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From: Julie in MN (209.162.49.5)
Subject:         My SOS review - based on one semester only
Date: February 23, 2010 at 6:32 pm PST

In Reply to: Re: I also started by homeschooling a high schooler posted by Elayne on February 21, 2010 at 8:52 am:

My SOS review - based on one semester only (Biology). I posted this somewhere else recently:

PROS
- I wanted some variety in my dd's day, and this provided at least a change in setting. Although with my younger ds, more screen time wouldn't be providing variety in the same way.

- Reviewing for tests was all set up in the program, and that took a lot of work off of me and off of my dd. It probably did little to prepare her for reviewing for tests on her own, but it was easy.

- Scoring tests and keeping track of grades, including changing my grading criteria and weight of different assignments or even adding/subtracting assignments was very easy. They seem to have put a lot of effort into this. Although grading a paper test is usually fairly easy, too.

- The learning method is really the same as reading a colorful textbook on a screen and testing, which I suppose is a common method for high school learning. My dd *likes* that kind of learning.

CONS (for us, anyways)
- I found it very mindless for dd and she didn't really learn about "biology" but instead memorized random words and such. Yes, there were a few videos and game type things to click on for fun (I can't remember exactly what they were), but again those were more about the games & words than about "biology." It didn't have the "conversational" feel as if it were "teaching" my dd that I get from reading Apologia and some other high school texts.

- The tests emphasized minutia that my dd had trouble keeping straight in her mind. Now there will be some of this in any high school science, but for example I remember she had trouble with some "L" scientists who kept on showing up randomly on tests and, although she knew their scientific contributions, she couldn't always remember which was which -- Linnaeus, Leeuwenhoek, etc., and her grade would be poor even though the main topics were well understood.

- Lessons were fairly short, which looked appealing. But as we went through it, I started to think they seemed to have to fit on a certain page size per lesson. It didn't seem balanced, and difficult concepts were not given more space. In some cases whole pieces of a concept seemed left out -- I finally contacted the SOS company on one set of questions and they finally admitted that no, that topic on the test was never taught in the "chapter." Now, I can accept an error in any program, but it was the final straw for us and dd never did the 2nd semester of SOS Biology.


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