Switched-On Schoolhouse Curriculum
In the past, we have been reluctant to offer a complete computer curriculum for two reasons: 1) the homeschooling family is relying on one publisher for the entire content of its schooling; and, 2) having a student sit in front of a computer all day seems restrictive. Switched-On Schoolhouse, from Alpha Omega Publishers, has eased our first concern and offers advantages over a text-based curriculum for both student and teacher. This curriculum offers all major subject areas (Bible, history & geography, language arts, math and science) from a solid biblical and academic perspective. Content is AOPs LIFEPAC series of worktexts, which has been enhanced by adding interactive, video and audio clips, games and animation. For instance, science experiments are shown via video clips. In geometry, three-dimensional objects are illustrated as computer-generated objects rotating in space. Big events in history, literature, and the Bible can be re-enacted and shown on video. Audio clips of vocabulary and spelling words give correct pronunciations. Students have the ability to print out charts and draw graphs. Auditory learners can even choose to listen to an entire lesson or passages within the lesson instead of reading it. Using this software is therefore much more engaging for the student than using the LIFEPAC worktexts alone and automatic updates ensure that the content is always current. Students will also enjoy switching up homepage themes, widgets and avatars as well as using tools like highlighting text. New for 2018, the format of Switched-On Schoolhouse is a USB flash drive. The CD-ROM based product is no longer available.
For the teacher, advantages include automatic grading and record-keeping, flexible (and customizable) lesson planning tools, reports, attendance tracking, and the ability to allow a student to repeat or skip lessons or problems as needed. You can even print hard copies of assignments, lessons, records and more. Up to five students within a family can use the program (at once or during different years); however, if you update your computer system down the road, you will want to make sure your SOS software remains compatible with your new computer system. [Please also note that if you have previous versions of SOS installed on your computer (prior to 2010), games from the earlier version may be overwritten by the games from the newer version.]
Each grade level is available as either the complete curriculum (all 5 modules: Bible, History & Geography, Language Arts, Math and Science) or individual modules. A wide array of elective courses is also available in this format.
Minimum system requirements: Windows 7/Windows 8/8.1./ Windows 10 1.4 GHz or higher processor (2 GHz recommended), 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended), 3 GB hard drive space [10 GB recommended]), 1024 x 768 or higher resolution monitor, Adobe Reader, and printer (recommended). Please note that the software is NOT Mac-compatible and is no longer Windows XP-compatible.
Given its many advantages and reasonable cost, Switched-On Schoolhouse is well worth considering.