Here’s what you need to know if you are considering using the Abeka Academy homeschool program or Abeka curriculum in your homeschool. Is this curriculum the right choice for your family? Keep reading to discover all the pros and cons, and what you need to know before choosing Abeka homeschool curriculum for your homeschool.
What is Abeka Homeschool Curriculum?
Abeka is a Christian curriculum company and publisher. Abeka is affiliated with Pensacola Christian College, a private Baptist college in Pensacola, Florida. The company is named after the founders of the college, Arlin and Beka Horton. Abeka publishes a variety of educational materials and curricula for both homeschoolers and Christian schools. Homeschoolers can purchase textbooks from Abeka for individual subjects, or join Abeka Academy, which is an accredited homeschool program.
Is the Abeka Curriculum accredited?
Abeka Academy is an accredited homeschool program. This program is available for kindergarten through twelfth grade and includes books, video lessons with a master teacher, tests, and quizzes for English, math, science, history, health, Bible, poetry, and art. Elective subjects are also available. High school students who complete the assignments by the required due dates receive report cards and transcripts, as well as a high school diploma, from Abeka. Students can also take a standardized test for free once per year to track progress. The program is accredited by FACCS (Florida Association of Christian Colleges and Schools) and MSA CESS (Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools).
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Does Abeka use Common Core?
The Abeka Homeschool Curriculum does not follow Common Core Standards. In many cases, the curriculum actually teaches concepts earlier than they occur in the Common Core Standards.
What are the Pros of Abeka Homeschool Curriculum?
Abeka Academy homeschool curriculum is accredited and the accreditation option is included in the price. Families who choose Abeka have the option to choose the accredited program, which offers report cards, transcripts, diplomas, and standardized testing. Students in this program are required to complete certain assignments by specific due dates. Families can also choose an independent study option, which doesn’t give any of the perks but allows them to choose which assignments their kids will complete and set their own timeline for their school year. There is no extra charge for the accredited option, so this is a great resource for families who feel more comfortable with an accredited program for their kids.
It’s important to remember that there is no legal requirement that the program that you choose for homeschool be accredited. If you want to know what the legal requirements for your state are, you can visit the HSLDA’s website. Accreditation can be helpful (but still isn’t required) if you are planning to have your child attend a traditional public school for high school or higher education or if you think your child will play NCAA sports in college.
2. Christian worldview
Because Abeka is affiliated with Pensacola Christian College, which is a private school, its materials have a strong Christian worldview throughout. The Abeka science books also follow a young earth creationist Christian perspective, which means that they teach that the Earth was created in six literal days. Families who believe this worldview will find strong support for their beliefs throughout the curriculum.
3. Easy to use
The Abeka resources are comprehensive and easy to follow, which is really helpful for families that are just starting out in homeschooling. Families who choose the Abeka Academy program will have their curriculum for the entire year organized for them. Because this is a complete box curriculum set, you will not need to choose subjects or individual curricula for each subject. In addition, you will not spend time planning how resources from different sources will fit together. Parents who went to traditional schools themselves but are now choosing to homeschool their kids will find that this curriculum is very similar to what they experienced in traditional schools. Kids are learning by reading from textbooks and doing worksheets. This is a very comfortable model for many parents who are new to homeschooling.
4. Easy to lesson plan
Because this curriculum is made up of textbooks, workbooks, and teacher’s guides, it makes it very easy for parents to plan lessons. The companion teacher editions and teacher keys for each subject include complete lesson plans. Parents will just need to read and follow the lesson plan to teach their kids. Kids can follow along in the textbooks and complete the workbook exercises as they come up. Parents will not need to spend time trying to figure out what to have their child do next- because they will just need to turn to the next page of the textbook and complete the next lesson.
5. Independent learning
Abeka homeschool curriculum is a great choice for parents who need their kids to be able to work independently. Once kids are old enough to read, they can read through the lessons in the textbook by themselves and complete the activities that are included. Abeka Academy also includes video lessons that kids can watch on their own. This is a great resource for parents who are looking for kids to be able to learn without lots of parent involvement.
The Abeka homeschool curriculum books use lots of repetition to reinforce concepts. Kids who are struggling with a concept when it is first introduced will be exposed to that same subject or idea again and again so that they can continue working to understand it. Abeka uses a spiral curriculum. This means that a variety of topics are introduced each year, and then reviewed year after year in greater depth. Each year the students review what they learned about that topic the previous year and then add some new knowledge about it. This spiral learning approach allows kids to gain confidence as they remember and review what they have learned. It also gives them another chance to understand things they didn’t pick up the first time they were taught.
Families can choose the Abeka Academy, or parents can purchase the individual books, materials, or subjects that they need from Abeka’s website. The single textbooks can be a great way to supplement another homeschool program. This is how we use Abeka. I purchased individual textbooks for a couple of subjects and we are using them as a part of our curriculum along with options from other publishers as well. I also like the flexibility of being able to choose a different grade level for each textbook to fit my kids’ exact knowledge level in each subject.
8. Books available secondhand
All of our Abeka books are actually books that I have purchased secondhand from other homeschool moms in my area. I love to shop homeschool curriculum sales and it seems like there is always a good supply of Abeka textbooks at these sales. Local homeschool Facebook groups are also a great resource to find this curriculum very cheap- or sometimes even free!
What are the Cons of Abeka Homeschool Curriculum?
The Abeka Homeschool Curriculum is made up entirely of textbooks and workbooks (and video lessons, if you choose Abeka Academy). Other than a few science experiment ideas included in the science textbooks, there are no hands-on activities or projects. The focus of this curriculum is definitely on kids reading the textbook and completing the questions that are included. This can be boring for kids that are more active, or that learn best through hands-on activities. This can also lead to struggles for kids that don’t feel motivated to want to learn.
It seems like this curriculum is designed to replicate a traditional school at home. That makes sense, given that the curriculum is also used in many Christian schools. Abeka’s website, in describing the video lessons, says this: “Your child will feel like they’re in the classroom learning with everyone else.” If you are trying to create a traditional school at home, then this curriculum may be a great fit for you. But it can be challenging to experience many of the benefits of homeschooling when trying to replicate a traditional school at home.
This curriculum includes a lot of review of the material. The same topics are covered each year and review is included as a part of many of the lessons. This can make the curriculum boring and repetitive for kids who understand concepts quickly and don’t need lots of review to remember what they have learned.
3. Lots of busy work
The Abeka homeschool curriculum contains a LOT of practice questions, problems, and review. Many kids will not need to do all of these problems and questions to understand the concepts. This turns into a lot of busy work for kids, which makes it hard for kids to stay motivated and excited about school.
4. A LOT to do
Many families who choose the Abeka homeschool curriculum, especially those who are using it for all the subjects, find that the overall workload of this curriculum is huge. The curriculum contains a large amount of work and takes a long time each day to complete. It is easy for kids and families to get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of subjects, lessons, and work that needs to be done. If you choose this curriculum it is important to be able to recognize when your child understands a concept. You need to be willing to have them move on, even if all the problems in the lesson are not completed. If you feel like you will struggle to be able to tell your child they don’t need to complete all the problems in the curriculum, this is probably not the curriculum for you.
5. Lots of tests and quizzes
This curriculum relies heavily on kids taking written tests and quizzes. Although this works for some kids, others struggle with taking tests. Written tests may not be a good indicator of what kids actually know, especially in younger grades. Many homeschool families prefer not to use tests and quizzes for their kids.
The information covered in the textbooks, especially in the younger grades, can be very basic in some subjects. It’s important to check the scope and sequence to make sure that it fits with where your child is in their learning before purchasing a curriculum.
Abeka homeschool curriculum takes American patriotism to the extreme. The history curriculum in particular presents a very America-focused view of history. It focuses extensively on United States history at the expense of world history. This makes the curriculum particularly hard to use for families that aren’t from the United States. It is difficult even for some American families who try to present a more balanced view of history to their kids.
Most of the textbooks in Abeka’s curriculum are designed to be consumable. This means that kids are supposed to write their answers right in the book. The books have a few pages of a lesson to read, and then space for completing the questions right in the book. Although this is very convenient, it makes it hard to re-use textbooks for multiple kids. In addition, the answer keys, lesson plans, and enrichment activities are all found in lesson plan books or teacher curriculum books that need to be purchased separately. This starts to add up, especially when using Abeka for more than one subject.
Abeka Curriculum by Subject Area
Abeka Language Arts
The Abeka reading program is very challenging in the early years and teaches kids how to read at a young age. It lays a strong foundation for reading using the Abeka phonics program, teaching kids concepts like letter sounds and short and long vowels.
Older elementary students use a set of readers for their language arts curriculum, and in middle and high school, students study anthologies of classic literature.
The Abeka materials for math include bright colorful workbooks and manipulatives in the early grades. The math books for all grades through high school level will require parents to help teach concepts to their students. Video classes are available for parents who don’t feel comfortable teaching math. The student work includes a lot of review once new concepts are learned.
The A beka curriculum for science teaches science with a Biblical Worldview, and a young earth creationist perspective. The science books for younger students are very basic, but the middle and high school resources include more critical thinking, lab work, and more advanced concepts.
Like the science books, the Abeka social studies and history books start our very basic and increase in difficulty as students get older in middle school and high school. The history books use a traditional approach with textbooks, worksheets, and tests.
Abeka might be a great fit for you if…
- Your child is a visual learner, and learns best by reading
- Your family follows a Christian, young earth creationist worldview
- You are from the USA and looking for an American history curriculum
- You’re looking for something that’s easy to use
- You want your kids to be able to learn independently
- Your family feels more comfortable with an accredited homeschool curriculum program
- You are OK with your child not finishing every question in every assignment
You should probably choose another curriculum if…
- Your child learns best by doing hands-on activities
- You aren’t looking for a Christian, young earth creationist worldview
- You’re not from the USA
- You will feel like your kids should do every problem in the book
- You aren’t looking to re-create the experience of school at home
Have you used Abeka homeschool curriculum in your homeschool? What did you think of it? And if not, do you think this curriculum would be a good fit for your family?
Homeschool Attendance Tracking Sheet
Use this printable homeschool attendance tracking sheet to keep track of the days or hours that your family spends homeschooling. Keep track of your attendance totals for the whole school year at a glance on one page! This sheet is easy to use- just print a copy for each child and fill in the blanks!