Help Getting Started with ABeka and Homeschooling in General


#1

Hi! I am Brand Brand New to Homeschooling! And for fun (not really, we are military) we are moving from TN to CA this summer. Homeschooling and a Cross Country move!!
I think I have decided to use Abeka for 4th, 3rd and possibly K for the 2017-2018 school year. I like that it is all in one and I like its structure.
Having focused in on a curriculum now I have questions about its different versions : Book Only, DVD/Streaming, Abeka Academy with Basic Books, Abeka Academy with Full Book Set.
I know I want the DVD or Video Streaming. Do I have to join Abeka Academy to get the videos?
After watching Erica’s YouTube video on buying her curriculum I would like to buy as many of the books used as I can. Can I buy the books used and still get the DVDs through the Academy?
Do I need to do the accredited version of Abeka Academy or is the unaccredited version ok?
We are moving to CA, so I know I need to read up on that state as far as withdrawing from public school and setting up a Private School Affidavit - though I don’t know how to do that yet.
I might use the COAH letter of the week and Kinder program, I think that is more in line with my very active 4yr old.

So many questions! I’ve been researchin all day and dreaming about curriculums all night!
Thank you!
Christy


#2

Hi @Blueye1265! Congratulations on your choice to homeschool and your move!
I am not familiar with all of the different options from A BEKA, we have only ever used the actual books but I wanted to mention to you that A BEKA has Materials Displays all over the country on different dates. I have loved going to those, as you can browse through most all of their materials and ask questions of the representative who are super friendly and helpful, too. You get a higher discount if you purchase at one of those MD as well. It’s very worth it! Also they do online events.
http://www.abeka.com/materialsdisplay/
Best wishes and happy homeschooling! :cherry_blossom:


#3

I am only familiar with Abeka Kindergarten. I don’t do the streaming but looked into it when I was researching. All the materials that Erica goes over in her video would not necessarily be included with the video course. Anything that would be used by the teacher is not included, so flashcards, that big pack of phonics cards that Erica shows in a binder (can’t remember what Abeka calls them,) any of the games or other options you can purchase etc. Since with the video version, the teacher is in the video they don’t give you the parent any of that stuff. Of course you could just purchase it separately so you can review the material outside of the video if you wanted, but that does start to get pretty pricy. We went with the books version (I teach everything) instead of the video so that if my son didn’t get something we could review it as much as we wanted and move on when he was ready.

Anyway, the one thing I wanted to mention is Abeka sometimes has the same product listed on the website twice. So under the five year old kindergarten phonics/visuals section you will see Homeschool Learning Games and then Learning Games. The homeschool one is always cheaper. The difference is not obvious, but the homeschool version comes in a smaller size than the non-homeschool version. I just wanted to mention that since I learned it only after I bought a lot of stuff and then wished I had the bigger size. The phonics games for K5 comes with several charts you can hang on the wall with the letters and vowels etc and our version is a very small 8.5x11 sheet of paper (cardstock though) but is really too small to hang on a wall as a poster so I keep them in a file folder and then pull them out everyday when we want to look at them. Also, when going to the materials display, if you are pretty sure you know from the website what you want to buy, write down the product number and bring it with you. You get a discount for buying it through the materials display but they tend to push the homeschool versions of the products and if you want to bigger non-homeschool versions they can be hard to find on their order forms. So just have the numbers handy.

Hope that makes sense, and if you have any other questions, let me know.
Happy homeschooling!


#4

My family and I did the Abeka for 2nd grade. We chose the video streaming and I must say that it is very important to have excellent internet. If you don’t have good internet, getting the dvd’ s might be best. My son commented that sometimes the streaming did not work and it held up his class time. It was very frustrating for him.
This was our first curriculum for home school. We decided to go with the full package program. I really enjoyed the flash cards and how Abeka does their illustrations. This was our transitional curriculum from public school to home school. I was able to obtain a letter from Abeka to give to my son’s public school and they accepted his withdrawl. Every school is different so you might have to sign some paperwork.
I signed up on Abeka’s website (http://www.abeka.com) to buy their curriculum packages and accessories. They have a military discount and we used that while my husband was in the military. If you choose to stream your entire year you will need to visit their streaming website which is different from their curriculum site. I believe they provide most of the curriculum except the flash cards etc through the package program. We started off with the streaming first and then I started to teach him.

This curriculum is classroom based so the dvd’s /streaming will reflect a charter/ public school room atmosphere and the full curriculum package intergrates with the streaming program. If you pick and choose your curriculum instead of a full pacakge deal you are able to freely customize your classroom in a way that is more suited for your schedule. When you do the video program your child is required to call into the Abeka hotline and do his reading assignments over the phone for record. This made my son very nervous and it affected the grade they gave him. When we transitioned him from the streaming to me teaching his reading improved greatly.
Abeka gives you an outline on how to manage your Abeka classroom and teach with other children. As time went on we changed a few things around to keep things fresh.

Video streaming helped us transition into home school. My son enjoyed the songs, the national anthem, classroom prayer time, and he did his best to complete the work in the time frame that was given to him. We liked the phonics, the handwriting practice, and the math. Because of Abeka my son has the most beautiful handwriting for a soon to be 4th grader. He also loved the arts and crafts time as well. It was hard to fit that time in with all the assignments Abeka had.
As a family we decided to change the Bible class to being led by the Holy Spirit and focusing on what the Lord wanted my son to know.

My son was able to gain a lot from this program but I have to be honest with you.
Abeka has a HIGH burn out rate. My family personally experienced this burn out towards the end of the curriculum and it became more of a burden for our family than a blessing. As a teacher I felt chained to this program because it cost a lot more than what we spent for 3rd grade with virtually the same grading results and less stress.
My son who was in 2nd grade at the time felt so stressed about the worksheets. He would spend all day doing homeschool and then spend most of his time completing worksheets until dinner. By the end of the year when our household had a meeting about the next curriculum- we all decided Abeka was not for our families needs but it could be for someone else’s family. We chose to keep some of the flashcards and donate the program to the library in our area.

Despite the fact this was an all in one curriculum and I was excited about starting home school. I felt extremely overwhelmed by how much content was added to each subject and assignments. This could have been from being a new to home school but I found myself getting emotional about not being able to finish to the T of each assignment. I reached burn out way before my son did and home school felt more like a chore than an enjoyable time teaching and watching my child learn.

In the beginning the assignments are manageable, however; toward the middle and end of the program Abeka’s work became overwhelming for a single student.If you are teaching multiple children the extra work helps the little ones stay engaged while you help the other students.
Sometimes I had to scrap some of the extra work just so he could keep up with the Lesson Plan. I always kept tabs to make sure he wasn’t just regeritating facts but that he was actually learning. My son gained a lot from the program and passed 2nd grade with excellent grades but the stress this program put our family under helped us gain the confidence we needed to customize our child’s education with different publishers. If I don’t like a full package a publisher has to offer I can pick and choose what would work best for my family. I shop at Christianbooks.com for most of my stuff but I have been venturing off to Amazon.com ( prime) and Ebay. Etsy.com also has homeschool items as well.

I had high hopes for using Abeka throughout my children’s school years and it was quite disappointing that the program didn’t bless our family in the way we hoped.
Hopefully Abeka is a blessing for your household.

Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions.
Many Blessings for your home school nest
Kristal


#5

Hi!
Okay, I’m not super familiar with their streaming or DVD lessons, we’ve mostly used the books. Mainly because we re-use them for younger siblings and it was less expensive to go that route. Since you have a 4th, 3rd, and K, I would probably consider that since your 3rd and K could re-use any materials you purchase for your 4th grader.

From what I understand when you do streaming and DVD you have to pay per year, per child, meaning you can’t re-use those materials so if cost is of concern to you, that might be something to consider.

Also, since Abeka is so widespread, you can usually find used TM’s and student text books at a fairly inexpensive price rather than buying new. Then you just have to purchase new workbooks for your students which also saves on money.

For the online questions you might need to contact Abeka to get answers for those as far as what to order, join, etc.

Finally, for kindergarten, we’ve done both my K4/5 Kinder and Abeka’s and I can honestly say that we preferred my K4/5 Kindergarten to Abeka’s since Abeka’s curriculum overall is so worksheet oriented. My curriculum is more hands on and engaging, but that’s just my opinion :slight_smile: And also why I created it!

Hope that helps!!
Erica