As my boys get older, I find myself looking for more and more creative ways to get them excited about learning, and to work in classes that are a little outside of what I can offer them. It seems like online learning is becoming more and more the way of the future, and while it is not my favorite thing, I have decided to try and embrace. So, I jumped at the chance to review some of Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses from the website Standard Deviants Accelerate. Designed for ages eight through adults, they offer a wide variety of core and supplemental classes.
I had my 8th grade son take the nutrition course as an elective, while I poked around in the English Composition course and some of the AP courses, to see what they might have to offer my older son. Each section of the course begins with a “big picture” activity aimed at getting students thinking about what they are going to learn about. These activities are designed more for classrooms, with larger groups of students, but with a little tweaking, you can make them work. The nutrition course was made up of eight chapters, each divided into short daily lessons. There are enough lessons to do one each day of the week, but, because they are short, you could also break it into three days and just double up on the lessons.
The nutrition lessons had a short video, which my son said was only so-so, then it moved into reading and other activities. Kids can take notes right on the computer and save them for later in the program. Vocabulary lists were included, and at the completion of the reading, students work on a diagram, and then take a quiz. Basically, my son easily completed each section in 20 minutes or less, and he enjoyed them. The quizzes were good because they marked which answers they got wrong, showed them the right answers, and then took them back to the lesson where the information was to reinforce the learning.
As a parent, I was able to access his quiz and diagram grades. This made it easy for me to keep track of where he was. The first time he did a diagram and quiz, he did not really take it seriously, but I was able to see that he scored low, and have him go back and redo it. The course covered a lot of information, from vitamins and minerals, to food safety and nutritional disorders. I felt like it worked really well for my son and fit into our “health” credit area.This course is aimed at grades six and up and works well as a middle school elective.
The English Composition course I looked at is aimed at grades nine and up, and although it has a similar set up to the nutrition course, it has a lot more meat. Not only does it cover the “how to” of writing, it gets into the types of writing, and touches on rhetoric, research papers, and other topics you would expect to be covered in a high school English class. The AP courses are designed to prepare students to take the AP test in that particular subject. It goes over how the test is set up, how it is scored, and strategies students can use when taking the test. I looked at the AP History and English courses because those are the AP tests I took in high school, and I think they would be helpful to prepare a student who is nervous. I wish they offered an SAT prep course because I would absolutely sign my oldest up for that one!
The pricing for Standard Deviants Accelerate varies. Core Curriculum subjects cost $99.00 per year, or $24.95 per month. AP courses cost $14.95 a month. This flexibility is nice, because you can decide how you want to complete the course and pay accordingly. If you need to take a break from a few subjects or you just want a good way to supplement your instruction, I would recommend you take a look at what Standard Deviants Accelerate has to offer.
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