As part of my year-long review on Alpha Omega’s Christian homeschool curriculum, Switched-on-Schoolhouse, I’ll be posting periodic updates and subject spotlights. If you missed my previous reviews, be sure to read my overview and my spotlight post on language arts.
Before I get into the particulars on geometry, I want to just update on how we’re faring, overall, with SOS. Brianna is still enjoying it – as much as a teenager enjoys school. She still contends that it’s the best fit for her of anything we’ve tried.
Switched on Schoolhouse
It breaks her schoolwork up into manageable chunks, for the most part. There are days, because we use the auto-assign feature – when she’ll have something crazy like a project, a quiz, and a lesson all in the same subject.
On those days, I typically just tell her to do as much as she can and catch up the rest by the end of the week. Every so often, I’ll clear all her assignments for the day and give her a catch-up day, if her workload has been particularly heavy.
She also enjoys the independence of SOS. Because it explains things so well and offers features such as a built-in dictionary, thesaurus, and other reference tools, she rarely needs my help with anything.
One of the biggest drawbacks with Switched-on-Schoolhouse for me is the inability to reschedule individual assignments when using the auto-assign feature. If that is something you can do, I haven’t found a way to do it yet. You can change due dates on individual assignments, but you have to do it manually and this does not override and reassign assignments with auto-assign.
So, for example, if we wanted to do a half day of school on Thursday and Brianna is supposed to do Bible, history, math, and English, I haven’t found a way to move just history to the next day and have the system bump all subsequent history assignments by one day. It would just add Thursday’s history assignment to the existing assignment on whatever day to which I might move it.
Make sense? That’s the most frustrating part of SOS to me. Well, that and there not being a link to the calendar on the main page of the parent’s home page. I’ve finally gotten to where I pretty much remember how to find and access the calendar, but it’s taken me months.
Subject Spotlight: Geometry
I was very curious what Brianna’s response was going to be when I asked her about geometry…and I was pretty surprised by her answer.
See, we’ve used two different video-based math programs. To me, that seemed like the ideal way to learn upper-level math – watch and listen as someone else worked and explained the problems.
Imagine my surprise when Brianna said that she likes Switched-on-Schoolhouse better than anything else we’ve used for math, too! I mean, really, it’s textbook on CD. That doesn’t sound particularly exciting to me.
However, she says that the concepts are explained in an easy-to-understand fashion and that it helps her to be able to read the text while it’s being read aloud (a SOS feature) to her. Seeing the text, she says, makes it easier to learn the vocabulary.
I admit that when I’ve checked some of her answers that have to be manually graded (a teacher key with explanation is provided for these), they do seem to be explained in an easily understandable way.
The one thing I can’t deny are the results. Her grades are just as good, if not a bit better, than they were using other math programs. I can feel good about that because I know that Alpha Omega has a reputation for producing thorough math curriculum.
The bottom line is, we’re both still feeling really good about our choice of Switched-on-Schoolhouse for Brianna for high school.
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.