Alpha Omega Publications does not have a visible “About” page or a statement of their mission statement, so no more can be said about their philosophy than what one gathers from their products and product-design. Besides Switched-On Schoolhouse, they also offer LIFEPAC, a Bible-based worksheet homeschool curriculum for K-12 with a mastery learning approach; Horizons is a PreK-12 program, and the desciption does not clearly differentiate it from LIFEPAC. The Weaver Curriculum is a PreK-12 Bible-based curriculum that uses a Bible theme for all students so that they are studying a subject in common, across their various subjects and across their different grade levels.
Switched-On Schoolhouse (SOS) has five core courses and a number of electives. The core courses are Bible, History & Geography, Language Arts, Math, and Science. Electives are offered only to specific grade levels and include:
Foreign Language: Elementary French, Elementary Spanish, Secondary French, Secondary Spanish, Spanish I and II
History & Geography: Civics, The Civil War (9-12), GED Preparatory History & Geography, State History, The Story of the Constitution, Twentieth Century American History, Vietnam Era, and World Geography
Language and Literature: American Literature, British Literature, GED Preparatory Language Arts, Speech: Essentials of Communication
Math: Consumer Math, Essentials of Math, GED Preparatory Math,Trigonometry
Science: Earth Science, GED Preparatory Science, General Science III
Other: College Planner, Family & Consumer Science, Health Quest, High School Health
It is not entirely clear why some of the courses listed above are electives, as they are usually core content. This raises some questions about the coverage. My doubts are further raised by the contents of the British Literature course, which does not give a full listing of topics or any samples, and refers to no literature more recent than “Romantic Poetry. I wonder if this program is based solely on works that are out of copyright, in which case it will not touch a good deal of the twentieth century, let alone developments in the twenty-first centur, a good thing to ask about before you buy.
There is no reference to any AP material, and if you’re seeking a college preparatory curriculum, this is a restriction to consider.
The free resources on the site include no actual program samples. This means that you cannot see the quality of materials prior to purchase.
Qualifications of Curriculum Writers
The curriculum writers are neither credited nor are any credentials given.
There is no reference to accreditation in any of the usual places on the site, leaving the impression that the curriculum is not accredited.
The 5-Subject 3rd grade package is $305.96 at the present time, marked down from $359.95. Purchased separately, each core subject is $65.41, marked down from $76.95. Other grades I checked, including 12, were the same price. Electives are $39.91, marked down from $46.95.
Reading the warranty http://www.aophomeschooling.com/legal-info-sos-eula.php is enlightening. It says that there is third party software included, and it doesn’t say from where. Alpha Omega Publications says that it does not take “any responsibility for . . . the accuracy of the materials . . . for the reliability of the material, for how up to date it is, or for any other aspect of this package or its contents.” I wouldn’t buy any educational materials with a warranty like that: you might as well use Wikipedia to teach your children.
Reviewers found that the spelling curriculum relied on rote memory rather than etymology, patterns, and phonics. The games were found to be repetitive, and therefore, eventually, boring. But some reviewers found that there wasn’t enough math work for the child to have a thorough foundation in each concept. They also found that there was too much assessment (quizzes and tests) and chose not to use them all. There are some issues with the self-grading system, including no partial credit, and correct answers being marked wrong.
Reviews also praise the customization options to adapt the material to a particular child and the support. The calendar tool also drew some appreciation from users.