Friday, October 30, 2015

Standard Deviants Accelerate - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Review Crew
In September I learned that I had selected to review Standard Deviants Accelerate (SDA). I reviewed Standard Deviants Accelerate last year and liked it, so I was happy to be able to review it again. SDA gave us access to all of their Homeschool Courses, and I felt like a kid in a candy shop! They offer so many courses!

SDA kindly gave us access to all their courses for an entire year. SDA offers classes for students grades 3 through 12. My student is in 10th Grade, so there were courses were not really able to benefit from, but during the review period I looked at the following courses:
Nutrition (grades 6+)
Algebra (grades 7+)
Chemistry (grades 9+)
English Comp (grades 9+)
U. S. History (grades 9+)
AP Chemistry (grades 11+)
AP U. S. Gov. & Politics (grades 11+)
AP Eng. Composition (grades 11+)
I didn't end up using the Nutrition. We are theoretically supposed to study one semester of "Health" in high school (it is in the public school "graduation requirements" in our state), and I haven't yet figured out what my state wants a high school health course to include. Since I don't know if "Nutrition" would be sufficient, I didn't focus on that right now.

I also looked at all the available links for AP links, even though my son is not 11th yet. They do not seem to be courses. They seem to be sample AP tests for the indicated subjects. Basically, I don't know how that works either, so that eliminated more possible choices from the ones we would use.

My son is taking Chemistry this year, so I viewed some of the Chemistry materials.
The materials seemed very good, so I made note of that in my mind and moved on to look at English Composition.
English Composition looked really good, too! Next I took a look at American History.
American History looked pretty good, too. I also wanted to look at Algebra.
So after narrowing down the subjects I wanted to use with my son, it was time to get him started using the program. 

Our Chemistry studies had recently gotten bumpy, so I started there. The material covered was very relevant to his other studies, so these video sessions were a very good supplement.
After working one's way through a video...
The student is given additional choices.
First the student reviews vocabulary from the video segment.
Next the student takes a fill-in-the-blank quiz.
When the quiz, if any questions are answered incorrectly, the answer page gives a link for the student to see the video explaining the concept to the student again.

Another option for the student is "Written Answer" --  an opportunity to respond in essay format.

I like the fact that the program is accessible by tablet or iPad! I did not use this feature but might in the future.

 There is an Admin Toolbox for the parent to go to where you need to turn on grading. I didn't remember to do this on all our subjects. When grading is turned on, the parent can get a grade report on each subject. (I cut the graded section to hide our names.)

So far I haven't figured out how to access all the various aspects of SDA. I've looked at the grading, but am not yet sure how to decipher its content. The layers of this program are like an onion -- it always seems like there are more layers to explore, particularly in the Admin area.

I really like SDA as a supplement for our homeschool program. I like having it in my arsenal. The high school subjects are not complete, comprehensive plans, but are an excellent addition to your program. The videos are well made and seem very professional.

Upon finishing his first video, my son's question was, "Is this for kids with ADHD?" The format of each video is pow, pow, pow! There is constant change, music, bright colors, change, change. He has a valid point. This style of format makes it easier for some kids to pay attention, but some others might wonder why the format can't just settle down and be calm.

In our core materials, we already have good materials for Algebra, a program (two) for  Chemistry, a program for history and a program for composition. The SDA materials make an excellent addition to our available resources to supplement the instruction any time the student isn't quite getting something.

If you've been thinking you would like to find something you could use to supplement your home schooling materials, Standard Deviants Accelerate would be worth considering.

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