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WellTrainedMind Academy-- Chemistry?


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Just checking to see if anyone on here has a child who has taken the WTMA chemistry class?  Any reviews of the instructor? The reading material? The workload? The syllabus has a couple of books assigned that look kind of... challenging... :ohmy:    

 

Just curious..

TIA

Laura

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My 10th grade ds is in this class and I wish I had a more thorough review to offer you.  However, I am embarrassed to admit how hands off I am with him so I do not know the nitty gritty about the assignments, tests, etc.  He is instructed that I need to be informed if his grade drops below a 90 and I log on to the website about once a month just to verify.

 

My son is plenty bright but of low motivation and will strive to do the minimum he can and stay above the 90.  His grade stays right around the low nineties and I do not see him putting a huge effort in.  He never complains about the workload or asks for help.  He says the teacher is good and responds if he has a question.  Overall it has worked for us to check the chemistry box for a kid that has no interest in pursuing the sciences in college.  ds is not a total slacker.  He never misses class and I think missed just one small assignment so he keeps up with his work well.  I don't want to imply that the grade in the low 90s came from no effort.  It just hasn't taken any kind of extreme effort, IYKWIM?

 

I feel like all of that gave you no information but I felt like I wanted to give you some feedback when no one responded.  My assessment is that it is a good class but not overwhelming in workload or difficulty. My next kid in line for chemistry is more STEM minded but I can see enrolling him and then having him follow up with a more difficult class. But it was perfect for my above average liberal arts college bound kid.  As a family we have had 4 classes with WTM Academy and will do more next year.  Overall, we have been very pleased with the classes and there have not been technical or administrative issues.  

 

I wish I could have been more help.  I am happy to try to answer specific questions if you have them.  The answer will probably come from my son so it would be 15 yo boy perspective :)

Edited by teachermom2834
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Who is the teacher for this class? 

 

Also, can you ask your son about the research paper?  Just wondering what's up with the books from the 1600-1800s that are in the syllabus.  Says there are 2 research papers based on these books.

 

Thanks!

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Mrs. Brinkerhoff.

 

They have done one paper so far, the one about Boyle. He said it wasn't hard.  He reports that it was 2-3 pages and there was support in class for writing it. He says they did study questions on the book that led into the paper.  I just looked at his grades and he got a 27/30 with pretty detailed feedback on where he lost points. It looks to have been a useful exercise.  He said it "was no big deal".  I wish I had more insight but this kid is homeschooling under the premise that he takes care of all his own business.  He is completely independent.  I remember from the course description that there were research papers but I never knew this was happening or he had a paper due.  So, that is how much he keeps his school business to himself.  That leaves me less informed than I would like to be but it works for us and he is doing well.  Love being mom to that kid, but being teacher does not work at all.  

 

He has had some writing experience but not a ton before this. He, however, is pretty comfortable writing.  He took Blue Tent English online for 9th grade and had a Bravewriter Expository Essay class and he is taking Rhetoric with WTM.  So, while not a superstar student, he has had experience writing and with the online class format.

 

 

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Thanks for the post and the information. I had been wondering the same thing about the class! It looks like an incredible class but I was concerned about the primary sources. Do they read the entire book or just excerpts and answer the questions & then write the paper. 

 

It was just excerpts he says.  I just asked him if the primary sources and papers should scare anyone off from taking the class and he said definitely not.  He said that is the easiest part. He is more of a liberal arts type though.  That said he does not get very interested in anything academic.  He just does his work like it is a job and moves on.

 

I will say that my son does not toil or stress over this class.  BUT, he is not one to do that over anything. For better or for worse....

 

I wish someone else would chime in.  My ds and I are not good reviewers!

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Thank you teachermom2834! Appreciate the input and also hope someone else chimes in too. :laugh:

 

Unfortunately, the books did scare us from the class and we already changed directions for next year. Made plans to take a different science next year (Physical Science-basic review of Chem & Physics with another provider) and do Chemistry (hopefully) at local community college with live lab. However, DD is planning to take History & Philosophy of Western Science with WTMA next year instead, which also looks phenomenal.

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Mrs. Brinkerhoff.

 

They have done one paper so far, the one about Boyle. He said it wasn't hard.  He reports that it was 2-3 pages and there was support in class for writing it. He says they did study questions on the book that led into the paper.  I just looked at his grades and he got a 27/30 with pretty detailed feedback on where he lost points. It looks to have been a useful exercise.  He said it "was no big deal".  I wish I had more insight but this kid is homeschooling under the premise that he takes care of all his own business.  He is completely independent.  I remember from the course description that there were research papers but I never knew this was happening or he had a paper due.  So, that is how much he keeps his school business to himself.  That leaves me less informed than I would like to be but it works for us and he is doing well.  Love being mom to that kid, but being teacher does not work at all.  

 

He has had some writing experience but not a ton before this. He, however, is pretty comfortable writing.  He took Blue Tent English online for 9th grade and had a Bravewriter Expository Essay class and he is taking Rhetoric with WTM.  So, while not a superstar student, he has had experience writing and with the online class format.

 

HI Teachermom.  My DD & I had one more question...we are second guessing ourselves about not registering for this class based on your feedback. It really looks like an amazing course but I just wanted to clarify one thing...(before we pulled the trigger and register). Thank you in advance for the help! 

 

Can you please ask your son, did they read the PRIMARY SOURCE BOOKS in their entirety or just excerpts from those books?

 

Primary Sources: (Can be purchased, checked out from library, or read online)

Boyle, Robert. The Sceptical Chymist (1661)

Lavoisier, Antoine. Elements of Chemistry (1790) (Any English translation)

 
I see the books are each covered for 3 weeks on the syllabus, so I am assuming they read the (entire or excerpts??) book and then have the quizzes on them, eventually writing the 2-3 page paper on them? Would that be a correct assumption?
 
Please let us know and thanks again!
Edited by counselinggirl
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Just confirmed again they did not read the entire books. They just read excerpts broken up over 3 or 4 weeks. Each excerpt had study questions they went over in class. The excerpts did not total the entire book. Maybe the teacher could give you the percentage of the books read or give you some more info. My ds has not struggled with this aspect of the course. I wish I had more details. Sorry! I bet the teacher would be helpful.

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Just confirmed again they did not read the entire books. They just read excerpts broken up over 3 or 4 weeks. Each excerpt had study questions they went over in class. The excerpts did not total the entire book. Maybe the teacher could give you the percentage of the books read or give you some more info. My ds has not struggled with this aspect of the course. I wish I had more details. Sorry! I bet the teacher would be helpful.

 

Thanks again. This is all the info we need! You and your son with both very helpful!  :laugh:

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Conceptual Chemistry looks like an amazing book and class videos are available for almost every unit!

www.conceptualacademy.com offers access to these videos for only $30. 

 

It's a great academy.

 

We are using them for Conceptual physics. Love it.

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  • 4 months later...

I just wanted to chime in about the chemistry class. My DD took this class, learned a lot, and enjoyed it. She felt like it was challenging, but well presented. The tests were tougher than she expected, but she was able to adjust and figured out how to better prepare.

There were weekly assignments, quizzes, and bi-weekly labs. Mrs. Brinkerhoff was clear in her expectations, and quick to respond to emails. We had an issue with the due date for the weekly assignments because of our schedule, and she was very willing to give DD an extension to turn it in. Mrs. Brinkerhoff required that the students turn in a final draft of their papers, so that she could read over them and return it with comments for the students to make changes before turning in their completed paper.  The labs didn't always go as they were supposed to, but as long as the write up was done properly, addressed any issues, and the questions were answered correctly, it was fine.

Overall, I would highly recommend this for a high school chemistry class. 

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I just wanted to chime in about the chemistry class. My DD took this class, learned a lot, and enjoyed it. She felt like it was challenging, but well presented. The tests were tougher than she expected, but she was able to adjust and figured out how to better prepare.

There were weekly assignments, quizzes, and bi-weekly labs. Mrs. Brinkerhoff was clear in her expectations, and quick to respond to emails. We had an issue with the due date for the weekly assignments because of our schedule, and she was very willing to give DD an extension to turn it in. Mrs. Brinkerhoff required that the students turn in a final draft of their papers, so that she could read over them and return it with comments for the students to make changes before turning in their completed paper.  The labs didn't always go as they were supposed to, but as long as the write up was done properly, addressed any issues, and the questions were answered correctly, it was fine.

Overall, I would highly recommend this for a high school chemistry class. 

 

Hi MamaJulie, 

 

Thanks so much for the information--very helpful!

 

For my DD, who has major test anxiety, can you and your DD elaborate a bit further on the test info..."The tests were tougher than she expected, but she was able to adjust and figured out how to better prepare."  What made the tests tougher than she expected? Did the teacher provide a study guide or anything of the sort for the tests? Was the material on the test covered in class and the text or was there "surprise" material that students weren't aware of? What type of tests were they (m/c, t/f, essay, matching)? Any ideas or suggestions on how to prepare for the tests?

 

Also, did your DD use the accompanying videos on Conceptual Academy? Anything else you recommend to help with the class?

 

How kind that Mrs. Brinkerhoff reviewed the students' papers prior to them submitting completed papers :)

 

Thank you for the recommendation and help! DD is excited about the class but she is also a bit nervous. This will be her first WTMA class; we just ordered the lab kit and now have the text. 

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Hi MamaJulie, 

 

Thanks so much for the information--very helpful!

 

For my DD, who has major test anxiety, can you and your DD elaborate a bit further on the test info..."The tests were tougher than she expected, but she was able to adjust and figured out how to better prepare."  What made the tests tougher than she expected? Did the teacher provide a study guide or anything of the sort for the tests? Was the material on the test covered in class and the text or was there "surprise" material that students weren't aware of? What type of tests were they (m/c, t/f, essay, matching)? Any ideas or suggestions on how to prepare for the tests?

 

Also, did your DD use the accompanying videos on Conceptual Academy? Anything else you recommend to help with the class?

 

How kind that Mrs. Brinkerhoff reviewed the students' papers prior to them submitting completed papers :)

 

Thank you for the recommendation and help! DD is excited about the class but she is also a bit nervous. This will be her first WTMA class; we just ordered the lab kit and now have the tex

As far as the tests go, they are done at home, so you can take as long as you want. (Well, of course, up to the due date ;-))  My daughter and I have differing opinions on why the exams seemed so hard in the beginning. She says there were things that she wasn't expecting on the test, and hadn't studied for. But the material was covered in the chapter. She felt like the teacher didn't emphasize certain things, but expected them to know it anyway. I wasn't involved enough to make a judgement on what was covered in class vs. what was covered on the test. However, DD did improve over the year, and her test grades went up significantly. My suspicion is that she didn't study very well for the early tests, but quickly realized that she needed to know the material better. 

 

The teacher did do a brief review before the exams, but not significantly. It seems like the tests were mostly answering questions to the best of their knowledge or fill in a large blank type. DD tends to want to be extremely brief and assume the teacher knows what she is talking about. She is getting better, but it is always best to give as much info as you can come up with , KWIM?  

 

We did not pay for any extras from the web site, but the study info was helpful. I think, as with most teachers, there is an adjustment period, where you figure out how they want questions answered, and what they expect. This teacher was very good about responding to questions, and offering extra help if needed. And there are a lot of assignments, so the grade is not so dependent on just the exams. I bet your DD will do fine. It all comes down to study time and effort.

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As far as the tests go, they are done at home, so you can take as long as you want. (Well, of course, up to the due date ;-))  My daughter and I have differing opinions on why the exams seemed so hard in the beginning. She says there were things that she wasn't expecting on the test, and hadn't studied for. But the material was covered in the chapter. She felt like the teacher didn't emphasize certain things, but expected them to know it anyway. I wasn't involved enough to make a judgement on what was covered in class vs. what was covered on the test. However, DD did improve over the year, and her test grades went up significantly. My suspicion is that she didn't study very well for the early tests, but quickly realized that she needed to know the material better. 

 

The teacher did do a brief review before the exams, but not significantly. It seems like the tests were mostly answering questions to the best of their knowledge or fill in a large blank type. DD tends to want to be extremely brief and assume the teacher knows what she is talking about. She is getting better, but it is always best to give as much info as you can come up with , KWIM?  

 

We did not pay for any extras from the web site, but the study info was helpful. I think, as with most teachers, there is an adjustment period, where you figure out how they want questions answered, and what they expect. This teacher was very good about responding to questions, and offering extra help if needed. And there are a lot of assignments, so the grade is not so dependent on just the exams. I bet your DD will do fine. It all comes down to study time and effort.

 

Thank you so much for the info! :)

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  • 1 year later...

Can anyone who took this course over the last year provide any updates? I have a middle schooler who is interested and I don't want to overwhelm him - but he really thrives with challenging stuff beyond his current level.

 

Also, did anyone take the SAT2 chemistry test after taking this class?

 

Thanks in advance

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I've asked for reviews of this course but haven't been able to get any more recent responses.  My student is registered for this course for the fall but, after seeing the syllabus, I have serious concerns about the workload and amount of time needed for just this one course.  WTMA Biology was a good course but required a ton of time and went into a depth that seemed, at times, overwhelming for an intro Bio course.  I think it should have been at least an Honors course.  I have concerns that the same will be true for Chemistry.  Also, the textbook is quite expensive and the most recent edition is required.  I am trying to look for alternatives to the course with other providers.

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  • 3 months later...

I thought it might be a good time to check in on those taking WTMA Chemistry.  How's this semester look for those taking this class?  DD14 is considering chemistry for next year - 10th grade.   She prefers live online classes and I'm struggling to find options.  I'd appreciate any pros and cons for WTMA.   Thanks!  

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