Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Standard Deviants Accelerate–A Great Deviation from Regular Teaching

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
I have to admit, that the Homeschool Courses by Standard Deviants Accelerate was not a review that I was looking forward to doing. I wasn’t overly excited about reviewing this at all. As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we fill out interest forms for each review. We can put in our “two cents” worth as to if we would like to do this review or not with the knowledge that you may be chosen if needed. Well, I put in my two cents worth about not wanting to do this review but, as you probably can tell, I was chosen anyway. I really am glad that I was.
First of all let me tell you that the time period for this review was during a tough time for us. Sarah’s mom was sick for a few weeks and then passed away so we weren’t able to use this as much as we should have. However, we did use it and I am excited about it. Why am I so excited? Well, I am excited because my kids are excited.
Yes, I said kids! Over half of the Homeschool Courses offered by Standard Deviants Accelerate are suggested for high school kids including some AP classes. I assigned John Allen to work on the English Composition course. He has really enjoyed it but I haven’t necessarily been standing over his shoulder and watching the video’s or watching what work he had to do. So, I decided to sign myself up for the Nutrition class. It is suggested for sixth grade and above. Well, after watching just the first lesson and seeing how it was entertaining but very informative and really easy to understand, I thought I would try it with Joshua and even Jacob. Joshua is in 8th grade but is on the autism spectrum and is very literal. He doesn’t always understand idioms, nuances, and things like that. Jacob is in 2nd grade and is developmentally delayed. I was amazed at how much they understood! I did have to stop the video a few times to explain things to them, but I was very pleased that even Jacob understood the basics and was able to answer the questions and do the work at the end. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you the great things that we like about this program and describe the different parts of the course.
1. The video – Each lesson begins with a video. Now, let me tell you, these are like no educational videos you have ever seen before. They are actually very funny and entertaining but they very much get the information across. Take a look at the cast of characters below and you will see that in no way are these usual, boring, educational movies. Different characters will pop on to explain something or expand on something. Usually they are not dressed like they are below, but occasionally they are, and they are almost always funny. It almost reminds you of Sesame Street, but on Sesame Street the different clips don’t always have anything to do with each other. With Standard Deviants Accelerate, the different clips are continuous and build upon one another. Each video is less than ten minutes long so it easily kept my boys interest and didn’t get boring.
Two more things I really liked about the video area. The dialogue is listed right beside the video and you can even print it out if you want. That would be very handy for someone who wants to look back at what was said. There is also a space below each video to take notes that you can save to your “locker”. Look at the first frame (top left) of the four screenshots below for the Algebra course. You can see the dialogue box on the left, the video on the right and the note taking section on the bottom. I am really impressed with the way they do this.
Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
 2. The vocabulary, diagram, quiz and written answer sections – I know that it is hard to see, but if you look there are different tabs toward the top of each frame below. The first tab is the video tab, then the next four tabs are the vocab, diagram, quiz and written answer section tabs. The vocabulary tab doesn’t require any work by the student. It just has different vocab words from the video. The definition is given in written form, or you can click on the word and a voice will pronounce the word and tell you the definition.
The diagram section does require a little work. For the nutrition study, there is a diagram that a student has to “fill” out with the words used in the diagram at the bottom of the page in a “word bank” the student clicks on a word and drags it to where he thinks it should go. If it goes there it “sticks” if it doesn’t, it won’t stick and will fall back to the word bank section for the student to try again. Joshua and Jacob loved this section and were able to do it with a little help from me. A typical sixth grade student shouldn’t have any problem at all.
The next tab is the quiz section. A multiple choice question is given and the student is to click on the correct answer. When all answers are clicked, the student is invited to “throw it against the wall and see if it will stick” by clicking on the “throw it against the wall and see if it will stick” bar. If they got the right answer it will tell you, but if you didn’t, the correct answer will be pointed to with an arrow that says “see video”. When you click on the arrow, the section of the video where the answer to that question can be found pops up for the student to watch again and reinforce the information. Of course, my kids didn’t get any of the questions wrong, but I sure did when I was previewing it! Ugh . . . kids today!
Finally, the written answer question gives a couple of questions and the student is asked to pick one and answer it. The student types the answer out in a box and, when completed, the answer is sent to the teacher. The teacher then uses a provided rubric to grade the answer.
3. Chapter Review – After every three or four lessons, there is a Chapter Review. In the first part of the chapter review the homeschool student is invited to use one of the creative suggestions to review the chapter. A suggestion might be to create a sculpture using things around you or create a game to explain what you have learned. The suggestions are very creative and there is enough variety to appeal to any type of student. Then there is the post chapter test made up of questions from the quizzes that the student took, and critical thinking questions that are similar to but a little bit more complex than the written answers at the end of each section.
Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
I also like the grading. Of course, I have to access the website differently as the teacher, but it is all very easy. I just click on the course then click on the student to check his grades, or to grade the written question using the rubric described above. It is all very easy to do.
In fact, all of Standard Deviants Accelerate is very easy but very effective. I am so glad, now, that we were chosen for it. Since they were so gracious to give us a one year subscription to choose and work with any courses, we are going to be using this a lot! To find out more about the Homeschool Courses from Standard Deviants Accelerate and what it has to offer just click on any of the highlighted links above. To see what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members had to say about this company click on the banner below. Happy Homeschooling!
Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
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