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s/o - Favorite Great Courses classes?


Katy
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We're using the classes as a form of entertainment rather than for school.  So far most of them seem geared towards adults, so I would say you'd probably have to be close to 10 or very mature to get much from them at all.

 

This basically started because:

  1. I purchased an annual pass to Masterclass, but they don't have a Roku app, you have to watch on a smaller device or remember how to throw your computer screen to the smart tv - which I never do.
  2. As a result of that I got on the Great Courses mailing list, where I found out they had the subscription with a Roku app.
  3. We've been searching for screen time entertainment for us parents that's also educational and appropriate for children for a while now.  There's only so many times we can re-watch the same shows, and none of the new ones seem to have content that adults are interested in that is child-appropriate.  We no longer have cable, but even if we did its not as if the Discovery Channel or Learning channel have the same dry sorts of entertainment that they had when I was a kid - instead they have salacious and exploitative reality shows I don't want my kids to think is normal.
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We're using the classes as a form of entertainment rather than for school.  So far most of them seem geared towards adults, 

 

 

Well, I do find them excellent entertainment, but that may just be me flying my nerd flag.

 

In terms of audience, though, they are intended to be college-level lectures (with the exception of a few that are specifically marketed to high schoolers), so, yes, definitely geared towards adults. 

 

That said, my kids really enjoyed some of the ones we watched/listened to when they were younger. But then, they are also certifited nerd flag flyers.

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They're college level lectures, but of the intro/101 variety, so they can be appropriate for interested listeners who are younger. If you have a kid who is engaged when they listen to higher level material, then they can be good. My middle schoolers enjoy some of them.

 

I do see people pushing them on younger kids in a general sense so I wouldn't be surprised if some 12 yos are into them and some are just bored to tears. I think both would be normal.

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Just realized I didn't answer the question about favorites. So far, I've especially loved:

 

Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre

The World's Greatest Churches

The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins

King Arthur: History and Legend

 

There was at least one more I watched and enjoyed -- one of the ones about classical music -- but I can't remember or dig up the title at the moment.

 

I'm watching the King Arthur one currently, and it has inspired me to pull some stuff of my bookshelf to re-read now that I have more background info and context.

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They're college level lectures, but of the intro/101 variety, so they can be appropriate for interested listeners who are younger. If you have a kid who is engaged when they listen to higher level material, then they can be good. My middle schoolers enjoy some of them.

 

I do see people pushing them on younger kids in a general sense so I wouldn't be surprised if some 12 yos are into them and some are just bored to tears. I think both would be normal.

 

This. We've mostly been watching the music courses far, and DH is definitely the one who loves them the most, and seems to delight when the instructor gets excited.  The kids seemed to like the part about gregorian chants the best, but otherwise so far they're happy to sit in the family room while we watch and they play with toys or electronic games.  I think for the most part it goes over their heads the same way 90% of Dr Who did to me when I was little.

 

 

Thanks everyone for your suggestions, I'm adding them all to my watchlist  except the one about the Iliad - can't seem to find it.

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Our faves:

 

The Art of Reading 

Analysis and Critique

Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century 

 

Also enjoyed: 

 

Birth of the Modern Mind 

Emerson, Thoreau, and the Transcendentalist Movement 

The English Novel  

 

Oh, and Superstar Student way back in the day. 

 

Edited to add: it might be a touch far to say we're enjoying Discrete Math, but, hmm, we're enjoying it in the context of math?

Edited by katilac
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If you tell us the ones you didn't care for, that might help us steer you in a different direction. 

 

I'd rather just ask people for their favorites.  Hopefully this could help more than just me.

 

I started Black Death last night.  It is really good.

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I'd rather just ask people for their favorites.  Hopefully this could help more than just me.

I am enjoying these:

 

1. An Introduction To Formal Logic

2. Cultural Literacy For Religion

3. The Story Of Human Language

4. How To Look At And Understand Great Art

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We are enjoying The Art of Reading and The History of the United States (for that one we have only listened to the ones concerning the twentieth century). 

 

In general, neither ds or I are auditory learners. We would both rather read a book than listen to a lecture. But we’ve enjoyed both of these for the most part. And my middle son comes and listens as well, although he’s not required to. He says he finds it interesting. 

 

 

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DS11 and I are enjoying The Mathematics of Games. We're using it for our "Friday fun math," and he gets grumpy when it's time to turn it off. We stop the video frequently and try out the different games and puzzles demonstrated, to see if we can figure out the best strategy before the teacher tells us. (And the teacher is obviously very excited about it all, and engaging to watch.) 

 

DS is getting an introduction to probability, along with learning to count cards and play craps, so he's learning a lot.  :laugh: (Personally I can't wait until we get to the lesson on solving a Rubik's cube!)

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My kids are still very young, so I would never force them, or even encourage them to watch.  That said, I often will put on a lecture while I make dinner and a couple small people will wander in to watch, drawn by the allure of a screen when their "only" other options are to play or read or draw or go outside or do a puzzle or, or, or....   :glare:  :confused1:

 

In this way, we have gone through Zoology, Oceanography, Robotics, Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Archaeology, The Other Side of History, Paleontology, and Food, Science and the Human Body.

 

Wendy

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My kids and I loved Philip Daileader's lectures on the Middle Ages.  3 sets - Early, High, and Late MA.  He is an interesting and entertaining instructor, and they were interested in the topic.

 

We also listened to the 84-lecture History of the United States, which one kid tolerated and the other loved.  

 

A fun favorite was Mysteries of the Microscopic World. I don't think that one is super popular but the presenter was engaging.  They were either late middle school or early high school age when we listened to this one.

 

My son has loved a bunch of others - Foundations of Western Civ II; World's Greatest Geological Wonders; Meteorology;Experiencing Hubble; Daileader's short series on the Crusades; 1066: The Year that Changed Everything... I'm sure there are others but those come to mind as his favorites.

 

I really miss using Great Courses. There are always a bunch I want to listen to.  Right now I can't justify the $150 a  year for a subscription we might not use; everyone's just too busy with other things right now.  But maybe sometime we'll (or I'll) go back to them.  

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Now that I have a 10 and 12 year old I've been digging up my Great Courses and got the Great Courses Plus deal. I love how easy it is to watch on my Roku tv. 

My 12yo gets much more out of it than my 10yo. 

He's liked National Geographic Zoology so far. He loves learning about animal facts.  He followed along okay with Meteorology, but we switched over to Extreme Weather and that went better. I just found DIY Engineering that he would be very interested in. 

 

 

My favorites from when my oldest was watching these.

The Other Side of History (The stories are interesting)

Physics in Your Life (tied this with Coursera's How Things Work class in 8th) 

Health and Nutrition (used in 8th as a part of his high school level health class)

Analysis & Critique (I used this for his 8th grade high school prep)

How to Be a Superstar Student (again used this in 8th)

 

You might try TedTalks for entertainment purposes. Sometimes I do wish Great Courses were more like documentaries and less lectures. The topics are so interesting, but for my kids, the lectures needed to be taken in small doses.

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My absolute favorite is The Black Death. I'm just about to re-watch it, and hoping ds will join in. Understanding Greek and Roman Technology is great, too. I would love to see the models the professor makes in person! Ds is enjoying this also. So far I am liking The American Civil War. I'm currently in the middle of a Civil War obsession, so I was happy to see this on Plus. Mastering the Fundamentals of Mathematics has been a great review for ds after taking a math break. Also, I love everything from Professor Vandiver. I'm not seeing anything on Plus, though.

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We've used The Great Courses for many years, mostly checked out from the library. The few I didn't like turned out to have online ratings that were below 4. Now, I always go to their website to verify ratings are at 4 or slightly above before I check them out.

 

Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk

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I really miss using Great Courses. There are always a bunch I want to listen to.  Right now I can't justify the $150 a  year for a subscription we might not use; everyone's just too busy with other things right now.  But maybe sometime we'll (or I'll) go back to them.  

 

See if your library has the streaming service Hoopla. Mine does, and they have a fair number of individual TGC lectures. 

 

My absolute favorite is The Black Death.  

 

 

A funny sentence taken out of context  :laugh:

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See if your library has the streaming service Hoopla. Mine does, and they have a fair number of individual TGC lectures.

 

<snip>

 

They do, but each lecture is a separate checkout. I have only 8 checkouts a month. I might try it sometime if it's close to the end of the month and I have checkouts to spare. :-)

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*BRIEF THREAD HIJACK*

 

Aaaaaccckkk! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for mentioning hoopla! My library does not have it, but a different library in our (very tiny, rural) system DOES, and wonder of wonders, my library card just now worked there! (I don't think it is supposed to, but sssshhhh.)

 

I'm so excited!

 

On the same day my middle-ish kid asked to spend 7th grade history on "the land battles of the Napoleonic wars." (Because everyone already knows about the naval ones, apparently.) :lol: 

 

 

/off tangent

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We loved everything by Elizabeth Vandiver, but especially her Iliad and Odyssey lectures. Outstanding!!!

 

Also loved Robert Greenberg's How to listen to and understand great music. he's fantastic. I also liked his Bach and the High Baroque.

 

Another great series is Philip Daileader's three course series The Early, High, and Late Middler Ages.

 

Good ones are also:

Kenneth Bartlett Italian Renaissance

Turning points in American History

Rufus Fears Famous Romans

 

 

We have dozens of courses, and there was only one course we found so horrible that I sent it back for a refund: Chemistry with Cardulla.

Edited by regentrude
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DS11 and I are enjoying The Mathematics of Games. We're using it for our "Friday fun math," and he gets grumpy when it's time to turn it off. We stop the video frequently and try out the different games and puzzles demonstrated, to see if we can figure out the best strategy before the teacher tells us. (And the teacher is obviously very excited about it all, and engaging to watch.) 

 

DS is getting an introduction to probability, along with learning to count cards and play craps, so he's learning a lot.  :laugh: (Personally I can't wait until we get to the lesson on solving a Rubik's cube!)

 

One of my ds13 is also watching this one right now. He's so funny... he says he hates math lately, but this was totally his pick and he clearly loves it.

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They do, but each lecture is a separate checkout. I have only 8 checkouts a month. I might try it sometime if it's close to the end of the month and I have checkouts to spare. :-)

You might see whether any other streaming service offered by your library also had them. We have Hoopla, Kanopy and a few others, at least two o which have some GCs. That means I can double the number of lectures I can watch each month.

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My 12 yo saw the DIY Engineering course and could not wait. We watched the first episode yesterday and then he built a marshmallow shooter out of PVC and studied his spring loaded nerf ball shooter. The instructor is funny and the courses show the science behind engineering design. The math goes over their head, but I've paused and explained it only to have him explain in the same way moments later. The projects look like fun and he provides online resources and blueprints to build them yourself. But to make it easier I'm buying kits that will work with them. Luckily, we already had some that would work. Thames and Kosmos or Engino Discovering STEM both have bridges and structures kits that will cover several lessons. He can fix our pendulum clock instead of building one. And we skipped ahead because I already had a robotic arm kit to go with the hydraulic arm lesson. I'm still working on the rest. 

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My favorite to date has been The Black Death series. Two thumbs up. it made folding clothes very enjoyable for a couple of weeks while I watched. I wish I could find another that was that enthralling.

Dh and I watched the first two lectures. They are incredibly interesting. I might get that for my dad for his birthday. Thanks for the recommendation.

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The ones that DS and I have enjoyed:

 

-Anything by James Tanton or Arthur Benjamin

-Botany

-Cooking courses with Bill Briwa

-Photography with that National Geographic guy

-A Child's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales

-Chess

-Python Programming

-Mind-Bending Math

-Understanding the World's Greatest Structures

-Greek & Roman Technology

 

I feel like all of these have more engaging lecturers. I agree that there are quite a few that are dry (unfortunately).

 

 

 

 

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Our favorites are the Human Geography, Unexpected Economics, and the History of Food.

 

Also good are anything by Dorsey Armstrong and Phillip Daileader. 

 

Not super fascinating but interesting enough are Biology and Western Civ 2.

 

ETA: I also liked the lectures on science fiction but I really like the topic so my opinion might be skewed. 

 

Also remember there's a 3 month for $30 deal  but you have to be signed out to get the deal 

Edited by foxbridgeacademy
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How do you like Masterclass, otherwise?

 

I love it for content, but not for education.  I realize that doesn't make much sense. Have you ever heard the phrase, "Those who can't do, teach"?  Well sometimes it seems that those who do really well can't teach. The strongest example I can think of is Annie Leibovitz.  She's an amazing photographer, but her class is surprisingly light on learning about photography, it's more like an autobiography marketed for photographers.  Fascinating, but if you want to learn how to take portraits that echo her style, I suggest looking at Sue Bryce's magazine style portrait & posing classes, you'll get a lot more usable information in terms of going from beginner to functioning business. 

 

They are not dry, very high production quality, the things that can be taught remotely are more educational.

 

In terms of education for entertainment, I love the annual pass.

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