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#1 schmittgirlz

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 08:39 PM

Hi, I am looking for feedback on Scholar's Online and Potter's School. I am considering writing, precalculus, American Literature, British literature and science so any insight would be greatly appreciated! I have searched earlier threads and others were planning to enroll so I am hoping since time has elapsed others can share their experience.

TIA!
Clare

#2 CAMom

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 09:37 PM

We're starting our third year with Potter's School and have been very happy.

We've done HTML, Latin 1 and Biology so far.

The classes have been well organized and rigorous. My son really likes the structure of attending class once a week.

No complaints here. I'd be happy to try and answer any specific questions if you have any.:)

#3 LKMN

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 02:45 PM

I too am considering Potters School for just one class (Arabic). I would be happy for any feedback as we have never used an online class before.

#4 Langhaven

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 10:42 PM

We are starting our 3rd year with the Potters School and have loved it. My son took the Advanced Composition course and it was a fantastic writing experience. He was very challenged and really improved. It will be a must take course for my kids.

Pam

#5 CO MOM

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 05:30 PM

We also have been very pleased with The Potter's School and will be using it for our second year. We haven't done any of the classes you mentioned, but did do Intro to Lit which was very good. I know the upper level lit classes are considered very challenging. We also did Spanish and it was well-organized and well-run. Things move very quickly, because they are usually doing a 36 week course in about 34 weeks, but that is the push we've needed for high school level.

Jane

#6 LaJuana

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 01:13 PM

Clare,

All of my children have taken Scholars Online classes throughout their high school years, and some beginning even earlier. I credit SO with taking my children to a place academically that I could never have done on my own, enabling them to earn excellent academic scholarships to college as well as to enter college very well prepared for the academic challenges they would face. One of the colleges my children have attended actually recruits SO students because they have found them so well prepared for their university studies.

I remember trying to decide how to provide the best high school education possible for my oldest in that summer before she was in 8th grade. I am so glad that I decided to enroll her in classes with Scholars Online. It's one of the best academic decisions I ever made. Over the years my children have taken all of the classes in the literature sequence, AP chemistry, AP physics, the history sequence, Latin I-IV, and Greek. Every class has been a blessing.

As for the specific courses you asked about:

Writing - My children have never studied with Mrs. Byington only because writing is my own passion, and I love to teach them to write. I have heard really good things about her classes from friends though.

Precalculus - I also am a math lover, so I have no experience with the SO math classes. My idea has always been to decide what few things I can teach well at the high school level, and then to look for help with all the rest. I have heard that the classes are small with much personal attention for each student.

English (British) Literature and American Literature - These are some of Dr. Bruce McMenomy's superb literature classes. Dr. McM is an excellent scholar and classicist as well as a fabulous teacher who uses Socratic questioning as one of the primary methods of instruction in his classes. His outstanding use of the English language is an education in itself, and all of my children would count his literature classes among their favorite courses in their high school years. Even though I love literature and have taught literature courses before, I still enroll my children in these literature classes every year. They are too good to be missed.

I would not recommend taking the American Lit class without a background in English Literature, however. The English Lit class lays a foundation that helps the student to understand the American writers. It also provides early practice in what Dr. McM calls "close reading" as opposed to broad reading. English Literature is a better entry level high school literature course, although I always prefer that my children have the advantage of a broad reading of the Great Books in Dr. McM's Western Literature to Dante course before studying English Literature. In the latter course, Dr. McM brings the focus down to closer reading and analysis of the literature, and the broad background equips them with literary background to do that. Still, if I had a student with only a couple of years left in high school, English Literature is a great place to start, followed by American Literature.

American Literature requires more interaction with literary criticism than English Literature. It really is a good PRE AP English (Literature) kind of class. All of these classes have been excellent for helping my children develop the ability to understand, analyze, and appreciate literature. They have also given them an incredibly firm foundation upon which to build their university literature studies.

Science: My background is in the sciences, so science is one of the subjects that I often decide I can teach my children myself. However, one of my children wanted more challenge in chemistry and physics than I could give him, so he took Dr. Christe McMenomy's AP Chemistry and AP Physics courses. Using college level textbooks, Dr. Christe gave him an understanding of those subjects that I could never have done. She is a brilliant scientist with a background in science history which she weaves into the presentation of technical science. I love the fact that she is able to bring the humanities (history of science) into the course without sacrificing the depth of study of the theoretical and technical aspects of the subject. The courses were challenging, but Dr. Christe worked hard to be sure that every student in the class understood the topics they covered.


If you have any more specific questions about the SO courses, I would be happy to try to answer them for you. Scholars Online has been such a blessing to my own children that I can be pretty effusive in their praise!

#7 sunshine

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 01:53 PM

Thank you, I am looking after lurking into Scholars online

#8 NancyL

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 02:09 PM

The Potters School has audio so if you want to monitor the class from the other side of the room that works OK. SOL is silent text only and you can't really tell what's happening unless you are sitting next to them. (However the script is saved and you can read it) I think also that the time and day needs to be convenient since you will be there every week or twice a week for the entire year. You need to watch Time Zones, etc, and vacation weeks of course. I would pretty much plan on being there when class is in session-when the quizzes close, they are closed. Traveling can be problematic. (we didn't have internet access when we thought we would, also we had no power one of the weeks in the winter) You need your internet access and you also need power. With Potters school we got the score for the quizzes but I never knew what the questions were--I never figured out what they were asking so I could help them prepare for the next week. For SOL you can see the questions after quiz. (I kind of like that) It just feels funny to get the score with no idea if they were right out of the book, or a little different wrinkle. I would say to puruse the books and kind of let those help you decide, neither one is accredited so there really isn't any reason to prefer one over the other. The Potters school has many sections of their classes which is nice. My thing is if the kids learn to like the subject then that's a home run, no matter what their grade is. HTH

#9 LaJuana

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 12:14 AM

Dear Friends,

A fellow frequenter of the WTM boards wrote to suggest that I clarify my relationship with Scholars Online since I have sung the praises of some of the classes in this post and because my name is listed on the SO website as a person who has volunteered to answer questions to help parents determine whether or not SO classes will meet their needs.

I hate to post about myself, but I do want to clarify any question about conflict of interest so as to avoid the appearance of impropriety. I am grateful to this person for suggesting clarification.

I am not now nor have I ever been employed by Scholars Online. My relationship with SO is that of a grateful parent who is willing to answer questions in light of my experience with the Scholars Online classes. My heart's desire is to support families who are giving their children a classical education at home. One of the ways I have done that has been to post on the WTM boards. Another way has been to moderate the ClassEd e-mail loop. Another has been to edit Classical Writing - Aesop. Another has been to answer questions about SO classes. Another has been to tutor classes through Classicalco-op. I am blessed not to want nor need compensation for any of these services, and I have done each of them because of a lifelong commitment to classical home education.

I have been teaching my children at home for over twenty years, and I have aspired to a classical education for all but the first few of those years. With five children who have studied with different SO teachers for the last ten years, I am familiar with many of the SO classes. Now that I have only one child still in my home school, I have extra time in my 'near retirement' to serve other parents as they attempt to discern the best choices for their own children's education. In that spirit, I volunteered to answer questions that parents might have about SO classes. I am under no obligation whatsoever save the obligation to speak my conscience. I care very much about the success of individual home-schooled students, and I empathize with parents who are trying to decide how best to meet the needs of the children they love so much.

I do not think that one size fits all when it comes to online tutorials, but I can only speak from my own experience. While I have had experience with less than satisfactory online tutorials for my children, I do not speak of the negative experiences, knowing well that the same courses that I found not to meet my children's needs may be a perfect fit for someone else. Besides, it's a lot more fun to talk about something I can be enthusiastic about!

I do have one disclosure to make which is not related to this thread: After graduating Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Classical Philology, my daughter began teaching Latin with Scholars Online. She had been tutoring Latin for several years and was delighted to be teaching through the online school that ignited her love of classical languages. While I think she is a devoted and talented teacher who loves and inspires her students, I have avoided recommending her classes, partly because I didn't want to be guilty of impropriety, but also because she is not the only SO Latin teacher about whom I could say that!

While I feel awkward about veering from the topic of high school and self-education in this post, I hope this post clears up any question that may have arisen about my motivation for posting about the SO classes.

#10 FloridaLisa

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 09:48 PM

LaJuana, you have such a valued voice on this board! What a rich invesment you've made in the education of your children and, now, other homeschooling families. I appreciate all the information you gave about SO and your volunteer position. I just may be calling you with a question about a class as we continue to pin down my eldest's exact schedule. ;)

Many blessings,
Lisa