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      November 26, 2020

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Abeka vs Knowledge Box Central

To help you find the Best Home School Supplies, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Abeka and Knowledge Box Central.

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Get Your Home School Supplies from Home School Buyers Co-Op Today! Where can you find the best selection of homeschool supplies? Homeschooling is on the rise in the United States, with an estimated 2.5 million students - and those numbers growing anywhere from 2-8% every year.

Whether you're a seasoned home educator looking for new and innovative curricula and materials to work into your plans, or you're brand-new and need all the help you can get, you'll definitely need a reliable, affordable source of homeschool supplies.

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Best Reviews

2020

Homeschool Supplies Reviews

3.5 stars
Abeka

ABEKA

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Abeka has been a well-known name in the homeschooling community for many years. In 1954, Dr. Arlin and Beka Horton began a Christian school in northern Florida and created their own materials for instruction. Their offerings expanded to include video instruction in 1985, digital textbooks/assessments/teaching aids in 2014, and today their inventory has more than a thousand educational products for learners in nursery through high school -all written by teachers with classroom experience. For that reason, you'll also find Abeka textbooks and curricula used in Christian schools too.

Well known in Christian schools

One strong reason to choose Abeka for your homeschooling supplies is if you think you may have your child attend a private Christian school in the future. You're likely to encounter Abeka materials and methods there, and it could make for a smoother transition. The reverse is also true: if you're shifting to homeschooling from a Christian school, using Abeka could keep some familiarity and structure as you shift to a learning-at-home routine.

Website easy to use

The easiest way to find the homeschool supplies you need here is to shop by product, grade or subject. For example, if you look at the product list, you'll find Video Single Subjects, Lessons on Demand, Full-Grade Kits, and so on. Similarly, if you know you just want to see everything Abeka offers for your 4th grader, you can click on it and start browsing. Subjects are grouped as Arithmetic/Math, Bible, Electives, History/Geography, Language Arts, and Science/Health - and that might be your best way to shop if you're just looking for a one-off course and not an entire curriculum.

Helpful kits

Especially for new homeschoolers, Abeka's kits are really appealing: a grouping of products for a full school year or a subject kit for a particular area of study. If you really like the thought of "one and done" - buy a kit and, presto, no planning necessary - this is a solid choice. It's not cheap, but you'll have everything ready to go. Of course, you can also buy any individual textbook or workbook that Abeka sells. Shipping is free on every order, no matter what or when you make your purchase.

Hands on or hands off

If you're not overly confident in your ability to teach your kids from a curriculum but still want the advantages of learning at home, Abeka Academy is worth checking out. If you want them to take care of all of the record-keeping, including report cards and transcripts, opt for the accredited enrollment. Otherwise, you can take the independent study route. Either one gets you video lessons taught by veteran teachers, textbooks, and more. Plus, for high schoolers, accredited enrollment students can earn dual enrollment college credits through Pensacola Christian College.

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Free video lesson samples

Be sure to watch the video lesson samples (free) to get a better idea of how this online format works. Plus, you can get a full week of Abeka Academy at no charge, with full access to their entire video library. You might be surprised at how affordable it is: even at the high school level (the most expensive), you'll pay a one-time fee of $1219 or 10 monthly payments of $129.40 - and that includes all of the books and videos you'll need for a full year of courses! You can break it down further into groups of courses (Language Arts/Bible or Arithmetic/Science/History/Bible), or just purchase a single course at a time.

Standardized testing

Abeka is also one of the only homeschool supply sites that gives you options for standardized testing. Why would you need them - after all, you're homeschooling to get away from things like that, right? Not necessarily - and, depending on the requirements in your state, you may be expected to provide such test results to demonstrate annual progress, keep your eligibility as a registered homeschool family, etc. Plus, if you ever decide to put your child (back) into public school, a standardized test could be required to prove grade level achievement or qualify for an honors program. Available tests include the Iowa Form E, Stanford 10, Iowa Algebra Aptitude, CogAT Form 7, and the OLSAT. Abeka makes it really clear what topics are covered, which states may not be included, and any instructions you have to follow for a valid administration of the test.

Fundamentalist Christian teachings

With all of these positive features of what Abeka offers, you might be wondering why they didn't rank at the top of our list. Abeka has taken its share of criticism over the years for its fundamentalist Christian teachings in their materials. If you're not part of that faith tradition, you might not like (or might even be offended by) some of the statements made in their texts. For example, their science texts take a creationist stance on evolution, which likely won't appeal to secular homeschoolers. We encourage you to take a look at Abeka's "What We Believe" page - they definitely don't hide their worldview or try to sneak it past unsuspecting parents.

Good match for target audience

Plus, you won't find any other homeschool supplies on this site: math manipulatives, art gear, musical instruments, etc. Add that to the very specific faith-based curricula offered by Abeka, and you'll see why this site is a fantastic option for a small group of people, and possibly a colossally bad fit for a large swath of homeschool families.

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2.5 stars
Knowledge Box Central

KNOWLEDGE BOX CENTRAL

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In order to understand the homeschool supplies offered on Knowledge Box Central, you'll need an idea of what a lapbook is. Lapbooks are a way of arranging a student's learning experience with folders and booklets, almost like a pop-up book. They can include graphic organizers, maps, creative writing, vocabulary and more. You'll need to stock up on glue and have some scissors handy for this style of homeschooling!

Lapbooks for younger kids

The lapbook templates sold here take it an extra step by incorporating the science of "color psychology" and shape recognition to help students retain information longer. We were hoping for some how-to instructions on the Videos link on the site, but sadly it was empty when we most recently visited the site. But, at least there was one intro video on the main page that can give you a little more information on color psychology, as well as a better look at what an assembled lapbook looks like when it's finished.

Lapbook journals for older students

Does this sound like it might not be a great fit for older students? Knowledge Box Central "gets it", so for the middle and high school levels, most of their products shift to "lapbook journals", which keep some of the booklet elements of a regular lapbook but focus more heavily on journaling pages with questions, information, and room for the student to take notes, document their thinking process, and so forth.

Shop by subject or age

The easiest way to shop the homeschool supplies sold here is probably by either subject or age. You'll find traditional subjects - Art/Art History, Language Arts and Literature, Math, Science, Social Studies / History, etc. - as well as specific topics like Bible & Religion, Financial Responsibility, and even Olympics and Holidays. Knowledge Box Central has lapbooks for all ages, ranging from the Up to 5 category to 14 & Up, as well as Parent/Teacher resources. There's also a section for Overstock Sale and $1 or Less!, if you're looking for a bargain. Plus, at the bottom of the site we saw an offer to save $5 on our first digital order if we entered our name and email address.

Print it yourself

If you have a printer and plenty of ink, you can buy any of these homeschool lapbooks directly from the site as an eBook. On the other hand, if you want it to be printed for you or in CD format, you'd have to look for Knowledge Book Central's materials on third-party sites. Also, be aware that there are no refunds on eBooks once they've been downloaded.

Inexpensive

So, what are the advantages of shopping here for your homeschool supplies? Well, first of all, you won't find many lapbooks, copybooks, or lapbook journals for more than $10 - largely because you're getting access to an eBook, and all of the paper/ink cost is on you. Still, it's an inexpensive way to try this approach.

Learn by assembling

Plus, some visual and kinesthetic learners truly benefit from the lapbook method. Being able to see how information comes together - while physically assembling it into a tangible product - can unlock learning for kids who struggle to grasp concepts when using less hands-on learning models.

Sharply defined focus

However, when compared with other retailers of homeschool supplies, Knowledge Book Central has an extremely limited focus. You won't find math manipulatives, curricula from well-known publishers, online learning platforms or science experiment kits here. And, if your student hates the "busywork" of cutting out and pasting/taping/stapling all of the components for a lapbook - or if it's not your cup of tea either - you're probably not going to find much that interests you on this site. For that reason, Knowledge Book Central winds up towards the bottom of our rankings.

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Continued from above

Fortunately, all of the books, worksheets, science equipment and anything else you could possibly want for teaching your child(ren) at home are easily found online. The top retailers of homeschool supplies can help you narrow down what you need - A single curriculum or mix-and-match? Digital platform, parent-taught, or a hybrid? - and get it to you at prices you can afford.

Plus, it can take some trial-and-error as you determine which approach to homeschooling works for your family. What went well in your first year may need to be switched up in the second year, as you get more comfortable or as your learners' ages and needs shift with time. That's normal! While no homeschool supply store is going to let you return used workbooks and art supplies, the best retailers do have generous policies for items you get home, take one look and say "This is NOT what I thought I was getting!"

No two retailers of homeschool supplies are exactly the same. Some sell curricula from just one publisher, while others offer choices across multiple companies. Other stores give you an eclectic array of workbooks, musical instruments and other items, so that you can piece together a custom approach to your kids' studies. Finally, you'll find some sites that only sell online home education programs, from self-paced to remote learning with a certified teacher. The sky's the limit!

So, what should you look for when deciding where to buy your homeschool supplies? Naturally, that will depend on what you're hoping to find, whether that's a new curriculum or just some fun extras to supplement what you're already doing. However, here are a few criteria that can help you choose:

  • Easy-to-Use Website. No matter what kind of supplies you need for your homeschool, you want an online store that is hassle-free. Look for a site that's clean and updated, with an intuitive layout, good search features and results filters, and definitely a secure URL!
  • Selection. How much variety is there when considering the store's inventory? True, if you already know you just want the curriculum of one specific publisher, you can go directly to their site to make your purchase - but you might also want additional supplies that they don't carry. A wider selection makes it more likely that you can do one-stop shopping instead of making multiple orders from different stores.
  • Return Policy. If your homeschool supplies arrive and you decide you don't want them, can you send them back for a refund? If so, how long will you have to do so?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best homeschool supply providers available today. We hope this information helps you find the right curriculum, program, or supplemental materials to confidently educate your children at home!

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