I have mentioned here that I have enrolled my kids in some online courses this year. I thought I’d take some time to talk about how they are working out for us.
The first one is from Catholic Science dot com. So far (which isn’t very far!) I like the content and basic approach of this program. The student reads the lesson and then answers questions about the lesson. The student MUST answer each question correctly before being allowed to go to the next question. The philosophy is simple and matches my own: Kids should be getting “A’s” in homeschooling because we can afford to take the time to ensure mastery before moving forward. I like that.
There is something I don’t like, though. It is a huge frustrater for the child I have enrolled in this course. We understand that proper spelling is (and should be) required. That’s not a problem. If there is a mistake or typo, it is considered wrong. That’s good. On the other hand, the program is so limited that if a space is typed at the end of a word OR if the answer is not capitalized (even when capitalization is not required ~ the answers are not typically given in sentence form) it is marked wrong. Of course, we can learn to be careful about those things, but my child gets flustered because she thinks she has gotten the answer itself wrong. In my opinion, the program they are using is too strict on things like spaces and capitalization (where not otherwise required… i.e. proper nouns.) The cost of this program is $195. Quite pricey, really.
What I love best about this program (we’re doing one of the Faith and Life ones and I might enroll in one of the Didache ones) is that the text is on the screen and a woman (with a voice that is perfect for this type of thing) reads the lesson. The child I have enrolled in this likes to read, but does not love to read, and has so much reading to do for school these days that she gets easily overwhelmed and her comprehension suffers. Being able to read and listen at the same time really helps.
There are questions (true/false, pick the right answer type questions for before and after each chapter), games, flash cards, scripture and the ability to take notes within the program. I can access reports on her performance (100% across the board so far) and monitor things that way. That does not, however, mean that we don’t discuss each chapter. We certainly do. Some of the things need further explanation/exploration and I do want to be sure she doesn’t miss anything.
So far, I would easily recommend the My Catholic Faith Delivered programs (as I’ve recommended Didache and Faith and Life over the years) and count the site build as a minor pain that is worth the trouble to get to the lessons and all of the benefits of them.
I am more cautious on Catholic Science at this point because it is so discouraging for my child. Because the content is good, I am not recommending that you stay away from it, but I am slower to recommend it while I wait and watch what is happening with my own child. If they can loosen up things like extra spaces and the strict (even when unnecessary) capitalization issues, I would probably recommend it more readily at this point.
And while I am thinking about curriculum, I’d like to mention that I am SO happy that we have made the move to Teaching Textbooks for math. I love it. My kids love it. It’s working so much better for us than Saxon. Don’t get me wrong. I like Saxon’s spiral approach and my kids did get a decent foundation with it, but Teaching Textbooks is so much better. My favorite feature is: Auto-grade and recordkeeping! It’s fantastic! This is not available in all of their levels, however. It would be excellent if they could incorporate that in all of them! They are pricey, but worth it. (about $140 – $185 per level) My kids don’t dread math anymore. God and finances willing, we will move exclusively to this program for TheBoy. It’s just that good.
Edited to Add: If you are interested in either the science or religion course, you can do sample lessons for free. They give you full access to chapter 1 so you can really see how it works. In the science course, you can just go and login as a “guest” and do the sample lesson. With the religion ones, you have to sign up for an account (giving your address and everything.) I don’t like that they require so much from me when I just want to look, but I’m glad I decided to sign up. It was worth it. With the religion courses, you have to go to your “dashboard” and look at “My Curriculum” and then to the right you will see “My Previews”. When you open that drop-down you will find that chapter one of every course is there, in its entirety, for you to do.