Friday, March 31, 2006

Sounds like we need a turnkey system...

Home schooling is nothing if not time intensive. Depending on how obsessed you are with recreating "school at home", complete with desks and ringing bells, workbooks and recess, you may discover that you are spending all your time teaching.

This could be because you are including all the extraneous things that public schools are doing other than teaching. Or it could be that you are just crushed under the adminstrative burden of planning your courses, developing lesson plans, grading papers, and monitoring whether the little darlings are actually doing the work you have assigned instead of getting in there with them and enjoying the learning experience.

In the first instance, you could get back to basics. In the second, you probably need to consider one of the computer based solutions to homeschool burnout.

Switched On Schoolhouse is one of the options I have used in the past to alleviate some of the stress associated with home school administration. SOS is published by Alpha Omega Publications, which has been providing award-winning K-12 programs for home education and distance learning for 28 years.

Switched On Schoolhouse is a computer-based program featuring 3-D animation and cutting edge multimedia. It has been significantly improved since I used it with my children from 1999-2001. Students finish lessons by completing various questions, activities, and quizzes, all through a CD-ROM program. Most of the grading is automatic so you only have to grade subjective questions. You can your child can leave messages for one another and you may find your work cut in half with the record keeping and lesson planning features. SOS offers much flexibility so that you can customize learning to fit students’ educational needs. Students are guided through the lessons at their own pace, giving them the chance to master concepts before moving on to more challenging lessons.

There are approximately 130 lessons per subject. Five core subjects — Bible, Language Arts, Math, History & Geography, and Science — are available for grades 3-12. A number of electives are also available such as Health, Spanish, and Consumer Math.

The new versions enable you to customize the program to a much greater extent than before. You have a great deal of flexibility in this program. Do you need due dates, or is a more flexible approach more appropriate? If your child has a hard time with deadlines, you may want to try the more flexible approach. You can assign lessons and projects at a pace that is appropriate for your child, so that he can experience success. Both my children became discouraged by the deadlines under the old system and felt they were unreasonable, so I am glad to see that they are now optional.

Switched On Schoolhouse is still reasonably priced, and the courses are filled with multimedia offerings that will captivate even the most reluctant learner.

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