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Switched-on Schoolhouse (SOS)

Grades: 3-12      Alpha Omega Publications

Switched-On Schoolhouse (SOS) is a Christian-based math curriculum from Alpha Omega publications that offers computer-based learning for grades 3-12. It uses animation, video clips, and other multimedia to teach students in a computer-based format. Students will develop math skills through the use of various question formats, multiple exercise techniques, and fun learning games.

Includes automated quizzes and automatic grading.

Price: the math program alone costs $99.95/grade and is delivered on a disk.

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Reviews of Switched On Schoolhouse curriculum (SOS)

Time: about a year

Your situation: I am using TT for math but I just wanted to say I would not waste my money on the SOS math programs! My reasons are below.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I have not used the math program for one reason-SOS is not good at all. I am currently using the Language Arts II program and I hate it-strongly. I seem to do okay in the lessons but when it comes to tests and quizzes, I get 84 and up. I am normally an all A student, so this bothers me greatly. There are NO study guides or reviews. I even searched on google to see if I was missing something, but no. All the positive reviews say they love it and have fun studying with the games... The games are basically for your definitions given at the beginning of each lesson; which can vary between one to five definitions. With only three definitions to play games with, it is boring the very moment you begin. The definitions aren't even the main point of the quizzes or tests! All the rest of the information you have to study directly out of each lesson. Most lessons are at least two pages long and there are around four lessons in each "chapter". The questions on the tests and quizzes are vague and it is difficult to even find the answer in the lessons. I am also using the World History program which is a little easier to study for, considering most of it is sturdy facts and dates. All in all, this is probably the worst program I have ever used for school.

Any other helpful hints: Do not get this program. If anything I would recommend Bob Jones for most of your subjects along with Teaching Textbooks for math. I use TT and love it!

Review left February 24, 2015
Time: 1 Year/middle of the school year

Your situation: Hi I'm Kristen, I'm 16 and I hated public school and when I became home schooled I didn't like learning from the old fashioned books. I'm very advanced in technology, always have been, so my mom friend gave us this SOS program. I downloaded it in my Acer Aspire 5733 (an excellent laptop for this program). I tried it out and I fell in love with it.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I loved how I could come back to my work if I didn't know the answer. I love how it's convenient. I can take it almost anywhere and how I only had to work 3 hours on this program a day. I was committed I didn't even feel like I was doing boring old school work. I felt like I was just online reading AND answering. I love how I can finish any subject at any given time. I don't have a teacher telling me I have to finish it right now or I get an F. I've half way completed anytime I don't miss sitting 6 hours a day in middle school and doing 6 hours a work. Now I do only 3 hours a day, it gives me more time to do more with my life than sit and work all day long. I get to have fun, go out with my friends, learn the guitar after I finish working 3 hours a day. I plan to succeed in I Plan to do a Program just like this next year.
I was in ESE. For you who don't know that's a class FOR Exceptional Student Education. THE TRUTH IS it's ESE=A See there Easy Retard They treat you like you're stupid but you're not at all. I wasn't meant to be in that class but yeah they set the bar down so low I was being taught 2nd grade stuff in 7th grade. Anyways, I am way better off in I've learnt more from this program and my Mom than the school system I've taken on guitar and I've learnt pretty much half of it and I'm gonna learn all and not give up. I take on what I love.

Any other helpful hints: SOS Works out for some people and some kids, but not everybody is gonna like it. We all learn differently. I recommend you try it out and see if your kid likes it or not, and if not, don't force them to learn from SOS, find something else that meets their needs to what they love to do. And they have to be totally committed to doing the work everyday and if they don't then I'd find something else. Don't give up ur children/teens because they're worth it and the public school stystem will destroy them and teach them very low knowledge. If they're not committed then this program is a waste of time. Teach them something they like to do. That's what my mom did and I forever will thank her for teaching me different things and learning to love and try something and take a risk. BUT I RECOMMEND U Dont SAVE YOUR FILES to a flash drive. Don't trust them, they can fail u easily. Save it to Zip folder of all your work. SO YEAH SOME people like me enjoy and love SOS, but not all, so don't force your teen to do this if they don't like it. Bye for now.
Review left May 15, 2013
Time: 1 year

Your situation: I keep failing.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I like the SOS schooling because you can travel with it, I live pretty far from the rest of the family, I have 1 sister and 3 brothers, 1 brother lives far away and my sister does too, my 2 other brothers are 6 & 8 years old, my 8 year old brother has been using SOS also for a year, and he's been failing ever since. When he was in public school he got much better grades, so did I. I like SOS because you can travel while still working, otherwise I do not. I keep failing, though I stay up until I get everything right, and I write practically my whole lesson down so I don't forget, it might just be my mom. And plus I know a lot of it because when was in public school my mom taught me more than I should, so I just don't know.

Any other helpful hints: For those who travel a lot or move a lot, I recommend you get this.

Review left April 19, 2013
Time: off and on 4 years

Your situation: I pulled my children out of public school 4 years ago, when I was spending more time teaching them at home than what the school was providing in class. I purchased SOS and used it half way through our first year of homeschooling. Both my boys 3rd & 7th grade at the time loved it. We switched curriculum because I needed something a little more cost effective.

I have returned to SOS because of my lack of time to grade. I had to make a choice between teaching and grading, after trying several other products we came back to SOS. My 10th grade son is now using 11th grade curriculum. He is doing well in the math (100's every lesson). My greatest concern is that the program prepare them for college. After researching, SOS seems to provided the education needed to prepare them for college.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I feel this program does a good job and there is an expectation of commitment. College is not going to be entertaining or easy, I didn't want to lull my boys into an ineffective learning style with an entertainment driven curriculum. SOS makes it interesting without become an entertainment program (a plus from this mom's point of view).

I get frustrated at times when I try to customize their assignments. The tutorials are helpful; but time consuming. My math knowledge is limited, however, my son says that the program does a fair job of explaining. We do supplement with a college math book. Although with any curriculum, the parent and the child should be willing to research problems.

Overall, I like this program better than any of the other programs. My main concern is the cost of the program.

Any other helpful hints: Offer sales & discounts. Offer an Easier method of customizing lesson plans.

Gayle Segura
Review left March 25, 2013
Time: 12 years

Your situation: My family decided to homeschool, so my older brother and I could spend time with our father who worked all over the country. Mother was early education major, father was a civil engineer.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I enjoyed the curriculum. I apologize to the other reviewers but you apparently weren't using the program long enough to realize how SOS set up the material. The method is unusual, I will admit, but it works due to the fact it is preparing your child for algebra from 4th grade forward without ever calling it that. The only issues we ever encountered were in Algebra 2, Pre-calculus, and Trigonometry. These issues were many times methodology issues where the method taught was correct but extremely round about so my father simply taught me the engineering trick to get the correct answer faster. There were a handful of answers we proved were incorrect but given we encountered no more than 15 that's roughly 1 wrong problem a year, an amazing statistic when you truly think about it. It is a perfect curriculum unless both parents can give no help and/or the child refuses to do his work. No matter how hard it was with this program it is nowhere NEAR the level of difficulty that private university math classes are. If you can't tough this curriculum out be afraid when looking at college.

Any other helpful hints: Khanacademy.org, study, take time sit down and explain the step by step process if the student needs it, and most importantly... Do not be a push over and let your kid get off easy. Make them do the work, EVEN if they HATE IT. It isn't about daisies it's about knowing the material.

James Crawley
Review left September 3, 2012
Time: a few weeks

Your situation: Switched-On Schoolhouse has an old, cumbersome interface. It is not engaging, my kids were bored after a few lessons. I even sat with them to help make it go more smoothly, but it was too clunky and boring to keep us going with it -- total waste of time and money. It turned off my kids' natural love of learning -- squashed their interest and actually caused frustration for all of us. The lessons don't go very deep either.

Take some time to really dig around for more negative reviews about this product, since there are plenty out there warning to look into other curriculum options instead.

My wish is that AlphaOmega would listen to the feedback of their customers if they plan to continue with SOS -- they need to overhaul the interface in order to keep up with their savvy users.

Also, they have a non-resale issue, so once you buy this over-priced product, you are unable to resell it or transfer it to another family.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: Don't be fooled by the updated graphics on the software package -- this program lacks modern graphics, and is not intuitive or user friendly. If your student is the least bit computer savvy, he/she will become bored and frustrated after a few lessons.

We bought the complete 5 subject edition, plus Spanish. Both my kids were bored, immediately! Nothing was getting through to them because the presentation was so dry and quirky and used old coding.

One minor example: to submit your answer, you can't hit ENTER or RETURN on your keyboard, instead you navigate the mouse to the on-screen CHECK ANSWER button. This seems minor, but after a few lessons it can get super annoying.

The videos and graphics are old and the sound quality is like listening through a tin can.

Simply put, in our opinion, SOS is boring and not user-friendly.

Any other helpful hints: Teaching Textbooks is what we now use for math -- and even though TT also uses an older interface style and can be considered a bit old-school looking on the computer it still is developed to be VERY user-friendly, and engaging enough to get through to the student. Our kids also enjoy Dreambox as an online math supplement (we joined it through a Homeschool Buyers co-op). Further, Time4Learning beats SOS, hands-down!

Va Mom
Review left August 8, 2012
Time: 2 years

Your situation: I have used SOS for a few years now and I don't feel that they explain things very well.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: While I like the fact that everything is there already for you and you don't have tons of books, I feel that SOS, espesially Geography and Earth Science, is way too involved and complicated. Like when I'm about to take a test and I have to do a Review lesson, I never know what to study. They give me 50 vocab words! Although I'm not a genius, I don't consider myself dumb. But SOS makes me feel stupid when I get a D 75% on a test I studied 3 hours for!

Any other helpful hints: SOS is okay but you definitely have to apply yourself 90% more. My homeschooled friends are done in 2 hours but I'm still hard at work after 6 or 7 hours!

Review left January 27, 2012
Time: 7 years

Your situation: We love SOS. My job requires me to go all over the world and my kids go with me everywhere. They can do their work anywhere, in the car on a train, restaurant etc.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: I still test my kids with the state tests at the end of the year. They test in the 90th percent of America. So they get no complaints from me.

Any other helpful hints: I guess any computer based homeschool would work in my family. I adjust so if they get 2 wrong answers they have to do it all over again. I also help and take part, even thou it is computer based.

Review left December 14, 2011
Time: 1 week

Your situation: My son has ADHD and has skipped 1 grade.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: So far I can see where many are coming from with the bad reviews, but I know that this is working for us. It does approach math at a different angle and explains it differently than we have had in the past. I have had to go back and let my son redo problems when we both had misunderstood their objective in the answers. That said, my sn is actually doing work on his own! Last year with a different booklet type curriculum, it was a fight every day to get any wrk done. He hated Math most of all. This year, he was determined to hate math. Not this year. He has completed every lesson so far with very little frustration. He actually has even had a smile on his face!

Any other helpful hints: It looks intimidating at first. USE the tutorials! It may seem silly to us computer savvy parents, but it really helps!

Review left August 23, 2011
SOS; Time: 2.9 years

Your situation: I'm 14 and I hate this schooling stuff.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I don't like the SOS because I have not learned a thing for 2 years, about to be 3. I hate it, it's a waste of time, money and a waste of eletricity. I have 1 brother and 3 sisters, meaning 5 of us having this for about 3 years. You can't get a real education with this. We all stay at home alone sometime which means that our mom dads doesn't teach it to you, and when they are home, we still don't learn. DON'T BUY THIS IT IS NOT WORTH THE TIME OR MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Review left August 1, 2011
SOS Algebra 1; Time: 5 years

Your situation: I go to a private, Christian school that uses this curriculum when teaching students. Although most students do not like Math, I actually do. I am 14 and in the eighth-tenth grade. (I am supposed to be in eigth, but I excel in different subjects.)

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I find this curriculum challenging and at my level. It is harder than most public schools, so it strives for you to better. I also do General Science II, High School Health, French, English I, and New Testament Survey, all of which are sometimes easier or harder than others. I really do like this contrasted to what our school was based on a few years ago.

Any other helpful hints:
In my school, the teachers made several modifications. Here are a few:
Changed unlimited errors to questions to 2.
Lets us write down anything in the lessons we need to for quizzes only. (It is helpful to write down Math notes as you go, so that it will help you further down the road, like on the final exams.)

Hope this helps!! :)


Review left April 4, 2011
Time: 5 years

Your situation: I have been doing SOS for about 5 years I am 14 and I hate science the computer is dumb, and if I could I would never do this curriculum again and I won't do it with my kids.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: It's not a book but it never explains it well enough. I am always having to back and I have almost never passed a quiz first time. My m&d are always at their desks so they can't sit with me every waking moment.

Any other helpful hints:
DON'T DO SOS! unless you are able to sit with your child every waking moment.

Review left April 5, 2011
Time used: 2 years

I have been homeschooling two of my three daughters since started school and started with my eldest last year. We can't afford a Christian Private school but still wanted our daughters to be in a faith-based curriculum. My oldest was already in fourth when we started homschooling the others and refused to leave her public school, which in our small town is mostly friends from church anyway. My daughter has been getting straight A's since Kindergarden, but as she entered high school math, her previously best subject, was almosted flunked. We found out that the program the school was using didn't explain anything and the teacher didn't either. We tried Math-U-see, which my other girls have been exceling at, and both Sonlight and Abeka. She hated them all.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: We got TT for her last year after we had been eight months into the school year. She flew thru it and was done at the same time as my other girls, and with better grades. She knows that it is easy and does three or soo lessons a day. I love that I do not have to explain problems or help very much. My daughter read some reviews online about TT was behind and got scared, as since sixth she has been planning and studying ahead to get a college scholarship. That night I found her online studing about math herself.

I didn't like how in lots of Algebra I it was a repeat of Pre-Algebra. That is basically my only complain, that and the cost of buying two per year!!!!!

Any other helpful hints:
Be prepared if your child flies thru it. You may need to provide extra to fill in the gaps.

Review left February 25, 2011
Time: 3 years

Your situation: I have been homeschooling my eleventh, ninth, fifth, third, and first graders since they started school. One of my sons has ADHD and has failed at numerous workbook programs. My ninth grade daughter is a genius. She was at a high school reading level in second grade and is now doing the same math and science as her older brother, along with taking college classes. I needed an non-traditional curriculum in which all my children could succeed. Switched-on Schoolhouse is definitely not it.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: The math on SOS is too hard to understand for even me. It doesn't explain very well. My son with ADHD was very eager to begin on the computer, but the boring text and babyish cartoons he was soon disappointed. My other children enjoy most of the curriculum, mostly because it is really easy and basic. My daughter, in order to get any kind of challenge, has had to skip a grade.

Any other helpful hints:
I recommend not using this with Tech geniuses, advanced, or easily bored children. I ended up buying Teaching Textbook's math for my older kids. If your kids are self-teachers, supply extra books or Internet time to research more in depth. It is a good Bible, State History, and both English and American Literature curriculum though.

Review left February 25, 2011
Time: 2 months

Your situation: I have been homeschooling for 5 years now and have never had so much trouble as I did with the SOS math. It is not user friendly at all, my daughter is bored and does not like working with the program. I was using it because I could not get the BJU math to go with my curriculum so I opted for this, and wished I would have went with anything else other than SOS.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: It is not user friendly and doesn't not make the subject interesting.

Any other helpful hints:
I have heard that many homeschoolers really like SOS, so maybe the rest is not so bad. I would check it out somewhere before you buy it because there is no way to get your money back and you're out 75 or more dollars.

Review left December 3, 2010
Time: 3 months

Your situation: I am a 14 year old with severe depression and anxiety attacks which makes it hard for me to attend school regularly.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I really liked SOS. One of the reasons is because if I am feeling great one day I can work a few days ahead, and if I am feeling really depressed I don't have to do anything that day. I would recommend this program to anyone with the same kind of problem as me.

Any other helpful hints:
Sometimes the assignments are a bit lengthy, so skipping problems is a good option at sometimes.

Review left November 9, 2010
Time: 5 years

Your situation: I'm 14 years old, and a homeschooler, and while other subjects in SOS aren't so bad, Math is HORRIBLE!

I've done SOS science since I was in 3rd grade, and that works out fine for us, Math is a badly designed program with a confusing layout and next to none explanations on how to do a problem. I'm no math whiz, but I do just fine with most curriculum. Math SOS has a tendency to give you four sentences on how to do a complicated formula, and then gives you 60 problems to do. I would not recommend this program to anyone that is actually trying to learns something.

Any other helpful hints:
I've done health, science, and Math in SOS, all of which are fine, excepting Math.

Review left June 7, 2010
Time: 3 years

Your situation: I have 2 sons who are Asperger's and 2 "regular" kids. We have enjoyed the SOS because it lets me see immediately what the kids are doing. If they are making mistakes, I am sitting at my computer and I know it right then so that I can redirect them. I have brought my Asperger's boys out of public school, and brought one up 3 grade levels in one year, and one up 3 grade levels in 2 years. I have done a lot of teaching with it, I admit, but isn't that what homeschooling is about? Does everyone expect his/her child to teach himself/herself?

It does have some errors in the answers and the parent has to check to make sure they are not marking off too much, but this only takes a few seconds per day.

Any other helpful hints:
For the math, other resources might be necessary, such as some private tutoring if the parent cannot teach the lessons. This is generally true for any homeschool curriculum.

Donna P_gin
Review left May 10, 2010
Time: 1 week

We've been homeschooling for 10 years. My 15yo daughter never used the curriculum. I bought the complete curriculum for my 11yo son who is an audio-visual learner.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: SOS was a disaster! My son is a computer whiz, and loves tinkering and problem solving. He was bored with his other curriculum which was just book work. I thought SOS would be right up his alley. He was excited about it until we tried it out. He was frustrated with it from the very beginning. All the previous negative reviews really sum up our disappointment with the program. There are glitches, and most of the frustration is from not getting the answers exactly right. Even down to having an extra space between words! I was having to sit with him through every lesson to fill in the gaps in information in every subject so he could understand it. I couldn't figure out what the program was asking for on several of the math questions. My daughter's high school math isn't even that convoluted!

Any other helpful hints:
Some people love this program. We don't. I recommend searching for someone who has it and trying several lessons on their computer before purchasing your own. The company says its illegal to re-sell the program, so you'll be out $350 like me. If you buy the program to try and don't register it, the company will make it not work after 30 days... so you're still out the money.

Lynn M.
Review left February 1, 2010
Time: 2 years

I have homeschooled my 3 youngest children since Kindergarten I have tried many different curriculums in my 8 years of homeschooling, and have found SOS to be my favorite! I have one son with autism, one son with ADHD and a daughter with no learning probs. Both of my boys have done very well with SOS. My son with autism is very bright and picks things up very quickly. He is always working ahead and finishcd the 5th grade course in 4 mos! My son with ADHD loves to work on the computer and his grades have improved greatly.

My children really enjoy SOS. They can move ahead at their own pace and do not feel pressured to keep up with each other. One of my children moves very fast with schoolwork and finds it very easy. My oldest has difficulty with some subjects and does not move as fast.
Because they can work at their own pace and independently, it has taken alot of stress off of my oldest. He doesn't feel that he is "dumb" because he learns at a slower speed.
It has really helped boost his confidence! All 3 of the children really like finding out instantly how they did on a test or quiz. Some complain that there are too many quizzes. I disagree. If my children do well on a quiz, they move on with confidence. If they don't do well, they go back and look at what they missed. I am confident that they are retaining a great deal of what they are learning.
Because the lesson plans and grading are done for me, I am able to spend that extra time helping the children with any questions they might have.

My 3 children are very different in there learning styles and abilities. All 3 of them have done very well with SOS. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Review left January 18, 2010
Time: 7 months

Your situation: Mother of four ages 10, 5, 4, and 1, all homeschooling.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE SOS - can't say enough good things about it. I love that it is all laid out, easy to understand, simple bite-size pieces for my 4th grader, but we do well in math. If you have a different kind of brain (ie, more artsy, less concrete, etc), math may not be easy no matter what. I will start SOS for my next oldest as soon as he can digest the content. You can, as stated before, modify the lessons presented - if too much repetition, skip several problems, if topic mastered, delete whole lesson, can find websites to generate free worksheets where extra review is needed. I LOVE this curriculum.

Any other helpful hints:
Don't expect younger children to be independent, or any child, for that matter. It does require minimal planning for optimal efficiency and effectiveness, but this has been encouraging to my son - he feels GREAT when he gets to have problems skipped. We have printed out free worksheets on quite a bit of the intense math as it is tedious to do on computer and is easier to master when done on paper for my child. It has worked well to read the lesson as presented, skip the problems (done in the teachers SOS most efficiently) and then work on paper. We also prefer to do "Block" learning where we concentrate on math/science, for weeks or months and then work only history/language arts. We cover more lessons in less time this way and have better mastery. I plan to work in math worksheets when we are doing LA and history to help him maintains math skills.

Review left December 14, 2009
Time: 3 years plus

Your situation: I am a homeschool mother of two I stay at home and run a business out of our home. My oldest had a learning disability which Lifepac has eradicated.My youngest I think has ADHD which I am determined not to medicate unless it gets extreme.So I spend more time with younger daughter even though on Sos . I make sure when she does math I stay close for when they introduce new concepts.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I love the flexibility of this product and have used lifepac as well as SOS and you have to do what works for your child. My oldest daughter does not like computer curriculum no matter what it is. She likes to take her work with her since she has a busy schedule and the books give that flexibility and once a workbook is done they feel that satisfaction. My younger daughter cried with aop because all she could say was how boring it was. Well she loves SOS, not to say she doesn't haven't a meltdown once in a while, but let me tell you she has awesome grades in math and concepts I thought she would never get she got them and have excelled. She was passed on to second grade with no math skills what-so-ever.
Lifepac as well as SOS has totally turned her around. She is mostly an A or B student now. She has ADHD in my opinion so I do sit beside her alot with math. I enforce concepts a second time and we use a small hand held dry-erase board to work through math problems which is eco-friendly. She has picked up multiplication and division in a very short span of time. I love it because the grading is 98% done for you as well as lesson planning which took up too much of my life last year. If your child ever falls behind and get overwhelmed you can regenerate the due dates. Love it love it love it!!!!! There are a few little glitches because man is not perfect but you just unassign the problem and it doen't count against their grade since it's a typo.

Any other helpful hints:
If you have a hard time getting and keeping their attention this helps because it's interactive. Your child can't hide the work or lose the work. It gives your child instant feedback on every question as to whether it was right or wrong. My daughter has become a way better speller because the program insists on proper spelling or it's counted wrong. You can change that by the way to not count off. The lesson plan tells them exactly what to do for the day. I really works.

Shawna Harrrison
Review left June 29, 2009
I hate SOS schoolhouse. My mom was a straight A+ student and she repeatedly gets stumped by what they are asking in the math. It takes my step-dad 10 min to 1 hour to figure out what they want. It's just frustrating. We have been trying to figure it out so I am now 4 chapters behind in all subjects exept science that is also going into math also.

Review left June 29, 2009
Time: 2 years plus

The girls started on their computers, from public school to homeschool, the videos, internet links were fun, and the games were interesting. I made the set up fun, answers were an open option during the lessons, quizzes and tests. I easily found out from the assignments option how many attempts were given and if the answer key was used (teacher). This worked great, and it did require some time for me to look into the assignments to know when to supplement when the answer key was utilized. I knew if the assignment took one minute or one hour, I could help to do whatever I needed to get them working again. I find that it clearly saves time and they learn more from looking at what they know and then finding the answer. This is awesome for those. And of course if followed forwardly, SOS will provide immediate feedback for the student for any problem.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: The amount of work is heavy, and can be time consuming or considering boring at times. This lends into finding other activities to offset any boredoms, which we loved. What I liked is the scope and sequence more than adequately covers the subject. I also liked the freedom to learn available for each student, and the easy to learn accessability for the parent teacher. We will continue to use SOS, the girls seem to be doing quite well.

Any other helpful hints:
This worked well for us, and maybe it will for you too, consider the 12% to 20% discounts to be a savings opportunity. Although it may not work for everyone, it depends on how you feel about computers.

Review left June 1, 2009
Time: ~2.5 years

I've home schooled my children since day one; my oldest is now at a public HS; I also taught 1st grade at our ps system, as well as subbed. I'm still home schooling my youngest 2, but consider it my responsibility for my oldest, since she's my responsibility, not the states: o)

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: SOS has its strengths: it grades itself, is pretty much laid out for you and your child. We definitely needed it because of some health issues on my part.

Some weaknesses are this: This curriculum is ideal for a child who likes computers, but for those who "need" the paper workbooks, it can be a real chore and a drudgery, especially if they're more of a sensory learner. I didn't care for the spelling which relied on rote memory rather than patterns or sounding things out. The games are fun at first, but are repeated, and lose their luster after the first year. Great idea for curriculum, but they probably grew faster than they could accommodate. These are just growing pains that happen when you have a great idea for a new curriculum that many parents have a huge need for:o)

Any other helpful hints:
If your child is sensory motivated, this curriculum may not be right for them. Perhaps only use one or two of the subjects per year.

If your child loves the computer, is easily motivated, they'll probably love it.

My oldest finished up to the 8th grade level (early at age 12.5) and has been doing very well in Honors English as well as Honors Algebra. She has a very good work ethic.

This isn't teacher-free curriculum. There are writing areas to check, as well as some basic computer navigating skills required by the parent to do follow-up with the child.

Marcie May
Review left April 23, 2009
Time: 2 years

Your situation: Very busy HS mom to 4. Keeping up with my DH full-time job, our full time home business amongst family life can be crazy!

What I Like:
SOS works great for my DD who loves reading and is responsible on her own. It affords me the time to be away from the teaching and tend to my other duties while keeping track of her performance. I like that I can customize the calendar as well as the actuall school set-up(how grades are handled, second chances on problems..).

What I don't like:
The Math. Not enough explanation and the problems are hard to work out on the computer, esp. when it comes to the add. and sub. where carrying is needed. DD is not a fast paced Math learner, she became aggitated easily and didn't really learn much at all from it. SOS doesn't work for the learners who are behind the times. DS is still working on his reading at 9. SOS fustrated him, good readers are a must to make it through 3rd. We tried the MS text to speech to help him but it was just more confusing and awkward to work.

Any other helpful hints:
Pick and choose what you want right away at set-up. All the quizzes and tests were a bit too much.

Review left December 29, 2008
Time: 3 months

Your situation: Homeschooling one 9 year old boy with Aspergers, ADHD, and Tourettes.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: SOS works very well for my son and me. It's a very structured curriculum that allows the student to work at his/her own pace.

The lessons are well written and the subjects attempt to overlap material so that there is congruent information flow. The program allows the parent to modulate the subjects, units and lessons for each child. It takes some experimentation to learn how to do this.

For example, the program allows one to change due dates for assignments, skip specific problems from each lesson, block entire lessons if one choses to, add notes for the student to read, etc. This program is much easier to manipulate for the customization of each students need than any paper and pencil curriculum.

There really is no excuse for bashing any aspect of this program. The material is well written and well thought out. Yes, there are the customary glitches which one finds in a software program, but they are not enough to dissapate the validity and usefulness of the curriculum.

Any program will have its positive and negative aspects. One ought to learn how to use it in its entirety before criticizing it.

Any other helpful hints:
Become familiar with the teacher section of the curriculum.

Conchi Urriolabeitia
Review left December 19, 2008
Time: This is our 2nd year

We have been homeschooling since kindergarten and we could never find a math curriculum that was right for us. We have used school texts, Saxon, Singapore and SOS.

Overall, this has been the best fit for us. The kids like the format, games and the explinations have been clear. Yes there are a few instances where a problem was incorrectly marked but there can be errors or typos in any book so its no big deal for us. I am very involved with keeping up with grading and keeping them on schedule so when we fall behind a little we just make it up on the weekend or I adjust the calendar.

Any other helpful hints:
Math facts are touched upon but you will need to practice these seperately. Remember the program can be customized. If a lesson is too easy, you can go in and delete it. This program is great for parents as it frees up time for other things. You may need to help here and there but the student should be able to get through this with minimal help.

Review left December 19, 2008
Time: 1 1/2 years

I am mom to 4 children ages 11,7,5,3. I am a former 5th grade school teacher.

I do find SOS to be a bit tedious. I do think it needs some adding to in places. This curriculum is very visually stimulating... almost too much for my ADHD daughter.

I agree there are some correct answers marked wrong due to spaces, etc, but as homeschooling parents we need to be responsible to check progress and help students correct errors.

I agree that there is little review, and maybe in 3rd grade I would like to see more. However, in 4th or 5th grade on up, we need not spoon feed the children all their information. It is not perfect. It should not be your child's sole teacher. You must still take an active role in directing your kids. It will cut down some teaching time but not all of it. Would you want your child to go to school and never interact with the teacher there about his/her lessons? If not, you shouldn't expect that to be the case at home either. Use SOS for what it offers, but add to it your own knowledge and help. :) I would recommend it overall.

Review left November 20, 2008
Time: 2 years


There was a teacher right there and you could ask her questions.

Review left October 10, 2008
Time: 1 year

Your situation: I was hired to homeschool three teens, ages 13, 15 and 16. They all tested at the same level in math. They had three vastly different learning styles, and while the youngest was really good in math, the older two have always struggled with the subject.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: The leasons were well organized and the instructions were fairly clear. The problem I had with it was the lack of flexibility. In a text book, there are usually dozens of problems in every lesson. You have the student work at it until they get it. With the SOS, there were only 2-3 of each type of problem with each lesson and no extra problems available. Even the youngest student, who excelled in math, struggled with the harder concepts because there wasn't enough repitition. The other two would have been left in the dust if I hadn't made up a bunch of problems. The program is not made to be customized to your student's needs. Also, there is no partial credit given for complicated problems. If you make a simple arithmatic mistake in the last step of a big problem, it is 100% wrong.

Any other helpful hints:
Check your student's wrong answers. Many times it will mark correct answers wrong due to extra spaces or other formatting issues. Be prepared to add extra problems. Also, it is helpful to ensure that the student is doing the problems on paper. It is to easy for them to do the simple problems in their heads, and then type in the answer. That works for a while, but then they get stuck on the tougher ones.

Laura Daniels
Review left October 6, 2008
Time: since 3rd grade

I have used Alpha Omega's Switched on Schoolhouse Math program and the whole curriculum since Third Grade. The math program is comprehensive and teaches you all the stuff you need to know in a way you can understand it. According to my friends that go to public school AOP's math program is way ahead of the curve. This is the best math program you can get for the money and it's FUN!

Jake R.
Review left February 28, 2008
Grade: Algebra 2

Hi, I'm a student using the S.O.S program. It's really fun, but I must say the whole "makes learning fun" is a total lie. Learning will never be fun, period, but it does make learning easier. I can go back in my lessons and find the answers to my study guides, and if I lose my calculator, they have one in the program to use so that a plus like all things. People have found ways to cheat on it, but our teachers are really good and have totally stopped that. Overall it's an awesome program with a few bugs to work out.

I'd say get it, but it's better for a school, not just one kid learning on his/her own because then it's just hard. My teachers are always explaining how to do something in my math or language that if I ask my mom, she's stumped, "And they give her a program to use just like us to check out our work". Oh, and one thing I don't like but my mom loves: she can always see my grades like an instant report card thing.

Review left January 30, 2008
Time: 6 months
Grade: 9

This is my first year using SOS, and my 4th year homeschooling. I have been in school for the majority of my life though.

I find the math lessons to be greatly lacking in detail. For the most part, a lesson consists of a couple of examples of what you will be learning, a small paragraph of writing that hardly explains anything, and maybe a short video or image that is somehow supposed to help you. It then expects you to see that, and just know how to do it. Sometimes they don't even give examples for the questions they ask, and expect you to figure it out basically by yourself.

I also find it inconsistent. One minute they try to teach you something that is very difficult, and they next they teach me something I learned in 4th grade.

The application itself is also glitchy, and pretty annoying. Falling behind is also a pain, because catching up isn't easy at all. The whole thing also feels childish and immature. I'm in 9th grade, and I don't want cartoons telling me what to do.

Any other helpful hints:
I honestly cannot suggest this product to ANYONE. I don't feel that I have learned anything this year, and I am failing math for the first time in my life. I think I can safely blame it on the products lack of teaching.

Review left January 7th, 2008
Time: 6 months
Grade: 7th

We have homeschooled two very unique children for three years. We first used A Beka for everything. One child did not do well at all so we tried dropping back a year and using Saxon. That did not help at all. This year we started with SOS.

Except for the first Unit, over bases, this child is doing great. The majority of the units explain everything enough to understand and work the problems. The Teacher side does all the work for me, and I have access to how the problem is worked out. I really like the load of work that is taken off of me. Our child really likes that he can see what is due each day. SHould he get behind its nothing to change due dates or reschedule.

During the course of trying to teach this child math we have discovered he has a math learning disorder called discalculia. This may be the source of many child frustrations. Before you rate a particular product negatively make sure your child simply needs a different type of learning situation.

May Fyne
Time: Since 1st grade

Switched on School House is a computerized program which touches on the basic math skills, which is required in life. I've had no problems at all with the Math portion, maybe a glitch here and there, but nothing serious.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I've really had no issues with Switched on School House. My child seems to enjoy it as a backup study or as he calls it (Homework) to his AO Math book. Every program and book will have glitches and even public schools books have glitches you just have find them and my son thinks thats fun.

Any other helpful hints:
You will have to take the time to find glitches and work thru them. But, its not really that frustrating, in fact its kinda funny. You get to see human error at its best. It was written by several people and if you contact them they help and guide you all the way thru it. They have better Tech support then most. (Homeschooler of 9 years)

Renee Wirth
Time: 2 years

We have been homeschooling for 2 years and I hoped that SOS would make lesson planning easier.It was ok for that but not much more.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I like the language and science ok , but the math and history not so well. I do not think they cover each subject in enough detail and the Math is especially lacking. The history flies thru some things and drags in others. I am planning on another choice next year at least in Math. Another negative is if you ever get behind.... Look out is is almost impossible to catch up adding to frustration.

Any other helpful hints:
Really think before you spend the money on this curriculum. It is overpriced and very glitchy. If you have a child who balks at monotony , you are not going to be satisfied.

Time: 4 years

I am a home school student since third grade. I skipped 2nd so I could use SOS.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I like the Switched-On Schoolhouse computerized curriculum, but it does have a few errors. A lot of errors. The math program especially is buggy. It will tell you to do it one way, then when you do it that way next time, it wants it a different way, which it doesn't happen to specify (95% of the time.) There are a few glitches that will allow students with parents who don't care, to cheat. My older brother is professional at finding ways to cheat. This program causes MAXIMUM STRESS in our house. But knowing that, I think I would still take it over books. There is a very unique function that sets this apart from most: It grades itself. This would be about 12x better if it didn't have so many bugs! My Mom has to go in and find all of its mistakes. I do not recommend this program for students under 5th grade (It may be outdated.)

Anonymous N. Name
Time: In our 3rd year

My son is a highly visual creative child but has ADD. He has no hyperactivity, but maintaining focus is a huge difficulty!

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: My son struggled with learning and maintaining focus during math work until we switched to SOS math. The approach is very visual and the lessons are reasonably short. We are in our 3rd year with SOS and plan to use it again next year. The difference in his willingness to stick with it and his increased ability to focus with this program is almost miraculous! I do agree with some posts that SOS has some computer glitches and we have had to deal with those during these three years. However, these problems seem very minimal to me compared to the progress my son has made with math.

Any other helpful hints:
I recommend supplementing with manipulatives. My son likes to use Cuisenaire rods with SOS. This program is certainly not for every child. My middle child burst into tears when I tried SOS with her and is much happier with BJU math.

Karen Marie
Time: 3 years

Your situation: Homeschooling 4 at different levels.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: Love it!!! Of course there are computer glitches and of course there are things that you don't like but these can easily be worked around. The great part is that I control how many attempts they have, I can unassign lessons or problems. With 4 kids it relieves a lot of time from grading. You do need to take the time to explain problems sometimes, but it takes less time than teaching the entire concept, it is more like expanding on it, or clarifying. I would not use this for remedial learners, there is not enough repitition in basic skills. This frees me up to teach more history and english together.

Any other helpful hints: Find a friend who has this and view it. SOS will send you a sample CD, but it does not give you a good idea of what each grade level covers and how it is presented. You can get a scope and sequence on their website and compare it to other curriculums.

Side note: I am not fond of other subjects in SOS, especially history.

Kim Garroutte
Time: 1/2 year

Your situation: I was homeschooled in 3rd and 4th grade.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I used SOS in 4th grade, and I loved it. I went to school the next year, now I am in 8th grade and I'm using the program again. I Nothing makes sense, the grading system doesn't work properly, and it's too hard to catch up if I fall behind. Math doesnt make any sense, they'll teach me something that my highschool friends don't even know, then they just "taught" me how to subtract fractions. DO NOT buy this program! It is ridiculous. 1 out of 10

Time: 1 year

I went to homeschool just to try it out for a few years.

I took the math and I was extremely disapointed. My dad thought the same. There were constant errors and they did not explain how to do the math. I needed help a lot, unlike the other subjects, and it was confusing. When you fall behind it is very frustrating and hard to catch back up. The history, science, and language arts were acceptable but not worth the money. I would not recomend the the spanish or math. I get stressed a lot in those subjects. There is a lot of stressing in the other subjects, but primarily those two. I'd highly recomend this for people who can handle perfect answers and having to read to learn. You also have to sometimes look on the internet like crazy. I think this is my last year of homeschool. SOS made me not like homeschool. I loved it at first, got used to it, then fell behind and hated it. Like I said you fall behind, you stay behind. I give this program a 4 out of 10. Some parents may think that is a low score, but just take a year of it and you will agree.

Any other helpful hints:
Pick the language arts and science. I give them an 8 out of 10. Science has a lot of cool facts.

Harry Goodman
Grade levels used:7th
Time: few years

Hello, I am am Reed Gallman I am in 7th grade. I Use A program called Switched-on-School house by Alpha Omega Publications(AOP) At first I was in love with it. Then I fell behind .NO TIME TO CATCH UP. This program is a errored and I DO NOT recommend it AT ALL

Reed Gallman
Grade levels used:8th and 9th grades
Time: full semester

I homeschool four children. All four are using SOS this year

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I was really surprised at the answers here!! My daughter, who has struggled in Math for years, usually getting C's and D's is now pulling an A in math on SOS. She has truly benefitted from the visual process used by SOS. The ability to try three times to get the correct answer has truly helped her see where she is making errors and fix them quickly. The immediate grading of the problems prevents her from carrying an error throughout an entire lesson without catching it. This child, who struggled with long division, is now doing pre-algebra and doing great!! Yes, there are times when the program does something wrong, but it is a computer program. Since I no longer have to plan, teach, and grade, I can spare the few minutes to work through a problem with the program. The minor glitches are quite liveable, now that I have more time to interact with my students and work through it with them.

Any other helpful hints:
SOS has given me the opportunity to stay on track with all four children. It has given the children a better grasp on the material, with better retention (we have used AOP lifepacs in the past as well). I have taught in schools, and homeschooled for 9 years. Not one curriculum met all my expectations. Many had problems that I needed to fix before I taught, SOS is just one of them. For what it offers me as a homeschool mom, I can handle the few glitches that come along.

Mary Fuller
Grade levels used:8th and 9th grades
Time: 2 years

My daughter is academically gifted, has always loved and done well in math and loves the computer curriculum that SOS provides. She likes working on her own, enjoys the technology, and prefers the computer over the notebook.

My daughter did not like Alpha Omega SOS math in 8th grade. She has liked it far less in 9th grade. The math curriculum has frequent glitches and errors in answers. This takes time for me to find the problem, correct it through Teacher, and it is aggravating for both of us. Also, there are more and more frequent occurrences of a new skill being introduced and then the student is supposed to figure out the applications of that skill with no examples of how to do it. This has become so frustrating that it has thrown my academically gifted daughter into a tailspin. We actually had to go for outside help at one point. Also, in long equations where there is not enough room on one line the curriculum will just arbitrarily drop part of the equation to another line leaving student and teacher to figure out what is going on. Though we now know this to be the case, it still creeps up and surprises us sometimes. In a day where my ninth grade daughter is balancing a packed high school schedule of English, Math, Social Studies, Sciences, Bible, Spanish and High School Health, she just doesn't have time for such frustration. She has fought this all year and has still carried a straight A average, but we won't do SOS Math again.

Any other helpful hints:
Look a long time before you make a decision. We used AO Lifepacs all the way through elementary school with Horizons Math, and my daughter loved AO. As a matter of fact, when we tried public school for three years she was far ahead of those in her class. She was so well prepared and loved every subject. But she has had a miserable year this year with SOS Math, and we are looking for another math curriculum.

Barbara Johnson-Clark
Grade levels used:3

This program did not work well with my son who is very computer savvy. There was not a lot of review and there was definite frustration with having to type in all the answers and not getting any hand's on written practice. Someone else mentioned that you can print out the pages. We chose to use a simple workbook in the middle of the year. That helped tremendously and my son began to enjoy math. This program may work for some, but I was dissappointed.

Kelly Berry
Grade levels used:4
Time: 8 months

My daughter struggles with math, I thought this computerized format might be the answer. Unfortunately it was not. There were way too many errors in the answers which increased her frustrations. Because this system "grades" your work it was too much for her to deal with knowing she had and answer correct but the answer in their automatic grading key told her she was wrong and in turn lowered her grade.

Lisa Lindsey
Grade levels used:7
Edition: 2.0
Time: 1 year

This program did not work well for my son, but may work well for others. We found many instances where concepts were introduced in one lesson, then never mentioned again until the unit test. (I.e. no review) Also, the explanation of new concepts was not always clear. There would be a problem sample in the text, but the actual problems in the work contained different components that were never explained. For example, dividing fractions. The sample problem might show division of two proper fractions. The problems in the work area would show division of improper and mixed fractions, with never an explanation of how to work these. Some children may be able to make these "jumps". Mine could not, and would get very frustrated. He also said that he didn't like doing math on the computer but preferred to see it written on paper. (We ended up printing out a lot of his math lessons, which is a viable option.)

Laurie Knight

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