Sunday, November 2, 2014

Homeschool Review: Standard Deviants Accelerate

I won a FREE year for my son on Standard Deviants Accelerate via a giveaway and later was asked to do a review... So here I am! :) 
"SDA can be used as a supplement to whatever material you already use and is a great addition to any homeschool curriculum. For example, the videos and quizzes can be used for a fresh angle on a challenging topic or as a review before standardized testing. All the important areas of a subject are condensed into concise lessons that cut out the busy work and get right to the point. Or use SDA as a homeschool curriculum spine by adding on extra reading assignments, practice exercises, and projects to accompany our outline of the content."

Standard Deviants Accelerate is pretty straight forward and really easy to follow. I had no trouble getting started. First things first, you will need to make your teacher account, set up your subjects, and classes.

Standard Deviants Accelerate offers 14 courses that include: Earth Science, Nutrition, Biology, Chemistry, Arithmetic, Fundamental Math, Algebra, English Comp., US History, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP US Government & Politics, AP US History, and AP English Composition.

You can find out more about what each subject covers, HERE.
Once you get your classes set up, you will give your students the invite code, and then they can access their lessons with that. I know it sounds a little complicated, but really it isn't. They have a step-by-step tutorial video to help you out or they offer a webinar. I will share the video at the bottom of this post.

When your student signs in, they will see this page:
When they click on a subject, you can see all the lessons/assignments for that subject. They just click the one they are on and they are set. Easy Peasy!
Now they will be able to complete their work via the tabs at the top.

My son, Bailey, hasn't complained at all when asked to complete his assignments on SDA. He doesn't say he loves it, but he doesn't complain, and that in itself is a WIN. He likes that it doesn't take very long to complete an assignment, so I often ask him to do two or three assignments at a time, which he doesn't like very much.

He hasn't had trouble completing the assignments in Arithmetic, as it is mainly review of what he has done before.

Bailey is doing great in Earth Science as well. The only other subject he is working on at this time is Nutrition. He does struggle with that one a little, but you can go back and redo the lessons and quizzes, so we've been doing that fairly often. He loves that he can type in notes (on certain topics) and save it, rather than having to write things down.
When your student has completed their assignment, you can go into your account and check their grades. It will notify you with flags if their grade is below where it should be.

As you can see, it is super easy to find all their grades in one quick glance.
And even easier to create a report card for each subject. 

For us, Standard Deviants Accelerate has not only been a great review but also a fantastic supplement. We are so blessed that we won that giveaway.

Pricing for core subjects is $24.95 per month per student. AP classes are $14.95 per month per student. That's a little out of my price range, as we are strapped for cash, as usual. However, I don't think this is a bad price for a high school course.

It's definitely worth looking into.
Learn more about how it works for homeschool, HERE.


Here are the video tutorials.

Teacher:

Student:
"Standard Deviants Accelerate is a secular or non-religious homeschool curriculum; we like to think of ourselves as neutral. We welcome and encourage people from all backgrounds to use SDA. If you are a member of a religious group that teaches creationism, please be aware that our Biology teaches the theory of Evolution, and our Earth Science teaches the Big Bang Theory."

Want to try Standard Deviants Accelerate FREE? Click the photo below for details or to sign up. This was originally available until 11/15/14, but has been extended until sometime in January.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Homeschool: Clever Dragons Review


Dalton (age 9) and I were given the opportunity to try out Clever Dragons for two months. In exchange I agreed to write a review with only my honest opinions of the site. 
"Clever Dragons is a unique combination of online learning, creative play, and optional, moderated social networking. From math, to reading, to science, to the arts, there are learning games your son will enjoy and motivational rewards to keep him learning." - clever-dragons.com
Dalton (age 9) playing on Clever Dragons.
Our trial started at the end of June. Since we were on summer break, getting him to try anything educational was going to be a hassle. I never once mentioned to him that he would be learning. I simply said, "Dalt, check out this game." and he was in ... hook, line, and sinker. 

He was immediately drawn in by the fact that you could create your own Mini-Me. 
This has continued to be the main attraction for him. He loved changing his clothes and hair every single day.
It's pretty neat that you can buy clothes that others have designed
or design and sell  your own to earn gold. 
The CastleWorld was pretty neat as well.
There you will find an art shop, clothing store, design studio, furniture store, your castle, and as you earn more coins you can even upgrade your castle.

When you first start out, the inside of your castle is a blank canvas that you can decorate any way you wish. In order to do that, you have to have coins. That is where it gets sneaky (and educational).
You can visit other homes as well for inspiration.
Once you have used up all your coins, you will need more. How do you get them? Play "games" or watch videos. 
Dalton liked to play the game Dragon Egg and we used the Geometry Shapes Quiz a lot to reinforce his math lessons.

He did cave and watch a few videos when I would ask him to do so.
I think his favorite part of the day was getting to SPIN and win free coins.  He would laugh and get super excited when he won 50. The competition with kids for the most coins earned is great too. A real motivator. 
One thing we didn't use much was the chat board. Dalton really wasn't interested in that, but I am sure it is great for older children. 
I like that there is a free parent login where you can see your child's learning progress. You can even reward them with gold for doing their chores or homework.  For those y'all that want a more detailed overview, assessments, and reports you can upgrade. 

Now, down to the nitty-gritty... price.

As I said before, we were given a free two month trial, but new members can try it for a month for only $3.95 and then $8.95 there after. There are many more payment options to chose from as you can see from the screenshot below.
Would I try Clever Dragons again if I had to pay $3.95 a month. Yes, it is absolutely worth that. Would I pay $8.95? Right now, probably not. Our budget is really tight. But in the future, absolutely.

Now, if you are wondering "What about the girls?" Never fear. They have a sister site called Always Ice Cream just for them!
Give it a shot. You won't regret it. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014