Tag Archives: elementary education

Abeka Video Program Review

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I often am asked by other homeschoolers about what curriculum we use, which leads to inquiries about the Abeka Video Program.  Abeka is based out of Pensacola, Florida and has been around for many decades, designed originally for Christian school use.  It has evolved over the years as a popular homeschooler’s choice as it is pre-packaged and fairly user friendly.

{A side note:  I actually used the Abeka curriculum from 4th-12th grades when I attended a Christian school.  So, I’ve been familiar with Abeka since 1979!}

If you’re familiar with our homeschool journey, you already know that we’ve been at this for nearly twenty years with two graduates and one in the not-so-distant future, by God’s amazing grace.  We have primarily used the Abeka curriculum for most of our journey and relied on the Video Program for the last five years.  I especially recommend it for the high school years!  We did use the Video Program for Algebra I for our oldest back in 2003.  So, my kids have had a variety of teachers in a myriad of subjects, some we love almost like family.

Hands down, Mr. Mike Smith, who has taught History and Bible is the funniest and most thoroughly engaging teacher they’ve ever had!  I’ve even enjoyed listening to him.  A close second, in terms of a wealth of information that he brings to the table, is Mr. Denis McBride.  My kids loved both of these teachers dearly and learned so much from them.  They were almost sad when a course was over!  Incidentally, you can view snippets of these gifted teachers on YouTube to get a glimpse of their teaching style and expertise.

Interestingly enough, Mrs. Judy Howe, who wrote the math curriculum, is the video teacher for Algebra.  My daughter absolutely loved her teaching.  I remember one year, my daughter was immersed in poetry and really developed a passion for it because of the way it was introduced to her via her Abeka Video Teacher.

My children have certainly learned a lot from me, or at least I’d like to think that, however, exposing them to so many experts in their respective fields has broadened their horizons in ways that would’ve been impossible otherwise.  So, I am forever grateful for the Abeka Video experience!

One year we did the video streaming online, which is not a live experience, but pre-recorded.  It is slightly cheaper and foregoes having the actual DVD’s mailed out.  You simply access it via Abeka’s website.  However, we found that selecting the DVD option worked better for us.  (less temptation to view other websites…)

The format of the Video Program is a classroom setting at the Pensacola Christian Academy and seeks to engage the student at home.  The teacher often asks questions of those in the classroom as well as directing questions to the “student at home watching”.  They play games that test their working knowledge of the subject that break up the pace of simply lecturing.

Included in the cost of the Video Program are all of the necessary student workbooks, teacher keys and tests.  So it is a complete program.  It is a little expensive, however, you are really getting a quality education that is priceless.

While the textbooks offer a very thorough education through a Christian perspective, adding the Video teacher’s expertise, further enhances the learning experience.

One can opt to only purchase one subject or a complete grade level.  At present, my son is completing 10th grade.

The way it works is … At the beginning of the school year, Abeka mails out the first set of DVD’s and a few months later, they ship the second batch of DVD’s.  However, they will not ship the third (and final) batch until you have returned the first set.  You are only permitted to have two sets out at any given time.  The DVD’s remain the intellectual property of Abeka and are never to be duplicated or retained in any way by the student.  The consumer is simply “leasing” the DVD’s for the school year.  You have to return all DVD’s within 12 months of your school start date.  When you place your order, you submit whatever “start date” you desire and this is what they go by.

You simply print a return shipping label from their website using your account and drop off at the Post Office.  They are very prompt about sending out the next set.  Their customer service is excellent in all regards.  We’ve had times where we’ve had to call about things and they are quick to resolve any issue, no questions.  As a parent, I’ve been ordering from Abeka since 1997 and am a completely satisfied customer.

I hope this answers some questions you may have had about the Abeka Video Program.  Please feel free to leave a question or comment below and I’ll do my best to answer.

{Little trivia:  Abeka was established by Arlin & Rebeka Horton in 1954.}

 

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Encouragement for the Homeschooling Heart

At some point or another, most homeschooling parents wonder whether their children are receiving a well rounded education.  Are they reading enough? Are they learning sufficient algebra or geometry?  Will they pass the ACT or SAT tests?  What about college? … And, lions and tigers and bears!  Oh, my!

We have been homeschooling for 17 years now with many ups and downs in the process.  One thing I have learned is that education is like building blocks.  Once the foundation is laid, everything else just builds upon it.  I have been guilty of spazzing out because my child wasn’t catching onto math concepts or reading as well as I thought they should in a certain prescribed year.  But, I’ve come to understand that much of the elementary learning process is redundant.  (This works to the advantage of my spazzing out issue.)  This means that if a child doesn’t grasp a concept this school year, chances are, they will next year or even the following.  Time and patience play a key role in education, don’t they?  Each child matures and develops at different rates, after all.

We homeschooled our older son, who will turn 26 this summer, from 5th-12th grades.  I can recall so many times I was uncertain I was doing enough as his teacher.  He began concurrent enrollment at the community college when he was in 10th grade and did very well.  By the time he graduated from high school, he was just three classes shy of his Associate’s Degree.  We were so very proud of him!  I’ll never forget his homeschool graduation night and thinking, ‘I guess I can do this thing’!  (I think part of me graduated that May night back in 2006.)  Why did I waste so much time wallowing in insecurity?  I suppose it was because he was our first homeschool “experiment”.

Here we are, eight years later, and the homeschool machine rolls on.  Our daughter will graduate from high school next May, and our younger son will enter high school this fall.

Our older son is excelling in a career he says he would do even if he worked for free, and we are infinitely proud of him.  Our daughter began her first job at the library last fall, and they all love her there.  She began as a volunteer and is now in a paid position.  It’s only a matter of time before our youngest gets a part time job and spreads his wings a bit.  He is, however, very happy about volunteering as a door greeter at church with his Dad for now.  😉

If your child is struggling in a particular area, seek out supplemental videos at the library or perhaps a tutor.  Other homeschool parents or even friends could be a great resource.  Everyone is gifted in different areas.  We’re not all good at grammar or math.  Seek out those with strengths where you are weak.

Annual assessment tests can be helpful.  Some families like them.  Some do not find them necessary.  I’ve found that with the one on one interaction we enjoy, we pretty much know where our children are excelling and where their weaknesses lie.  But, it’s a matter of preference and your state law.

Some years are filled with challenging distractions that require greater fortitude to overcome.  Maybe the birth of a baby.  Maybe illnesses.  Family situations.  Moves.  These are all part of the homeschool journey.  Cycles of life.  That’s what makes it a journey, rather than a destination.  Those are times we offer ourselves a little more grace while our hands remain on the homeschool plow.  We still have much to accomplish, but it may take longer than anticipated.  We may need to reach out to others to assist during special hardships.  Try not to resist the blessings others can offer when help is needed.

If you’re at a difficult juncture in your homeschooling journey, it’s time to take a deep breath, reassess, prioritize, dismiss the distractions, and resume making progress.  You can do this!  One step at a time.  Think positive, uplifting thoughts.  Devise a plan moving forward.  No need to beat yourself up over past failures.  Just move on, knowing that with the Lord’s help, you will reach the finish line.  And, what an accomplishment that will be!

Here’s to your homeschooling success!  🙂

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