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      November 26, 2020

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  1. Time 4 Learning
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  6. 7 Sisters Home School
  7. Knowledge Box Central
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Discount School Supply vs Alpha Omega Publications

To help you find the Best Home School Supplies, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Discount School Supply and Alpha Omega Publications.

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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.

Continue reading below reviews

Best Reviews

2020

Homeschool Supplies Reviews

4 stars
Discount School Supply

DISCOUNT SCHOOL SUPPLY

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You'll find an impressive range of homeschool supplies for almost every age when shopping at Discount School Supply. Whether you need kid-friendly furniture for keeping your kids comfortable while they work, the perfect STEM or arts and crafts materials, or want to save money by purchasing bundled products, this retailer has you covered.

Easy to use

We love the clean, easy-to-use layout of this site. Some online stores that offer homeschool resources can be cluttered or frustrating to shop, but not this one. If you're not exactly sure what you're looking for, we suggest starting under the Homeschool category. Discount School Supply offers free creative and STEM activities there, plus plenty of toys, project kits, basic art supplies, and science items from well-known expert Steve Spangler. But, be aware that the homeschool materials here are mostly for the younger ages (7th grade and below).

Family engagement kits

We really like the Family Engagement Kits sold here. There are so many fun options for playing and learning together, from Community Helpers complete with action figures and instructions for teaching your kids about the people in their neighborhood (as Mr. Rogers would say!) to Native American dream catchers and science experiments-in-a-box.

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Low price guarantee

Discount School Supply has a lot of customer-friendly features that you'll enjoy. First, you'll always get free shipping on orders over $33. Plus, they offer a 110% low price guarantee, in the event you find your homeschool supplies for less money with another retailer. And, they often have discounts featured prominently at the top of the site: when we visited it most recently, there were savings of $15 off $100, $50 off $300, and $100 off $500 or more.

Return policy varies

What about returns? Because this retailer has both inventory in their own warehouse as well as drop-shipped items from manufacturers, their return policy varies. If it's an item that came directly from Discount School Supply, you can return items in their original packaging and in resalable condition within 30 days of delivery for a full refund. You can make returns past that 30-day window, but you'll pay a 30% restocking fee at their discretion. On the other hand, returns of drop-shipped products (like furniture) will have restocking fees at a minimum of 15% and may be higher depending on the manufacturer's own policies.

Strong customer service

This store has a strong reputation for customer service. Under the name of their parent company, Excelligence, you'll find an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau and very few complaints. Plus, you can tell that Discount School Supply has a good customer base by looking at the number of customer reviews on some of their products. (Remember that dream catcher kit? 33 five-star reviews when we last looked!)

One-stop shop

Discount School Supply is a good one-stop shop for many of your homeschool supply needs. Prices are competitive, and customer-friendly policies ensure that your shopping experience will be a pleasant one. Although you may need to shop elsewhere for curricula and other items for middle and high school grades, this is one of our favorite picks for an all-around source of homeschool supplies.

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3.5 stars
Alpha Omega Publications

ALPHA OMEGA PUBLICATIONS

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Alpha Omega Publications, or AOP for short, was founded over 40 years ago and provides Christian curriculum to home educators and Christian schools around the world. As a winner of homeschooling expert Cathy Duffy's 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, AOP is worth considering if you're trying to decide which plan to use for teaching your children.

4 homeschool programs

AOP has four main ways of delivering a homeschool education:

  • Monarch: described as a "media-rich, online Christian homeschool program", this platform gives you access to automatic record-keeping and grading. You can get access to Monarch for $39.95/month or $359.96/year for an individual student, or a family plan at $69.95/month ($629.96/year) for up to 3 students.
  • Switched-On Schoolhouse: a computer-based homeschool curriculum for grades 3-12, you have access to similar classes as Monarch and also have that no-hassle grading and record-keeping feature. But, you'll have to pay-as-you-go per course, all of which are delivered on a USB flash drive and suitable for Windows-based computers only. That's great if you might be traveling or otherwise without internet access. Each course is just under $90.
  • LifePac: AOP's flagship program, this curriculum offers print materials that focus on mastery and is student-paced. There is no online component to this package. Available for purchase as individual books or as complete grade level sets, you'll usually spend anywhere from $18 to $315.
  • Horizons: this curriculum is teacher-led and centers around workbooks that use introduction, review and reinforcement to help guide students to mastery. There is also no online component to this package. You can also buy single books or curriculum sets, ranging in price from $16 to $90. You'll find fewer options for the higher grades with Horizons; it's definitely geared towards younger students.

Placement tests

There are helpful placement tests available, so that you can choose not just the right platform but also the correct grade level. For instance, your daughter might be at a 5th grade level in math but a 3rd grade level in reading - and the beauty of homeschooling is that she can be taught exactly where she is without feeling constantly behind. No matter which plan you choose, shipping is always free if there's a physical component to be delivered.

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Not religious enough?

Like the other homeschool curriculum publisher in our review that emphasizes a Christian worldview, AOP gets some flack - but for not being "Christian enough". You'll see that reflected in their more-inclusive belief statement as well. We found some users who said that there was very little mentioned about God or the Bible, even in places where it would have been extremely relevant. Another person specifically criticized a text's use of fossils as a way to learn about "the beginnings of life", instead of referencing a creationist worldview. For some that may come off as a flaw, but for homeschoolers who prefer a more scientific approach (or at least, not a fundamentally-bent Christian one) Alpha Omega might present a more palatable option.

Some subjects could use freshening

A bigger challenge may be AOP's lack of updates to their materials. For some subjects, that's not a huge problem - learning Spanish doesn't change much no matter what year it is. But with a class like Economics that depends on relevant, current examples, having materials that are 6+ years out of date could mean a less-than-robust education. However, this is likely to have the biggest impact at the older grade levels, so don't lose too much sleep over it if you're deciding how to teach a 5-year-old to read. And no, you also won't find homeschool supplies beyond curriculum here. You'll have to go elsewhere for those arts and crafts projects, science experiment equipment, and so on.

Worth consideration

Overall, Alpha Omega Publications has a solid reputation within the homeschooling community, and we like that they deliver curricula across a spectrum of delivery methods - so whether you want your student to be at a computer or strictly pencil-and-paper, you'll find something that works with AOP. Still, their limited focus on a Christian curriculum and lack of other materials keep them from being one of our highest-recommended sources of homeschool supplies.

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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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