Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Computer-aided learning from A&O

We did it. We took the leap to computer-based education. I purchased Alpha and Omega's Switched on Schoolhouse, at least for Language Arts, History and Geography (which will wait until we finish the Middle Ages), and Science. That brings our total of computer subjects up to four with Teaching Textbooks' math curriculum, which I love!

It has gotten harder and harder to sync up all the kids' schedules for each subject so I've stopped trying. The good part, though, is that other subjects that I have ignored because it was too much work will get picked up. They don't have to be done all together. Things like copywork and memorization. My next purchase will be a Reading Journal for me to record sayings, poems, and the like that would make good memorization pieces. I think a glitzy looking notebook should stand out tolerably well so my boys don't use it!

Another big, huge, gigantic plus is that it keeps track of time---wonderful because Missouri tracks by hours, not days. I absolutely hate the record keeping requirements here. They are miserable. It also gives the kids immediate feedback on their work---essential for optimal learning but so difficult to achieve even for homeschoolers. Last, it grades most of the work for me. I procrastinated grading papers even when I taught at Logan High so that's obviously a toughie for me. What's not to like?!

To make it even better, the software has been upgraded to Windows Vista, and is on 20 percent sale right now. Check out this supplier at http://www.agdistribution.com/Defaulthome.aspx. Their customer service is excellent. I had several questions before buying, and they were answered within the hour.

For more detailed information about the topics studied in a given year, you will need to go to Alpha and Omega's website where they have full listings. (AG Distribution sent me the link.) They also have a diagnostic exam if you aren't sure what grade to use. You can purchase a full battery of exams for each grade and course from AG Distribution or you can use the free ones from A & O for Language Arts and Math. I almost skipped a grade based on the test, but another mom advised me not to because the coursework builds on what was covered the previous year. She also told me there are some Yahoo support groups that are invaluable.

So now we wait for delivery, free as long as ground was acceptable. (It was.)


Mrs. Darling said...

Im going to have to do something about revamping things here too but Im waiting for fall. So glad things are working well for you!

AOP said...

Hello, my name is Kristi Gesink and I work for the Homeschooling company Alpha Omega Publications. I noticed after reading through your blog that you ordered some of our Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum to use to teach your children! We are excited for you to use our great curriculum and want to say a big thank you for mentioning our products on your blog. We would also appreciate it very much if you would please post a link from your blog to our site at http://www.aophomeschooling.com, that way readers and friends just need to click on the link to check out your great curriculum!!

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at kgesink@aop.com

Thank you and have a wonderful day!!
Kristi Gesink

3 for school said...

There are several reasons I start curriculum shopping earlier in the year.
1. Generally learning styles shift a little, and I'm in the middle of it so it's easier to remember what did and didn't work while I'm still in the year.
2. Sales are better earlier in the year, and that's a big deal to us.
3. I want to continue homeschooling through the summer so we'll need it sooner than fall. We take breaks throughout the year (sometimes unplanned) so it's easier to deal with in a year-round system of learning.
4. Last, it gives us a chance to find out if the changes will work the way we hope before the official school year begins.