Video learning and online interactive learning is my son’s favorite way to learn. If we read something in a book, I always try to find a video or game to bring him to a higher level of understanding. So, when we received an opportunity to do a review for Standard Deviants Accelerate, I was pretty excited.
Standard Deviants Accelerate is a website that offers supplementary online courses for middle and high school students. Their goal is to help you increase your child’s learning of a subject by offering in-depth video instruction and interactive quizzes, diagrams and other assignments. I was given a full year’s access to the Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses, and allowed to pick out the courses that Firecracker and I wanted to use. They have classes starting at third grade for arithmetic and and at sixth grade and up for other subjects, so I would say ages 8 to adult on these.
You can purchase access to each class for your student at $99 for one year’s access or $24.95 per month. If you have a student taking an AP class, these are priced monthly at $14.95 per month.
We started with Arithmetic. In quick fashion, the Arithmetic course covers:
- Whole Numbers and the Number Line
- Addition and Subtraction
- Multiplying Whole Numbers and Word Problems
- Dividing Whole Numbers
- Understanding Decimals
- Understanding Fractions
- Lines, Shapes and Sizes
- Patterns and Graphs
Each of this topics has two or three videos where you are taught (or review) the basics for the chapter. After each video, you have the opportunity to do a little problem solving, take a quiz and submit an answer to a big idea question that is proposed for each chapter.
These are quick and easy reviews of the subject. Most of the time, Firecracker would listen to the video, do the quiz and the problem solving and then be done. He was uninterested in pondering the bigger idea questions, and I did not require him to do so. As a teacher, I could have him do it independently, and then later, I could log into my teacher account and look at his progress report (under the grading section) to see how he was doing on these quizzes.
I think that the arithmetic class is great for those who have covered the topics and are needing just a little review before they go on to the next level of math. Watching Firecracker take these quizzes and seeing what he has difficulty with shows me the areas that we need to pinpoint before we go on to higher forms of math. This would not have been the type of class that would have been appropriate for my daughter, Rose, who is still being introduced to many of these basics. This class is more of a let’s make sure we understand everything in the basic math operations before we move on type of class, as opposed to in-depth instruction.
The other class that we tried was the Earth Science class. This class is meant for sixth grade and up, but Firecracker has always enjoyed science, so we knew that the level on this class would not be problematic for him. The topics this class covers are:
- Earth’s Place in the Universe
- Investigating the Earth’s Past
- Restless Earth (Covers plate tectonics, etc.)
- Mountains, Volcanoes and Earthquakes
- Earth’s Changing Surface
- Energetic Earth
- Atmosphere and Oceans
- Earth Systems
Each topic is broken into 3-5 videos on various aspects of the topic. There are also sections with each video for learning vocabulary, labeling diagrams, answering quiz questions and writing about a big idea topic. Although Firecracker often labelled the diagrams and answered the quiz questions, many times we just watched the video. Some of the videos, like the one on the Life and Death of Stars got watched many, many times.
These videos are interesting. They’re funny. They add so many layers to a student’s understanding of the topics that they cover. I found myself often stepping back and thinking, “Wouldn’t these make a great spine for a course of study?” Then, as a teacher, you could go more in depth, based on the interest of your students. We would sit and watch these videos together because we enjoyed them, and there were a couple of videos that we even had to share with my Hubby when he came in from work because we liked the videos so much.
I think this is an awesome way to do science. As a parent, I think that the courses move very quickly, so you are going to want to use them as supplements, just as Standard Deviants Accelerate suggests. It would be an awesome thing to use them as weekly videos and quizzes to review a week in your curriculum. However, it would be just as awesome to use them to introduce a topic then go to the library and explore the concepts that really stood out in depth.
As a teacher, I was really excited about the possibilities of different forms of usage of these courses and how great they were for building understanding on the part of your students. These are an awesome resource!!
As a Christian, I do have to put in a small note, because I know that some of my readers are looking for young earth creationist science materials, and these are not that. They are evolutionary and old earth based, and the first unit in the earth science video does discuss the big bang theory. As many of my readers know, we use both evolutionary and creationist perceptive science in our household because we want our children to understand the differing science perspectives. If you’re looking for just young earth materials, the earth science and biology courses from this company will probably not be for your family. However, I would encourage you to check out the other courses, because these classes are very well done, and your children will enjoy these classes.
Of course, as always, don’t just take my word for it, go check out some of the other reviews. You’ll be able to see what the other families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of the classes they took from Standard Deviants Accelerate.