Review: Switched-on-Schoolhouse (Geometry)
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.
I am so glad you did this. I have been looking for a curriculum that my kids can be more independent. I have heard such mixed reviews on SOS. I have been in touch with an AO representative on the phone though and I think it might be right for us!
My son is 8th grade and enjoys Saxon. We switched to teaching textbooks one year, but he prefers Saxon. That being said, I just ordered Teaching Textbooks for my girls. They are looking forward to it.
I'm considering AOP next year for the kids for a few subjects. Keep us posted on your review. I'd love to know how the lower grades are.
Unfortunately, I'll only be reveiwing the high school level at this time. I would love to review the lower levels and have seriously considered them for at least one of my younger kids. The expense of having 3 on SOS is the only thing holding me back right now.
I am excited to hear that your daughter is enjoying the geometry curriculum. Many years ago, I was interested in SOS for math, but read a lot of negative reviews about answers that were correct mathematically but were counted wrong because they were not entered the way the program thought they should be (for example: the computer was looking for the answer 3 + 2 and the student typed in 2 + 3). I'm curious if SOS has worked out this bug in their math program. I've seen many reviews about other subjects that seem much more positive than the ones I read several years ago.
I also can't wait to read your review of the biology curriculum. I am really interested in SOS for high school science. I'm really curious about the format and whether the experiments are on video clips in the program. We have tried apologia for science, but I am terrible with experiments. I think if my kids could watch them being done, at least they'd have that much.
I don't recall coming across anything like that, but that doesn't mean I haven't. It just means my memory isn't what it used to be. 😉 If Brianna thinks that she has an answer right, but the program has marked it wrong, she sends me a note within the program and I manually check it, giving her credit if she is, in fact, correct.
I have been working with my Nephew and have had some difficulty with several questions. Particularly a semester test Unit 6 question 36 and the final exam question 84, both of which seem to have either the wrong answers to the questions asked or the polygon placed in the incorrect position in the quadrant in which the secondary polygon was placed.
Have you found these to be in error or am I completely missing that concept. We were able to get the rest of them following the instruction of the lesson.
Hi, Kim. I wish I could help, but it’s been 3 years since we used this product. I really don’t remember specifics like that. I’m sorry!
What are your thoughts on the SOS geometry now that some time has elapsed?
It’s what my daughter used for geometry, so it served its purpose. We went back to Teaching Textbooks for Algebra II for a few reasons. 1) We weren’t going to be using the full SOS curriculum. 2) My daughter said TT was explained in a way that made more sense to here. 3) TT is more economical for us since it’s easier to reuse with younger siblings.