I grew up on Spelling Bees, Tiny Tutors, and automatic grading. For Switched-On Schoolhouse users, these words ring a homeschool bell. For a highlighter-fanatic like me, the highlighting tool was liberally used and created a kaleidoscope of colors in each lesson. Throughout elementary, middle, and high school, I used Alpha Omega Publications’ SOS curriculum for seven years. Now a junior in college, I credit many of my academic and personal successes to Switched-On Schoolhouse. For me, SOS was more than just a homeschool curriculum that taught me how to use a microscope and the meaning of split infinitives. It also taught me four important lessons.
1. Writing Skills—Being able to communicate in an array of manners is perhaps one of the most important skills a child can form in school. I attribute my love of words, reading, and writing to Switched-On Schoolhouse. I was able to take the Spelling Bees and vocabulary games as many times as I wanted, and I learned how to paint a picture with my words in every form of writing, including poetry, creative stories, research papers, and book reports. When it came time to write a literary analysis in college, I was prepared. When I had to write a captivating feature story, I wielded my words like Picasso’s paintbrush.
2. Computer Aptitude—Yes, this is the 21st century. Yes, tablets and smart phones are rampant. Yet, the everyday use of technology as children does not always adequately prepare them as college students or young professionals for the level of comfort and knowledge of computers that is required. While I still took notes in a notebook to maintain my penmanship, I became comfortable with writing a paper on the computer and learning how to conduct online academic research at varying levels at a young age. For students whose minds think faster than they can handwrite, becoming a rapid typist is a useful tool.
3. Personal Insight—When I was in school, I knew I was not going to be the next Albert Einstein, Charlotte Brontë, or Christopher Columbus. Yet, I have never lost any sleep over that fact because I was given the opportunity to excel at my own pace and pursue my God-given talents. I worked lessons, units, and then a grade ahead in English. In subjects that I struggled in, such as math and chemistry, I would re-take a lesson as many times as needed to comprehend the topic. I learned to admit and not be ashamed when I did not know something and ask for help. In fact, I called AOP’s academic support so often I should have had their phone number set on speed dial.
The ability to admit my lack of knowledge makes me unabashed to raise my hand in my college class or ask my classmate for help. I still push myself to become a better student in life and a better writer and communicator because I was given the opportunity to work ahead and pursue my passions in Switched-On Schoolhouse.
4. Working Independently—As a goal-setter and a competitive person in nature, I did not like the idea of waiting for every homework problem to be graded by my mother. The automatic grading and advanced lesson planning gave me the opportunity to work ahead without waiting for a problem to be graded, and it taught me that if I have the opportunity to work ahead, I should seize the opportunity.
What about you? What have you learned from Switched-On Schoolhouse?
Isabelle Faletti is a social media assistant for Alpha Omega Publications. A former homeschool student for 7 years using Switched-On Schoolhouse with her two sisters and numerous cats, she is now a junior public relations student at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota.