Alpha Omega Switched on Schoolhouse

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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

babiroo

  • Reviewed on Saturday, November 3, 2012
  • Grades Used: Bible grade 8
  • Dates used: 2012
Last year my son used R&S bible which is really intense but did well. This year we switched to SOS bible for a change and it was a mistake. He isn't doing well on the MULTITUDE of tests and I think it's because it's all about tests. I wish I hadn't forked over the $100 for this. Live and learn.

laura291

  • Reviewed on Tuesday, May 22, 2012
  • Grades Used: 4th Grade
  • Dates used: 2011-2012
This was my first year homeschooling my son. For being my first year, and being overwhelmed, Switched on Schoolhouse was super. It did all the lesson plans for me, and I wasn't worry about whether we were falling behind, because I could easily see what it took to keep up. We used all five subjects: Math, Language Arts, Science, History, Bible. In the beginning, my son really had fun with this program. He liked the tiny tutors and the games, and he liked logging in to see what he was assigned to that day. I liked being able to use the program to calculate how many assignments to do each day, and mark what days we would not do school. The Alpha Omega Webinar was a great to attend to get started, and I highly recommend attending one of their free webinars to learn all the little tweaks about the software. We installed the software on a network so that I could log in and in real time see how he was doing, and if needed modify a score that I felt the computer didn't correctly score.

However, I did find some things I didn't like about the program as well. Using the same curriculum for all five subjects quickly got tedious for my son. We tried printing some of the assignments out just to get him away from the computer, but then you lose the tools built into the software. So, it didn't take long before he got bored, and looked for short cuts to get through all his assignments, or start asking me if he could take a break because there were too many assignments. I know he was bored with it. A by-product of being bored with the material is that he stopped absorbing it and started doing poorly on his quizzes and tests. It was our rule that he had to retake anything below a B. So, he got frustrated with what he felt was "too hard" when really he was just not absorbing what he was reading. So, I started reading to him a lot more, which helped a lot.

Finally, I felt the curriculum was not in depth enough. Especially the history module. I really felt we had a survey of world history. Perhaps in 4th grade, that's ok. But, I don't think that was the intent of the authors. For example, he spent a week or so on Istanbul and learned a lot of detail about the rise and fall of this city through the centuries. Then, he was onto Greenland. It was a huge shift and never again did he use anything he learned about Istanbul. I just asked him what country is Istanbul in, and he didn't know the answer. So, the short week he was immersed in Istanbul really wasn't enough to allow him to absorb the material. I don't think he absorbed much in history at all. I think they should have written it to either be a broader view of world history, or taking more than a year to cover in more detail the events they tried to fit into the 4th grade curriculum. I have similar complaints with Math. Once they taught a concept, it wasn’t covered again. Next year, we decide to use a mix of curriculum. However, SOS was good for us at the time, for introducing us to our first year of homeschooling.
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