Thursday, April 26, 2012

Switched on School house Giveaway

Sadly, I'm not the one holding it but thought I would share on my blog that there is a giveaway for the Switched on Schoolhouse by Alpha Omega curriculum for an entire grade's worth of SOS.
I sure hope I do win. Marilyn really likes it and it would be a blessing if we actually won this for her for the upcoming school year. I had ordered their new 2012 State History SOS for her and she loves it. She tells me its to fun to be schoolwork.   I would be beside myself if we won it.

Homeschool Giveaways is holding the giveaway. So good luck everyone.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Horizons PreAlgebra Review

Wow , its been a while. I seem to have been neglecting my blog here. In defense though I will say we have been so super busy between schooling and getting ready for our trip to Cincinnati that I just haven't had much of a moment to type anything on it. But I'm going to make a short , quick review of the Horizons PreAlgebra that we are currently using.
After trying very hard to get CLE math to work for Marilyn, I found there just wasn't a way around it. Marilyn dreaded doing math everyday. I would hear the gamut of excuses.. its to long, there are to many problems, I get it ,but when I do the work I don't get it. So after using two Light Units from the 700 series ( which she tested into by the way) , I knew I had to search for something else. My gut was telling me to use the same requirements I had with her when I first started homeschooling. Those requirements were pictures, color, and focusing on one thing at a time. So in the beginning we used BJU math and she did very well with it. It was cute and fun until she reached 6th grade. All of a sudden BJU math wasn't like it was in the beginning. Then after that began a quest to find a good program for her. What I did know and learned last year when she attended private school was, that Saxon did not work for her. She could not wrap her brain around the incremental approach at all. She can only focus on one topic at a time. Thus went my round and round with her teacher that you can't make the curriculum fit the student if it just doesn't fit. Anyways so I came across Horizons math. I have heard about it, read about it, but never really used it. I figured it was the same type of math like Saxon or Christian Light , but just in color form. Well, its not. Horizon is colorful, and even at this level, though there aren't those cute pictures like there are in the lower levels, its still colorful. They start with teaching one topic at a time, then review past concepts. So its almost like mastery with spiral all in the same breath. This has been what I've been looking for in a math program for a very long time. Either math was mastery or spiral, but never both. What does the program come with? You get the student book, teacher manual, and resource book which contains tests, exams , and worksheets as well as formula strips.

 What do I like about the program?

 That it is spiral, and focuses on one concept all at the same time
 Its colorful.
  It definitely takes PreAlgebra to a whole other level. Not only does it teach PreAlgebra but also Geometry, and the beginning of Trig. I do not know of another math program that introduces Trig into their PreAlgebra program. I maybe wrong but this was the first I've encountered it. That it keeps Marilyn's attention and she really likes it. She says it explains a lot more than the CLE Light Units did. I'm not sure about that, but that's the way she's felt about it That the lessons are two pages long. They are not overkill. Just enough to introduce the new concept to work with your student on the front, and then one page for them to do on the back on their own.
That all the solutions are in the teacher's manual. They break them down step by step so you can see where you may have gone wrong if the answer is wrong.
That the student manual contains after every ten lessons an optional college prep test. Students see where what they learn will be on the test and gives them plenty of practice before the real thing someday.

 My cons:
 The teacher manual, of course.  I will admit if this was a few years ago I would have complained about it quite a bit. Saying  that it doesn't give you that hand holding you need, especially if your a parent that has a tough time with math like I do. But fast forward to today and you have websites such as Youtube, Khan Academy, and Hippo Campus that really you don't need hand holding from a teacher manual anymore. The only downside is if you are a family that doesn't have a computer and needs that hand holding.

 My next con is : Horizons currently goes to Algebra 1. Their Algebra 1 book will be out this fall. I'm thinking though that we won't be into Algebra 1 until sometime next year. So I'm praying they come out with more levels in the meantime.

My last con:  The fact I never tried Horizons sooner

 What makes Horizons special for Marilyn???
 1. They focus on one topic at a time. They still review previous topics so they continue to practice them.
 2. There are two pages per lesson. Marilyn hated the fact that the CLE lessons were so long. Granted they probably have the same amount of problems in both programs per lesson. Horizons seemed to magically condense the lessons to two pages.
 3. There is color in the back ground. This seems to make all the difference in the world to Marilyn. One day I asked her what the difference was. Math was math. Her response was, " Mom, the color helps me concentrate." So magically with color its made all the difference in the world to her,and
4. She can write in the book. Its something she'd much prefer to do when she can, especially with math.

I will say  that  my only pet peeve with the Horizons math is that it  only goes to Algebra 1. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that they will come out with more levels by the time we need them, or BJU math will have to be our next math curriculum again whether Marilyn likes it or not. I know with families its always different strokes for different folks. I avoided Alpha Omega for a long time. We started out with their Lifepac curriculum for Marilyn's other subjects when she was about kindergarden. She hated them with a passion. Now she looks back on it and asks me why she hated them because she loves them now. She even likes their Switched on Schoolhouse program too. I think the lesson learned is that you will never know what will work for another family, and what may be awful to you may be that families saving grace. In conclusion we've ended up with a Happy Marilyn. That's all that matters.