Encouragement, tips, and practical helps for homeschool moms
A Beka provides a complete line of traditional Christian educational materials that have been developed and refined over a period of 50 years in the classrooms of Pensacola Christian Academy.
We have used A Beka since K-5 and my son is about to finish 9th grade. My advice is stick to the curriculum when they are small. The constant repetition and memorization can be tough when they are young, (learning all those math facts, math families, lots of writing and lots of phonics flashcards ) but it PAYS in the long run. When they get the basics, then you can decrease the amount of repetition on some things. My son has excelled in school using this curriculum. Now that he is older, so much of it is done on his own. We use DVD for Algebra I and Physical Science and the teachers are AWESOME. My only complaint was their 8th and 9th grade Literature. We were expecting it to be advanced since everything else had always been, but it really seemed to be on about a 5th grade level. We didn’t use it, went to whole books/classic literature. We plan on using A Beka through the rest of high school. It is time consuming — but I’m not sure why we expect school to be breezed through in 2-3 hours every day. I have no doubt that if he maintains his present course, he will be well prepared for college.
We use the full package with streaming video and wouldn’t do anything different. We love the video teachers and the colorful books and the Christian values! The quizzes and tests are NOT easy so the repetition is needed in order to know your stuff! My girls love all their subjects. Our first year was a bit rough since my youngest daughter was extremely bored and we were not sure if it was because of the seatwork or that the material was lacking. Once we spent time with her doing school and talking with other 2nd grade parents we realized that our daughter was just more advance than the 2nd grade material at which time (about half way through the lessons) we switch her out to 3rd grade in the middle of that year and she finished with no problems and loved it. She has gone on to 4th grade this year and doing great! My oldest felt the material was harder than her public school and worked hard to keep up but still made good grades the first year, this year she is making all A’s and loving her classes. She even chose to take Pre-Algebra in the 7th grade instead of waiting til the 8th. We have dropped a few small projects and some seatwork so we could add more field trips and hands on projects in order to break up the screen time that is required to complete the lessons. The one thing I have found is to focus on what they are learning and once it is gained allow them to not have to keep redoing the same skill. (ex. my daughter does well in math and each days math lesson has new material taught and refresh section for material previously taught; we allow her to skip the refresh problems on all worksheets as long as her quizzes grade stay above average.) My youngest doesn’t do any seatwork because she just doesn’t need it. If either one feels the teacher is being repetitious or the assignment is repetitious they just ask if they can skip it and most/not all the time I will say yes!
This is not a teacher friendly curriculum. It is highly scripted and you really have to sort through pages and pages to get the information you want. For example, I bought this curriculum just for the phonics but the teachers manual is flooded with so much information that in my opinion is not necessary. They assume you can’t teach your kid how to add 1+1 or that you won’t know how to teach your kid to write the letter A !!!!! Give me a break, I want to teach my kid how to read. I want to know the phonic rules, special sounds, short vowel sounds, long vowel sounds, ect. in an organized fashion; And yes the information is there but you have to sort through so many pages to find the information you want scattered all over the book. The only thing I did like was the student workbook, readers, flashcards but the teachers manual was a total disappointment. I hardly ever use the teachers manual. I find myself using the internet on how to teach the phonics then I just use the student materials for the actual work. I know that I’m a visual learner, so I prefer things to be organized in an easy way. Why couldn’t they include simple phonics instruction in a few pages. Its also overpriced and has too much work scheduled for the kids. I made it work because I stretched this curriculum over a year. Will not buy Abeka again. I hope this review helps others.
We have used the Abeka Book phonics curriculum since our daughter who is now (going to be) in 3rd grade was in k4. She began reading right away. Now, at 8 years old she reads at an adult level and is currently in the ABeka 5th grade readers.
Since it was such a glorious fit for her, I thought, that after our fifth child arrived I would go ahead and get the A Abeka Academy streaming for three of our five children. I thought how amazing it would be to sit beside them with a teacher and how fun they would have in a “classroom” with other kids.
I must say, our oldest daughter did quite well in 2nd grade. She listened well and did the lessons well. Yet, not so with our other two children. They were bored and crying that it was too long; each “class” is about 30 minutes long. They learned their Bible verses and they loved acivity time (art, science, history and singing) but it was a thug to get them to sit through a class. Once the class was over with and we were done, we were all emotionally exhausted and then there was still the seat work and book work, tests and handwriting to do!!!!
Also, if you are streaming classes you must have a good internet connection. It’s a must. We are missionaries in a different country and our internet is not the best. Once our kids would get into a flow in the mornings with their classes, the Internet would slow and so would the teacher. That was the beginning of the end.
In the end it was sadly a HUGE waste of money, and a big lesson learned. We stopped using the streaming about four months into it and I taught the remainder of the curriculum. We are flourished. Peace filled our home again.
Next year we will be using some A Abeka, mostly with our daughter. But I realized through this experience, that I teacher better and most importantly our children learn so much better with a slower Charlotte Mason approach. We also skipped the extra seat work and all the testing! The seat work is because the kids who are in the ABeka school must keep busy, but as homeschoolers it just doesn’t fit our lifestyle, it’s just not necessary.
Our oldest daughter will mostly be using the A Beka curriculum because she loves it. When she is in fourth grade we will place her in the Academy DVD program and most likely get the actual DVDs not the steaming.
I just started using A Beka this year though we started homeschooling midway through the school year the previous year. I used Horizons by Alpha Omega my first year and was in tears nearly every day due to the frustration from the materials and the difficulty of understanding of how to really cover the material. I finally switched to A Beka despite the few negative things (mostly everyone has hit the negative reviews I heard at least twice in this forum) I heard from people and we love it! I can see why some people do not like it, I can see how the repetition can be aggravating if your child does not need it. However, for me I just manipulate the curriculum to fit my children’s needs, I have one who really needs that reinforcement of lesson coverage while my other does not need it and I omit it or cover the reviews briefly. Now as for the complaints about seatwork, I don’t see that because I do not know how else you would be able to teach multiple grades without using seatwork to occupy one child while you teach the other? Though we do not do all of the seatwork I still don’t see it is a good reason for not choosing A Beka because to me if you don’t like it just omit it. I have also read from many reviews that A Beka does not inspire creative thinking, I think for that one it is too easy to have your child do projects on their own outside of the curriculum that inspires the creative thinking process. I hope to any homeschool parent out there that remembers what it is like to start out new would want to encourage a new homeschool parent to a curriculum that is not difficult to use and at the same time user friendly, I believe A Beka is it! I may juggle some different math programs in with our current A Beka math program because I feel at times we move a little slow but I would not go out and swap out my whole curriculum. I think for ease of use and trying to get started with Homeschool that A Beka should be highly considered in your home. Do the dvd’s if you are too scared to teach all on your own at first! Good luck to anyone just starting out and remember it may be difficult at first but its so worth it!!!
I have been using Abeka for 12 years with my 3 sons. I like that the lesson plans are completely done for you. I did not always do everything they had listed to do. I did find though that some things that I might have skipped with one child I may not have skipped with another. I love that flexibility. I have found it to be very thorough in the phonics and grammar/composition. I did however supplement with an extra writing curriculum in their high school years and switched to a different math curriculum in the high school years. We love Abeka and I know that people complain that it is so repetitive, but I think that is a good thing. Not all children get things quickly and need that extra “busy work”. I think it is great that Abeka realizes that and has that available. If your child does not need that extra repetition great, skip it and move on or go back later and use it as a review if needed. My older two children used Abeka through the 10th grade and then dual enrolled at the college and have done great! Thank you Abeka!!
I really like the phonics and reading curriculum (It’s how I learned to read when I was five), but I’m a little worried that the newer edition moves faster than the old version. The little readers are bright and colorful and the kids enjoy reading them. The only downside is that Abeka does not put much focus on sight words, so if a child transitions into a regular school in first grade, they will be behind in that aspect.
The handwriting curriculum provides great practice for the kids, and integrates reading into handwriting early on. It also includes proper punctuation instruction as well.
With such great T.E.’s for phonics/reading, I was disappointed that there was not one for Social Studies. It’s fairly straight forward, but having a teacher’s book with additional ideas for activities beyond the workbook would be helpful. Also, some readers to go with it would be a good way to tie in reading/LA with social studies.
I have also used Abeka reading in a classroom setting as well, and I found that it is definitely not a good curriculum for ESL students, it moves too fast for them. but I did use the readers once they got the basics of reading down and they kids really enjoyed them. My students with stronger English did well with the program though.
With no “teacher” training, I was impressed with the ease of all subjects. I will be teaching myself for 3rd grade. We used the DVD for 1st grade and it was wonderful. The bright colors are enjoyable and the intertwining of scripture throughout all the courses makes it an A+ for our home. I also found American Heritage Girls (Christian scouting group) to have many like minded badge earning opportunities that go along with many classes, which creates another great homeschooling bonus, learning and fun. Very excited about 3rd grade!
I have used Abeka for verious subjects for many years. If you are new to homeschooling Abeka is wonderful because everything is well writen and laid out so it is easy to teach. It is a school at home approach with textbook style busy work. You can easily skip an busy work and move on to the next topic. If you complete Abeka you can feel confident that you have few if any gaps in your childs education. FIVE STARS!
I really like the Abeka program but as I said if you only use the books and not the video program it takes a while just setting things up for the next day. If you are a seasoned homeschooler it might be ok for you because you will know what could be left out but this was my first time and I felt like I should go directly by the program guide which is great for step by step teaching but for a beginner it is incredibly time consuming. I became overwhelmed and gave up on it. If you can afford the DVD program and you children will sit and listen to them they are great there’s no prep work just grading of tests. Unfortunately my children found them too boring and it became a daily fight just to get them to sit thru them. But with all this said I think the Abeka program is great and kids can learn a great deal from it if you don’t have to fight th to do it.
We are second generation Abeka users and still love it. My children have loved learning how to read with this program and have done very well. It is done very orderly and the children find the work fun to do. We do not like the Math program as my children became frustrated with it. All the other programs are done very well though.
We have enjoyed this program. It is thorough, math moves a little fast.
Beka covers all information very thoroughly. I absolutely love their phonics program – especially if you have an above average student. The teachers manuals are thorough and easy to use – but you shouldn’t try to cover everything they tell you to – it is too much. Cover the basics and what your student needs to work on.
We have the used A Beka curriculum for most subjects for two children since 2001. Overall we have been pleased with the thorough content, the nice presentation, the phonics approach to reading, the grammar, spelling and vocabulary emphasis, and the great teacher resources. We agree with other reviews that mention too many pages of seatwork, but we just are careful to only assign the amount of work that is needed for the individual child to master the material; some children need extra work, and others don’t. We have had some issues with the customer service department; although the staff is very polite, they do not seem to be trained well at thinking through solutions to problems that sometimes occur with their computer system (such as conflicting balance on account page and on paper sent with books). We like the Biblical references included in the material.
This was our first year using Abeka for 2nd grade. Love the phonics, my daughter has learned so much. Too much seatwork, my daughter was so overwhelmed with the seatwork, we stopped doing seatwork half ways through the year. Great cirriculum and covers so much, but too much work for some kids. Would love to continue to use it, but I am afraid we will get behind again this year as we did last year.
This is a thorough curriculum that makes sure children learn the task at hand. Repetition is good for retention and practicing helps in learning new concepts. It mixes fun with diligence and hard work. This curriculum is great in Bible stories. The children know what to expect when curriculum is followed. I do not recommend for parents who are unorganized and like to fly by the seat of pants. It is laid out very well and basically tells you what to do and when to do it..you just have to follow it. DVD’s are very well made and easy to keep up with as a parent. You make sure the students follow along and are comprehending. You grade papers to see where help is needed. The DVD’s helped me out when I had baby #4 at the beginning of the school year. I have been impressed with the outcome of this curriculum so far. Both my 3rd and 4th grader love reading and supplement Abeka with tons of books about things they are interested in. They even do Science experiments on their own from books they have. We have tried our best to instill a love for learning in our children and Abeka has helped in that.
The ABeka K5 phonics program is wonderful. I have used it it with my oldest daughter, who is 6. She is now in the first grade and is a great reader.I just started using it with my four year old. I highly reccomend it!
I am using Abeka for Phonics, Spelling, Reading and Math. I suppliment Abeka science and history with other Unit Studies. I am VERY impressed with the Phonics program for ABeka. My daughter went to a private preschool and a public school for kindergarten. When we started with ABeka Phonics this year she looked at me SO confused. I wasn’t sure I was doing everything as I should. Then I realized she didn’t have Phonics in kindergarten. I pressed on and I cannot express enough how pleased I am with her progress. She is reading so well because she is understanding the “phonics” rules. Spelling with Abeka is not intense enough. There is not enough practice the first time around. I have to create extra work sheets for my daughter so she can practice with the words and she still isn’t spelling well. Beyond three letter words, she gets lost. However, she is in first grade so I know she has a little time to learn to spell. ABeka is very repetative in Phonics, Math, Spelling and Reading. As for Spelling I know she will have the same words in another lesson down the road so I don’t worry as much. I actually ordered a different Spelling program, but went back to ABeka because the words follow along with the Phonics and Reading they are doing. I would not call Abeka fun but we try to make it fun in our own way. Abeka Math is very good. My daughter is doing very well in math. Again, one thing I have learned with Abeka is it is very repetative. If your child does not get it the first time it will come back around again and they will pick it up then. If my daughter mastered it the first time we quickly review and move on. If she did not then we go over the whole lesson again and continue to work on it. The reading books that go along with Abeka are great. They work right inline with the Phonics lessons your child is learning. Over all with this being my first year homeschooling I wanted a cirriculum that told me exactly what to do each day and for my daughter not to fall behind. Abeka does all that. The teacher lesson plan literaly tells you exactly what to do. Everything with ABeka works together and I think that is what has helped me stay with it. Phonics, Reading, Spelling and Lauguage Arts all work together so that your child is actually doing work that they are currently learning.
This is the second year we used Abeka, and my daughter loves this ciriculum. It is easy to use and she actually enjoys going to school. Love Abeka!
MY DAUGHTERS LIKED USING THE ABEKA SCIENCE CURRICULUM AND MY YOUNGEST LIKES THE ABEKA MATH ALOT.
I do Love Abeka and have used it for many years. I have 9 children in various grade levels and Abeka is used by all. I use additional material to expand on things because I want them to learn more, retain better.
I have not seen anything as thorough as A Beka!
These are the wonderful resources that I use over and over and over with my children as they start out:
K4 readers- are *awesome* to teach beginners how to build words!
K4 ABC Writing Tablet-I prefer this in K because of lighter work load.
K5 Letters and Sounds workbook- starts with the basics and builds…interesting and colorful…its easy to assign a page at a time
Handbook for Reading- *the most important* phonics tool for everyone in my opinion….covers the short vowels and consonants for K level all the way through to teaching the complex phonetic sounds that some other curricula leave untaught.
1st grade readers- adds step by step practice, making learning to read well easy
2nd grade Letters and Sounds- builds the confidence in advanced phonics
2nd grade readers- these *really* make reading enjoyable to the student
(Basic Phonics Charts- nice to have, good practice)
This is my complete phonics program using A Beka. If I left anything out that they make, its because I used it and found it to be excessive for the individual home education setting. I am beginning this process with my fifth child now:)
We also have all the reading books through 5th, and my children love them!
We use the dvds and it makes learning so much fun. It spirals and my daughter is able to retain the information. The teachers are amazing.
Abeka is really great for K-6. The curriculum for high school can be a lille challenging to teach especially Plane Geometry. There are not enough explanations for each lesson. A video for this course would be helpful.
Pros: very indepth; lots of repetition; lots of review before a test;
Cons: repetition is sometimes too much; Also, I’d prefer not to have so many different books & booklets. For example, why not have all the history tests, quizzes & skill sheets in the history book, rather than 4 different books? And there are several books for most every subject. For this reason, it’s a pain if we are going to be doing school work away from home because you have to look in the curriculum for that day and figure out which quiz books, test books, skill sheet books, & text books to bring.
My oldest daughter will only use Abeka for her science. We got it for her when she was in 4th grade and she has never wanted to use anything else since. She loves the pictures and the way the lessons are laid out. Very easy for her to understand and retain.
We have used Abeka since the beginning and have loved it for the most part. I use the eclectic approach so I have not used the complete curriculum, but Phonics, the readers, Science and Health and some History have been a good fit for us.
Loved their program on teaching to read! Went at child’s pace, not theirs. We have boys and the seat work became too much for boys. A lot of writing and a lot of repetition.
We have used Abeka books in many subjects areas and enjoy most of them. Our particular favorites have been the Science texts, and, the Health, Safety and Manners texts. The page layouts are easy to read with a good choice of font,use of color and pictures. I actually use just the Teacher Editions, as they include all the student text material. I give the chapter quizzes orally as the T.E.s have the answers. I also do not choose to do all of the suggested activities. We supplement heavily, and at times the Abeka is actually the supplement. I like the Health, Safety and Manners books very much. They nicely reinforce what we her parents are harping on! We have used Abeka for grades 1,2 and 3, in addition to our other resources.
I still use Abeka materials. Some of them are so good I come back year after year. My kids have learned alot over the years, and the consistant Christian instruction is very reassuring. (I don’t have to look over shoulders for fear of what may have changed)
I really enjoyed using the Abeka materials. I found it easy to teach and they really enjoyed learning esp the Christian perspective. I would recommend to others. The only problem I had was so much details in the history for my daughter – she really was challenged to learn so much. 🙂
If you follow everything in the Grammar book you will definately learn and learn it well. There is just so much repetition that my child was bored beyond belief and we will not be using it another year.
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