Monarch Online Homeschool Curriculum
Reviewed by Jonathan Lewis
Monarch is an online learning solution offered by Alpha Omega Publications. Offering a complete curriculum, extensive customization options, and a competitive pricing structure, it offers fans of computer-based learning some attractive possibilities.
Before we get started, please note that this is not a review of the curriculum behind Monarch; this is only a review of Monarch as a system. The curriculum borrows heavily from other Alpha Omega brands—primarily Switched-On Schoolhouse (about 80 percent), with some LifePac and Horizons thrown in. If you want to know more about the curriculum side of the system, I suggest talking with someone who is familiar with Alpha Omega’s resources or looking up reviews online.
The two things that impressed me most about Monarch are the price and the adaptability. Let’s talk about the price first.
You can register a single student with Monarch for $39.95 per month, or you can sign up for a Family Plan—which includes three students—for $69.95 per month. If you have more than three kids, you can add additional students to your Family Plan for $19.95 per month. Plus, if you pay for an entire year, you’ll get two months free. The benefit of this pricing structure becomes evident when you consider that Switched-On Schoolhouse (the curriculum that provides the backbone of Monarch) costs approximately $450 per child per year. Yes, it’s possible to homeschool more inexpensively with other options, but if you’re keen on computer curriculum, these rates look attractive.
Adaptability is the next major asset. You can customize each child’s learning through Monarch in a variety of ways. For example, if you have a fifth-grade child who performs at grade level on most subjects but is a grade ahead on math and a grade behind on language arts, you can give him the fifth-grade curriculum on most subjects while giving him sixth-grade math and fourth-grade language arts. Monarch gives you complete access to all grade levels across the whole curriculum rather than locking you into a smaller box.
Many other options are customizable as well. In fact, it appears that just about everything can be personalized to you and your students—from the number of attempts allowed on test questions to what percentage of correct answers equals a certain letter grade to specific lessons to assign or skip, and on it goes.
As with any software, you’ll find that there’s a learning curve with Monarch. It’s fairly easy to use and navigate, but there are a lot of options, and you’ll want to make sure you have everything configured to your liking before your students get started. (You can continue to tweak afterward, however, so don’t stress too much if you don’t have everything perfect.) Alpha Omega offers a user’s manual for both teacher and student as well as a ninety-minute online training webinar you can attend.
Computer-based learning may not be for everyone, but if it’s your method of choice, you’ll want to check out Monarch. It’s got a lot to offer.
Information and availability subject to change without notice.