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I hope someone can answer these questions regarding Biology class with Well Trained Mind Academy. 

 

1. How much live on mike student participation is there? The reason I am asking is a strange one. We are cobbling our schedule of local and online classes together and my daughter may need to be taking  Tuesday classes from the public library. She would be OK listening in or typing her answers, but might not be very eager to participate on mike if she is in the public space herself. 

 

2. Regarding the labs. Is there benefit (or possibility) to do the labs for this class with a friend? I taught a small chemistry with labs class last year and kids want to continue having labs together. How long do actual labs take place? Do you think it's a possibility? They would be working with their own set of lab specimen. 

 

Thank you so much!!

 

Irene

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My dd took the class 2 years ago, but I barely paid attention to the class.  Since rules regarding class participation are at the teacher's discretion (and these rules may change year to year) your best is to contact Amy directly.  

Edited by daijobu
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Well, apparently there will be a different teacher for this class now.  I just got an email this morning.

 

Yes, I got that email too and trying to logically think through this one, what the next step should be. We certainly signed up because of the great teacher recommendations.

My daughter is also begging for the live dissections, which this class doesn't offer. (was thinking of doing it on our own).

I wonder if I should post a new topic about that.

Irene

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I am also concerned.  We too registered for this class based on the teacher.  It appears the replacement has not taught (at least in this format) before.  This worries me.  This is already going to be a tough class for my dd.  This probably should be its own topic.....

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In the same boat. I don't fault the original teacher for needing to lighten her teaching load, and I wish the new teacher the best of luck. But this isn't the scenario we signed up for. A "give the new instructor a chance" approach seems risky, because if it doesn't work out, my kid is the one who suffers. 😕

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I didn't receive an email and figured dd was in a different section than your kids.  Nope.  ALL sections are with the new teacher.

 

I, too, am dismayed, as I signed up and paid that amount because of the teacher.  I do not have money to gamble.  Sigh.

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I am also concerned.  We too registered for this class based on the teacher.  It appears the replacement has not taught (at least in this format) before.  This worries me.  This is already going to be a tough class for my dd.  This probably should be its own topic.....

 

This.  I agree with everything about this. 

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My student took this class with Amy Upperman last year.  It was a very challenging class with lots of work, but a good class with an excellent, very well organized instructor who really wanted the students to succeed.

 

On-mike participation is not required.  The student can always type in the answers in the chat box.  It is important to participate because it is (was) a component of the class grade.

 

I'm sure there is a very compelling reason why Mrs. Up had to back out of teaching, it is not her style to make drastic changes.  That said, I'm sure it doesn't make the rest of you feel any better and, if I were in your shoes, I would look at other options.  My student had taken another class with Mrs. Up prior to signing up for Biology, and we signed up in some part because of her excellent teaching style.

 

The labs are thorough but not overly difficult.  They do require prep and focus, and a lab report must be submitted.  Materials are, in general, easy to obtain.

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Since the instructor is new to WTMA and so is the instructor for Physics, it seems that it would have made more sense to assign them to courses more in line with their education.  Why have someone with a PhD in Physics teach Biology, and someone with a background in Botany and Entomology and Conservation teach physics?  High school physics is and should be a focused course, and I personally wouldn't be comfortable having my student (who plans to major in Engineering or Physics) take the physics course with WTMA, at least not with the current lineup.

 

It would make sense, for those of you who have students signed up for Biology, to ask if the instructor will have the same format and materials as last year or if she's going to totally revamp the course.  I do know that Memoria Press also offers online Biology using the same Holt text used last year for WTMA, and I understand it's a very good course.  In case you're looking for options!

 

I would also inquire about refunds.  Given the rather sudden changes and the fact that the instructor DOES matter for many, I would hope they will have a more lenient refund policy.

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The new biology instructor's background does seem odd at first glance, but her graduate work was done in a biophysics lab, studying fruit fly development. It's hard to guess how much biology coursework was required and/or taken, given that graduate programs vary widely. Informal learning and gap-filling happens in the course of any graduate project, but it would typically be too focused to be of much use for teaching at the secondary level.

 

I'm more concerned about the lack of experience teaching high school students and teaching general biology at any level. When I was a student teacher, I relied heavily on my ability to see my students' faces for informal real-time comprehension checks. I also had access to several veteran teachers; their doors, shelves, and file cabinets were always open to me. I can't imagine teaching a completely new subject online on my first attempt. At the very least, I'd find a homeschool co-op to use as guinea pigs!

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I would definitely contact WTMAcademy because, in the past, they have been very workable in terms of tuition refunds. I think it would be tough to find a good course that fit into my schedule this late in the game. What a tough break!

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Sorry for those of you going through this. Some of us research these classes so thoroughly and in choosing this one you passed up other opportunities. Very late in the game.

 

We have had all good experiences with WTMA so I hope if you end up sticking with it, it works out ok. I know the refund policy is generous but finding another class is likely the bigger issue.

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Memorial Press Biology is all full.  

 

I will be contacting TWTM about this but there is not much that can be done at this point.  I am not in a position to pull this subject together myself for home instruction with this short of notice.

 

I am not at all opposed to dd taking classes from first time instructors.  Someone has to, right?  And I think there is value in dealing with a variety of teaching styles and experiences.  But this is a case in which I would not have registered for the class if not for the instructor.  I would have taught it at home.  I prioritize other classes for outsourcing given my budget and this class took a BIG chunk out of that budget.  It was the glowing reviews of Mrs. U that prompted me to forgo our other outsourcing plans for this year.  I know this cannot be controlled but I do worry about expectations, workload, format, etc.... with a new teacher.  I am an engineering instructor at a university and every time I teach a new class, the first year, or even two, are rough.  It cannot be helped.  That is just part of the deal.  I want to know how much support the new instructor will be given.  Sigh.

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I'm sure there is a very compelling reason why Mrs. Up had to back out of teaching, it is not her style to make drastic changes.  That said, I'm sure it doesn't make the rest of you feel any better and, if I were in your shoes, I would look at other options.  My student had taken another class with Mrs. Up prior to signing up for Biology, and we signed up in some part because of her excellent teaching style.

 

 

we too took it last year with Mrs. Upperman and adored her and the class. I too would feel some consternation with a new teacher as you don't know what you're getting... I recall my ds telling me last year Mrs. Up was pregnant (I believe) so perhaps that's the reason for the last-minute change-around to schedule. WTMA does offer great refunds, so maybe you may want to look into that or take a chance with the new teacher. Almost all the WTMA classes we've seen have raved-about teachers, so it's hopeful they would have hired in keeping with their past track record! 

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Other options:

 

Blue Tent Honors Biology $600 (confirmed by email that they have space)

asynchronous, Holt McDougal text, prepares for either SAT2 test

http://teacherweb.com/USA/BlueTent/Thompson/apt35.aspx

 

AIM Academy Pre-AP Biology $675 + $15 registration fee

Tuesday 4-5pm EST, Campbell, must apply to instructor by email

https://debrabell.com/product/biology-pre-ap/

 

AIM also has a regular biology class $625 + $15 registration

Tues 2-3pm EST, Miller Levine

https://debrabell.com/product/biology/

 

FundaFunda Biology 1 $383 (includes tax)

asynchronous, Miller Levine, lots of detail in this thread: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/633010-fundafunda-biology/

https://www.fundafundaacademy.com/product/biology/

Edited by jplain
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I am not finding any feedback for the Blue Tent class. We were thinking of it earlier, but still, I would love to hear if anyone had any experience with it.

 

The fact that the new teacher with WTM is there for just one year is another reason, I don't feel comfortable.

It's interesting that the website didn't replace Mrs. Up's name on her other classes, P&A and another one, Philosophy of Science(?)

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It's interesting that the website didn't replace Mrs. Up's name on her other classes, P&A and another one, Philosophy of Science(?)

I believe she's still teaching those classes. It sounds like the goal was to lighten her teaching load by reducing the number of preps (and class hours).
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I am wondering about the supplies list for the class. I email the school.

 

They said

 

For now, all you need for the class is what is listed on the course description page.

 

I reply back asking for the supply list.

Does anyone have last year's list?

 

Terri

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I am wondering about the supplies list for the class. I email the school.

 

They said

 

For now, all you need for the class is what is listed on the course description page.

 

I reply back asking for the supply list.

Does anyone have last year's list?

 

Terri

 

Do you mean this part? 

 

Lab Manual and Lab Supplies List will be provided by the instructor before the first day of class.

 

Wonder if the list will be different since there is a different teacher. Also, that's probably why the school doesn't know yet either...

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I am SOOOO bummed as we were SOOOO looking forward to her class. I am late to this discussion since I never got an email from them. Has anyone else dropped this class? I am worried that a physicist is teaching biology. I no doubt that she is smart - a PhD in physics from Vandy deserves credit. But physics is not biology....

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I am SOOOO bummed as we were SOOOO looking forward to her class. I am late to this discussion since I never got an email from them. Has anyone else dropped this class?

I've decided we'll go with FundaFunda instead. I'm sure I'll add to the lab portion, and I'll beef up the plant, animal, and human biology I was already planning to do with my middle schooler so that my 9th grader can join us for that. By the end of the year I think my 9th grader will be ready for CLEP and/or SAT 2.

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  • 10 months later...

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