Abeka Homeschool Curriculum – An Honest Look at the Pros and Cons

Abeka homeschool curriculum is a K-12, accredited, Christian based homeschooling program that uses teaching techniques that are similar to those used in traditional schools. A Beka Book was founded in 1954 and is a still a favorite among Christian schools. The company’s use of textbooks and workbooks makes it a popular choice among parents who want to make sure their children remain on par with their peers in Christian and public schools.

Abeka homeschooling materials are colorful, thorough and easy to use, making it a good fit for families who are new to homeschooling. The company provides workbook pages that children can use independently, and teacher’s manuals that tell parents exactly what to say and do during instruction time. Parents can also purchase flashcards, charts and games that are scheduled in the lesson plans, along with answer keys for checking workbooks and tests. The company offers a full range of academic subjects. Materials can be purchased separately or as part of a kit.

Although A Beka is more expensive than similar programs on the market, it provides a high-quality education that usually places children a grade level above their public school peers. The company’s lesson plans and other materials can be saved and reused with younger siblings. Because Abeka is a popular program, materials that are well kept can usually be easily resold.

Some homeschoolers have complained that Abeka is too structured, too time-consuming, and too much like having school at home. However, as with any curricula, the program can be adapted to meet a family’s needs. In our home, we only use Abeka for math, phonics and language arts. We slow down or speed up as needed, and eliminate unnecessary activities. We also add in books, projects and field trips to make our program more fun.

Abeka generally works well for children with visual and auditory learning styles who learn in a traditional manner. It may not be a good fit for kinesthetic or hands-on learners. In addition, because the program moves at a rapid pace, it may not be suitable for children with special needs or learning disabilities.

Families who choose to use Abeka homeschool curriculum can use the parent-directed program that allows them to purchase materials to use on their own, or the fully accredited option, where A Beka Academy generates report cards and transcripts for the student. The company also has a DVD program which brings high-quality teaching into the home. In my opinion, the non-accredited, parent-directed option allows more flexibility. Families that live in states that do not have strict homeschooling requirements should have no problem taking this route.

Before purchasing materials from A Beka Book, view samples at the company’s website or attend a hotel meeting at a location near you.

Pros and Cons of a Computer-Based Homeschool Curriculum

Virtual schools – are they really homeschooling?

Virtual homeschooling has become increasingly popular in recent years. However, most virtual “homeschooling” programs are not really “homeschool” but are just a virtual public school. This can be a fine choice for some families who are just looking to spend more time with their children, wanting the ability to teach religion or want to remove their children from negative influences. Keep in mind that there is little or no choice of curriculum and all the state standardized tests are mandatory.

Computer-based Homeschool Curriculum

These homeschool programs are quite different from virtual schools in that the teaching materials are on CD-Roms. This can be a boon to the homeschooling parent who works out of the home part-time. The only complete homeschool curriculum on cd-rom that I am aware of is Switched on Schoolhouse by Alpha Omega. It is a Christian program and they offer full curriculum for grades K-12, including high school electives. It might be a good idea to test your child on a trial version to see if it is a good learning style fit for your child. Visual and auditory learners are more likely to do well with this style of learning that a kinesthetic learner.

Privately-owned virtual schools

Another choice would be a virtual homeschool program available from a private school, such as Laurel Springs, Time 4 Learning, e-tutor. The nice thing about these programs is that they because they are not virtual public schools, they are more flexible and customizable to your child. One of the main advantages of a computer-based curriculum is that it can allow parents who truly desire to homeschool, but assumed it wasn’t possible due to time constraints or a lack of confidence, to homeschool their child in with one of the most convenient and easy-to-manage methods available.