The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

LifePacs Review by Kim Wolf

This was my first experience with the LifePac curriculum from Alpha Omega. I was asked to review a Kindergarten level Language Arts set of lessons. Even though we associate Kindergarten level with ages five or six, my three-year-old was more than ready to begin learning. I really enjoy the way LifePac lessons are geared more towards parental involvement than independent learning. Doing these together has opened up many conversations between Emily and myself. For example, learning and writing the letter "E," gave us the opportunity to discuss who Esther was. And we were able to talk about the different ways Easter is celebrated around the world. LifePac gives parents the foundation of teaching language arts to their children. It's up to us as parents to build on that foundation and give them more. The Alpha Omega LifePac program allows your children to advance at their own pace. They are not forced to learn at the speed of the rest of the class. I highly recommend this program, and both Emily and I are eager to begin the next level of her learning experience with LifePac. Another great product from Alpha Omega!

--Product Review by: Jo-Ann Stitham, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Drawing Basics with Thomas Kinkade (LifePac)

You WILL NOT BELIEVE what Alpha Omega has now! A new art curriculum. Not impressed yet? How about Drawing Basics with Thomas Kinkade?! Now, I'll bet I have your attention!

This is a great set that needs nothing added. In the set you get five LifePacs (workbooks), a nicely detailed Teacher's Guide, and, best of all, a video that has Thomas Kinkade himself teaching all of the courses! This curriculum is targeted to grades three to five, but may be very easily adapted to the upper grades. My oldest is a sophomore in high school and even though a few of the steps seem a little juvenile, they are still those basic steps and that basic knowledge that all budding artists need to know.

You will start out with simple lines - all art is made of either straight lines or curved lines. Sound simple? Ask around and see how many people can tell you just that simple fact. At the beginning of each unit, you will find a list all materials that you will need. Most are items that you will have anyway: crayons, sandpaper, #2 pencils, scissors, glue, magazines, rulers, construction paper, markers, erasers, etc.

The lessons progress from simple lines to shapes, drawing in proportion, under drawing and overdrawing, creating from imagination, drawing from memory, drawing tone, drawing texture, landscapes, finishing a drawing and right on into art history. There are question and answers, matching, fill-in-the-blanks, and tests. But most importantly, Mr. Kinkade has included Bible lessons and an art activity to go with it in each unit. You didn't expect the "Painter of Light" to leave out the original Artist, did you?

This set promises to be highly enjoyable for our students and nearly stress-free for parent/teachers. The only problem you may have with this is that it has to end!

--Product Review by: Kim Wolf, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Accounting LifePac

We have used Alpha Omega's LifePacs (workbooks) for such subjects as Bible and Language Arts for years. As my oldest daughter has moved into high school, I've been exploring math electives. I wanted something that would keep math actively "alive" in her brain while moving into a different direction than other "higher math" electives. Not only do I feel that accounting answers that need, but it also gives a teen practical knowledge for when they will be keeping their own books. Who knows, this may even whet their appetite for a new career path or even open the door for them to help a spouse with their business.

We have decided on Alpha Omega's Accounting LifePac. The Accounting curriculum is a full year's curriculum. The set comes with 10 workbooks and the Teacher's Guide. Each workbook covers a unit in a progressive way; each one builds upon what was taught in the other. I like this and it works well with how my daughters' brains work. These workbooks cover such topics as: Careers in Accounting, the Basics; The Balance Sheet, General Journal and General Ledger; Analyzing and Journalizing Transactions, Posting to the General Ledger, Types of Accounts; Preparing the Worksheet, Financial Statements for a Proprietorship; Payroll Records; Payroll Accounting, Taxes, Reports; and ends with a Business Simulation Reinforcement Activity. Each workbook contains three or four units with a test after each unit, plus a book test to be done upon completion.

I can see this as a great apprenticeship tool. Like all Alpha Omega LifePacs, this is a very self-contained curriculum and as the student completes each workbook, they feel a real sense of accomplishment. I recommend this for the high school elective years.

--Product Review by: Kim Wolf, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine