Is Alpha Omega Curriculum Right for Your Homeschool?
Whether you are new to homeschooling, or just ready to try a different approach with your children, Alpha Omega curriculum may be just what you are looking for. The company has been creating fundamentalist Christian curriculum for homeschooling families as well as private Christian schools since the 1970s. They currently offer five different choices to cover any budget or need.
About the Company
With headquarters in Rock Rapids, Iowa Alpha Omega Publications goal was to be able to offer curriculum that was available and affordable to all. The company continues to create curriculum that is used by homeschooling families all over the world.
They have been developing a variety of homeschooling materials since the beginnings of the homeschooling revolution in 1977. They offer not only curriculum but books, games, and online support.
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Alpha Omega Curriculum Choices
One of the many benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility involved. Parents can pick and choose curricula that fill the individual needs of their families. Alpha Omega has a number of programs to cover any homeschooling need or style.
Horizon is a workbook based program for preschool through 12th grade. It includes teacher's guides, daily planners and schedules.
The spiral approach to learning used in this program is helpful for committing the material to long term memory. The spiral approach is a system where the foundation of a subject is introduced simply at first and then detail added at each grade level.
- · The workbooks are colorful
- · Students can work at their own pace
- · Students are encouraged to work independently
- · Subjects are presented in simple format
- · Pages are not reproducible
- · Workbook formats don’t always hold a child’s attention
- · Requires some parental involvement
If not the first curriculum package that Alpha Omega released, it is without a doubt one of the first. LIFEPACs are available for students in kindergarten through grade 12.
LIFEPACs are a workbook approach to learning. Each subject is divided up into about ten workbooks per grade. The books can be purchased individually or as a set, which can be helpful to parents who do not have a large amount of money to invest all at once. Each book takes about three to four weeks to complete; students move ahead at their own pace so this is only an average. From third grade on the parent’s involvement decreased as the student becomes more independent.
Throughout each workbook are quizzes to check mastery of the material. There is also a test at the end of each book that must be passed before moving ahead to the next book in the series.
- Mix grade levels to create a customized curriculum for your child
- Student works at his own pace
- Encourages independent study
- Many Christians will appreciate the biblical worldview
- Best for visual learners
- Rote memorization; memorization is not necessarily the same as learning
- Can be boring
- Fundamentalist Christian viewpoint may bother other religions, denominations, and faiths
- Children with learning styles other than visual may have trouble concentrating
Monarch curriculum has been created for grades 3 to 12. It is an online curriculum that is compatible with most web browsers and either Windows or Macintosh operating systems.
This curriculum uses a variety of media to capture a child’s interest and attention. Some of the methods used to present material are:
- Audio clips
- Internet links
- Learning games
- Movie clips
It is purchased by subscription and each subscription lasts 18 months. It can be used anywhere in the world where there is an available Internet connection.
- Grading is done automatically
- Records are kept for seven years after the subscription ends
- Entirely self directed
- Eco-friendly; program is paperless
- Can’t be used without an Internet connection
- A more expensive option that LIFEPAC or other programs
- You really need one computer per child
Switched on Schoolhouse is a computer based program but does not require the Internet for use. It is designed for relatively independent learning for grades 3 to 12.
- Parent can plan lessons in advance
- Lessons are customizable
- Automatic grading and record keeping
- Parent can easily track progress
- Independent learning
- Does not require internet connection
- Programs can freeze up
- Not good for children that need a lot of parental supervision and help
- Not a great choice for children with ADD/ADHD
The Weaver Curriculum
The Weaver Curriculum is a unit study for students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12. It is a holistic learning model, with every subject related to the theme for the week or month. A variety of assignments and activities are suggested for each theme.
- Field trip ideas
- Parent can teach all grade levels at once
- Lessons can be completely tailored to a particular learning style
- Hands on learning
- Good for large homeschooling families
- Requires a huge amount of parental involvement
- Requires preparation time
- Intimidating for new homeschoolers because it is so different from the traditional school model
- Requires a separate math program
Choosing a Curriculum that Fits Your Lifestyle
Homeschooling parents are as prone to peer pressure as any student. It can be easy to fall into the habit of using a curriculum that a friend or neighbor raves about, whether or not it fits the family’s lifestyle.
It is important to remember that, not only does each child learn differently, each family has different needs as well. What works for one may be totally unsuitable for another. Parents know their children and should choose curriculum based on:
- Learning style of the child
- Teaching style of the parent
- Size of the family
- Time constraints
- Special needs of the family
- Special interests of the family
Is Alpha Omega Curriculum Right for You?
If you want a curriculum with a strong biblical world view, based on scripture, and with a fundamentalist, protestant viewpoint then Alpha Omega curriculum might be what you are looking for. With a wide range of curriculum styles, costs, and formats, it is a varied curriculum that works well for many people.