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Online physics program (non-calc-based) ?

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Sometimes I think homeschooling is an exercise in banging your head against a wall!


Our plan was for ds2 to take one semester of non-calc-based physics next semester at the CC while he takes calculus, in preparation for taking calc-based physics next fall. Unfortunately, our CC is not offering that physics class next semester.


For a variety of reasons, we would really like him to have a semester of physics on his transcript for junior year. Having a semester of non-calc-based will also make his encounter with calc-based physics next fall a bit easier.


I am hoping to find an online physics program that does not require calculus and can be done on his own schedule -- in an ideal world he would start the class in January and finish it by August.


Does anyone have any suggestions?

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How about EPGY physics using Giancoli?


It comes with interactive computer-based tutorials and a textbook, and your ds would be assigned a tutor who would grade his assignments/tests & whom he could contact for help. The nice part of this one is that the course is self-paced, so he could start at any time. EPGY charges by the quarter, and its algebra-based physics is spread out over three quarters. I'd imagine that even if he just completed one quarter (mechanics), he'd have a nice head start on calculus-based physics for next year.



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Another option would be the Physics course offered by Derek Owens:




We are using Derek Owens this year via Distance Learning. It can be done self-paced as you like it. You only pay for the months that you use it. We are on Chapter 5/13 right now. Here's my review so far:


A little background on our middle school science studies: We used a combination of Science Explorer, Exploration Education, and TOPS attempting to create a balance of textbook reading and hands-on experiments.


For 9th grade, we used Derek Owen’s Physics class for distance learners. The website is http://www.derekowens.com. The cost of the class was $58/mo with a $15 registration fee.



• Even before payment, sample lectures and syllabus are available on the website. The syllabus provides clear assignments and deadlines for the entire year.

• User-friendly and well-organized website.

• Able to access the entire year’s course with first payment.

• Videos provide instruction with an electronic blackboard, Derek’s voice is very pleasant, and some of his graphics are amusing.

• Student Workbooks are filled in as student watches the lecture, keeping them engaged.

• Homework, labs, and tests are emailed/faxed in and graded by someone other than mom.

• Homework, labs, and tests are returned to student and parent within 24hrs along with cumulative grade report.



• The course is based on Giancolli’s Physics, which is a challenging high school textbook. However, the textbook is not needed because all the content comes from the lectures and workbook. I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s a bit easier as well.

• Solutions to the practice problems and tests are available to the student on the website. I would prefer that they were available to the parent, but not the student.

• Test review would be helpful.


Overall, I found Derek Owens very pleasant to work with and accommodating. For example, with the first payment, we were able to access the entire year’s course including the tests. Having the tests easily accessible made me uncomfortable. When I approached the subject with Mr Owens, he offered to make them unavailable for my student.

Edited by Sue in St Pete
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Thank you for all your ideas!


I will definitely check out both the EPGY and Derek Owens programs. I had never considered EPGY, Kathy, so thank you for the recommendation. And I had forgotten about Derek Owens' program.


I think Giancoli and my son would be a good fit. I figured there must be one program out there that would fit the bill, but I didn't even hope for two!


Thanks again.

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