Have you missed me??? I sure have missed blogging! Spring break is over, though, and it's back to normal here. Also I have not enjoyed any late nights this week--the time change to Daylight Savings Time is brutal on this "29-year-old" I tell ya.
I wanted to give a much needed update on our experience so far with Switched-On Schoolhouse. First of all, we love it and plan to have Micah, Eden, and Caleb all doing it for the next school year. Currently Eden is doing all the 5th grade subjects--Bible, Language Arts, Arithmetic, Science, and History--as well as the Health elective. Micah is doing the Health elective and 5th grade Bible. Caleb is doing 3rd grade Bible. Eden is also finishing up her 5th grade A Beka Arithmetic (she only has 36 lessons to go) and her penmanship. In an effort to relieve *some* of the pressure I feel to "get everything done", I eliminated spelling and reading for the rest of the year for everyone. Eden will get those in her SOS curriculum. Micah and Caleb read waaaaayyyy more books than are required by their reading curriculum. In fact, they have either read all their books anyway, or will read them voluntarily. But I don't feel the pressure to make sure it's done. Reading is NOT something they need help with. I can see now that they are going to get TONS of practice in spelling once they start SOS, so I am not concerned about missing these last few spelling lists.
So far nearly everything with S.O.S. is great. I have only one small rant. I feel that their Arithmetic is slower-paced than A Beka's. Comparing 5th grade to 5th grade, SOS does cover some things that A Beka does not, but A Beka goes farther and does harder problems than SOS. I'm still not quite sure how I feel about this one point. Since she is doing very well in her Arithmetic currently, but we also want her to get a feel for how SOS Arithmetic works, I deleted any lessons from SOS that repeat material she has already mastered. That left very little for her to cover (except a very interesting unit on using a calculator and some needed review on geometry). I may end up doing the same sort of "pruning" when she moves up to 6th grade, then have her move on to 7th at a faster pace, if it seems appropriate.
There are other "issues" that I read in reviews of the program, and I haven't really seen them as a strong or valid negative against the program. One of the most common complaints I read is that the program is looking for a specific answer, and while your child's answer may be correct, the program marks it as incorrect. It is easy for me to navigate and override any grades I feel are unfair. Eden has had a few places where she got frustrated after using 3 attempts to answer a question correctly. I only have to remind her to go on, and I will take care of it as soon as I have a chance. It's SO easy to take care of--I can send her a note on a specific problem to guide her toward the answer, override the grade, reassign it, or allow her to skip it. All sorts of options, none of which are very time-consuming for either of us.
Eden seems to love the communication features of the program. She loves to send me notes--either to ask me questions, or just to say Hi. She also enjoys the journal feature of the program. In fact, I think she loves everything about doing school on the computer. She finishes her work quickly and accurately. Every day she has been done "early." Wow, this homeschooling thing might actually start to "click" and take off with my kids!!
I wondered how Caleb would do with the computer. He certainly loves to play on the computer, but that doesn't mean he would love to do work on the computer. He only has Bible right now, so it's not a super-great indication of how things will go for him, but so far he really does enjoy it. He looks forward to his turn. He is doing great with typing. The work seems very age-appropriate.
Well, my afternoon is fading quickly and I already borrowed way more free time than I actually had available. :) But I really wanted a chance to say how well the SOS is coming along.