Monday, October 20, 2014

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
Bringing a different approach to education for more than 20 years, Standard Deviants Accelerate began by providing videos and now has a website to share that same quirky teaching method with students. Standard Deviants Homeschool Courses include earth science, nutrition, biology, chemistry, arithmetic, fundamental math, algebra, English composition, US history, AP biology, AP chemistry, AP US government & politics, AP US history, and AP English composition.

My ninth grader participated in this review by taking nutrition which is geared towards students in grades 6 and up and English composition for students in grades 9 and up. There are actually homeschool courses for children as young as 8 years old. Upon entering the course, a table of contents is listed at the bottom of the page. The student clicks on this to return to where he left off. The ninth grade (and up) English composition class covers topics such as analyzing writing, research strategies, building an argument, rhetoric, writing, researching, citing sources, business writing, nonfiction and fiction,

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

Each lesson plays a video. Everything that is said in the video is offered as text beside the video with the option of printing the transcript. There is also a blank area below the video where students can take notes. These notes can be saved to the "Locker," an area where students and parents can monitor progress.

The videos are chock full of information, maybe too much information in just one video. The folks in the videos try to be humorous, though my son didn't find them very funny. He said he felt that he learned some but that the lessons were a bit too childish for him.
Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
Vocabulary along with pronunciation is present after each lesson. There are diagrams, or exercises, for students to test their comprehension of what they heard/read. These were a little frustrating. It is a drag-and-drop exercise. Only the right answers stick, but they have to be dragged to the right place in order for them to stick. They can't just be dragged to the right box but have to be strategically placed.

Quizzes are available. If the student gets any of the answers wrong, they know right away and are encouraged to re-watch the video which pops up at the bottom of the quiz. The section of the video that corresponds to the missed question is provided. The quiz grades are available in the Locker.

The last section is the written answer section. Throughout the English comp course, the same questions were asked: How does the perspective of the thematic question (How does learning to write affect thinking?) inform your understanding of the topics covered in this section? and How does what you have learned in this section provide new dimensions to your understanding of the thematic question asked above? My son did not understand why they kept asking the same questions over and over, so he often did not answer them. He gets frustrated when there is too much repetition. There seems to be a lot in this program.

Each chapter review is broken down into a group activity, post-test, and a critical thinking section. Since my son never had a group of three to four other students, he did the assignments on his own. He actually enjoyed some of them. Students are given a few different topics to choose from, and they have to develop a mini-lesson plan focused on one of five different groups. The lesson plan has to be taught in such a way as to engage that particular group. My son liked it when he was able to pick comic-strip readers. Some of the other chooses for other chapter reviews include forgetful people, aliens from another planet, mimes, peasants from the dark ages, and so on. So, not everything is practical, but the creators of Standard Deviants Accelerate do try to have fun with the students.

The post-test cannot be taken until all of the quizzes throughout the lesson have been completed. Then it is all online and interactive. Like the quizzes, students know right away what they got wrong, and videos are available to re-learn the information. Students can then retake the quiz. The critical thinking part through my son for a loop, I think. He would rather have to write about something specific, something he learned in the lesson, but the second half of the critical thinking assignment required hypothesizing. I was glad to see, though, that he was really trying to do his best with these assignments.

My son spent more time in the English comp class, but the nutrition class is set up similarly. Some of the topics are the body processes regarding food, sugar, salt, oil, vitamins, minerals, nutritional deficiencies, organic foods, and making good food choices.
Standard Deviants Accelerate ReviewPricing for one child is as follows: An annual subscription for one subject is $99.00. A monthly subscription for one class is $24.95. One AP class is $14.95 per month.

I have mixed feelings about this program. It is set up so that I don't really have to teach anything; it is all online and taught via video. That I like. I can print our progress reports, which I also like. I don't feel, though, that it is deep enough or challenging enough for my son. There might not be much out there that is, however.

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

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