Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product in return for my honest review. I was not financially compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the developing company and/or its affiliates in any way.
Alpha Omega’s Switched-On Schoolhouse (SOS) is a computer based curriculum. It installs on a computer with no Internet connection necessary. It teaches 3-12 grade students standard subjects in an easy to use computer-based environment. The CD-ROM format provides an interactive learning experience, with advanced teacher/parent administrative functions.
For extensive demos/samples see the feature list below.
Who would benefit from SOS:
If you are a very busy family and you need your child to take on a bulk of the responsibility for their schooling in one or more subjects, SOS could be your lifesaver! It is Biblically based and has a ton of cool features. It allows for more of an independent type schooling with advanced admin/teacher functions to be sure you know your child is learning!
Teacher/Parent Admin Functions:
Where do I start? SOS has the most incredible teacher abilities. I will name as many as I can think of, but I am likely to miss some.
- SOS generates your lesson plans based on your start and end date. In creating “your” school year, you can block out non-school days, field trips, vacations, etc. Example would be if you do school 4 days a week only, you can block out the typical 5th school day. You click generate and it spits out the appropriate lessons and spreads them evenly across all of your school days.
- You can choose to delete lessons, quizzes, or tests that you feel unneccessary. For example, I think the tests are enough and it has too many quizzes, so I would delete all quizzes. For LA if you do another spelling curriculum besides what is included with LA, you could delete some of the spelling lessons.
- You get to adjust the grading scale.
- You can set the number of chances they get to come up with a correct answer before it gets marked wrong.
- You can clear out wrong answers and make your child re-do them. I would prob do this for low test scores.
- You can “email” your students through SOS. Either a general “email” or pertaining to a particuliar problem.
- You can set the spelling parameters for typed in answers. Strict spelling rules or more slack for students who struggle in spelling.
- You can change grades.
- Reports, well there are SO many I will only name a few. Subject reports with details of how long they spend on the subject for the year (it keeps a ongoing record) and how long each day/lesson takes. It also details how many times it took to answer the questions correctly and how many were missed with a total score. It shows any games that were played with the lesson and how well they did on the games. Report Cards – At any time print a detailed report card for one or more subjects
- Journal- Your students will get to keep a journal
- Customization – Allowing your students to customize the appearance of their user gets them excited about logging on to SOS. From scriptures of the day to background and icons, they get to choose their look and layout, based on what the parent allows from their admin.
- Parents can choose to allow the games to be played or not. These games are educational and fun for the student.
About the lessons:
If you do the whole 5 subjects, your student will not be scheduled to do each subject everyday. The can, however, work ahead at any time. The lessons involve reading the lesson and/or watching a video or listening to a clip. All of the answers to the questions are found in the lesson and they can refer to it using the split screen method. This is good for the students to learn to “find” what they need to in a lesson text. Beware though, some of the questions are tricky and you cannot usually assist them unless you read their lesson. There is a lot of reading comprehension based questions.
Teachers have access to the answer key for each question from the student’s screen by typing in the teacher password. The lessons are not flashy or distractig with “eye candy” or great graphics, which can be a plus or a minus, depending on your expectations. If you use Teaching Textbooks or have ever seen the user interface, it is not like that. Maybe one day it will be though! Lessons are interspersed with film clips, slide shows, tiny tutors and links to web pages, which breaks it up a little from just text.
SOS is easy to install and use. There is little to no parent involvement, except to initially set up the student’s program, and to grade a few subjective questions, essays, and reports along the way. SOS does 95% of the corrections and grading. SOS tends to be more textbook-like, with lots of reading and objective question-answering. It is on track with all of the requirements of each specific grade, but I would say it is at grade level, not advanced at all, but that is just my opinion.
Something like this would work great in my home because I help my husband with his business and I have a homeschool curriuclum store, plus a new baby! Handing over some of the responsibility to my daughter by allowing her to take on a more independent approach to her schooling would help us get done with subjects we seem to often “skip” or try to “get to tomorrow”.
Publisher Description and Feature List:
Switched-On Schoolhouse 2010
Switched-On Schoolhouse is a comprehensive, Bible-based curriculum that offers computer-based learning for grades 3-12. With 3-D animation, video clips, and other fascinating multimedia, Switched-On Schoolhouse is the perfect homeschool curriculum for today’s generation. With this flexible, best-selling curriculum, you can customize student learning to fit individual educational needs.
Switched-On Schoolhouse 2010 Curriculum Features
- Quick Installation
With a few clicks, Switched-On Schoolhouse is loaded and ready to use.
- Automatic Grading
Parents can easily keep track of student scores, assignments, grading needed to be completed, and preview assignments. This wonderful time-saving feature gives parents more hands-on time with students and less time with paperwork!
- Daily Work Report
Track your student’s day-to-day progress with this handy report tool! Parents can quickly view daily student activity, promote student accountability, and print valuable records for documentation.
- Revised Content
Unlike traditional textbooks, Switched-On Schoolhouse brings your child up-to-date information, more activities, new problems, and text changes.
- Customizable Homepage Themes
Add your personality to SOS! The MiSOS theme lets students and parents pick colors, add photos, rearrange homepage applications, and create their own theme. Internet-ready users also can enjoy RSS feed options, as well as one-click access to a search engine tool and other resources.
- Enriching Games
Exciting learning activities help students grasp difficult concepts with fun, colorful, educational games. Games include Farmer Frank, All Right, Alpha 14, and Spelling Bee.
- Custom Curriculum and Projects
Parents can customize curriculum by combining, adding, or removing units and assignments. You can also create additional exercises like field trips.
- Advanced Lesson Planning
Put away that bulky lesson planner! Each child can have a personalized lesson plan to pace him correctly and it can be modified day-by-day if needed.
- Book Reports
In grades 3-8 of Language Arts, student projects feature genre highlights, book lists, and links to additional resources.
- Message Center
Switched-On Schoolhouse allows you to attach messages to each problem or add instructions for your child in a personal electronic mailbox.
- Built-in Calendar
The calendar features allow you to assign/unassign school days, exclude date ranges, and add/remove events like field trips or holidays.
- Video Clips
Integrated into the curriculum, videos give students an up-close look at subject topics.
- Printing Options
Students or parents can easily print entire assignments, lessons, problems, records, and vocabulary lists.
- Resource Center
A calculator, interactive periodic table of elements, and a dictionary are provided for student convenience.
- Voice Automated Lesson Text
With this “text-to-speech” feature, students simply choose a passage or the entire lesson and have it read aloud to them.
- Highlighting Tool
Students can choose colors and highlight text for easy studying. (This feature is only available in the homeschool version.)
- Help Button
This feature offers specific assistance for working different types of question formats.
- Practice Lessons
This tool within the curriculum walks students through a lesson and explains different functions so they understand how the curriculum works
SOS 5 subject kit includes:
- Bible – Switched-On Schoolhouse Bible is a Christ-centered curriculum for grades 3-12 with a developmental, in-depth study of the Old and New Testaments. Utilizing the King James Version and the New American Standard Bible, the Bible curriculum covers a variety of biblical material to assist in the development of practical Christian living. The Bible curriculum provides seven major themes: Theology, Attributes of God, Biblical literature, Biblical geography, Christian growth, Christian evidence, and a special emphasis for each grade level.
- History & Geography – Switched-On Schoolhouse History & Geography is a complete, Bible-based curriculum for grades 3-12. The goal of these courses is to develop students’ understanding of and appreciation for God’s activity as seen in the record of man and his relationships. The curriculum targets this goal by focusing on six major themes: Geography (World and American), History (World, American, and Religious), Government and Citizenship, Economics, and Social Studies.
- Science – Switched-On Schoolhouse Science is an exciting, Bible-based curriculum for grades 3-12. Students focus on the development of observational skills as they study the physical universe God created. The program involves a combination of on- and off-computer assignments including experiments. Grades 3-9 observe each area of science on an individual survey basis, usually unit by unit. Grades 10-12 focus on specific areas of science-Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. The four major strands are as follows: Life Science (Plants and Animals, Human Anatomy and Personal Care, Biology), Space and Earth Science (Geology, Weather, Space), Physical Science (Chemistry, Physics), Nature of Science (Scientific Method, Experimentation, Technology).
- Language Arts – Switched-On Schoolhouse Language Arts, for grades 3-12, targets the sequential development of communication skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Because SOS Language Arts is an integrated program, the elementary grades weave skill topics (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking) together within units. In the middle and high school grades, skills are developed unit by unit. The major strands are detailed as follows: Reading (Vocabulary, Comprehension Skills, Literature Studies), Writing (Spelling, Penmanship, Grammar, Composition), Speaking and Listening, and Special Topics (Visual Media, History of the English Language, The Bible as Literature, Book Reports, Study and Research Skills).
- Math – Switched-On Schoolhouse Math is a comprehensive, easy-to-use curriculum for grades 3-12. Students will develop and build math skills through the use of various question formats, multiple exercise techniques, and fun learning games. This motivating math curriculum prepares students for using math successfully in real-life situations. Concepts are developed through grade levels to endure mastery. The curriculum targets this goal by focusing on six major themes: Number Skills, Geometry, Algebra, Data Analysis, and Pre-Calculus.
Switched-On Schoolhouse offers a variety of elective courses to diversify your student’s study. Mostly designed for middle and high school grades, these courses are made to enrich Switched-On Schoolhouse’s core subjects. Here is a list of electives offered in the curriculum: