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