Review: Switched-on-Schoolhouse (and a Giveaway!)

**This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to commentor #63**

A few weeks ago, I had had it up to here (you can see that, right?) with Brianna and school. It was clear that the majority of what we were using was not a good fit for her. I was ready for something that allowed both of us to clearly see what her daily expectations were and track whether or not those were being met.

After doing a little research, I emailed the folks at Alpha Omega Publications and begged asked if they’d be willing to let us review their award-winning Christian homeschool curriculum, Switched-on-Schoolhouse.

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Alpha Omega and Switched-on-Schoolhouse are very popular names within the homeschooling community. I’ve always heard that people either love or hate it. We’re only about six weeks into it, but we’re leaning strongly toward the “love it” group.

The initial set-up was, well, aggravating. I’m very much a hands-on person and am fairly computer savvy, so I wasn’t expecting to need to use the very detailed, 40+ page user’s manual.

I had to use it.

The set-up process was not as intuitive as I would have hoped. Using the features for the teacher haven’t been either. There are lots of tutorials within the teacher’s section of SOS that link to online demonstrations complete with screen shots and audio that walk you through each step. I had to use these more than I would have liked – which, for the record, would have been not at all.

However, that’s the biggest negative we’ve found so far and it becomes a non-issue as you learn to use and navigate through the program. I guess something with so many features is bound to have something of a learning curve.

And, hey, if you have problems that you can’t figure out, Alpha Omega offers technical support, including three free webinars where you can interact live with a Switched-on-Schoolhouse expert. I was signed up for the Q&A one, but we were without Internet for over a week after the tornadoes that struck our area.

So far, the things we love are:

  • You can have your child rework the individual problems that are wrong (a huge plus for us, because I’ve always done that with their papers and not all computer/online programs we’ve used allow it).
  • You can leave your student’s incorrect answers when you have her rework a problem so that she can see what was wrong. You also have the option of clearing the incorrect answer.
  • Parent and child can leave each other notes on individual problems. This has been great for times when I’ve felt like Brianna needed some explanation or for a couple of times when she’s had the right answer, but the program isn’t recognizing it as correct.
  • The teacher key explains key concepts, so you can see why an answer was wrong or so that you understand clearly how to grade answers that were submitted for grading, such as essay answers.
  • You can change individual grades. This is great for times when I can see that Brianna is right, but maybe didn’t put the answer in exactly the way it needed to be for the program to recognize it.
  • You can easily (once you get than hang of how to do it) reassign assignments for days that you had marked as a school day, but you wound up not doing formal learning (like, say, if your city gets hit by a tornado and you wind up volunteering instead).
  • The student can choose to have the program read text aloud – this is a huge plus for kids with dyslexia or auditory learners. The computer-generated voice is really annoying, but Brianna has gotten used to it.
  • Brianna loves that she can complete her assignments in a reasonable amount of time. Some of the things she was doing were taking her forever to complete.
  • Automatic grading! Need I say more?
  • No lesson planning! Heaven! You can input your customized school calendar, click a button, and lesson plans are automatically generated.
  • You can assign subjects for certain days. For example, I don’t like to require history and science on the days when Brianna is out of the house for two hours for Spanish, so I just “uncheck” the box for Mondays and, that simple, those subjects aren’t assigned for that day.

I’m really loving the simplicity of Switched-on-Schoolhouse, set-up frustrations aside. I’m very seriously considering getting Josh and Megan set up on it next year. I can see Josh loving it. He’s very much my “just tell me what I’ve got to do and get it done” kid.

I love the idea of him and Megan being able to work independently regardless of what I have going on – you know, for example, how Mom’s doctor appointments can completely derail a school day.

Is Switched-on-Schoolhouse the fun, hands-0n school experience that I’ve always tried to create for my kids? No, it’s basically a textbook approach in a computer format, though it does offer some interactivity with videos, interactive timelines, and games.

However, as in any area of life, there are seasons and we’re in a season where SOS is looking very appealing and I know we could still add the fun, hands-on things as weekly or monthly projects.

I’ll be posting updates of our experience with Switched-on-Schoolhouse as we go along, so be sure to look for them. To find out more, visit Alpha Omega. You can purchase a 5-disc set, which is essentially the core curriculum for $419.95 or individual discs for $89.95.

During the month of May, you can save 15% and receive free shipping on all orders of $50 or more.

Sound like something you’d like to try? What about AOP’s newest curriculum offering, Monarch, an interactive, Internet-based curriculum? You can win a free subscription to one Monarch course!

Edited to add: Based on comments I’ve received, there seems to be some confusion. The giveaway is for a free one-year subscription for one Monarch course. The review is, of course, on Switched-on-Schoolhouse, but the giveaway is for Monarch, which is basically the same as SOS, but online.

Here’s how to win:

Leave a comment telling me which course you’d choose and why. Your comment is your entry. Only one comment per person, please. In order to enter, you must be 18 years of age or order and a legal resident of the United States. I’ll draw a winner, at random, on Monday, May 23.  I will contact the winner via email, so you must leave a way for me to contact you via email. If I can’t reach you through email, I will draw another winner.

I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it.  I received no other compensation for this review.  The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions.  Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.

 

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Comments

  1. Instinctualmothering/Beth Ann says

    Thanks for your review! I love the idea of Monarch's Civics program-that would be great for my 7th grader while I teach the younger 2 on their level..Thanks for the opportunity to enter your giveaway! 

  2. Stelladora99 says

    Family and consumer science. I have really struggled as a homemaker. I want my girls to be better wives and mothers to their future families.

  3. Kristy Mallory says

    Thank you for your honest review! I have been wanting SOS for a couple of years now, but I have been  leary of the price and also afraid that we would be on the "not loving it" side of the fence. I have a 11th grader and 7th grader (coming up) I would love the GED preparatory for my 11th grader as he needs to take the GED exam before the local college will accept him. Of course, I would love the program for my 7th grader also, but she gets antsy on the computer after a couple of hours. How long would you say that your Brianna ( too have a Breanna) spends on the computer doing SOS? Every spring I go onto the AOP site and dream, then I get cold feet. Every mid-winter, I wish I had given it a try, lol. We have not found a program that is more positive than negative. Yet. I spend hours lesson planning weekly. One summer I spent my entire summer making my own lesson plans and created, what I thouth would be the perfect schedule/timeline. What I didn't plan for was my husbands accident and my surgery. Needless to say. all that planning was a waste. I would love not to worry about that!!    

  4. Amy Summers says

    I'm so glad that you reviewed this curriculum, as I have been interested in it for several years, but didn't want to shell out the money without knowing more about it.   I would choose the Elementary Spanish for my son.  He is obsessed with different languages and cultures (future missionary?!?!) and loves the computer.  I think he would do really well with the program, and Spanish is something that I feel inadequate to teach.
    Amy

  5. MichelleH says

    I would choose Practical Christianity and Church History for 8th grade.  It sounds like something my son could really dig in to next year. 

  6. Kim Sailor says

    I would love to try the Monarch 9th grade Algebra I. Math is one of those areas my daughter really struggles with and I would love to have an online curriculum to help her out. :)   daisymomto3(at)yahoo(dot)com 

    • Sharon says

      Try Math U See. Great product and price and the instruction style works for students who may need some support or more practice on certain concepts.

    • Kristina says

      We tried Lifepac & FLVS for math for my daughter, 14 years old, and we are absolutely LOVING Teaching Textbooks!! I also purchased it for my son, 10 years old, and he loves it too. There are placements tests so you can be sure you are purchasing the correct level. Best math program I have seen by far! =)

  7. Mrs. O says

     So glad this post came up!   I have been trying to decide using SOS or Monarch.  Both look cool, sounds like SOS is awesome.  Thanks for sharing your opinion.  

    I would get Monarch's 3rd Grade, 5 subject set.  I like the idea of using the same curriculum for all subjects.  

    :O)

  8. Jacqueline says

     I would choose the 11th grade History curriculum.  Thank you for your  review of this product.

  9. Kris_WUHS says

    Generally speaking, it takes Brianna about 30 minutes per subject and she does five SOS subjects most days.

  10. Lnorris_78 says

    I think we would like to try Switched on Schoolhouse for the upcoming school year. We used Lifepac last year and it was a great curriculum though difficult to adjust to at first because both of my children were coming out of the public school system. I'm hoping the SOS will help somewhat with time management since there is automatic grading and that will free up more time for reading and hands on activities with my kids. Homeschooling  has definitly been the best and most challenging thing I've ever done!! :-) Thanks for your review of the SOS!
    LeAnn

  11. Rachel says

     I would totally do SOS 8th grade. My second daughter has been begging to use this curriculum….begging.

    Wonderful review!

  12. Sara O. says

    I've heard wonderful things about SOS from friends. I'd love to try 3rd grade science next year.

  13. Elizabeth McClenahan Ekback says

     We love it!!  I didn't need the manual to set it up and found it easy to do.   But I support software for a living and I'm used to educational software.  I find it a huge plus for my family since I have to work from home 30hrs a week.   I have time to assist when they are stuck or teach a class or two, but I don't have time to keep up with the book keeping aspect.   SOS does it all for me…thank you, AOP!!  :)   I also appreciated the option to remove assignments, but I had to do some searching in the manual on how to do this exactly.   Very easy to change things to suit your schedule and schooling.

  14. Michelle says

    We love SOS! We are new to homeschooling, starting with a high schooler and middle schooler. We are currentlyusing Spanish and Social Studies. My girls love it too. They like being able to customize their page and being able to work on the computer. Using more of their programs is in our future
    Michelle

  15. Mumo6 says

     I'd be choosing either the Grade 11 American History or the British or American Literature. Probably British. Sounds pretty cool!!

  16. Hculp48 says

    Thank you for your review. I have been strongly considering Switched on Schoolhouse for a couple of subjects next year. You have eased some of my worries and concerns! I think the only way I will ever know if it's right for my daughters is to just try it.

    I would love to win the one year subscription to a subject of Monarch. I would choose 6th grade history. History is a subject that I did not enjoy as a child and I do not enjoy teaching it. I think my children would benefit from a program such as SOS or Monarch for this subject.

    Heather
    Hculp48 at gmail dot com

  17. Alpha Omega Publications says

     Thanks for this thorough and honest review!  Sorry about the setup frustration and we hope it's smooth sailing from here on out. – Ryan from AOP

  18. Jen says

    I have been so curious about both Monarch and SOS. Obviously, the cost is a huge factor, but if I had to choose one course I would probably go with 4th grade language arts. I feel least able to teach this to my oldest and having someone else take this over would be a huge blessing! Thanks for the review! 

  19. richard says

    I am adding my third child to our full-time homeschool this year, the same year that my oldest begins his freshman year of home high school.  This is a dynamic change to our daily routine which will require a lot of time, patience, and discipline for all of us.  Child number three has stroke related learning disabilities which require loads of extra, focused work.  At the same time, my middle child is showing signs of burn-out with the curriculum that we have been using.  If I had my druthers, I would try the third grade, five subject set.  Computer based learning would provide a spark for my middle child’s interest in learning.  I suspect that it would free up some time for me to focus on kiddo number three.  Reusing this curriculum with the youngest is an attractive idea, as she has shown signs that computer based learning is a better fit for her over more traditional methods.   Either way, thanks for the refreshingly honest review and for hosting this contest.    
     

  20. Melissa says

     I want to thank you so much for doing an honest review of the Switched-on-Schoolhouse program. I have been curious about it for years but could not afford to try it.  The program I would love to get is the 3rd grade Language Arts for my son. He will be entering 5th grade but due to a slight learning delay, he is "behind" in his language skills. This is why I think the Monarch Language Arts would be perfect! It is not only interactive but it also has audio features! He is always asking if he is using the correct word or saying them correctly. This would give him multisensory examples of them and there uses. [email protected]

  21. Lisa Walters says

     I would choose the Health Course! I've been considering doing a health class with my girls, and would love to win this one! Thanks for doing this.

  22. Karrynna says

    I would love to try their Spanish 1 course. My kids have been bugging me to do some Spanish and I can't decide between SOS and Rosetta Stone. I am also in a season where SOS will be very welcome. I bought core curriculum for my kids for next year and I'm very excited. 

  23. Rebecca says

    I am so thrilled to read this review! I have been considering SOS for years, but my kids weren't old enough yet. It highly appeals to me though. And I finally have a third grader so I would LOVE to try the Monarch 3rd Grade 5-subject Set! Thanks for the review!!

  24. Chattyteacher says

  25. Sherry says

  26. Kristy says

    SOS has always worked best for us as a 'fill in'  curriculum.  My son wouldn't do well with it full time… but when he needs one or two subjects to finish out our school plans SOS has done that for him.  This year or next we could use the Monarch Speech. 

  27. Ana B. says

  28. Mvdisney says

    Monarch Elementary Spanish . . . I'm always looking for different ways to reinforce the work we're doing in Spanish!

  29. Jenny says

    I'm so happy you were able to review SOS.  We have been on the fence about next year and leaning towards SOS.  I would pick Bible for either my soon to be 4th or 6th grader. 

  30. Nicole @ Some Call It Natural says

    I would choose either the History and Geography or the Science.  Those are two areas I would love to be 'brainless' (for me to teach)! :)  

  31. crebbert says

  32. Blessed Nation Ranch says

  33. Cindyshw747 says

     My daughter loves sos. It explains things so simple for her to understand, and I love the grading part.

  34. hmschlmom says

    We have used SOS for MANY years..pre R2 revision (Yep, I'm that old) and it is, by FAR, my favorite curriculum.  Love it's organization, and self grading.    Would love to try Monarch for a foreign Language…

  35. Butterflykiss88 says

    I'd choose Horizons 1st grade for my little one! I would love Monarch online but it starts at 3rd grade and we are not there yet.  Thank you for the review!

  36. Tracie Moore says

     Monarch Math – looks like a great tool to help my son.  He has huge gaps in his education after moving around in foster care for several years.  Math is still a struggle for him.

  37. Lavonnebateman says

  38. Tess says

     I would buy the 3rd grade set, too! I have three boys that would use it so maybe I should invest.
    tessa lisette at gmail dot com (no spaces)

  39. hsmomofkge says

    I'm not sure what I would choose, but probably something for my 1st grader to get her more in the habit of doing regular schoolwork.

  40. Mary says

    I would use the math course…I have heard some good things about Monarch and would love to give it a try!

  41. Dawn Casey says

    I have personally been thinking about getting it for Science and Language Arts, but leaving the rest of their subjects as books.

  42. Rebekah Callahan says

    Great review! I've been following your blog for a few weeks now because of your review of workboxes. I so appreciate your honest point of view.
    I'm acquainted with one of AOP's programmers, and based on her experience , and your review, I've been wanting to try it out . I think the complete grade level sets might work best for my oldest, but right now would love to test him on the 7th grade language arts , I understand they do a great job integrating grammar and writing skills, which I find ( for us) to easily separated . Thanks again !!!

  43. Michelle Flood says

     We've used both Monarch and SOS and while I love both, I prefer SOS.  Monarch has it's advantages since it's web-based (and is still there when your hard drive crashes unexpectantly) but it can't be used with multiple kids.  Since I have one that's always right behind the other, it's more cost effective to use SOS so that of course is what I'd choose!

  44. Homeschool on the Croft says

    We've used SOS for our older three – on and off. Our eldest, a boy, got on well with it, and for two years did all his subjects in this way. It wasn't the most stimulating of ways of learning, but he managed. Our two girls, on the other hand, plowed their way through a year of it with 5 subjects, but I wouldn't have put them through it for another year! They each do one subject on SOS – because, financially, it's very reasonable – and they can do one (maybe two), but not all.
    Just shows….all kids are different :)

  45. Chrisrife2 says

  46. Stephanie Repnyek says

     I would do Spanish I for 1oth grade. Just starting this with my daughter in the coming Fall and getting the curriculum together! Thank you for the review!

  47. Martysahm says

  48. Alexa Young says

    Thank you for your review My oldest son has been using Monarch this year. He loves it. He is the type of child that has problems retaining information.  But as this is his first year homeschooling I have seen a big improvement in his work!!! I would love to do the Missouri state history using SOS with him. I think he would really get a kick out of learning about our state. :) [email protected] 

  49. kelli says

  50. Angela says

    We really like SOS as well.  We have been using it for 3 years now, grades 5-7, so far.  I agree it does take some time to get used to the program, but having it work out my schedule for me and mark all my kids work, out weighs the initial learning for me.  It's funny that you commented on the computer voice, I agree, it is annoying.  :-)  I also love that it was a great transition for my son in learning how to go from elementary workbooks to independent learning.  The transition took some time, but it has been well worth it!!

    Angela, New Brunswick, Canada
    [email protected]

  51. Gr8tful4grace says

  52. Gr8tful4grace says

  53. Brandi White says

     Great review! I've been looking for something with more detail other than "We hated it!" or "We loved it!"  If I won a course, I'd choose the 3rd grade Science, because we have third grade planned, except for that subject. Thanks for the chance!

  54. Lori Fowler says

    Hello, I would like to used Algebra for my high schooler.  It would be nice to have the demonstration right there so she could watch it as she went.  Thank you  Lori

  55. Momzilla says

    I homeschool 6 (3rd through High School), and am using SOS.  How long it takes really depends on the child.  I have some that get done with 5 or 6 subjects in 2 hours … and some that take all day.  I also spent most of my time preparing lesson plans with other curriculum.  In spite of some of the things I think the product could do better, the pro's out-weigh the con's for us.  I particularly like that I can use re-use the curriculum for multiple children.  Once you buy it once, you don't have to keep buying it for those coming up. The set-up wasn't such a challenge, in my experience.  But having to use tutotials to learn how to use all the features (teacher's side) was an irritation. I would have prefered a manual.

  56. Momzilla11 says

    The Elementary Spanish was ok.  But I was very disappointed in the levels beyond that.  The auditory reader speaks phonetically, and in English.  So, pronunciation is not accurate.  For example, the program would pronounce "se" as "southeast". I loved how the sample lesson had them say the word which I could play back for grading. Then, none of the actual lessons were done that way (big disappointment).  It was all manually typed answers (many that I had to transpose to grade).

  57. Virginia Sellers says

     I would  love to try the Monarch College planner. We started out using Lifepacs and last year we tried SOS Language Arts. We liked SOS so much that this year we are using SOS  LA, Bible and History for 6th and 9th grades.

  58. Lindsay Downs says

  59. Lisa B. says

    Good review. I've thought of trying SOS a time or two for my oldest son (age 14). I'd love to try out the Monarch first though. I think the Civil War one would be a fun way to go for a test run. Thanks! ;-)

  60. Steve says

    Hi Kris.  I just learned about SOS two days ago and while searching for more information—I found your site and review. Thank you! What Monarch course would I choose? 4th grade math. Thanks to your review I am now planning on purchasing the complete SOS 5 course 3rd grade set for my daughter next year, but it looks like the SOS 3rd grade math covers most of what she already learned from the BJU 2nd grade math book she used this year, and that concerns me. Having 4th grade Monarch math available would ensure I could keep her moving onward and upward should that, in fact, be the case.  Thanks again for sharing your review. It really helped!  Steve   

  61. Kris_WUHS says

    Steve,

    I've been told that you can substitute subjects in the 5-disc set if you order by calling customer service. You can't do it just ordering from the website. I haven't had to do so yet, so you might want to call and ask.

  62. jeannie says

    I would get the  Monarch 7th grade Math. I find math the hardest subject form me to teach my children. Email. jhenrichsatymaildotcom

  63. Butterflykiss88 says

  64. Anicelife says

  65. Jessica Tyree says

    I've been going back on forth on trying out Switched on Schoolhouse and appreciate your honesty with the pros and cons.  We are planning on trying out the 5th grade language arts class.  I hate to admit it, but I personally struggle in teaching this subject the most so to have the comfort of a little extra help will be a blessing :)

  66. Kris says

    Thanks, Jessica. You might want to check out the follow-up reviews I've done on SOS. I think I've got them all listed on my reviews page. While it definitely has its pros and cons, we're planning on using it again next year for my oldest.

  67. Cera says

    I have used SOS this past year with my 5th grader – it has been great because of the immediate feedback, and the ability to redo assignments as needed.  However, we travel a lot and didn't adequately consider that. 

    I am looking to purchase a couple subjects in Monarch, though if I could only select one I would say 6th grade Language Skills, as this has been an area in which my son really struggles, and I have seen considerable improvement this past year.

  68. Sharon says

    Considering 10th grade English and History. Any advice or major problems with either? Have also been watching the reviews for a couple of years–at this stage, can’t afford a really bad choice.

    • Kris Bales says

      No major problems that we’ve encountered, but we have decided not to use SOS again next year. Nothing against it, we (including my daughter) just decided that it would be in her best interests to get her away from the distractions of the computer as far as school is concerned. Other than math, she’ll be using something (as yet undetermined) that doesn’t require her computer to be on during school hours.

  69. steve says

    I am sorry to say that this curriculum has been a nightmare. I am taking 12th grade physics and they do not teach very well. They sometimes make mistakes on problems. The graphics and audio are quite bad. Sometimes graphics are misplaced. They don’t teach you have to do the math problems, they just throw formulas at you and hope you get it. The animations are made for 8 years old, so for old it will bore you to tears. I hate all the quizzes, basically for every assignment you have there is a quiz after it, and all the quizzes are cumulative.

  70. meagan says

    I really want to try SOS or Monarch 3rd grade Language Arts for my son next school year. He has a processing disorder with handwriting, so our doctor recommended using a computer-based curriculum. He is so bright and creative, and tells amazing stories, but comes to tears in frustration over trying to put it on paper. Thanks for your positive review. It is a little daunting to be treading into new territory with him- all we have used until now has been textbooks, but I am very hopeful that this program will be a better fit for him.

  71. Amy says

    I have been using the Alpha and Omega Academy for a few weeks for my 12 year old and was thinking about getting the SOS Spanish. So far we like the Academy. We needed a home school program that would give us official grades so that we would have no problems enrolling our daughter into an academic high school.

  72. Mena says

    It would be a big blessing to try a free Monarch course in History and Geography. I’m prayerfully considering to add on-line courses for our homeschool since that would allow us to invest more time in ministry. Your review is part of our “help from above”. Thanks.

    • Kris Bales says

      Just FYI, this review was from several years ago, so the giveaway is over. I couldn’t tell from your comment if you thought it was still open or not. I didn’t want you sitting around hoping you might win. :)

  73. Sandra says

    I have been homeschooling since 2000. My children are spread apart. I have two children graduated and one in the 10th grade.

    We have tried many different curriculums over the years. Especially with my two eldest. There isn’t much we haven’t tried.

    Had I to do over, I would have used SOS from a younger age and with all my children and supplemented here and there depending on the child. Although, I have only used it with my youngest child, from 5th through 10th grade. So I cant comment on the younger years.

    SOS has improved much over the years. I love that we can create a transcript through the program and add in non-SOS curriculum. It is a textbook on computer but that is preparation for college, especially in the high school years.

    Set up does take time. But as Kris has mentioned the Customer Support with SOS is the best Iv experienced. SOS Customer Services are patient. I am not computer savvy, so believe me when I say they are patient. They are kind, they will walk you through step by step, without charge, even if it takes you hours and 5 calls a day. Once your set up, your usually done calling them. This is my 6th year and because I only have to set up once a year, I have to call back each year because it’s been a while and Iv forgotten the set up. Same goes for when we buy a new laptop. This year was the first year that I didn’t need to call. Set up was easy. I believe it’s improved over the past years. I see many improvements in the software.

    Also, remember to update as often as asked, because many questions have been revised. If you notice a problem with the schoolwork, you can notify the SOS team, they will fix it and all our software will be revised in the updates.

    It is by far my favorite curriculum to use as it is very parent friendly. My kids like it, as they have tried many. My grown children say they would have preferred SOS.

    We have added in Writing Strands for a few years, to improve handwriting and written paper work, as most is done on computer with SOS. We added in The Life of Fred reading books, they were helpful as a supplement to math understanding. For the younger children A Reason For Spelling worked SO WELL for our family as a supplement.

    Math and Spanish are the two subjects I have a hard time helping my children with as they arrive into the high school years. One of my children went to tutoring for math. Another took math at the community college, along with other Community College classes. My youngest, still at home, will have tutoring from friends for math, as the Lord has placed people in our lives that LOVE math and love to tutor! So, that’s a blessing. He has also brought many Spanish speaking friends, so that will be helpful.

    As a parent, SOS is a nice way to keep record of your child’s work. There have been years, that we removed SOS projects from their assignments and added in our own. There are times that I have removed quizzes (not from math) and that was helpful. This year we left in quizzes, because it’s good preparation through high school for college. You can set up for your student to have “open book” during a quiz. All in all, I found this to be the best fit for our family.

    Each child does need a laptop and a case, to bring their school along when we have to leave the home. I go take care of their great grandmothers needs and this is a fine way bring school along without having to carry all those textbooks and writing pads. Work can be done in cars, doctors offices, parks, anywhere. Online is not necessarily needed on a daily basis.

    I recommend that you download the software on your computer, other wise you take a chance on scratching or losing cd’s. I also recommend that you use a flash drive and teach your child to download onto the flash drive each day, because you never know when a computer will crash. Also, each child has a flash drive for the whole year. All work is easily saved on the flash drive. So much easier then loads of books and papers. We have flash drives, CDs saved and written work for the year. But most reports are kept on your flash drive. We put a string through the flash drive, so that when we are away from home. The flash drive is kept around the neck, so as not to lose it. If the computer is stolen or breaks down, you still have all your schoolwork saved, and your cds at home. You can begin where you left off. If not, you lose everything for the whole year and have to begin again from the start of the school year.

    If your child is taking Piano, there is room to write it into your yearly reports and transcripts. Piano, Community Service, Vocals, Bible, Physical Education and the like can all be added into progress reports, report cards and transcripts. You can give them your grade for those classes and credits earned.
    If there was one thing I could do differently. I would have begun my children’s math lessons early on with Math U See. I have many friends who used Math U See with their children and they are doing awesome in college. I believe it would have been a good fit for our family, since I am not much of a mathematician . I really believe it would have been beneficial. I didn’t want to spend the money, but looking back, I see it would have been worth it. As it is, my youngest only has two years left, and it’s late for us to give Math U See a try. She will continue on with SOS and tutors.

    Hope this helps someone

  74. Katherine Lawrence says

    I would order the complete SOS 7th grade curriculum package. Thanks so much for this review! This is my first year homeschooling, and I definitely need a curriculum change next year. We’ve basically been doing “school at home” with a morning devotion thrown in and we’re not happy with this. SOS sounds like a much better fit for our family.
    chattykathy

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