Publisher: Alpha Omega
This is one of my 101 Top Picks!
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Monarch is a new twist on the popular Switched-On Schoolhouse curriculum. While Switched-On Schoolhouse is a CD-ROM-based, Christian homeschool curriculum, Monarch is web-based, accessible from any computer at any time. Rather than repeat the basics, I would direct your attention to the Switched-On Schoolhouse review first, then I’ll highlight features of Monarch.
Like SOS, Monarch offers complete grade level programs for grades 3 through 12 plus electives for both elementary and high school levels. While both programs share many features such as “text-to speech,” automatic grading, customizable desktops, and one-click access to an historical timeline, Monarch adds some features. One of the most important differences is that Monarch will run on either Windows or Mac computers. In addition, students may customize their desktops. A virtual keyboard for foreign languages makes it easy for students to type the proper symbols and characters. “At-a-Glance Assignment Indicators” highlight past due lessons making them easy to spot. A message center makes it easy for parents and students to send notes to each other. And there’s no worry about backing up data since it’s stored at a secure location and is maintained for seven years after your subscription ends.
The other major difference between Monarch and SOS is the “ownership.” Customers purchase SOS for up to five students on one installation at a given time. Their curriculum is reusable. On the other hand, Monarch is available on a subscription basis. One student may use the subscription curriculum for up to 18 months.
On the negative side, Monarch requires a reliable high speed internet connection for all student work which could be a problem for some families. Also, I understand that Monarch has fewer games than SOS, but that shouldn’t be significant.
Monarch and SOS are priced the same, so it seems to me that the number of potential students who might use the curriculum, the computer platform, and your internet connection would be the biggest factors for determining which option best suits your needs.
- Suitable for: independent study
Audience: grades 3-12
Need for parent/teacher instruction: very minimal
Prep time needed: none once system is set up
Teacher's manual: N/A
Educational philosophy: internet & computer-based, traditional
Religious perspective: Protestant
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Rock Rapids, IA 51246-1759
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