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Progress Academy


www.progressacademy.org

614-437-2626
PO Box 415
Powell, OH 43065

Progress Academy is an online curriculum provider for grades K-12.  They utilize online eBooks from different textbooks companies.  Enrollment in Progress Academy gives you access to all subjects for your child’s particular grade.  Tuition is based on different payment options.  If you make one payment, the cost is $895, which is a 10% discount.  You also have the option of paying quarterly with a 5% discount, or you can pay monthly with a total cost of $997.  All learning is done on the computer, so you will receive no materials.  This review is strictly for first and fourth grade social studies and math. 

For social studies, Progress Academy uses Harcourt Social Studies eBooks.  First grade includes 6 units, which cover the following topics: Rules and Laws, Where People Live, We Love Our Country, Our Changing World, Meeting People, and The Marketplace.  Each unit follows the same setup, incorporating 5 to 6 lessons per unit.  The first thing the student does is to preview the vocabulary.  All the definitions are child friendly and usually include a photograph of something that pertains to the word.  Next, you can watch a short 1-2 minute video.  I found these videos to be a little outdated in terms of what the people were wearing, but all the information was still pertinent.  The lesson itself follows next, incorporating just enough text to get the lesson’s meaning across for a first grade level child.  The illustrations are done well, and clearly show what is being taught.  The end of each unit includes a review and activities to expand on what the student has been learning.  Some of the activities include a book list, a writing activity, and a simple project.  
One of the great features I like about this eBook is the option to have the text read to the student.   If your child isn’t a strong reader, all they need to do is click the play button in order to have the text read to them.  This feature is included throughout the eBook.  I found Harcourt Social Studies to be a simple and effective way to teach this often forgotten subject. 

The eBook for fourth grade is 224 pages in length, and does not include the audio option which is in the first grade book.  There are 4 units, which cover Ohio’s Geography and Early People, The Ohio Territory, Ohio Statehood, and Ohio’s Government and Economy.  Each unit has 5 lessons that all begin with a reading lesson.  There are different reading concepts covered in each unit which is:  main idea, cause and effect, summarizing, and compare and contrast.  The reading lessons are very short, giving the student a brief overview, and then a simple practice procedure.  Next, as the student reads each lesson, there are questions or activities covering the concept that was taught.  After that there is a story, followed by the main lessons. The concepts covered are map skills, location of Ohio on the earth, and the United States, Ohio history, national government, Ohio State government, Ohio’s Local Governments, and Ohio’s Economy. The table of contents is clickable with drop down menus.  Each lesson has vocabulary with definitions at the beginning.  The vocabulary is highlighted in the text, and you are able to click on it to read the definition or have it read to you.  The units end with a writing activity, different options for projects, and further reading suggestions. 

Harcourt is also used for Math.  The concepts for first grade are:  Number Sense, Addition, Subtraction, Graphs, Probability and Numbers to 100, Operations, Money and Time, and Measurement.  Concepts covered in fourth grade are:  Whole Numbers and Operations, Multiplication and Division Facts, Time Temperature, Data, Multiply by 1-digit and 2-digit numbers, Divide by 1-digit and 2-digit divisors, Fractions and Decimals, Geometry, and Measurement and Probability.  This is a mastery-based curriculum, meaning the concept is taught once, and then you move on to the next concept without review of anything previously learned.  Both first and fourth grade eBooks are set up the same way.  The tables of contents are clickable with drop down menus for each unit.  You can click on the lesson you are on and be taken to that lesson.   The concept being covered is taught and then practiced. However, you cannot print out the page, so children will have to write the problems down on a separate piece of paper.  This may be too much for first grade children, even some fourth graders.  However there are printable practice and enrichment workbooks for both grade levels.  Down the sides of the eBooks are icons for Vocabulary, Tools (manipulatives) that are interactive, Activities, and Intervention.  The tools are different for each lesson and can include number lines, math charts, counters, ten frames, etc.  One of the things I liked most was the Intervention.  If your student is struggling with a concept all they need to do is click on the intervention icon, which is a life preserver, and they are taken to another screen.  This screen has actual audio with screen shots explaining the concept.  The student then gets the chance to practice with help, then independently, and then proceed to take a quiz.  All of this is done on screen without having to write anything down.  We ended up using this tool a lot and just used the eBook for discussion of the concept. 

Overall I think Progress Academy is a good option for some homeschoolers.  If your student doesn’t mind reading everything on screen, then they should do well. I think that, for the younger grades, it may be too much.   One of the downfalls, I believe, is the lack of a teacher’s manual for any of the subjects.  All you really have is the student textbooks as well as some printable workbooks.  If you need further explanation on a topic you will be left to figure out how to present it on your own.  There are some answer keys on the Progress Academy’s website.  I also think the price may be prohibitive for many families.



Product Review by Stacy Rocha, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2012


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