Friday, March 19, 2010

Some thoughts on Switched-on-Schoolhouse and similar curricula

An important guest post from a dear friend:

As someone who went to Christian school from Kindergarten through my senior year, taught in a Christian school as an adult, and later homeschooled my own children for several years, I am familiar with the various curricula that are available for homeschooling families. There is no perfect curriculum, but there is one company in particular that I would like to warn parents about. It is the company that produces Switched-on-Schoolhouse (S.O.S.), LIFEPAC, HORIZONS, and WEAVER products.

I have read statements in the LIFEPACS about creation that seemed to be, in an underhanded way, actually making fun of God. Also the Horizon math books have word problems about purchasing religious icons including crosses as well as cheesy “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets at a Christian book store. Sometimes it was harder to put a finger on it, but the way things were worded, it just did not sound like the authors really believed in the biblical account of Creation that they sarcastically described. Switched-on-Schoolhouse, in earlier editions, used the King James Bible exclusively, so I used it for awhile for my older children in spite of other liberal content eg. referring to persecution by the Catholic Church as “Christians killing other Christians”, etc. I made the decision to use S.O.S. during a difficult pregnancy, because the work is done on the computer and there is no grading or record keeping to do since it is done automatically. Anyway, for our last year of homeschooling, I ended up switching to mostly Abeka Books which at least comes from an independent Baptist college where hopefully most people believe in the existence of God.

Circumstances changed, and I enrolled my daughter in a public high school for her sophomore year. Although she was able to transfer some of her homeschool credits and challenge other classes by “testing out” of them, she was required to take a credit recovery class for Biology which is done on the computer. The name of the software she works on for that class is Odysseyware. To her surprise, the format was exactly the same as the Switched-on-Schoolhouse software she had used for science while home schooling during her junior high years! The work was easy for her, since it was almost identical to Switched-on-Schoolhouse. There was only one difference--the Odysseyware Biology course taught evolution, whereas the Switched-on-Schoolhouse course left out the evolution and instead mentioned Creation. Also, a few Bible verses were thrown in here and there for the Christian version. After a quick Google search, our suspicions were confirmed that Odysseyware is the same company as Odyssey Learning Services/Alpha Omega Publications which produces Switched-on-Schoolhouse (S.O.S.), LIFEPAC, HORIZONS, and WEAVER products. If you are homeschooling, it is probably because you do not want your children taught by unbelievers, but if you use any of these “Christian” brands, who do you think is teaching your children? The authors claim to be Christians from a “Bible church“, but why are they teaching evolution as fact? Evolution can be a major stumbling block to many public school students who do not go to church and are not taught the Bible at home.

2 Peter 2:14-15
(14) Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
(15) Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

1 Timothy 6:10
(10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

An Independent Fundamental Baptist Mom in Texas

[end of guest post]

The website of Glynlyon, the parent company of both Alpha Omega Publications (the "Christian" version) and Odysseyware (the "public school", evolution-based version), confirms:

The Glynlyon Learning Companies are dedicated to the development and adoption of effective modalities of learning through tools, curricula, multimedia techniques, and various delivery strategies designed to best educate students regardless of their learning styles. ODYSSEYWARE® provides an electronic curriculum for grades 3-12. Alpha Omega Publications® provides Christian curriculum for grades kindergarten-12, including print and electronic options.

I for one certainly do not want my children to be taught by people who believe one thing, but teach both what they believe, as well as the opposite of it, for maximum financial gain.

The authors of these books either believe in creation, but lie and promote the false and erroneous teachings of evolution to increase profits.

Or, they really do believe in evolution, while passing themselves off as Christian publishers, making themselves false prophets and wolves in sheep's clothing, and again lying for financial gain. Besides, "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge," so these people are also ignorant and in no position to be teaching anyone.

If you are equally disturbed by this, please pass this information on to other homeschoolers who most likely are not aware of the true nature of this publisher, many of whom would be appalled to find out the truth.


  1. Wow, I never did like that curriculum when I had to teach with it. It was too complicated for the students. Now I have one more reason not to ever use it. Thank you for the post.

  2. Wow, my mom used Alpha Omega LifePacs with me during my 3rd grade year... then we switched back to ACE and that's what I graduated with. We never liked the LifePacs...they were really complicated. I'm so glad we didn't continue to use that curriculum!!

  3. I never looked into SOS because I heard you could only use them for one student and couldn't resell them when you were finished. Makes it extra expensive for large families.

  4. Hi Zsuzsa,
    You had mentioned before that you get a lot of books from the library for homeschooling etc. I was wondering if you pre-read these? If not, how do you go about knowing which books would be okay for them to read? I assumed I would pre-read or at least read along with them buy with such large quantities is this possible? Or more so with just fiction?

  5. I used SOS for a little over 1 year for my dyslexic son. It isn't a good curriculum, it is weak in everything. I didn't like it.

  6. My children graduated High School with extremely high scores on their ACT's having used SOS. They went on to college to make high grades and the deans list. I keep my children in church where they learn our values, not only from home. It is a generic Christian curriculum which is extremely easy to use. By the way, before using SOS, my children used another well known curriculum and to my surprise I had to higher a tutor to catch them up in Algebra.

  7. Just so you know, Odysseyware is an adaption off of Alpha Omega's Switched On, not vice versa. Bible verses had to be removed from Switched On, to develop Odysseyware.

    There are requirements for the public market so they had to put in the information on evolution, but also maintain a part on creation and Intelligent Design.
    The men and women who run both branches of AOP and Odysseyware are Christians and typically hire only believers when it comes to content writing.
    The goal from the inception of Odysseyware was primarily to provide charter schools that were started by Christians an accepted curriculum that taught from a "Founding Fathers" world view. It has been more recently developed to work with the Public School market as well. It is made to not be anti-Christian like so many current texts that are available.
    The production is not simultaneous for the products offered by AOP and OW.

  8. I have used SOS in the past with my kids. This year they are in a charter school but I will have to keep in eye out next time I use it. To the person who said you can only you it once. If you have a large family, you can ask to get 50% discount and also use it for each of your kids that will go into that grade. A lot of times they will give you a great deal if you buy several grades at once.

  9. We have just adopted 3 young children (4,6 and 7). I am using the K thru 1st Grade Sing, Spell, Read, Write to Homeschool them. We are biblical-creation believing Christians. Can you tell me what you suggest for 2nd Grade and beyond?

    Thank you,

  10. It's funny I just stumbled upon this post. I'm a senior in high school at the moment and though I've been homeschooled in the past, I'm doing my senior year at a public school. I am currently using odysseyware for credit recovery for a semester of geometry, biology and physical science as well as a full year of world history..I "need" these to graduate from this public school although I've already taken them, they didn't accept my homeschool credit for these classes. Evolution is very dominant in all of these courses except the geometry course, and they are so very easy..not challenging at all. Like I've said many times before, I'm never sending my kids to private or public school..the government controls too much in these schools. btw..Ron Paul 2012 ;) [check out his campaign on homeschooling!]

  11. I plan to homeschool 2 boys (9&11 years old currentlt) and was looking at several programs to help. Odysseyware looked interesting but there are so many out there (some way too expensive.. they could go to private school for the cost). Anyway, we are Catholic and the go to Sunday school. They get taught Creation in that and evolution in public school. I actually don't know why both can't be accepted. If you only believe in Creation, then how do you explain dinasaurs and other extinct creatures from millions of years ago (the bible does not mention them). My own person opinion is God did create everything, but not in our typical 6 days. His creations I think changed/evolved because a day to God may have been millions of years. Just my personal way of thinking of it.

  12. The Bible does mention the great behemoth in Job. Check out apologetics press for dinosaur info and creation.

  13. Also, check out "searching for" for more answers on dinosaurs and creation.

  14. I have used Switched on Schoolhouse for 4 years now and my son and I love it. We went through the 4th grade science together and they taught how to counteract evolution step-by-step. I found that very interesting! My son could argue the problems on the theory of evolution and it was awesome. I need to look at the program a little better now that he has gotten older because now he is really self-sufficient and I really don't read the program anymore.

  15. I actually homeschool my own child, but use Odesseyware where I facilitate classes at a public night school, and although they could do a better job of explaining that evolution is just one way that scientists have come up with to explain the diversity of life, they don't actually present it as fact. It also puts very little emphasis on evolution compared with other programs I have seen. As a Christian, I am glad that my non-churched students are receiving this program rather than alternatives considering that the State requires students to learn about evolution. As a Christian homeschooling mom, I would not worry about SOS's affiliation with Odesseyware because I see it as a way to provide a public school alternative with the absolute minimum state requirements in a way that does not declare that evolution is absolute truth.

  16. I had wondered the same thing as you did. I called SOS and spoke with a man in the top of the company. I was really wanting to be ok with this curriculum since there is not a lot offered online for homeschoolers that are Christians. I asked him why, if they truely are Christians, that they would be alright with producing a curriculum that teaches things that are opposed to God. He stated it was so they could get their foot in the door of the pubic schools. I said to him "I'm sure, if indeed you are a Christian, that you can see my concern. Someone who is not a Christian is not going to have the understanding of God and would not be able to present the bible accurately to my children". He said he understands and tried to reassure me that they were Christians that develop the software. If indeed he was being honest with me, I still don't see how as Christians, they would be ok with producing a software that opposes God and his existance.

  17. I'm 16 and homeschooled, and I have to use this curriculum because my parents don't want the chore of filing all of my work for my transcript if I were to have books. I HATE THIS PROGRAM! Can I please say it again. I HATE THIS PROGRAM. I hate it because:
    1). There are numerous typos, incomplete sentences, incorrect grammar, and false information that has not been updated weaved throughout the program (for example in Biology they said that a blood pressure of 140/80 is considered normal, when in fact it is not. The American Heart Association established anything over 120/80 to be abnormal. I understand the curriculum might have been written in a time period that considered 140/80 to be normal in the medical community, but please update the information as medical knowledge increases.)
    2). The method that they use is "repetitive memorizing." The way it is setup forces you to do a bunch of rote memorization to pass all of those ridiculously hard quizzes and tests. What does this mean? It means that you have learned pretty much nothing, and by the end of that module everything you learned for that test is gone from your memory
    3). They give you no flexibility to think for yourself. In British literature and English classes, they have you read several books and then they ask you analysis-type questions on the books. If you have not "analyzed" it JUST LIKE THEY HAVE, then your answer is wrong. Literature is an art that is very subjective in its nature. If you read Beowulf or Hamlet, and then I came behind you and read it, You and I are going to have two different interpretations of these books. My sister is in college, with a major in sociology, and she says that when her professors make her read epics and novels, they have their students interpret it they way that THE STUDENT saw it, not the teacher.
    4). The quizzes and tests are way too hard. They don't even let you get at least half credit for a problems that you make a small errors in. For example, if you get the answer right but you forget to round off, the whole thing is wrong.

  18. I have decided to homeschool my son this year using the alpha omega lifepac 5th grade. Due to the lack of Education he is receiving in a public school. Any pointers on homeschooling for this 2016 through 2017 year would be greatly appreciated.

  19. I supervise at a private christian school and we use SOS. After reading this and doing research, I need to inform my principal. I agree on how on earth as a christian company you would provide a curriculum that is contrary to the teachings of Christ. They are in it for the money. GREED


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