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BJU DVD users - ?'s, tips, comments please for 7th


Jen the RD
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Please bear with me as I explain how I came to use these. It may help in answering some of my questions.

 

After homeschooling using a classal/literature-driven/eclectic approach for 7 yrs, I hit a point this summer where I was ready to send my dc to school and forget homeschooling forever. I was burned out in a major way from planning all the subjects for both dc. DH helped me work & pray through my frustration and then encouraged me to investigate BJU DVD's. We've used them for about 5 weeks now, but I feel there has been quite a learning curve to figure out what is the best approach in using them.

 

So, here are some questions that I have about how we are implementing them vs. what others are doing.

 

The first thing I noticed was that my 7th grade dd's day was so long that we couldn't even get to all our subjects. She was taking 1 - 1 1/2 hrs to get through a lecture because of her slow note-taking & stopping/starting DVD. And that didn't include the additional reading & activities. So, I have been reading with her and helping her take notes from her book. Then we watch the DVD for that lesson and that has really lessened the amount of lecture time (less starting/stopping). Plus she seems to be retaining the info better. This has been taking a LOT of HAND-HOLDING. (I bought these DVD's hoping that I could have a break, but I'm still finding that I have to be quite involved.)

 

Is this normal for a 7th grader who's transitioning to a more textbook/lecture style format? Am I on the right track or are there more efficient ways to use these DVD's? There's a lot of material to cover and many additional assignments/activities, etc. than we're not used to. Is this really a justifiable amount of work for a 7th grader?

 

I might add that we dropped the Spanish--that lecture was too disjointed for us with that LINC thing. We also decided to go back to R&S for grammar & writing. It just seemed more efficient for both time and coverage of material. So that leaves us with Life Science, World Studies, Pre-Algebra, and Literature (which we haven't started yet). Plus, dd has other subjects outside of the DVD's.

 

Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

 

Jennifer

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Please bear with me as I explain how I came to use these. It may help in answering some of my questions.

 

After homeschooling using a classal/literature-driven/eclectic approach for 7 yrs, I hit a point this summer where I was ready to send my dc to school and forget homeschooling forever. I was burned out in a major way from planning all the subjects for both dc. DH helped me work & pray through my frustration and then encouraged me to investigate BJU DVD's. We've used them for about 5 weeks now, but I feel there has been quite a learning curve to figure out what is the best approach in using them.

 

So, here are some questions that I have about how we are implementing them vs. what others are doing.

 

The first thing I noticed was that my 7th grade dd's day was so long that we couldn't even get to all our subjects. She was taking 1 - 1 1/2 hrs to get through a lecture because of her slow note-taking & stopping/starting DVD. And that didn't include the additional reading & activities. So, I have been reading with her and helping her take notes from her book. Then we watch the DVD for that lesson and that has really lessened the amount of lecture time (less starting/stopping). Plus she seems to be retaining the info better. This has been taking a LOT of HAND-HOLDING. (I bought these DVD's hoping that I could have a break, but I'm still finding that I have to be quite involved.)

 

Is this normal for a 7th grader who's transitioning to a more textbook/lecture style format? Am I on the right track or are there more efficient ways to use these DVD's? There's a lot of material to cover and many additional assignments/activities, etc. than we're not used to. Is this really a justifiable amount of work for a 7th grader?

 

I might add that we dropped the Spanish--that lecture was too disjointed for us with that LINC thing. We also decided to go back to R&S for grammar & writing. It just seemed more efficient for both time and coverage of material. So that leaves us with Life Science, World Studies, Pre-Algebra, and Literature (which we haven't started yet). Plus, dd has other subjects outside of the DVD's.

 

Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

 

Jennifer

 

Hi Jennifer,

We are using BJU Life Science in 7th grade this year. Although my dd has learned a lot, this is the class thatis the most challenging and takes most of our time.

 

We watch the DVD's and stop/start just like you. Yesterday, however, as we watched, I realized some of the information Mrs. Vick was talking about was spelled out word-for-word in the text. Don't ask me why I haven't noticed this before. So, I'm thinking that we'll try to follow along in the book, highlighting along the way what is important. I would love for this to speed things along.

 

When we started this class, it rocked our little homeschool world. This was our first "real" textbook experience (apart from math). My dd is having to learn how to study, follow the schedule, take notes, etc.... I don't know how others would feel about it, but we use an open book for most tests- not so much for quizzes though because that info is mostly fresh. (For testing, I'll have dd work the test through closed book, and then give her a certain short amount of time for open book if she needs it.)

 

I bought our BJU science from a BJU consultant who told me that using it open book would be fine since it was our first hefty class. Using it this way at least causes the student to use the text as a reference tool to learn *how* to find information. This is also an important aspect of science.

 

If nothing else, this class is a stepping stone to higher science that awaits us in high school. If I look at it as experience gained, then I can use it *however* I want to expose her to these science concepts. That is very freeing to me.

 

I have a friend who bought the entire BJU DVD 7th grade level for her ds. She, like you, has found that it takes too much time to watch videoes and complete assignments. She is replacing LA with CLE/Abeka and math with Lial's BCM. She hasn't started history or lit yet. (We are using Analytical Grammar and Lial's BCM. )

 

You know, I have wondered where we stand as far as comparing ourselves to other 7th graders since using BJU Life Science. I've decided that maturity plays a huge role, and it's unfair to compare. No matter how we use BJU science we are certainly learning and growing. We are also certainly moving in the direction of being able to face the challenges of higher, more demanding classes, that await us in the future.

 

Long ramble... but HTH

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We're doing BJU 8th grade science on DVD this year. We have had a huge learning curve, but it's getting better. DS takes notes from the textbook, but none from the DVD class. I may eventually add those, but I need him to get used to taking notes at all (we've never done this before) first.

 

I was looking through the teacher's manual and noticed that they recommend taking notes from the textbook, then filling in any holes from the lecture. So, it sounds like you're doing what they expect.

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We're doing BJU 8th grade science on DVD this year. We have had a huge learning curve, but it's getting better. DS takes notes from the textbook, but none from the DVD class. I may eventually add those, but I need him to get used to taking notes at all (we've never done this before) first.

 

I was looking through the teacher's manual and noticed that they recommend taking notes from the textbook, then filling in any holes from the lecture. So, it sounds like you're doing what they expect.

 

Rhonda, does your child take open or closed book tests? I've read that 8th grade BJU is quite hard. Do you plan to use BJU 9th grade physical science?

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My oldest uses a DVD program and few things that help keep the lessons on track are...

1.Play the lesson though without pausing. Use your discretion, but unless she is totally lost just listen carefully to the entire lesson.

2. Use the chapter outlines and highlight the textbook to minimize time taking notes.

3. Do all the assignments work following the video lessons not subject by subject.

4. Teach her to outline the chapters and that will greatly free up her time to listen to any lecture or class.

 

 

I'd say there is a big learning curve for both the parent and student, but it does get easier as the format becomes a habit.

 

 

Please bear with me as I explain how I came to use these. It may help in answering some of my questions.

 

After homeschooling using a classal/literature-driven/eclectic approach for 7 yrs, I hit a point this summer where I was ready to send my dc to school and forget homeschooling forever. I was burned out in a major way from planning all the subjects for both dc. DH helped me work & pray through my frustration and then encouraged me to investigate BJU DVD's. We've used them for about 5 weeks now, but I feel there has been quite a learning curve to figure out what is the best approach in using them.

 

So, here are some questions that I have about how we are implementing them vs. what others are doing.

 

The first thing I noticed was that my 7th grade dd's day was so long that we couldn't even get to all our subjects. She was taking 1 - 1 1/2 hrs to get through a lecture because of her slow note-taking & stopping/starting DVD. And that didn't include the additional reading & activities. So, I have been reading with her and helping her take notes from her book. Then we watch the DVD for that lesson and that has really lessened the amount of lecture time (less starting/stopping). Plus she seems to be retaining the info better. This has been taking a LOT of HAND-HOLDING. (I bought these DVD's hoping that I could have a break, but I'm still finding that I have to be quite involved.)

 

Is this normal for a 7th grader who's transitioning to a more textbook/lecture style format? Am I on the right track or are there more efficient ways to use these DVD's? There's a lot of material to cover and many additional assignments/activities, etc. than we're not used to. Is this really a justifiable amount of work for a 7th grader?

 

I might add that we dropped the Spanish--that lecture was too disjointed for us with that LINC thing. We also decided to go back to R&S for grammar & writing. It just seemed more efficient for both time and coverage of material. So that leaves us with Life Science, World Studies, Pre-Algebra, and Literature (which we haven't started yet). Plus, dd has other subjects outside of the DVD's.

 

Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

 

Jennifer

Edited by Tammyla
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Thanks for your replies about your own experience. You have all confirmed that there is a learning curve in finding the best way to use these, which makes me feel better.;)

 

To summarize your comments....

 

1. take book notes 1st before watching DVD (so we'll continue this...)

2. just listen carefully to DVD and try not to do so much note-taking --This makes sense because I've noticed none of the testing covers lecture info; it's all from the texts.

3. watch all the dvd's, then do assignments

 

Tammy, you mentioned a chapter outline. Just wanted to clarify: Did you mean a pre-written outline that is found in the materials or an outline that the student writes? I have combed the materials looking for pre-written outlines and I can't find any.

 

Sweet home alabama: We are also doing open book tests, so glad to know you are doing that, too. DD failed the first 2 quizzes and made C's on the tests and she is normally an A student. So I decided to make these open book to help her confidence. Plus, if life science is a "survey course" as BJU markets it, then my understanding is that the student is not expected to master it like they would bio, chem, physics.

 

What about assignments? How do you all discern which you do? Or if you do all of them, please tell me how in the world do you fit it all in? My dd loves to read and I was planning to have her read some great books to accompany history. She is so busy, with just the basics of the DVD's that there isn't time to do much else. Has anyone else found this to be true???

 

Yikes, more questions, I know. But I've put much $$$$$$$ into this curriculum and I'm determined to get through this year using them!

 

Thanks again,

Jennifer

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From Jennifer:

 

To summarize your comments....

 

1. take book notes 1st before watching DVD (so we'll continue this...)

2. just listen carefully to DVD and try not to do so much note-taking --This makes sense because I've noticed none of the testing covers lecture info; it's all from the texts.

3. watch all the dvd's, then do assignments

 

Sweet home alabama: We are also doing open book tests, so glad to know you are doing that, too. DD failed the first 2 quizzes and made C's on the tests and she is normally an A student. So I decided to make these open book to help her confidence. Plus, if life science is a "survey course" as BJU markets it, then my understanding is that the student is not expected to master it like they would bio, chem, physics.

 

What about assignments? How do you all discern which you do? Or if you do all of them, please tell me how in the world do you fit it all in? My dd loves to read and I was planning to have her read some great books to accompany history. She is so busy, with just the basics of the DVD's that there isn't time to do much else. Has anyone else found this to be true???

 

 

 

 

 

From Sweet Home Alabama:

 

Jennifer, thank you for asking your original questions. I have been comforted by the responses. Using BJU science this year was has been a huge bite to chew, and I'm very relieved to know that someone else is facing some of the same challenges we are facing. I'm going to try to implement the three points you outlined above. I'm eager to hear about the pre-made outlines as well although I haven't seen anything like this in my books. I am VERY glad to hear that you all use the text open book!!! What a relief to know that we are not the only ones!!!

 

As for the other subjects, we are not doing any other BJU class as you are, but our subjects are taking up plenty of time. We do not do a lot of extra reading. I schedule just a little independent reading to go along with history. My kids read from the Usborn Illustrated Ency. and from Mystery of History Vol. I. They also read a children's historical field guide. These keep them reading something individually, and they reinforce what we're studying in history.

 

The last two previous years, we used SonLight to study American history. My kids were reading all of the time. I credit SL for helping my kids to fall in love with reading.

 

This year, my oldest (7th grade) is doing:

Math: Lial's BCM

Science: BJU life science

LA: Analytical Grammar Season 2

Megawords

Wordly Wise

History: Biblioplan Anciencts with family read alouds

Lit. Lit. Lessons from the Lord of the Rings (orally with sibling & me)

For. Lang: Rosetta Stone Spanish

 

They do not read historical fiction type books individually this year. Instead, we're reading only a select few to go with history. This way, we can use SWB's middle school writing for literature narratives on Friday. There isn't time for my kids to do the same kind of reading they did when we used SL.

 

I felt terrible about this when I was planning this year. I've read many posts that urge middle school students to read, and read, and read! Well, as it turned out, we substituted reading quantity for reading quality.... IOW, we're reading carefully for details to see examples of well-organized and thoughtful writing. We're writing outlines and narratives and writing short narratives daily. I know it is important to read, read, read, and we have done this for two years. Now, for this year, reading large quantities is just taking a back seat so writing can take priority.

 

I don't think this is a mistake..... there just HAS to be a give/take when planning for homeschool. I think it would be hard to impossible to do try to "do it all." There must be balance, and the student can't be overwhelmed. That is discouraging. There has to be an achievable level of success.

 

Can you tell I've had my coffee?:tongue_smilie:

Edited by Sweet Home Alabama
Added that my oldest is in 7th grade
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Thanks for your replies about your own experience. You have all confirmed that there is a learning curve in finding the best way to use these, which makes me feel better.;)

 

To summarize your comments....

 

1. take book notes 1st before watching DVD (so we'll continue this...)

2. just listen carefully to DVD and try not to do so much note-taking --This makes sense because I've noticed none of the testing covers lecture info; it's all from the texts.

3. watch all the dvd's, then do assignments

 

Tammy, you mentioned a chapter outline. Just wanted to clarify: Did you mean a pre-written outline that is found in the materials or an outline that the student writes? I have combed the materials looking for pre-written outlines and I can't find any.

 

Either way, but some (at least the high school levels) of the BJU courses come with a teacher support material CD. That CD has chapter notes you can print out for your student or do a quick outline. They aren't outlines, but make great study guides. Outlining is a great skill for any student and worth the time investment it takes to attain it. Jm2c plug for outlining.

 

 

What about assignments? How do you all discern which you do? Or if you do all of them, please tell me how in the world do you fit it all in? My dd loves to read and I was planning to have her read some great books to accompany history. She is so busy, with just the basics of the DVD's that there isn't time to do much else. Has anyone else found this to be true???

 

These are questions best answered by you based on your time, goals and any regulations placed on you by your state or country.

 

My dd had to really work hard to speed up her reading skills as well as overall organization. Free time is a premium for my dd and reading tops her list when she has it.

 

I personally wouldn't want to overwhelm a 7th grader with too much.

 

Yikes, more questions, I know. But I've put much $$$$$$$ into this curriculum and I'm determined to get through this year using them!

 

Thanks again,

Jennifer

 

I totally understand the investment you made into this program and encourage you to make it work. Let the books, video lessons and materials work for you. And do expect some growing pains as you weed, work and tweak your way towards finding your system.

 

My dream textbooks would all come with pre-written outlines;).

Edited by Tammyla
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From Sweet Home Alabama:

 

Jennifer, thank you for asking your original questions. I have been comforted by the responses. Using BJU science this year was has been a huge bite to chew, and I'm very relieved to know that someone else is facing some of the same challenges we are facing. I'm going to try to implement the three points you outlined above. I'm eager to hear about the pre-made outlines as well although I haven't seen anything like this in my books. I am VERY glad to hear that you all use the text open book!!! What a relief to know that we are not the only ones!!!

 

I completely agree that even one class of DVD's from BJU is a huge bite to chew. I think that's why I'm trying to streamline so much. I guess you saw Tammy's note that there are no pre-made outlines. Bummer, huh!

 

As for the other subjects, we are not doing any other BJU class as you are, but our subjects are taking up plenty of time. We do not do a lot of extra reading. I schedule just a little independent reading to go along with history. My kids read from the Usborn Illustrated Ency. and from Mystery of History Vol. I. They also read a children's historical field guide. These keep them reading something individually, and they reinforce what we're studying in history.

 

The last two previous years, we used SonLight to study American history. My kids were reading all of the time. I credit SL for helping my kids to fall in love with reading.

 

We've done SL in the past and absolutely loved all the reading. Both dc love to read. In a way, I'm kicking myself about history because I orignally planned to use Famous Men Series from Memoria Press (Middle Ages & Modern) and bring in literature/nonfiction to compliment. Using a text has been a new adventure. Fortunately, dd seems fine with it. I must admit the DVD teacher really brings in more details than the text gives. (More than Mrs. Vick) Plus, the way she covers the geography has been very appealing to my dd. Believe me, she really is learning more than I expected with this approach. We haven't delved as deeply into topics, but World Studies is looking at history more in a cultural perspective so, for us, that's seeing with a "new set of glasses". KWIM

 

This year, my oldest (7th grade) is doing:

Math: Lial's BCM

Science: BJU life science

LA: Analytical Grammar Season 2

Megawords

Wordly Wise

History: Biblioplan Anciencts with family read alouds

Lit. Lit. Lessons from the Lord of the Rings (orally with sibling & me)

For. Lang: Rosetta Stone Spanish

 

Your coverage of subjects is similar to ours. You can see it in my sig line.

 

They do not read historical fiction type books individually this year. Instead, we're reading only a select few to go with history. This way, we can use SWB's middle school writing for literature narratives on Friday. There isn't time for my kids to do the same kind of reading they did when we used SL.

 

I felt terrible about this when I was planning this year. I've read many posts that urge middle school students to read, and read, and read! Well, as it turned out, we substituted reading quantity for reading quality.... IOW, we're reading carefully for details to see examples of well-organized and thoughtful writing. We're writing outlines and narratives and writing short narratives daily. I know it is important to read, read, read, and we have done this for two years. Now, for this year, reading large quantities is just taking a back seat so writing can take priority.

 

I don't think this is a mistake..... there just HAS to be a give/take when planning for homeschool. I think it would be hard to impossible to do try to "do it all." There must be balance, and the student can't be overwhelmed. That is discouraging. There has to be an achievable level of success.

 

I had also come to this realization, that reading many books would be replaced with reading fewer books more deeply and learning to articulate ideas from reading into words on paper--writing to learn. In fact, I kept asking myself what our priorities would be for middle school and I continued to come back over and over to writing. Knowing this, I wondered if I was tackling too much to take on BJU life science at this point. Would it take over our schedule at the expense of priorities? Right now, it has to some degree. So with your help and others, I am tweaking to get the priorities back in line, by re-evaluating how I'm using these DVD's. Can you tell the wheels are still turning in my mind?;)

 

Can you tell I've had my coffee?:tongue_smilie:

:lol: Can you tell I need my afternoon tea???????? :D

 

Thanks so much for your time, sweet home alabama!

 

Jennifer

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I totally understand the investment you made into this program and encourage you to make it work. Let the books, video lessons and materials work for you. And do expect some growing pains as you weed, work and tweak your way towards finding your system.

 

My dream textbooks would all come with pre-written outlines;).

 

I'm doing my best to "make these work"! I appreciate the advice about not overwhelming my 7th grader--I think we are close to that point now, so this is why I'm seeking advice and re-evaluating how we're using them. I've seen positive changes in dd's school habits. She is growing in accountability, learning to pick out important details in a text, really learning to "study" a subject and listen intently. Also, I think she really enjoys the lectures. The pace of her work is still slow, but I expect that will improve as we continue this process. So even with my frustrations, we don't plan to quit. Your ideas and others already have me in the process of changing plans a bit for next week. Thanks so much.

 

Jennifer

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My oldest (7th) is using them this year too and I agree with most of what has been said. It is a huge learning curve, but I like them for the most part!

 

Thanks for your comment, Earlene. Are you using the entire 7th grade curriculum? If so, how are you accomplishing this?

 

Jennifer

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I completely agree that even one class of DVD's from BJU is a huge bite to chew. I think that's why I'm trying to streamline so much. I guess you saw Tammy's note that there are no pre-made outlines. Bummer, huh!

 

Jennifer, I haven't checked yet, but Tammy mentioned the teacher CD. I think there might be reviews/summaries that could be helpful. Have you looked yet? I will definitely do that over the weekend. I printed some of the teacher CD out before school started, but reviews/summaries don't seem to be consistant. IOW... some chapters have them on the CD, and some don't. Then again, I only printed out just a few chapters. I certainly will have to check that CD again.

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Jennifer, I haven't checked yet, but Tammy mentioned the teacher CD. I think there might be reviews/summaries that could be helpful. Have you looked yet? I will definitely do that over the weekend. I printed some of the teacher CD out before school started, but reviews/summaries don't seem to be consistant. IOW... some chapters have them on the CD, and some don't. Then again, I only printed out just a few chapters. I certainly will have to check that CD again.

 

I have looked at the first 6 or so chapters and I don't see any summaries. Most of it is more technical info for the teacher that enables a deeper discussion over the content of the chapter. The visuals are beautiful. I haven't used the quizzes, since Mrs. Vick gives those in the lecture. I will do a more thorough look, too.

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