AOP Monarch Homeschool Curriculum Review

by Shannon
(Lancaster ON)

Monarch: AOP's Christian Online Homeschool Curriculum

Monarch: AOP's Christian Online Homeschool Curriculum

I have written a very long review of my experiences so far with Alpha Omega Publications' Monarch online homeschool program. The post can be found at http://www.momlovesbooks.com/?p=207 - understand that I'm not "bashing" the curriculum, just trying to be honest and speak from my heart.

I feel a great responsibility towards the homeschooling community having been part of it for about eleven years... I know that new homeschoolers look to us veterans for direction and counsel.

I use (and will continue to use) Horizons for my Littles math (that's AOP as well), and am considering LifePacs (AOP too) for bible & science.

Monarch is simply not ready for release. On my blog there are screen shots to back up this statement. I have no doubt they'll be working overtime to fix a lot of these problems, but seemed surprised that I experienced them on a browser they said had been tested... well, guys, try again!

This program is not worth the money (at this point in time, give it a couple years to work out the kinks.)

Blessings and I hope this helps someone!
Shannon R

Thanks for sharing your comments, Shannon, I appreciate them! I also use AOP (LifePacs) for some subjects; your experience with Monarch surprises me. Hopefully AOP will get the kinks worked out sooner, rather than later. Blessings, Heather :)

Comments for AOP Monarch Homeschool Curriculum Review

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Apr 06, 2010
Monarch curriculum
by: Ann

So far I have found it way below expectations. I purchased just one subject before sinking too much money in it. Beware!!

Apr 06, 2010
AOP's Monarch Curriculum
by: Heather

Ann,
Thanks for your comments! Would you say that Monarch is supposed to be an online version of AOP's Switched-On Schoolhouse curriculum, or is it completely different than SOS?
What subject did you purchase?


Apr 12, 2010
Also Frustrated
by: Dayna

I too am very frustrated with Monarch. Once the kinks are worked out the program might be good but it was not ready for release and I regret buying the full 8th grade set.

Apr 19, 2010
Monarch vs. Switched-On Schoolhouse
by: Anonymous

Monarch has the same curriculum content as SOS, but the engine is quite different. The main difference is that SOS is installed on your computer and can be used without an internet connection while Monarch is stored on Alpha Omega's computers and requires an internet connection to be used. Because of this, Monarch can be used from any internet-connected computer without installing anything. You can see how this could be a big advantage for somebody using a computer at Grandma's house or the library.

Monarch requires a subscription and can be accessed for 18 months, allowing some time in case you fall a little behind. But once that 18 month period is over, you must purchase a new subscription in order to keep using it, even if it's the same subject. And multiple kids can't access a single account—they'll need their own subscription. On the other hand, SOS is yours to keep and reuse forever, or as long as you can nurse along a compuer that can still run it. True, it cannot be resold, but for those of us with more kids on the way up, the economy of using a complete program over and over without any additional cost is unparalled.

The present-day SOS is nothing like the original program. Over the years, Alpha Omega has added all kinds of extra features and upgrades, to the point that's almost unrecognizable as the same program. I'm sure that Monarch will undergo the same metamorphosis (get it? Monarch, metamorphosis? Sorry!) over time that SOS did. They are already vigorously troubleshooting, upgrading and adding new features. I'll bet you'll be amazed at the changes just by the beginning of the 2010–2011 school year.

Apr 19, 2010
Monarch
by: Linda Difino

I wanted to respond to a few of the questions and concerns about Monarch. I am an 18-year veteran of homeschooling with 10+ years experience with AOP and with Switched-On Schoolhouse. I'm actually the SOS mom that records the SOS (and now Monarch) On-Demand presentations you can find on the AOP website. http://bit.ly/bW16AE

First to answer a question...YES, the content of Monarch is nearly identical to Switched-on Schoolhouse. The lesson content is the SOS lesson content. There have been some changes to some of the question types in most lessons. Some of the multimedia and games are either changed or currently absent. Some features...highlighting and text-to-speech...are currently absent. Most of these are things that will likely be added in the near future.

Much of what has been shared in the above posts concerning Monarch is extremely accurate. When I first saw Monarch I was very disappointed, and as an SOS user thought that I would NEVER use Monarch. However, over the last 2 weeks, my opinion is changing. AOP has made a remarkable number of improvements in Monarch since it was first released. MANY of the serious issues that it contained have been resolved completely. Some really nice features have been added or improved. I'm impressed with what has been done in such a short time! I think that by the "traditional" beginning of the 2010-2011 school year...in just a few short months...Monarch will be everything that AOP has promised that it will be.

I think the main problem AOP had is that they simply released this product a little bit too early!! But since most people don't start school until August/September anyway....and since the subscription is for 18 months, this isn't going to present a huge problem for most people. I would encourage those who are curious about Monarch to watch the On-Demand presentation. I'd also like to invite you to view Monarch firsthand at a local homeschool convention or book fair, or to join a recently added yahoo group:

AOP-Monarch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

I believe that AOP's commitment to providing high quality curriculum to homeschool families is going to result in yet another outstanding product. But just as Switched-on Schoolhouse improved with age, Monarch will need a little bit of time to do the same.

Hope this helps answer some of the questions!!

Apr 19, 2010
Monarch
by: Anonymous2

Like Linda, I am a homeschool Mom with 15 year experience, 10+ with Switched-On Schoolhouse.
I had the privilege to Beta Test Monarch over the past several weeks. And have already seen great improvements.
Alpha Omega is truly a company that cares about their customers and listen to their suggestions.
I have watched SOS grow, change, and improve and over the years.
Although Monarch is in the rough stages. knowing the reputation of AOP I believe that Monarch will become a viable option for many Mac users and homeschoolers who want to do school on the go on a variety of computers. I'm sure most of the glitches people are experiencing will be resolved before the 2010-2011 school year

Apr 23, 2010
Monarch - Failed
by: AngelaMN

I am very upset with AOP and their Monarch product. I called them daily for a week after purchasing Monarch and they refuse to exchange or refund anything. I wish I had waited a few weeks to read reviews of Monarch before purchasing, but I never thought that AOP wouldn't refund a customer that was so unhappy with their product.

Jun 01, 2010
Problems Continue
by: Anonymous

So here we are in June, 2 months after the Monarch release, and I am amazed at the number of errors in the Monarch program. My son is so frustrated. He and I are finding numerous errors in the program, such as incorrect answers to the lesson problems, lots of misspellings in the lessons, etc. Just some basic editing would fix this. I mean, if they would just READ their own material, they would find these obvious problems! I'm not talking about computer glitches. I'm talking about basic text editing! Unfortunately, I purchased several courses for this year. It is frustrating that my 9th grader is finding lots of misspelled words that even HE knows are incorrect! Argghhh!

Jul 22, 2010
Pleased with Monarch
by: schoolmom

I, too am a homeschool mom who has been homeschooling 3 children for several years. In the past, I have not used any computer/video curr. for school. I purchased SOS History about 3 years ago and was disappointed. I was hesistant to try Monarch but thought I would have each of my children do one to two subjects from Monarch. We have tested it this month in prep. for August school start date (in case we had problems_
.I have to say that we have been very pleased with it. There were a few minor kinks in it at first (most of it something simple I had overlooked). It is easy for my 10, 12 and 14 year old to use. It is also easy for mom to set up. There is one issue on the calendar, which had a non school day (true) but had reason listed soccer
camp and conference, which I did not put down. I contacted tech support and they are working on this. They have been very helpful in the several calls I have made. They also called on their own the other day to make sure everything is working properly.

Jul 22, 2010
Monarch reviews
by: Devonda

This past year was my first year to homeschool my legally blind son. He was a freshman and we used SOS for most of our subjects. He really loved it as did I. I want to try the Monarch for his soph year because I hear that it is basically SOS except you can use it anywhere there is internet. I'm just afraid because of all the bad reviews I"ve seen. It's finally nice to see some good ones!

Anyone out there have any more positive reviews? I'd love to hear more, as I have got to get on the ball and do my ordering! Thanks for any info you can provide.

Aug 03, 2010
Expecting great things
by: Anxious Amy

So, I read everyone's comments, and in my opinion, I believe that this curriculum is going to be outstanding when my son & I begin using it in a couple of weeks. I personally saw the program in action at a Homeschooling Convention, and it truly impressed me. One thing that everyone should remember is that every update they make to the program, you will get instantly. Unlike, SOS, where your version would be outdated. That is the beauty of this whole thing. So, be patient, and watch technology work for us. I believe it is definitely worth the money, and am anxious to get started!!

Aug 13, 2010
Monarch
by: Vicky

I tried the Spanish Monarch middle school program in May of 2010 and found it to be completely worthless. I doubt anyone from AOP ever tried using this product before they put it for sale because it was full of bloopers and frustrated my child. However, it did look like, had it been working, it would be both fun and educational. Rather than request a refund, I switched to 7th grade math and found that was working perfectly and beyond my expectations. It was both fun and educational. I then purchased Language Arts, Science and SOc. Stu /Geography for 7th grade and have had great success with them. I have only been using them for 2 weeks though. I have had no "bloopers" whatsoever and both my child and myself find it quite satifactory. So don't give up on Monarch quite yet.....it just neeed more time to work out all the kinks.

Aug 18, 2010
Monarch Disappointment
by: Josie

I am completely disappointed in Monarch. It is not user friendly. It seems unfinished and rushed to market. I do get good support when I have had to call, but overall, we are not off to a good start. I will go back to SOS next year, if I can make it that long. I have considered just cutting my losses and getting SOS. I hate to waste money but since I used my debit card instead of a credit card, I have no other recourse. I really did like the idea of this, but I am not satisfied.

Sep 23, 2010
See the potential but don't appreciate paying money to improve their product
by: Stephanie

I bought four courses hoping my son would have independent study in history, science, geography and Bible while I teach my other child. That is impossible with this program as it stands today. I spend more time with my son doing this program than I do on his math, grammar and reading due to the multiple issues it has.

I have used the feedback button two to three times per day to request multiple acceptable answers, identify missing pages or links, identify misspelled words or address software problems.

I agree with a previous reviewer that they launched too soon. I wish they would have launched a test year with a significantly reduced cost with the idea that users would give this feedback so that the following year they could launch the full product ready to go with these bugs worked out. I think it will be a great product. I just don't appreciate being a guinea pig and paying to be one while they figure it out.

Sep 28, 2010
Frustrated, Disappointed and falling behind with Monarch!!!
by: Anonymous

Thank you to those who have taken the time to to review this 'Beta stage' product.
For those who might be interested...CAUTION.
As a mature Christian and former teacher, I prayerfully took my time and did my homework before choosing Monarch for our teenage son.

Our family was very impressed with its bold promise to help our student achieve academic success and its appealing packaging.
I certainly wish we would have known more, prior to our costly purchase.
After only two frustrating months with it,
this morning I decided to get on the computer to find out if others were experiencing the same, or am I the only one?

I agree that Monarch has the potential to be wonderful and user friendly once it has TIME to mature.
However, we are extremely disappointed and frustrated (to high heaven) with the rushed plan, numerous glitches, misspellings and lack of help.
(When a 'glitch' would not accept our student's correct answers, and scored it as incorrect, we were told by technical help, to either "skip it, or...take the Hit."!!!)Due to the glitches and inconsistencies in the program, both student and teacher have fallen behind as a result.

We feel we were misled and deceived into thinking we were receiving a finished and proven product.
This is a financial blow not be refunded and a poor testimony for Alpha Omega Publication!


Sep 29, 2010
differences
by: Anonymous

Isn't Monarch the exact same subject matter as SOS, only that it is on-line vs. a program that you download? And, the way you navigate around it? Are those the only 2 things that are different? I'm just wandering.

Oct 21, 2010
Monarch AOP - Disappointed
by: Debbie

Last year we used AOP's Switched on Schoolhouse for my boys who were in third grade then. We used it for Science and Geography/History. I liked the idea of my boys having SOME computer based course, as I feel it better prepares them for what the future holds. The content was great, the deliverance was acceptable - not great - but okay - and the self grading was awesome!! We were using Horizons for health and I did not like the lesson layout and found it challenging to figure out what we needed to cover on a weekly basis. So this year I was sooooo excited about Monarch (internet based - awesome) and bought 4th grade health, bible, science and geography/history. The content is great. The deliverance has now moved to downright boring. We have a friend who uses K12 in eight grade and the deliverance is soooo much more exciting and it really pulls you into the lesson. The lessons/test and quizzes are downright quirky. For example if you need to do a fill in the blank and you answer the by the person's full name it marks you wrong. Evidently you are only to give the last name (of course the system does not tell you that - you have to just figure it out). At that point, why not just make it a multiple choice question? On match up questions, it is even worse. The answer key does not match the student key and sometimes you answer by plugging in letters, numbers or others. It is so stressful that it makes you hate the program. AOP really needs to take a good look at K12's curriculum and develop something more like that. I am seriously considering switching curriculums mid year and that goes against everything I believe in.

Oct 21, 2010
Monarch Disappointment
by: Heather

Thanks to everyone who has posted their comments about their experience with Monarch, AOP's new online homeschool curriculum. Your stories not only help other parents in the curriculum-decision process, but I believe they help AOP better serve their homeschooling customers. I have received feedback from AOP before - I know they read these posts and do care what you think. Keep sharing!
Blessings,
Heather :)

PS To answer the previous questions...
"Isn't Monarch the exact same subject matter as SOS, only that it is on-line vs. a program that you download? And, the way you navigate around it?"
See Linda Difino's comments above; she gives some good insight. Linda is a homeschooling mom and works for AOP (and a friend of mine). If you have any other questions about Monarch, feel free to ask! (Thanks for your help, Linda!) :)

Nov 12, 2010
I thoroughly dislike waiting in between grading tasks !
by: Anonymous in NH

Is anyone else feeling the frustration of having to wait while the program "boots" up each task? I would find this frustration with ONE student but I have TWO students who are doing this program! (We have speedy internet connection and use multiple computers.) I have seen the number of times where answers should have one of SEVERAL *correct* answers because my daughters get so frustrated when its not answered the way the programming specifically requires (even though their answer is still right!) One of my daughters experienced losing work on SEVERAL occasions...the field just completely went blank while typing essays. I also feel like its the guinea-pig stage and we are the ones being tested! I will not be purchasing the Monarch program again unfortunately. AOP has great curriculum but it still has improvements to make.

Nov 17, 2010
Monarch
by: JayCee (Student)

I LOVE Monarch! I can get don faster and easier! I HIGHLY RECCOMEND Monarch!

Jan 06, 2011
Monarch is great!!
by: Anonymous

I absolutely love Monarch...Have been a homeschooler for many years...Have used some SOS, but mostly books with all three of my sons...My highschooler is thriving with Monarch...Computer based curriculum fits his learning style just perfectly...He is even ahead of schedule...Grades are awesome...And he is very excited about all that he is learning...The way that Monarch is structured is comparable to some of the online classes that my older sons have taken in college...I feel that this will help prepare my highschooler for college computer based classes.

Feb 16, 2011
My Son likes Monarch better than SOS
by: Anonymous

So far we haven't had any big problems with Monarch, but my son is only doing Health. He also does science and history using SOS, 2008. He wants to go to all Monarch next year, but I want to keep him in Saxon Math and Rod and Staff English. I may switch history and science, however, since he seems to like Monarch so well. SOS and Monarch have the same problems: You have to go over the answers to make sure the program didn't count something wrong that should be right. No big deal, parents should always go over their child's work anyway. I like the fact that you can do Monarch from any computer and that they keep it backed up for you.

Mar 04, 2011
WARNING! Think TWICE before enrolling!
by: A.M.P.

I, too have had SEVERAL issues with the monarch program:

1. There's NO trial/testing period, even though it's still in the VERY EARLY stages of development.

2. There is absolutely no review of the lessons before it's quiz time.(The scheduled quizzes could be a week or two AFTER the corresponding lessons, without a review lesson).

3. On the language arts lessons, spelling lists (and vocab lists) are sooo long, and again, there are no review lessons or practice links to go to to "cement" the lessons in your mind before your quiz assignment is automatically scheduled for your child. To review, you need to go back to an ancient looking lesson plan tree, FIND the corresponding lessons, then review each one separately to prepare for your test. Oh, and FINDING the lessons is NOT user-friendly, either. It truly is a pain, especially for a child!

4. When I print out the "Daily Work Reports" the supposed lesson description listed often does not correspond to the exact lesson name your child completed in his/her actual lesson window. Extremely confusing during bookeeping & grading!

5. There is no "Highlight text" option, so you need to print out the lesson if you want to take notes, or mark it in any way to help your child learn.

6. All in all, the product seems incomplete, not user-friendly, rushed, and copied out of a textbook, with some videos & links sprinkled in with the lesson. If I had to do it all over, I WOULD NOT, and I urge anyone considering this program to "lighten their load" to look elsewhere.

My burning question is this: If I need to PRINT out every lesson, SUPPLEMENT the online lessons, waste my time with an extremely confusing setup, AND re-teach & supervise my child who's also having a hard time learning & retaining the material, WHY pay through the nose for a program that's supposed to work online & make your job easier? I would have been better off with workbooks- which by the way, would probably be my last choice...?

I had originally bought the 4th grade Monarch program (minus the math) because I had read WONDERFUL things about Switched on Schoolhouse (SOS). I had read different posts all over the web that claimed that it was the online version of SOS... DEFINITELY NOT! Even the customer service rep I spoke to (after the non-refundable purchase), commented that many people who were used to SOS were very unhappy with Monarch. The thing is, I had never even used SOS! I STILL can't stand Monarch, but more importantly, MY 9YR. old SON can't stand it, doesn't learn well on it, and asks to go back to our "old way" of homeschooling- With books, videos, discussions and regular writing practice. Back to the drawing board for us, and what a painfully expensive lesson this was!

Mar 04, 2011
Re: Monarch warning- Adding to my last post...
by: A.M.P.

There is also a "read text" function, but when you use it, a TINY little box with the lesson text pops up, blocking your view of the nice big lesson window. This is a huge distraction, especially for very visual learners, or those who are easily distracted.

To see some more reviews of Monarch, please check out: http://www.momlovesbooks.com/?p=207 and: http://www.aophomeschooling.com/blog/aop-net-alert/monarch-is-coming-soon/#leave_comment

Bottom line: Please be careful when investing in curriculum- God bless!

Mar 09, 2011
4th Grade Monarch
by: Sandy

This year I thought I would try out Monarch Science for my 9 year old. He does like it,but it is a bit too easy for him. Although the lesson is just long enough for him,some of the questions are a little babyish and way too easy.He enjoys the videos and "tiny tutors", as they call them. He also enjoys the different educational sites,that sometimes they direct you to.My suggestion would be,to maybe choose a grade or two higher then the child's actual grade level.This summer I think we will purchase grade 6 or 7 Science and Geography. I think Monarch may be a bit behind on some things academically,but what they have is awesome and I feel it will only get better.
We also went ahead and purchased the highschool level Civil War class. My son was already doing a chapter on the Civil War in his A Beka History book. I was curious to see how much more info would be put into Monarch's class. We are several lessons in and we are a bit disappointed. The description of the class sounded so appealing. However,there is a ton of reading and so far,no videos or "tiny tutors". I guess their idea of highschool level means more reading?

Apr 02, 2011
Thank you for your reviews
by: Anonymous

Personally, I have not purchased Monarch, but wanted to so bad because we were so excited about the internet based learning until I read all the frustrated reviews. This should be an awesome curriculum and it sounds as if this company will not even try to back itself up and help out the consumers through discounting future classes.

I am very reluctant now to even try one class. I appreciate your honesty and openness regarding Monarch.

Apr 04, 2011
A little perspective....
by: Linda

I just want to remind everyone that MANY of the early reviews on this page were written RIGHT after Monarch was released. Most, if not ALL the issues reported in these early reviews have long since been resolved. Monarch is a quality program that is being successfully (and very happily) used by a growing number of homeschoolers.

I was representing AOP at their booth at a convention this past weekend in Cincinnati. I talked with MANY happy Monarch users who were there to place an order for another year of Monarch. I asked several of them if they had struggled with issues and glitches with the program. Without exception, they all said that while they had encountered small glitches from time-to-time, they were minimal and were immediately dealt with by AOP. One woman said she experienced a resolution of her problem within just a couple of days of reporting it. This has been my experience as well.

I am a long time user of Switched-on Schoolhouse which contains exactly the same curriculum as Monarch. And I have to vigorously disagree with the opinion that Monarch/Switched-on Schoolhouse is 2 years behind. Both of these programs provide a rigorous course load that is designed to prepare children for college....AND IT DOES. My own children were in 4th, 6th and 8th grade when they began using SOS. All are now graduated from high school. One graduated with a 4.0 GPA from college 2 years ago. The other two are both currently in college and doing equally well thus far.

I would agree that the high school program does require a much higher volume of reading and contains less multimedia than the lower grades. I believe this is a very natural (and necessary) increase in difficulty and level of "maturity". It is important that children be prepared for college coursework which requires LOTS of reading and very few "bells and whistles."

Just wanted to add my thoughts concerning a couple of recent reviews! Hope this helps some who have been discouraged by some of these reviews.

Blessings,
Linda

Apr 13, 2011
question for Linda
by: Julie

Hi Linda,
If Monarch is the same as SOS, is the only benefit to using it the fact that it can be accessed from any computer?

Our son will work on a laptop that can easily be taken anywhere (grandma's or hotel, etc.)

If all the kinks have already been worked out of SOS and location isn't an issue, I would think it would be the best choice for us.

Are there any other benefits of using Monarch over SOS that I am overlooking?

Apr 14, 2011
Answering Julie's question....
by: Linda

You're on the right track, Julie. The main benefits of Monarch are its compatibility and accessibility, its "simplicity" and ease of use. SOS has much more to offer at this point in terms of features, flexibility, and its level of customization for individual student use. Though Monarch is a great program with some clear benefits, but if you have a desire to use a program that will give you the highest degree of flexibility possible, I would recommend SOS as the better option. I hope this helps! ^Linda

Apr 16, 2011
Monarch
by: Nicole

Thanks so much for all the comments! I am new to homeschool and will start this Aug with my son. I work fulltime and thought monarch would be a good fit for us, but after reading the comments, I think I will choose Switched-On. It seems to have all the benefits, cost less, and will not have the stress that monarch appears to have. Maybe after a few years under my belt I might try it, but for now, I need simple with no headaches.

Apr 29, 2011
Be patient, it is worth the money and the convenience .
by: Dena

I am pleased with Monarch. My son is 14 and has enjoyed it most of all the curriculum we've used since 2nd grade. We have used every bit of christian curriculum out there and he does learn more because of his learning style. Every person is different.

There certainly are glitches out there, but none so much as to be so angry about. We all know that it was in it's initial stages and I have seen over the year that they would work them out pretty quickly. If a parent is participating then they can see that there were some misspellings but we as parents know that we can teach our children correctly and also teach them to be patient and love our neighbors as ourselves and help out our brothers and sisters at AOP in letting them know what the needs are. I have always found them very helpful.

Also the curriculum is the same as SOS with the same glitches that they continually try to work out whenever it is brought to their attention. I do also like the fact that the high school course does require much more reading, that is the best way for many to learn.

I hope this post is helpful to newcomers?

Sincerely,
Dena

May 04, 2011
Working moms
by: Anonymous

Do any of you have high schoolers who use either SOS or Monarch and you, the mom, work either part time or full time? I work part time and plan on my 10th grader doing the assigments while I'm at work and then I will go over them with her when I get home. Have any of you done this is a similar fashion and if so, what were your experiences and pros/cons?

Thank you,
Laura

May 10, 2011
Working Moms
by: Trish

2010-2011 was my first year to homeschool my 8th grader & 12th grader and I work full time.

I use the SOS curriculum and it is very convenient. There are a few nitpicky things that I'm not crazy about such as when SOS counts an answer wrong when it is right. I end up having to regrade some things.
But it keeps us on our toes. :)

I check the kids' work when I get home from work and we go over the things that gave them problems. Overall, the studies are good. It could be a little more on the "modern" side aesthetically speaking.

May 10, 2011
Working moms
by: Laura

Thanks, Trish. That is my plan as well. I appreciate your input.

Jun 14, 2011
Fall 2011
by: Anonymous

I am new to homeschooling, and was planning on using the Monarch for 2011/2012, but in reading the reviews, I am a bit nervous now. Do you think they will have the glitches fixed by the next school year?

Jun 14, 2011
Glitches in Monarch
by: Linda

Most, if not all of the glitches have already been worked out!! Monarch is a GREAT program that is being used very successfully for a large number of families. Many are in the process of signing up for a 2nd year!!

I am a homeschool mom that represents AOP at conventions all around the country, so I have the opportunity to use Monarch regularly! I'll be very honest with you that the very negative review which was posted on March 4th is simply not true on just about every point. And the review that she linked to at the end of the review was one from April of 2010! ALL the glitched mentioned in that review...without exception...have been fixed LONG ago!

I responded to the same reviewer (point by point) on a different website here: http://thehomeschoolmom.com/reviews/alpha-omega-monarch. I hope this will put your mind at ease concerning your own future use of Monarch.

Linda

Jun 17, 2011
Monarch first time home schooler
by: Michele in NC

Hi all, this has been very informing information you've shared. I will be homeschooling my 3rd grader beginning 2011-2012 and was pretty set on Monarch. Based on what you've seen Linda it sounds perfect for our son. I hope it works out :). He loves the computer, internet and games so it's right up his alley. He's so excited to start. take care!


Jun 17, 2011
Monarch first time home schooler
by: Michele in NC

Hi all, this has been very informing information you've shared. I will be homeschooling my 3rd grader beginning 2011-2012 and was pretty set on Monarch. Based on what you've seen Linda it sounds perfect for our son. I hope it works out :). He loves the computer, internet and games so it's right up his alley. He's so excited to start. take care!


Jun 18, 2011
Try to attend a webinar!!
by: Linda

The Training/information webinars that AOP offers for free are the best way to see Monarch in action before you buy it! They are hosted by a long-time homeschool mom who has used AOP products for years! I'd encourage you to get a first-hand look at Monarch via one of the webinars...just to be sure it's going to meet your needs!!

Here's a link to the webinar signup!

http://www.aophomeschooling.com/monarch/webinars.php

Hope this helps!!

Linda

Aug 09, 2011
A few glitches but not bad
by: Wanda

I have one child left in school and decided to try it. I found some glitches in answers that should have been correct but it would not take the answer. So as a homeschool mom, I corrected it myself and graded it myself! That's the beauty of homeschool in being flexible. The Algebra was just not very helpful in but as she moved a long, she was figuring it out!

It's just like any homeschool subject, as a teacher you have to have some interraction with the student. To be honest, the only glitch I found was in the Algebra, which AOP quickly fixed. I am doing it again this year for the 10th grade. I recommend not buying the 5-subject set unless you know for sure your student will be doing all of it. I like picking and choosing what best fits my daughters academic needs.

Overall, it is parent controlled so you can set it up to meet your PSP requirements or your state requirements for units and grade scale. I quite enjoyed it and my daughter is anxious to start school! Go figure! :)

Aug 09, 2011
Thanks Wanda!
by: Heather

Wanda, thanks for sharing your experience with Monarch; I'm so glad your daughter enjoyed it! I appreciate the time you took to help others. Your feedback will help ease any concerns that parents may have after reading some of the earlier reviews and comments.
Blessings,
Heather :)

Aug 29, 2011
NO REFUND POLICY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
by: Jennifer Suchey

Before you buy this product, you better be darn sure it will work for you, because you will have just wasted your money if it does not. Yet, how does one really know without trying, and why doesn't AOP offer a trial period? I just spent $90 on 8th grade Language Arts and at the end of it, my daughter was in tears.

She watched the sample lesson, and it seemed fine to her. She was really wanting to do as much school on her computer as possible. Yet when she actually went to do the very first lesson, it was a lot harder than the one she had watched. This is quite simply not her learning style, and after just one lesson, we may have lost $90.

I called AOP within an hour of purchase to find out about a refund. The person I spoke with, Ella, said she needed to give my information to Jan, and someone would get back to me at some unknown time.

I called my bank about disputing the charge, but I hope I don't really have to follow through with that. I spent plenty of money with AOP over the years for other products for my older student. I hope they don't stick me for attempting their new product.

There are some good reviews of this product, so I am not telling you not to buy it. I'm just warning you that there is a no refund policy, so buyer beware.

Aug 31, 2011
UPDATE to my Previous Post
by: Jennifer Suchey

I just spoke with Jan at AOP. She offered me two options. One was to exchange for other curriculum, which doesn't work for us, or an 80% refund. I was surprised and took the 80% refund without argument.

I also told her they should seriously consider offering a trial period and they might gain more customers that way. I certainly would have been less hesitant to purchase it if there was a trial period with a money back guarantee, and if I liked it, they'd have a customer. In my case, it didn't work, but it could work for a lot of people who are afraid to risk losing their money.

In short, this product didn't work for us, seems to work well for others, their customer service was friendly and, even though they clearly state no refunds for Monarch, they did offer me an exchange for other product or 80% refund. (I did have to call back two days after my initial call and ask for Jan before anything was resolved.)

Aug 31, 2011
Monarch Refund Update
by: Heather

Thanks for the update, Jennifer! Sorry Monarch wasn't a good fit, but glad everything worked out.
Blessings,
Heather :)

Sep 02, 2011
We love Monarch!
by: Anonymous

Absolutely fabulous! Above our expectations!

Sep 20, 2011
newbie
by: sidney

I just purchased 3rd grade History and Geography yesterday. My daughter isn't enjoying her text at home, so I thought that learning online would be more fun and interesting for her. I am a little confused, because after I bought it, I assumed she could log on and start using it. The checkout said I would be receiving a shipment?? What are they shipping? How do actually use Monarch?

Sep 20, 2011
Monarch "shipping"
by: Linda

You won't receive a shipment...that's likely just a standard email that hasn't been changed for Monarch sales!! You should get an email with information about logging into Monarch.

You will have to log in first, setup your school year, setup your daughter's work and then she can get started. It might help you to sign up for the free Monarch Training Webinar on the AOP Website here: http://www.aophomeschooling.com/switched-on-schoolhouse/webinars.php.

I hope this helps! Linda

Sep 30, 2011
aop /monarch
by: Anonymous

I have a monarch account where my child started the math and reading assessments. the account was fun to set up and very colorful have not purchesed the online subjects yet getting a slow start. have also tried the k12 public online program really having thoughts about the abundance of extra books that are needed with the online lessons at the same time. has anyone have advise about what to stick with? the aop seems so great and phocused and doesn't overwhelm the student (ie) lifepack. but my student is needing a lot more animated lessons. help!!!

Sep 30, 2011
aop /monarch
by: Anonymous

I have a monarch account where my child started the math and reading assessments. the account was fun to set up and very colorful have not purchesed the online subjects yet getting a slow start. have also tried the k12 public online program really having thoughts about the abundance of extra books that are needed with the online lessons at the same time. has anyone have advise about what to stick with? the aop seems so great and phocused and doesn't overwhelm the student (ie) lifepack. but my student is needing a lot more animated lessons. help!!!

Sep 30, 2011
aop /monarch
by: Anonymous

I have a monarch account where my child started the math and reading assessments. the account was fun to set up and very colorful have not purchesed the online subjects yet getting a slow start. have also tried the k12 public online program really having thoughts about the abundance of extra books that are needed with the online lessons at the same time. has anyone have advise about what to stick with? the aop seems so great and phocused and doesn't overwhelm the student (ie) lifepack. but my student is needing a lot more animated lessons. help!!!

Dec 12, 2011
Glitches but convenient!
by: Heather

This is our first year homeschooling and we are enjoying Monarch overall. Yes, there are some glitches that cause frustration but we're working through them. My only real dislike about the curriculum is the Math program. The daily review quiz at the end of each lesson is too confusing and restrictive. Next year we may choose paper pencil math instead of Monarch math.
We have thoroughly enjoyed Bible, History/Geography, and Science but not so much the Math and Language Arts programs.
The convenience of Monarch works well with our family.

Feb 01, 2012
terrible customer service, I would not use again
by: Anonymous

I bought a Monarch program a year ago. My son immeadiately took a disliking to it, I called within two days asking for an exchange or refund. It was not easy to navigate, making learning harder. I received a call from a woman saying we could "talk about it". Every time I called her back I missed her and she me. I opted to email them. The only communications I would receive would be from this one woman named Jan or Janet. She would not email back, said I'd have to talk to her. A year later I am told I will get nothing as too much time has passed. They blame me for not being able to reach this one woman at Monarch on the phone. This program has terrible customer service. As it is an online program, it is amazing they have no way to communicate via email. I will pick a program that supports the customer vs. protects a controlling customer service person and their supervisor. I received no apology for poor communication, only the blame for not reaching Jan in time. Does monarch know they have two woman running the company and making them look fairly bad?

Feb 02, 2012
Monarch to the Rescue
by: aggieland dad

I have read all of these reviews. We started off for the first time as homeschool parents this past year. We are almost to the end of our first year... we initially had selected, with our son's input, Monarch. But then, we read reviews, most of which were already a year old by the time we read them... and not wanting our son to fall behind, we jumped into BJU. WOW! Way over priced. And by the time we were able to start with him we were past our deadline for refund with the entire program.

We spent (not invested) nearly $1100 in a program that we'll never get all of our money back (in fact, I only got $30 for the entire reading program). So, we panicked. With only days to go... we opted to go with My Father's World with some modifications. We purchased Teaching Textbooks Math 5 and we had the CHarlotte Mason ILL for language arts and no real reading program.

We quickly found out that for Language Arts, the CMason way was not the right one for him... so we purchased online a used set of Rod and STaff grade 5 english and reading with the test books, quizes, workbooks and all. (HE LOVED IT).

He enjoys the MFW program - but it is a little behind for him... a great program overall, just a little behind for where he was when we made this life change. But Teaching Textbooks, wow... what a let down. We only recently realized, he was falling behind with Math - it was a huge repeat and only the last several chapters would have been what he needed as new material this year.... too much waste.. so, we purchased Monarch Grade 5 Math.

My son LOVESSSSSSSSSS it. He jumped right on and has already gone through about 8 lessons in two days... and is determined to get back on track and finish in time to enjoy his summer.

Although we really love the Rod and Staff English/Writing program, we'll probably go all the way with Monarch next year.

Feb 02, 2012
Re: Monarch to the Rescue
by: Heather

Thanks, aggieland dad, for sharing your recent experience with Monarch. I appreciate the time you took to update this Monarch review thread with your positive experience.

Again, AOP Monarch has two years under their belt. I am sure they have made tons of improvements with their online homeschooling program since their release. They admitted that they released the program too early and I'm sure they tried the best they could to remedy the situation while it was happening. I don't know. I do know that they lost customers and will have to make sure their program is top-rate to win the confidence of future purchasers - whether they are previous customers or new.

Thanks again aggieland dad, as well as everyone above, for taking the time to share your experience with others. Your input helps all of us, as well as AOP, I'm sure. Although not every product will be the best fit for every learner, honest feedback is always needed for creating the best products for homeschooling families.

If you are a current Monarch user: Please continue to share your experience or feedback below, to help others home educators know what to expect when using the Monarch online program. (If you would like to take a few extra minutes to post a formal review, use our homeschool curriculum reviews page.) Thanks! :)
Heather (homeschoolsavings.com owner)

May 22, 2012
What Grade Should We Use?
by: Kelly

My sons have used the A Beka curriculum for the last two years, and while I believe it to be a thorough system, it does not fit their learning style. We have been considering SOS & Monarch. While looking at their scope & sequence AOP seems to be a bit behind A Beka. Would anyone suggest skipping forward grade wise? Thank you.

May 22, 2012
Completed our first year with Monarch
by: Anonymous

Well we are finishing up our first year of homeschooling with Monarch. We have a 5th grade boy and an 8th grade girl. They loved it, and want to use it again next year. We loved the convenience of having it on their laptops to take with us everywhere we go...including homeschooling on the living room couch if we wanted too :) However, the one thing we probably won't order next year for both of them is the math. We just found it really time consuming and a bit annoying typing out all the numbers instead of doing the math problems on actual worksheets. Other than that, we loved it! I highly recommend it!

May 22, 2012
Re: What Grade Should We Use?
by: Heather

Hi Kelly,
AOP has diagnostic/placement tests that you can use so that you will know exactly where your kids fit with their curriculum.
If your kids have already covered a topic with ABeka, I would definitely move them up.
Blessings,
Heather

Aug 21, 2012
Monarch High School Spanish I
by: Vicki

Has any one used the Monarch High School Spanish? Looking for a quality on line Spanish program. Thanks. Vicki

Sep 10, 2012
Math Program ???
by: Anonymous

I'm new to home schooling and like that the Monarch program is completely online. After reading a few reviews regarding the Monarch math program, I'm wondering if I should purchase it.

My daughter struggles in math and I'm guessing since most found it difficult/confusing to use, it's not the best program for her.

Those of you that have tried and switched to a new math program...are there any you can suggest?

Thank you!

Sep 19, 2012
Math
by: Anonymous

I have heard that many homeschool moms like the Saxon Math. It is TOP NOTCH!! You can do a placement test to find out what level they are in.

Nov 08, 2012
disappointed
by: Anonymous

I have used the LifePac curriculum from Alpha Omega in the past. While I found it to contain some errors in general it was an acceptable curriculum. My son enjoys working on the computer. Therefore, I decided to give Monarch a try. I was extremely disappointed with the curriculum both and content and function of the software/website. After attempting to complete 9 of the lessons, I called AOP to see what they could do to reimburse me for my investment. At minimum I thought they would substitute a different publications theirs for the software. They said that once you try the curriculum they will not refund it in any way shape or form. Ironically the only way to take a look at the curriculum is to try it. I'm very disappointed wit AOP as a result of this experience. I would strongly caution anyone who is considering their publications to consider this element of customer service.

Apr 06, 2013
Love it!
by: Tiffany

My daughter is in 3rd grade and loves it! She will even work ahead on her IPod! I love that I can check her progress from anywhere at any time. For the people who want to see it in action, I recommend taking the webinar. It gives you an overview of how Monarch works from both the student and parent perspectives.

Apr 09, 2013
Just Wondering
by: Anonymous (student)

I am going into 10th grade next year and am considering homeschooling. This will not be my first year of homeschool but I have never used Monarch. I have read many different reviews on the Monarch curriculum and have found there to be many different views on this curriculum. It seems that if you had the high school curriculums they seemed to work better than the younger grades. I am just wondering if this curriculum would be a good one to move to. At home in previous years I have used ABeka.

Apr 24, 2013
This Mom Loves Monarch
by: Sienna

Hi everyone..... I have browsed a few of the comments, and I would like to share our story.

We live on the east coast of Canada and the public education system here lacks in many areas.

April this year (2013) I finally made the decision and my youngest who was in grade 9 in the public school system came home.

We bought Monarch that day...and she loves it. I love it. They even have placement tests..... She started grade 10. The online material is amazing. Her older sister who is currently in grade 10 said she has learned the same things only ....she did mention Monarch makes it seem much easier.

So I hope my comments have helped.....although we have only been enrolled for a month... the older sister starts in August....and fianlly I feel my children a happy again. Praise to the Lord.

Be Blessed

Apr 24, 2013
Re: This Mom Loves Monarch
by: Heather (site owner)

Hi Sienna,
Congratulations on your decision to start homeschooling - it's a decision that I believe you will never regret!

What a wonderful testimony for Monarch curriculum; thanks so much for sharing! Yes, your comments will be helpful to others.

Wishing you many blessings in your new endeavor. If you need anything, don't hesitate to ask!
Blessings,
Heather
P.S. I'm Canadian too! :)

May 12, 2013
Wondering
by: Missy

Thinking of homeschooling my high school aged child because he is having so much trouble in school. Monarch looks good to me because he does well on a computer and its a good price.
My question is will he recieve any kind of diploma from this program? Is is accredited in anyway?

Aug 08, 2013
Still not worth it
by: Anonymous

It is fall 2013 and I have purchased Monarch. I feel cheated. I thought I did my research, watched videos, but only found older reviews stating it was not ready years ago. I want to state that it is still not ready. There are errors. It if very finicky. I feel jipped! We will go back to Time4Learning.

Aug 08, 2013
To Still Not Ready
by: Anonymous

I am curious, so that others on here can have a better idea of the issues..
1) What grade level
2) What programs are you using
3) Can you indicate what type of errors you are encountering
4) What kind of bugs are there
5) what computer system and Search Engine are you using

Mac, Safari - will produce a plethora of bugs and issues but Mac on Firefox less so, and Mac on Google Chrome... almost not bugs or related internet issues or errors.

Sometimes, it is more about your Operating System, and your selection of Internet Browsers with your System that can make all the difference in the world. And, of course, any PC or Mac older than 4 years old it going to have unending issues. Even at 3 years old a system is already behind enough with some Flash and Movie Players and java that it can create issues with some types of internet based interactive software.

For instance, we upgraded to a 2011 Macbook pro ($700) loaded it with memory max and put on Firefox and use the grade 5, 6 and 7 Monarch programs. 5 for history, 6 for science and Bible and 7 for ELA. I dare say, no matter how much I like Monarch I will NEVER use them for Math... and only every other year for ELA. I just find those to be less than. But every other year on ELA is okay... we tuck it in with Easy Grammar and this year Beyond the Book Report.

Just my two cents worth

Feb 18, 2014
Is there anyway to try it before you buy it? What's the "Gist" in 2014?
by: Aeir

Hi, I have been homeschooling for several years. I have two children in charter schools and one (14/9th grader) I am currently homeschooling.

An online curriculum sounds great, however, I do not have the money to experiment. My 9th grader needs a lot of help in math/algebra and is currently doing 7th grade math to help build the foundation to better learn and understand 9th grade algebra and beyond.

My questions are:

1. With SOS, can it be installed on more than one computer?

2. Does SOS receive the same updates and patches as Monarch?

3. Is there a better math/algebra curriculum better suited for my particular situation (9th grader struggling in math) other than Monarch and SOS?

4. Is there a way I can try the product(s) before I make a no refund purchase?

5. If I buy through Christianbook.com, will I be able to receive a refund if the product does not work for me?

6. Being that it is 2014, have all the glitches in Monarch and SOS been worked out completely and are there anymore reviews I can read to make a better informed decision?

Thanks for any and all help


Feb 18, 2014
Other Math Options
by: Anonymous

Our ds is in 7th grade. He went from parochial school to public school - (disastrous) and then to homeschool. We started with Teaching Textbooks grade 5. It was good. But, it moves really slow. And that can be great for some kids. Where we live - I felt like something that moved a little faster than this was better and so - we did Monarch (never again will I use Monarch math program).

We then put our son in a Christian School (it just so happened that this school used public school books.... NO WAY.... Out he came). Right now - he is back home again for the last part of 7th grade. In the first half of this year - he would have (under the program we were using) been able to write at least several basic types of essay papers and at least a 5 paragraph essay.... but he can't even do that right now... his math took a major nose dive with the Saxon Math Course 2 (it is a public version for middle school and the teacher was terrible).

We've been home for a week now. He is using LIFE OF FRED fractions. He laughs. He gets his math done. we are not stressed. He knows that Math period is 1 hour long. He starts off with timed math drills. Then he does his assignment. If he does good - and is done earlier than the 1 hour... he gets to choose 1)amount of time on computer leisure, 2)Free Reading time earlier in the day, 3)move right along with next subject so as to be finished with school sooner.

He is on task right now - with Life of Fred, he does Fractions (will do all through summer) and then he will start Decimals and Percents about October (2 months into grade 8) and then he will do that through summer and will start Algebra I in 9th grade. On track.

Our back up is to pray really hard if we experience more issues... because there is nothing more fun and gentle than the Life of Fred... that I've found.

Feb 18, 2014
Struggling Math Learner
by: Anonymous

You have several options.

Life of Fred is great and will help out.
Keep him/her going in current math but get CTC Math online. It is going to cost you a little bit, but, it is very well worth it. We use it to supplement Life of Fred series for Math fact drills and to just help him out.

Not sure what you are paying for Charter Schools, but, Hope Christian Learning Academy (www. hopecla. org) will offer online Virtual School with live teachers and remedial options - and I believe their online price tag is only $2000 per student plus the cost of books (which it is set up that all the students study history/science and language arts the same program just different worksheets and assignments based on grade/age appropriate levels). They use Saxon, but the lady that teaches it on the video is AWESOME.
They are starting in the Fall - but I have been checking to see if I can get our son in the math class for $300 (and they will let you pay that over 2 months).

Most classes are actually LIVE with a real certified teacher. Some classes are pre-recorded. But direct teacher access is available and turn around questions are generally handled in like the same day.

hope that helps.

Mar 26, 2014
7th grade NEW
by: Anonymous

I am looking for 7th grade help this fall. Our tutorial ends. Looked at Monarch, but it looks behind. SOS not sure I like it. We are using teaching textbooks and love it, but do 1 1/2 books a year & just push through them faster. Looking for an online program & needing suggestions.....willing to combine a few things like SOS with a few other things if needed too...

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