Homeschooling Helps: Alpha Omega Curriculum Review
by Leslie Schauer
I am sure that many of you have heard of this curriculum, seen it in homeschooling magazines, or have seen it at a homeschooling fair. What is so great about this curriculum? Well the first thing I would have to admit is the flexibility in the program for both parent and child. It is easy to teach broken up into smaller chunks. The children can move fast or slow based upon their needs. Everything you need is included in one box, which is nice to keep all materials together.
Some of you who are familiar with the Montessori method of education may remember that they used something called PACES. These were assigned to children and they could move as slowly or as rapidly as they wanted. There was no limit to how much work could be done or grade levels completed in one year. This is very similar but of course it is a Christian curriculum and I think it is laid out better then the older PACES.
Costs vary from $205-$309 for a complete year's worth of materials. Ok, what do you get for that? It includes five complete subjects for whatever grade level you are needing: math, Bible, science, language arts, & history. There are 10 Lifepacs per subject which are equivalent to a regular textbook. Each Lifepac has a pretest, a regular test and alternate tests. Children can move as fast or as slow as needed through the material but I believe the average time to be 3-4 weeks per each. You also get tests and answer keys for each subject covering all 10 Lifepacs as well as teacher guides to assist you with teaching the material. Teacher guides have 3 ring holes so you may add all of them to one binder.
Individual subjects vary from $41.95-$61.95 depending on the depth of the subject being covered. At first that might sound a little steep but considering you get the teachers manual, the student material, all the tests and answer keys it is actually quite reasonable. A comparison to ABeka or Bob Jones for instance, would put you at the $300-$400 mark if you got the equivalent materials that the Alpha Omega provides. You could not get the teacher's manual, student text, tests and answer keys all under $41.95 from ABeka I promise you!
For those of us who do not regularly use the teacher's manuals (I don't until we reach higher subjects like Chemistry, Physics, & Trig etc.) then you can purchase the subject with only the student materials for around $29. For those parents who MUST have all the teachers guides and tests, this is probably the most economical curriculum without giving up any benefits.
If you visit their website, please see that you can even purchase individual Lifepacs, teachers manuals (oops I did need it after all syndrome!) complete subject or student materials only. They also have a homeschool discount posted. You can review each and every grade level and subject contents for grades K-12. The nice thing is that you can see exactly what will be covered and taught in that grade level before purchasing it.
Also available now are electives for upper grades that include: art, NT Greek, You can also purchase a student placement test booklet for $10 to see where your child(ren) would be better placed. They will even suggest individual Lifepacs to fill in any gaps before starting a new grade! The parent kit is interesting but not necessary. I would suggest getting their scope & sequence ($2.95) though if you are considering using this curriculum.
Another benefit of course is that most of the older grade levels are self- teaching. If you are using another curriculum you love, but know this coming year is going to be hard (like with being pregnant, moving, family illness) then this could be your answer to keeping your kids at home and lightening the parental load a bit.
We will be using the 12th grade Alpha Omega curriculum for my oldest daughter this year. It covers advanced math, physics, economics, etc. I esp. like the Bible study, which is a lot for me to say, because I really don't like most of them out there. For 12th grade, she will be studying world religions and identifying cults etc. (Good study before any child leaves home or starts college!) We will also be purchasing the NT Greek - haven't seen it yet but it promises to be good. You will need to purchase some materials to complete lab work if you are doing physics, biology, or chemistry. (More on that next month!) If there are any of you out there with high school students that have a specific question about this material, I would be glad to share anything I can with you. God Bless
Leslie Schauer (email@example.com) is a homeschooling mother of 7 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana
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