One of the major publishers of homeschool curriculums is the A Beka Book company, which publishes educational materials from a Christian perspective. This company was founded by Dr. Arlin Horton and his wife, Beka Horton, in Pensacola, Florida. (Horton also founded the Pensacola Christian College and Pensacola Christian Academy.) As one of the oldest companies in the homeschooling industry, A Beka has established a reputation as a reliable and effective source for educational materials.
Available course subjects include a standard selection from Art, Bible, electives (such as Speech, Family and Consumer Sciences, Keyboarding and Document Processing, etc.), Foreign Languages, Health, History, Language/English, Literature, Mathematics, Music, Phonics, Science, Spelling/Poetry, and Writing/Penmanship. The age levels include Preschool (Nursery, 2s and 3s), Kindergarten, Elementary, and Secondary (through high school).
The curriculum is a Bible-based program. Stories from the Old and New Testaments are foundational materials at the lower grades, while the upper grades progress through the Gospels and Epistles. The teaching is traditional and conservative.
The approach to learning reading is based on phonics rather than the whole word method (look-say). In the look-say method, students are asked to memorize whole words, but the phonics approach used by A Beka takes a more natural tack by introducing basic sounds first, just as children learn language.
Math is taught in a traditional manner with a general progression from concrete to abstract. Students start with the basic arithmetic components of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and by high school they reach the more abstract areas of algebra and higher mathematics.
The A Beka Academy also offers an accredited distance learning program for K through 12. Students watch leased DVDs and use texts from A Beka. Kindergarten and elementary students in this program can plan on about three hours per day watching videos in 15-20-minute segments; videos at the secondary level can be longer (45 minutes). A master teacher presents the material, and a parent or designated adult administers the tests and quizzes. Just as in a regular school, breaks are suggested for lunch, recess, physical education, and so on. Cursive writing is required in this program, so in this age of social media and computer work, that’s one way to ensure that skills in handwriting aren’t lost. There is even an ESL (English as a Second Language) phonics-based program offered through video streaming.
Of course the academy is just one way to go, and families can also use the A Beka materials to direct their own home education program, in line with the regulations of a particular state or province, of course. The majority of families in fact works independently through the curriculum.
Reviews by users of the A Beka curriculum have been mostly very positive. Comments include remarks about the large number of fun activities, helpful parent resources in the kits (teacher’s guides, etc.), effective story lines about character building, depth of program, and competitive pricing. Because it is a comprehensive program, first-time homeschoolers find the A Beka curriculum to be a great way to start homeschooling.
If you are looking for a comprehensive, traditional Bible-based curriculum, the A Beka Book program deserves attention as a first-choice alternative in homeschooling.