Of all the homeschooling programs you can find, the Switch-On-Schoolhouse curriculum is one of the most popular computer-based learning systems that many parents take into account. When looking for the best approach for your kids’ education, the curriculum you will use will play a significant role in helping them become successful with their future endeavors.
Allow us to help. Let’s know what SOS is all about!
The Switch-On-Schoolhouse Curriculum
The homeschool curriculum used by SOS is under the publication of the Alpha Omega Publications (AOP). You can access the subject lessons through the SOS Teacher— an offline software that requires installation in the home computer used for your kids’ homeschooling. You can either purchase the lessons on CD or USB forms.
Every year, you can choose between two subject sets that you want to include in the kids’ lesson plans. The Four-Subject Set includes Math, Language, Science, History & Geography, while the Five-Subject Set includes Math, Language, Science, History & Geography, and Bible.
By far, the costs are within the range of $339 to $413, that is, if you purchase by set. Different price ranges may apply to individual subject purchases.
The Complete Subject Sets
Check out the complete subject sets of the Switch-On-Schoolhouse curriculum. You will notice that there are some grade levels without CD files available. However, all USB files are complete from Grades 3 to 12.
Four Subject Set in CD File
Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 8
Five Subject Set In CD File
Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 10, Grade 11
Four Subject Set in USB File
Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12
Five Subject Set in USB File
Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12
The Four Main Features of SOS Homeschool Curriculum
You will find a lot of strengths within the features of Switch-On-Schoolhouse Curriculum; however, here are the four main features that the program promotes:
- Automatic Grading
You can preview your kids’ assignment scores with the automated grading system. Without the paperwork, you can focus more on their academics. This advantage gives you more hands-on time with their lessons and their progress.
- Multimedia & Learning Activities
SOS has multimedia resources in the form of videos, interactive learning games, maps, and timelines. They will have full access to these activities to help them in accomplishing their multilevel educational advancement.
- Daily Work Report
The software includes a tracking tool that lets you view the students’ daily reports with their lessons and test results. All the data is printable, which can also serve useful for college applications.
- Revised Content
Content revisions on multimedia resources get regularly equipped with more activities, new problems, and even text changes.
How SOS Helps You Identify Your Kids’ Interests
The Switch-On-Schoolhouse (SOS) offers a Diagnostic Student Placement Test to identify where your kids are going to excel in the program. You will find out their interests and strengths so you can plan the best approach for their homeschooling from Grades 3 to 12.
The latest version of the Switched-on-Schoolhouse Diagnostic Student Placement Test will help you eliminate learning gaps and ensure proper grade level placement in this curriculum.
Advantages of Switched-On-Schoolhouse (SOS)
If you’re still trying to decide whether to utilize the resources of Switched-On-Schoolhouse or not, it’s probably smart to look at its advantages first, and then weigh things out afterward. It’s a difficult choice, especially when it’s your kids’ future at stake. To know if this curriculum is the perfect approach for them, take note of the following points:
- The computer-based learning system is the new way of the future. Even those kids who are not a part of the homeschooling program rely on unlimited resources from the internet and materials that are accessible via computers.
- The SOS curriculum is a stand-alone software program for parents and kids. Parents are free from the hassle of one-year planning and recording of lessons and performance results.
- There are organized scheduling of classes and assignments with targeted due dates.
- You can track your students’ learning progress on a daily basis.
- The software has an automatic grading system on tests and completion of levels on every subject.
- The SOS Teacher software provides multimedia learning resources good for the whole year.
- Content revision on every update includes up-to-date information for your kids’ standardized learning.
- Not a waste of paper materials, unlike other curriculums.
- Offline work does not require an internet connection while learning. This advantage avoids distractions for kids who can easily access the internet and do other stuff outside the class lessons.
- The software data is accessible on more than one computer unit within the home network.
- Parents can leave the kids alone in between classes unless they have questions to ask.
- It can be passed on to your younger kids, which allows you to save an extra amount.
- You can combine the SOS curriculum with other homeschooling programs.
- You can manually input test materials that you personally created or external resources you found on another medium.
- To those who are looking for an enriched Christian Bible subject, the SOS is holding an excellent record for this specific component.
Disadvantages of Switched-On-Schoolhouse (SOS)
No one curriculum exists without flaws, even the ones used in formal organizations. For the Switched-On-Schoolhouse homeschooling curriculum, here are a few of its disadvantages that parents like you should know about when looking for the best education.
- Some people may find techy products as a disadvantage. The SOS curriculum software is not entirely difficult to use, but it requires a few skills to have it installed and to keep it running for years.
- The computer specs can be a little complicated. Aside from the fact that it does not work on Apple Mac units, there is a minimum requirement on the Windows computer/laptop specs that are compatible with the designed software.
- Software updates happen only every five years.
- Some tests may require occasional manual override to achieve precise grading results, specifically on spelling mistakes.
- A lot of users question the usefulness and relevance of the resources included in the yearly lessons.
- There are a few discrepancies between the test materials and the lessons covered within the assigned classes.
- The computer-based learning method does not promote the enhancement of the students’ writing skills. You need to find other alternatives to reinforce your kids’ handwriting abilities and all the vital learnings involved, which they need to develop during the formative years.
- The lengthy screentime is not recommendable for the students’ eye health, including other effects that concern the impact of computer gadgets on a person’s health.
- You need to look for other resources for kids in Grades K to 2.
Is Switched on Schoolhouse accredited?
Accreditation requires an agency or school to follow and commit to school standards set by the education system. If you study in the Alpha Omega Academy (AOA) using the SOS Curriculum, then you will be studying in an accredited online school. Since the Alpha Omega Publications (AOP), including the SOS curriculum, are not educational institutions, their curriculum cannot be accredited.
In full view, your kids’ accomplishments with the Switched on Schoolhouse Homeschooling Curriculum are recognized by colleges, given that it’s under the supervision of an accredited online school.
How do you set up the Switched on Schoolhouse Curriculum?
The Switched on Schoolhouse Curriculum material is available in two forms of data files: CD or USB. Your computer must have the right specs to be able to run the data into the system.
Here are the following minimum requirements:
- Windows-operated computer desktop or laptop
- Mid-range 1.4 GHz computer with at least 2GB RAM, a hard drive minimum of 3GB, and a screen resolution of 1024×768 (for better viewing of video files)
Anything higher than these computer specs will work spectacularly with SOS offline curriculum.
Once you insert the CD or USB into your computer, you will follow a few simple instructions on how to run the SOS Teacher. When fully installed, you will find three divided setups: School Setup, Student Setup, and Curriculum Setup. From there, you can organize your kids’ lessons, assignments, and their schedule— which are all totally customizable.
How many lessons are in Switched on Schoolhouse?
The SOS learning software has complete lessons for grades 3 through 12, in five different subject areas: Bible, Math, Language Arts, History/Geography, and Science. You can either purchase individual subjects or all five subjects for the whole year.
The lessons include reading and video materials. For kids who are more inclined to learning via visual sense, this curriculum will suit them best. There are loads of reading comprehension activities that can improve critical thinking. However, there are no writing exercises in the SOS curriculum lessons, which means you need to improvise with your kids’ writing skills. You can also purchase other forms of homeschooling lesson plans exclusively for writing enhancement, or you can also find different homeschooling curriculums that offer free resources.
Can you use Switched on Schoolhouse for more than one student?
The yearly curriculum of SOS can work for more than one student on the same level. As the parent-teacher, you can navigate through the SOS Teacher software. You can follow and apply the plans laid down for every subject. So, if your kids have other peers who want to learn together, they can absolutely do that. If you like it that much, you can still utilize the lessons for your younger kids who are next in line. The lesson plans are flexible, and it allows kids to practice their most effective learning strategies.
Can I install Switched-On Schoolhouse on more than one computer?
The answer is a straight Yes! All you need to ensure is your home network. The computers where you want to install the SOS Teacher software must get interconnected via an intranet. The home network will allow you to access software data so long as you’re connected, and with a home base where the software completed a full installation. You might probably want to pick the computer with the highest level of specs, as this will hold the database of your kids’ SOS homeschooling. And, if one of your units is a laptop, you can’t use the SOS software when you’re outside the home network.
The Switched-On-Schoolhouse has strong suits that can comply with your kids’ homeschooling needs. There are advantages and disadvantages that you can weigh upon before deciding to purchase the yearly curriculum materials.
If you think the features of this program works best for the kind of education you’re looking for your students, the resources are ready and available for you to purchase wherever you are in the world. But, just a quick tip, you also have to take note of the disadvantages that might hinder your goals.
From a third party’s point of view, it’s more effective to combine SOS with another homeschool curriculum that will cover the weaknesses of the program. The good thing is that you can research outside resources that you can manually incorporate into the system. If not, you can freely include any lesson that you wish your kids to learn outside the computer-based learning program. That’s the beauty of homeschooling; everything is practically up to you!