We have always taken a relaxed, living books approach to learning in our homeschool. Now that Big Sis (13) is nearing high school age, I am looking for some supplemental programs to make sure that we don’t have any “gaps” in our learning as well as to shore up her basic skills in subjects like math and science. Standard Deviants ACCELERATE offers a way to do that online so she can work on these skills as part of her independent study time.
From the website description:
For over 20 years, Standard Deviants has been the leading producer of top notch educational videos that teach you everything you need to know about a subject. We’ve taken our newest educational videos online and added a ton of activities to create the perfect curriculum supplement, Standard Deviants Accelerate!
Subjects Currently Offered:
- Earth Science (grades 6+)
- Nutrition (grades 6+)
- Biology (grades 7+)
- Chemistry (grades 9+)
- Arithmetic (grades 3+)
- Fundamental Math (grades 4+)
- Algebra (grades 7+)
Other High School Courses
- English Composition
- US History
AP Exam Prep (grades 11+)
- AP Biology
- AP Chemistry
- AP English Composition
- AP US Government and Politics
- AP US History
How it Works
As the teacher, I set up the user login information and selected which courses to “offer” from among the choices. I was given a key code to pass along to Big Sis so that she could enter the code to begin each class.
Although we haven’t tried every course offering yet, they all have similarities in structure and set-up. Each course has chapters and sections.
- Video (typed transcript can be read online while watching or printed out)
- Vocabulary list (clickable words with sound for pronunciation and definitions)
- Short multiple choice quiz
- Written assignment
- Test (10 multiple choice questions)
- Written assignment (typed directly into the program by the student)
The quizzes and tests are automatically graded by the program. Progress reports are generated and recorded within the teacher’s dashboard so you always have access to that information. Red flags pop up if a student fails a test.
The written portions must be graded online by the teacher. A grading rubric is provided, but of course the discretion is left to you as the teacher as far as grading the written assignment goes.
Our First Impression
We had recently studied women’s suffrage in our history lessons, so Big Sis began with this topic. There is a pre-test to properly gauge your student’s ability and prior knowledge on the topic. She dug right in and did well with it. She enjoyed the independent study aspect, though we did have some discussions about the information.
She liked the feature that allowed her to take notes and store them in a “locker” within the program. However, the text was very tiny, even when we printed it out. In the end she preferred using our regular style of notebooking pages and taking notes by hand.
Our Favorite Features
The videos were very short, but they did help break up the lessons. This can help with visual learners as well, otherwise the amount of text might be intimidating. It is not a high-tech bells and whistles type of program.
There is adequate review and testing built right in, so it’s easy to track a student’s progress without hovering over them. This can help build the independent study skills they will need for college. It also provides a record to help create transcripts.
The Fine Print
SDA offers monthly and annual subscription options. Prices vary, but they are currently offering a free 7 day trial that will give you access to all 14 courses.
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