I was recently blessed to become part of the Alpha Omega Publications Promotion Team and was able to choose a program to review with my family. This was hard, because there are so many subjects and programs available. If you’ve ever heard of Horizons, Switched-On Schoolhouse, Lifepac, or Monarch, then you’ve heard of the available core and elective courses that Alpha Omega Publications Homeschool Division offers to homeschooling families.
I chose to review Monarch 4th Grade Language Arts with my 9 year old daughter. We were piecing together curriculum for the year, and I wanted something that she could do mostly independently. I also know how much she loves to complete her work on a computer, so this was a natural fit.
As of right now, this course regularly retails for $99.95 as a stand-alone product. This includes full access for 18 months and is available any time, anywhere from a compatible browser. We use our Chromebook most of the time, and it works great.
Monarch is a Christian online homeschool curriculum for grades 3-12 that’s compatible with most web browsers on a Windows® or Macintosh® operating system. Accessible 24/7 from anywhere in the world, Monarch lets learning soar with lessons in the five core subjects of Bible, history and geography, language arts, math, and science, as well as a wide variety of enriching electives. Single-student subscriptions for this Christian online homeschool curriculum are for 18 months beginning on the date of purchase.
Monarch is available as a full curriculum (including Bible, history and geography, language arts, math, and science), or each subject can be purchased individually. They also offer a family subscription plan, which offers unlimited access for up to 3 students for a reasonable monthly fee. There are also many electives available, such as Spanish, Civics, Literature, Information Systems, and more.
Alpha Omega Publications even offers a military discount of 30% off for military families!
My daughter does not have a lot of experience in strictly scheduled school assignments. However, this year I decided to schedule both of my older kids much more so that it would take some pressure off of me to get it all done with a new baby on the way. Due to our crazy life events, I knew that we’d have to give more structure this year.
Monarch is awesome for this. I simply went in when I was setting up our school year and student account and told the program what dates we wanted our school year to begin and end. It automatically gave some holidays off (including a few days for Thanksgiving and 2 weeks around Christmas), and scheduled every assignment in the curriculum to fit within the date parameters that I had given.
For me, this was extremely helpful as I didn’t have to go in and schedule things myself to try and get it all completed by a reasonable date. This also allows my daughter to log in each day and see a calendar of coursework that needs to be completed, and when. As you can see from the screen shot below, the shaded assignments were completed on previous days, and the white assignments are the tasks she has yet to complete. When assignments are past due or blocked, that is indicated on there as well. (Luckily, my daughter has only gotten behind once!)
Working within the student portal was easy to get started on. Once my daughter got the hang of where everything was located, she was able to see where to find her assignments and get straight to work. There are lessons, projects, quizzes, and tests incorporated into the curriculum. As the teacher, I was able to go in and decide how to weight each type of assignment, so I made lessons 10%, projects 15%, quizzes 25%, and tests 50% of her overall grade.
The course set up is basically like an online version of Lifepac curriculum, if you are familiar with that. It has 10 total units, with each unit containing lessons, quizzes, projects, and a final test.
When she completes an assignment, I can go in and check her grades. There are a few tasks that I have to go into and manually grade. These are assignments with text boxes with a space for her to type in answers, as shown below. The red shows problems she got incorrect. The text box shows her answer to a problem, and on the right, I input her score for the answer she has given.
Once I’ve graded my portion, her grade is placed in the course’s grade book. When she is working on school, she is constantly asking me how she did and wants to know what she has gotten wrong. I love that she is so involved in the process and really is eager to succeed.
From the parent section, it is easy for me to see all of the assigned work for the entire course. I can even break it down to the individual problems in quizzes, as shown below. I love being able to see what she has completed, as well as having the option to skip certain assignments or to assign her additional review problems.
I also like the flexibility of being able to allow or disallow things being open book, skipped, and choosing how many times she can attempt a problem. For most of her assignments, I have it set to allow her up to 3 attempts at a problem. This has come in handy when doing quizzes where she is having to match a large number of vocabulary words to definitions, for example.
Another feature I appreciate is the ability to generate grade reports easily. We do not live in a state that requires reporting, but I know many homeschoolers do. You can generate a report card, which simply states the course and overall grade, or you can do a Grade Report, which goes more in depth and breaks it down between the units that have been completed. You could also do a Daily Work Report, which shows all of the grade for each individual assignment.
I go in and check these grade fairly often to make sure Grace is on target with where she needs to be, and to make sure she is improving steadily.
My daughter has been doing well in this course. At first, there was a learning curve because she wasn’t used to graded, scheduled assignments on the computer. I will admit that she asked me almost every day for the first 3 weeks to help her. Since then, though, she has figured out what she is supposed to be doing and what is expected of her.
She does still ask for help, especially with new concepts (like haikus!), but it’s rare for her to want me to sit with her throughout an entire assignment anymore.
I would say it was worth the growing pains, because she is now pulling a strong average and steadily working through the course. We have followed the calendar exactly as it was assigned to us and it has been a very manageable amount of work each day. I have assigned extra review assignments to her through the system to make sure she is ready for the tests, particularly since I weighted them as 50% of her overall grade.
We like not having to keep up with a bunch of books or written work. That said, I do assign her other writing assignments in her daily work for other subjects, so she is still getting the pencil on paper experience despite the lack of that through this program.
We have enjoyed using Monarch for 4th grade language arts and will continue to use it as our official curriculum throughout the year!
As a promotions team, we are blessed to bring you an amazing giveaway from Alpha Omega Publications Homeschool Division. The winner will receive one subject from each of the main product lines plus a $50 Amazon gift card. That could be a retail value of $450! To enter, please use the form below.