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An Overview of the Switched on Schoolhouse Curriculum

written by: Laura Powell • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 9/11/2012

Did you know that the Duggar family of "19 Kids and Counting" uses Switched on Schoolhouse? Are you familiar with the pros and cons of this homeschooling curriculum? Read on to find out if Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum could be the best fit for your homeschooling family.

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    OVERVIEW

    If you've ever watched the hit cable television show "19 Kids and Counting," on The Learning Channel, you have probably seen Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar homeschooling their children. However, what you might not have known is that they use Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum as the basis for their teachings.

    Switched on Schoolhouse (S.O.S.) is a Bible-based curriculum that offers computer based learning for Grades 3-12. It uses 3-D animation, video clips and other multimedia to capture students attention. It is produced by Alpha-Omega Publications and can be found at http://www.aophomeschooling.com. The five core subjects covered are Bible, History & Geography, Science, Language and Math. They also offer an extensive amount of electives, specifically for grades 7-12, including American Literature, British Literature, French, Spanish, Trigonometry, and College Planning, among many others.

    According to their website, some of the main features of the Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum include:

    • Quick Installation (The downloading time should be quick!)
    • Automatic Grading (The computer program does most of the grading of your child's work for you.)
    • Daily Work Report (The lessons are planned for you, and each student's work report is listed daily.)
    • Revised Content (S.O.S. keeps their content updated and current each year.)
    • Text to Speech Feature (The program has a feature that allows a student to hear the text read aloud to him/her.)
    • Homepage Themes (You can customize your homepage with their choices of colorful backgrounds.)
    • Fun Games (There are fun games to help with the learning process.)

    COST: You can purchase individual courses for around $75.00 a piece, or a 5 subject set which includes Bible, History & Geography, Science, Language and Math for around $400.00. The curriculum can be purchased through Alpha and Omega publications, or other dealers including, Pennywise Learning and Christianbooks, both which have websites. (www.pennywiselearing.com or www.christianbooks.com).

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    PROS

    • The Bible curriculum covers 7 major themes including Theology, Attributes of God, Biblical Literature, Biblical Geography, Christian Growth, Christian Evidence, & Special Emphasis for Each Grade Level. This is a very comprehensive bible program, in comparison to others.
    • The lesson plans and grading are done for you. These two things are huge time saving factors!
    • The fun games, and computer animations tend to be appealing to this generation of learners.
    • The lesson plans are customized to fit your schedule, so if your child is sick or you take a vacation, the plans don't have to be re-written on a calendar, as everything here is on the computer. The plans can be re-adjusted as you go.
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    CONS

    • One of the places I look for reviews of curriculum, as a homeschooling parent myself, is www.homeschoolreviews.com. According to some reviews, users of S.O.S. have had trouble navigating the software. Some have voiced concern that it is not as user-friendly as it could be.
    • Other concerns, according to these reviewers, seem to be that the program gives too many quizzes. However, these quizzes look easy to delete without affecting the student's overall learning.
    • One reviewer said their return policy was very stringent.
    • Also, Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum materials cannot be resold, so to some this would be considered a drawback.
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    If you have found yourself liking what you've read, you're probably ready to check further into Switched on Schoolhouse, which you can do at www.aophomeschooling.com. There are many major publishers of homeschool curriculum, so you will want to look closely for what will best fit your family. If you are looking for a computer based program, this could be the right choice for you!

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    Image Credits

    Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar Image from Wikimedia Commons, source Jim Bob Duggar "Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar.jpg"

    Boy on Computer Image from Wikimedia Commons, source Marisa Ravn, "spilling.jpg"