internet- BUT I'd much rather her click literally from one FULL window to the next, then trying to scroll thru HALF screens to read and double check info that she read. You can move the bar up and down some to open it more, but it's still limited. And for review for quizzes (cumulative of different info in different lessons) its cumbersome to click in and out of them. Is there a feature to print the written material that I am missing?? Basically- its too hard to access the facts.

The presentation of the materials is also setup for failure. I don't think it's written in the best way to help reinforce the facts and create a clear understanding. Here's an example of why I think this, straight from the first unit:

*********************************************
True or False?
The bible has been printed in every language.

This can be found in this paragraph:

"Today, God's word is printed in a book called the Bible. The bible is printed in many different languages. People all around the world can read the Bible in their own language. However, there are still many people around the world who are not able to read the bible in their own language because it hasn't been printed in their language yet."
*****************************************************************

The answer is FALSE.

My daughter is a great reader and understands inferences but IMO this paragraph is poorly written because it sets the reader up to 1st think that the Bible IS IN FACT in every language because it starts by telling you in a few lines how widely used across the world it is....... It leads you to think one thing but then corrects itself to another. It does stuff like this numerous times in the first few lessons. I know details are important- but I'm just saying if I were writing a paragraph to teach this fact- I'd do it differently, Completely subjective, I know.

I don't want trick learning. I want quality. I want her to walk away with a real understanding of what was presented. For us, at age 8, this is program would ultimately teach her more about how to actually operate it and navigate and not so much the content that it aims to teach.

Yes it has a few games linked in and the scope and sequence of the subject is great. And looking at the samples and demo it seemed pretty smooth and fluid- but for us, when we really used it- it was not.

When she gets older, we may revisit this. The Duggar Family uses it after all! So it must be a fit for some.

If you think your kid is more computer savy then mine- I'd encourage you to call Alpha Omega and find some actual way for them to hands on really sample before making the investment. And know for sure before you dive in.

stephexx

  • Reviewed on Monday, August 11, 2014
  • Grades Used: 4th to 10th
  • Dates used: 2013/14
Portions of this product are very well made - let the buyer beware - if you buy this you are on your own - support is a joke - you wait wait wait - they hang up on you - etc - never once have had a question answered - too bad - when it works, its a good product - manuals/online 'help'/phone support ---- useless ---- luckily I've been in the IT field for quite a while, so can figure my way through - otherwise - no way

mwalkernbca

  • Reviewed on Sunday, June 9, 2013
  • Grades Used: 3rd-10th
  • Dates used: 2002+
Rest assured. Switched On Schoolhouse is a very thorough curriculum and will prepare your student adequately to meet national standards. We've used it off and on as both homeschooling parents and as professional educators and can vouch for 10+ years experience. As a former high school teacher and curriculum publisher for 20 years, and my wife, a Christian school educator for 13 years, we've used SOS for some elementary subjects with our kids as early as 2002 and have relied on SOS for both middle school and high school courses/subjects when they switched from public school back to our private ACSI accredited high school (one switching back to homeschooling as a high schooler for a semester). SOS is the link that not only we have relied on, our high school uses it for students when they can't schedule a course for a student or for summer school/credit recovery. The curriculum is challenging and thorough. I know that as a publisher and AP trained teacher. I'm also a certified tutor with our local state university and have seen curriculum across the board from K-College. Excellent scope & sequence. Challenging assessments. In many ways, the curriculum is more challenging than the curriculum published by the "Big 3" secular textbook publishers.

Regarding the CBT experience, SOS is not "amazing", but cuts the workload for a teacher/home educator tremendously. It is repetitive in format. If your student's learning style is inclined towards computer-based instruction and doesn't mind the same format (lessons, quizzes, tests, projects), unit after unit, SOS is one of the best, most time-tested CBT Christian based curriculums you will find on the market. I've adapted national curriculum for a Pre-AP level high school course I taught online for our high school a couple of years ago. It was experimental and I adapted three curriculum packages used to prep the students (juniors & seniors) for a CLEP exam. I spent many hours creating video instruction, adapting assessments, using modules for branching and alternative instruction. No doubt, my course was far more interactive and tailored to meet the demands of a College Board exam than a pre-packaged SOS course. Nonetheless, there's great value in the SOS content (for the price). Unless a homeschool educator is prepared to pay for an online education at a private accredited school, you won't go wrong with SOS content. I say this with enough professional "content" and "tech" experience, and as a homeschool parent with teenagers, one a recent graduate. Don't pay any attention to the nay-sayers. I've had to deal with them for two decades as both teacher and publisher (students, parents, teachers, etc). Align with national content standards and your student will be fine. SOS is a great solution for the dollar.

coxfamsc

  • Reviewed on Sunday, May 12, 2013
  • Grades Used: 7th, 11th and 12th
  • Dates used: 2011-2013
As we wrap up our 9th year of homeschooling, we've had the opportunity to experience a lot of different curriculums. Like other people have mentioned, all students learn differently and have various styles of learning. Our challenge as parents is to learn our child's learning style and cater to it. Having said that, we've used a total of 5 different subjects with SOS:

1st - 7th grade General Science (terrible curriculum, had to switch my son after about 2 weeks back to BJU, very weak in subject material, and boring to read).

2nd - 7th grade US History (again, terrible curriculum, same reasons)

3rd - 12th grade Government/Economics (my daughter did excellent in this course and enjoyed it, very well done and put together, would use this one again)

4th - 11th grade Computer Information Systems (again, my daughter did excellent in this course, lots of projects for them to do on the computer and she enjoyed it, would use this one again)

5th - 12th grade Trigonometry (WOULD NOT recommend this course, very little instruction, had to get a tutor for her to complete it)

To sum it up, SOS is not bad for "elective" type courses, such as noted above, but if you want your child to really learn Science, History and Math, I would use another curriculum. The old adage, you get what you pay for really applies here. $75 will get you a SOS single course, as opposed to $400 for a single course through A Beka or BJU or Liberty via DVD.

Lastly, I didn't like how much computer interaction that is involved in setting up the course and logging in to check work etc. But everybody is different. Enjoy, and Blessings to you all.
CC in Sunny SC
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