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mirabillis

Hits & Misses 2017-2018 Year

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School is ending... let's start a fun thread! I like to read reviews about curriculum, classes - both good & bad.

So how about sharing your personal hits and misses this past high school school-year?  Be candid!

I'll start...

AP Macro (PAH) - HUGE hit! Was gun-shy after a less-than-stellar experience with PAH last year (AP HUG), but we decided to give it a go anyway. Soooo glad we did! Amazing class. Highly recommend it. Great organization with weekly chapter reading, videos, questions/quizzes, essays and the games!
AP Chem (PAH-Chemadvantage) - Another HUGE hit! I was skeptical about how well you could learn something as meaty as  chemistry asynchronously. But Mr M. puts an amazing amount of work into his class, and my ds couldn't have learned more or been more prepared for the exam. We'll see when July comes.
Pre-calculus (WHA - Stublen) - Hit! Great class, and my ds learned a ton. It's our 3rd year of math with Wilson Hill and they have a particularly great math curriculum.
AP Micro (PAH) - Wasn't sure whether to self-study or not. But decided my ds needs outside accountability. My ds learned well, felt confident going into the exam (after pointed prep work too). A get 'er done kind of class. Nothing earth-shattering. If he gets a 5 though probably would have other kids take.
US History (WTMA) - Miss. We didn't realize the way it was set up, and it didn't suit my ds well. No tests/quizzes/memorization, just weekly (lengthy) written summaries of that chapter's weekly readings. A little concerned how my ds will fare on next week's SAT II USH test. He will be prepping hard. Only 1x weekly live discussion - not sure enough. If I'm wrong re: SAT II then my opinion changes - LOL
Center for Lit (Brit Lit) - Miss. Total miss. 1x monthly discussions, a single 2 hour discussion not enough accountability for my dc. We take outsourced classes for both wealth of expert knowledge and accountability outside of me - failed on both counts. Waste of $400
Roy Speed Shakespeare - Hit! Fantastic 10 week lit on Romeo & Juliet. Wwanted to take more but no time. This is how to make an engaging literature discussion class.
Homeschool Spanish Academy - Still a winner. My ds is learning fast, but it is getting pricey. He sailed through Span 1 last year, had extra credits for this year. Got bogged down this year and so now have to add more credit hours to earn the full Span 2 credit. But will continue next yr Span 3 and hope to stay on track.
AP Govt (Thinkwell + Text) - Can't beat the cheap Thinkwell price. We combined Thinkwell's (rather dry) videos with text reading. Jury's out til AP exam results are out. Wouldn't suggest taking next year as next year they change the exam... so I'd wait a year. Forget the text name but got the supe recent version with 2016 election.
Write@Home (Essay Workshops 1&2, Lit Analysis Workshop) - Hit! We really like W@H. Great feedback from coaches, multiple revisions on same essays. You have to go in knowing the basics of how to write but does help refine. Excellent customer service too! Reason we'll take their Lit class in future (Waskolit) instead of CfL. 

How about you? Give us the dish!
 

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DIVE Biology..... just ok.  It didn’t meet my expectations. I expected a video lecture every week.... the entire second half of the year there was only one! The review questions sometimes matched the readings, and other times not so much. I bought the lab kit. Still couldn’t actually do half of the experiments without buying even more.  In retrospect I would have just bought  the dissection kits... we already had slides for the microscope. 

Algebra 2.  Teaching textbooks.  Hit! DS likes it

AOPS Algebra, geometry and counting and probability..... Hit! DD has been working through all three.

Notgrass.... Exploring world history... Miss.  DS made me add a ton to it, and he added a second ton.

Notgrass... From Adam to Us.... Hit! DD enjoyed it.

EIW 9. With Scoring service. Hit!  

EIW 7. DD should have probably done the same level as her brother or something different. 

EIL 7. Not sure....... because we didn’t make time for it.   However I think it’s great.  After me fretting about finishing it, DD says she plans to finish it next year.  

Progeny press guides.. Hit! We had some great discussions  the kid likes Shakespeare now!

Map Trek..... so-so.  Adequate  DS thought he would enjoy it.  We got half way though, which was the plan (second half to do next year.)  but I think we will call it half a credit and move on to something else..... he is looking at comparative religions, or Wars  lol

Czech..... New Czech step by step.  Hit. Mostly.   My language...... the book is not easy to use   But it was the best I could find.  

Elementary Greek one   Hit  DD likes it....  just does a little from time to time when she wants.  at some point she wants to move on to First form greek.  

 

 

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We had a really good year with curriculum.

Mr D Math geometry - hit.  DS loves Mr. D math.  We do the program live through our co-op and he loves everything about it.  I like the fact that I am completely removed from the subject.

WTMA Writing With Skill II - hit.  He enjoyed the class and I think Mrs. Otto is a great teacher.  His writing improved tremendously due to the feedback received from the teacher (writing went from being choppy to more smooth, and his paragraphs are better developed).  I like the fact that the class met 2x/week (feeling a bit nervous about Ancient Lit and Ancient History for next year as both meet only 1x/week).

Progeny Press lit guides - hit.  We used them for Great Expectations and Call of the Wild.  DS hates, loathes, and despises doing the vocabulary but these really helped us dive deeper into the book.

Notgrass Exploring Goverment - miss.  I just don't feel that this is meaty enough.  I have a real problem with the fact that all quizzes/tests were very easy fill in the blank, matching, or multiple choice.  DS got a 100 on every single quiz/test with no effort whatsoever.  One good thing I will say:  I was able to use this curriculum to teach DS how to read and take notes from a textbook.

Classic Academic Press Discovery of Deduction - huge hit for DS.  He loved this program.  I liked it but feel that I couldn't do it enough justice on some of the meatier parts (I understand what is written but can't go off script).  If I could do it all over again, I would have paid $600 for the online class in order to give DS a more robust experience.  I need to find something for logic next year (I'm all ears for where we go from here).

Analytical Grammar reinforcement book - miss.  I like that it keeps the skills fresh but there seemed to be many typos (instructions would say "find 15 errors", answer key would show a different number of errors or things that were incorrect were not marked as such; contradictions between how something was taught in the main book and how it was marked in the reinforcement book).  This frustrated DS tremendously.  I'm not sure if we will do another reinforcement book next year or just drop it altogether as he seems to have a firm grasp of grammar.

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I don't think we had any misses but our best classes were:

Calc AB with Wilson Hill (Mrs. Stublen)

Honors Physics2 with Wilson Hill (Mrs. Story)

Honors Chem with Wilson Hill (Mrs. Bailey)

WTMA Early Modern Lit (Mr. Hummel)  This is a good class for those kids who are interested in the topic.  Signing up my my youngest two would not go well.

Clover Creek Physics (Our very own Morning Glory)  Probably one of our best classes ever.

Intro to Lit and Comp with Blue Tent (my daughter hit a lot of snags this year and Mrs. Thompson was incredibly supportive.)

English Honors 1 with Blue Tent (English is my son's weakest subject.  This class is a lot of work but he made great strides.)

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Mirabillis, we are following your footsteps (for some things :) )

AP Psych with PHA -- Excellent class!

By the Onion Sea classes -- Super Hit! My daughter wants to take all her classes now.

Algebra 2 with WHA-- Ok, this one is just ok. I know Mr. Reini is very popular. He is funny, he is goofy. Totally didn't work for my kid. She is too .. I don't know, serious? Anyway she did appreciate that he explains well. Overall she spent the least amount of time on this class.

Pre AP Bio with Terry Kenner through Debrah Bell -- If you hope to be ready for the SAT Subject test, look somewhere else. At the same time my dd loved, adored when Dr. Kenner would bring real life applications to what they were studying. So, not a good test prep. Excellent exploratory class.

Lone Pine -- Latin. That one is a heartbreak. It went under. But best, best teacher.

 

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Now for some old school hits and misses because we did all our classes at home:

MUS Algebra 2 - miss. We didn't actually need this much math this year, otherwise we may have continued with it, but it was pretty challenging and time consuming, plus DS hated it.

Book list for literature - always a hit.

CM style composition - hit.

Wordsmith craftsman - miss. I was only using parts of it, but I basically had to teach the skills myself because the instructions were kind of lacking.

Survey of Astronomy (Master Books) - big hit. DS really enjoyed this. The books are beautiful.

Exploring world history (Notgrass) - hit. DS finds it interesting and moreso as he goes along, because he likes modern history more than ancient.

R&S history - miss. I finally got fed up with Mennonite theology (and I have a Mennonite background!).

Exploring economics (Notgrass) - hit. DS found it more interesting than I thought he would.

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On 5/26/2018 at 6:33 AM, GeoKitty said:

Notgrass.... Exploring world history... Miss.  DS made me add a ton to it, and he added a second ton.

Notgrass... From Adam to Us.... Hit! DD enjoyed it.

 

On 5/26/2018 at 8:52 AM, Pink and Green Mom said:

Notgrass Exploring Goverment - miss.  I just don't feel that this is meaty enough.  I have a real problem with the fact that all quizzes/tests were very easy fill in the blank, matching, or multiple choice.  DS got a 100 on every single quiz/test with no effort whatsoever.  One good thing I will say:  I was able to use this curriculum to teach DS how to read and take notes from a textbook.

 

1 hour ago, hollyhock2 said:

Exploring world history (Notgrass) - hit.

Isn't it interesting that one publisher can inspire such different reactions, even within the same family. These threads are more helpful when the reasons why something worked or didn't work are spelled out (like some of the above examples). What might make it a hit for us might make it a miss for you, & vice versa.

And, a request!! If you would take the time to add a review (Pros & Cons) for some (or all) of the online classes your kids took to the Master List of Online Classes thread, others will benefit from your thoughts! I try to put something about how the class is structured & graded plus time commitment & what worked or didn't for my kid. This is an example of one of my reviews.

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AoPS Calc (12th DS) - hit! He just self studied with the books and didn't do the online class

VideoText Algebra (8th DD) and Geometry (10th DS) - mostly a hit - neither one of them really loves math like my AoPS loving DS does but it gets the job done and they are strong conceptually even if they don't enjoy it a lot

American Odyssey and CT in USH (12th DS) - hit! He thought the text was interesting and I liked the CT assignments

Streams of Civilization Vol 1 and Great Courses History of the Ancient World and Foundations of Western Civilization 1 (10th DS) - GC lectures were big hits, e loves those, but the text was just meh, I will go with K12's Our Human Story next time

Apologia Chemistry (10th DS - old edition by Dr Wile) and Advanced Physics (12th DS) - always a hit here, I will never do anything but Dr Wile for high school science

EiL units (12th DS) and WttW (10th DS) - both hits! I plan to use these for all my kids

Visual Link Spanish levels 2 and 3 (10th DS) - kind of a hit - he doesn't mind it but these levels are more boring than level 1 (lots of conjugation) and he is glad to be going on to Destinos next year for Spanish 3

Stats at the CC (12th DS) - hit mostly because he loved the novelty of the CC ? the class itself was way too easy for him but setting him up for success in a college environment was the goal here so it fulfilled its purpose 

Principles of marketing from Professor in a Box (10th DS) - content was a hit but curriculum was a miss - the quizzes and tests asked nit picky questions that it seemed to us could have multiple correct answers

Total Health (10th DS) - miss because it's just so preachy and elementary - but I haven't found anything I like better yet ? so we might keep using it anyway just to check the box 

Psychology using the SL text (12th DS) - not a hit or a miss, just an ok textbook that wasn't horrible to read but wasn't particularly exciting either

Dave Ramsey Personal Finance (12th DS) - hit! - he'd already been thinking about how to pay for college and a car and already knew a lot of the principles but this course prompted lots of great conversations about money and decisions and relationships 

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Hits: French 1 Aim Academy Sally Barstow. Dd loved this class and connected with the other students in a way that ds never did. Me Barstow has creative projects and is wonderful to work with 

Teaching Textbooks Geometry. This is our second time through and even though I am now loving Saxon for upper grade math, I will continue to use this ( I think I use the first edition) for all my students. Geometry made me cry as a student, but my kids have done great. 

Total Health is a hit here. Daily exercise habit for PE. 

Illuminating Literature: when worlds Collide was a huge hit with dd and her friend  they loved all the books and we had great discussions  

Actually, everything we used this year for high school went well. It was a really good year academically around here. The co-op geography class was not as rigorous as I would have wanted, but what they did cover was in a way that dd was engaged and enjoyed-so she will probably retain it better we also really, really needed the social part and that paid out in every way I had hoped. So, in sacrificing a bit of rigor, we gained emotional health, subject enjoyment and friends. I am counting it a hit. 

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Hits for 9th grade this year were:

Algebra 2 with Mr. Reini @ WHA - he's fantastic and DD learned so much. 

History of Ancient Civilizations from The Great Courses - very enjoyable lecture series. 

The Greek & The Romans from Roman Roads Media - absolutely loved this literature program and read so many fascinating works.  

Physics with Clover Creek Science - Jetta is amazing and I wish my DD could take all her science courses with her!

Misses for 9th grade were:

The History of the Ancient World - I loved it but it was so dry of an approach for my daughter so we switched to TGC and loved it.

 

Everything else we did was fine.  Nothing special but it got it done.  Good year overall ?

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On 5/27/2018 at 1:32 PM, hollyhock2 said:

Now for some old school hits and misses because we did all our classes at home:

MUS Algebra 2 - miss. We didn't actually need this much math this year, otherwise we may have continued with it, but it was pretty challenging and time consuming, plus DS hated it.

Book list for literature - always a hit.

CM style composition - hit.

Wordsmith craftsman - miss. I was only using parts of it, but I basically had to teach the skills myself because the instructions were kind of lacking.

Survey of Astronomy (Master Books) - big hit. DS really enjoyed this. The books are beautiful.

Exploring world history (Notgrass) - hit. DS finds it interesting and moreso as he goes along, because he likes modern history more than ancient.

R&S history - miss. I finally got fed up with Mennonite theology (and I have a Mennonite background!).

Exploring economics (Notgrass) - hit. DS found it more interesting than I thought he would.

Did you EWH as written or did you add to it?

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1 hour ago, mama25angels said:

Did you EWH as written or did you add to it?

At first I was adding to it, but my plan changed partway through the year, because I ditched R&S history, so then he did it as written (he did different writing assignments though and none of the projects). For the next kid, we'll do it as written over two years.

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1 hour ago, hollyhock2 said:

At first I was adding to it, but my plan changed partway through the year, because I ditched R&S history, so then he did it as written (he did different writing assignments though and none of the projects). For the next kid, we'll do it as written over two years.

Holly, thank you for your response.  

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Holt Geometry (2007 edition):   Hit! I'm using it with ds as well as teaching other homeschool students. It is great paired with the Teacher's One Stop Planner because it gives you so many options and resources. I feel that it has good examples and enough variety in the types of problems you can meet the needs of a variety of students. 

Dive Earth Science:   Hit! I had to teach a different science at our co-op, and this was nice for ds to use independently. I was glad he got a chance to do some earth science, too. He'll have physics, biology, and chemistry for his other courses. 

Visual Link Spanish:  Hit! Easy way to get the foreign language credits on the transcript if that is all that matters to you. Ds has no one to converse with, so this was great for independent work. The second level is very different from the first, but he has enjoyed both. The first level doesn't keep up with grades, but the second level does. 

Vocabu-Lit: Hit! I liked that this vocabulary program uses words in the context of good literature. The exercises begin with having to define the words by what you think they mean in context and then looking up actual definitions. There is a focus on synonyms and antonyms as well as analogies.  

MP Poetry and Prose:    Miss! Ds dreaded this book all year long. Perhaps he would have felt that way with any poetry book, though. This was a co-op choice, not our own. 

 

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My homeschool Math class (Jann in TX) Pre-Calculus with Mrs. Nowell - Hit. My son learned a lot and really enjoyed the class

The Potters School Pre-Ap Chemistry with Mrs. Selby - mixed. Solid class that my son disliked. I'm not crazy about TPS compared with other online classes we've used but once we got used to the website it was ok.

Memoria Press Senior Thesis with Dr. Dray - Hit. My son thinks that Dr. Dray is a great teacher and the writing went quite well.

Write at home Literary Analysis workshop with....I can't remember the teachers name!! Hit. The amount of feedback was just right for the price.

Homegrown music  class - Hit. We used the DK/Smithsonian Music: The definitive visual history book with many, many Youtube videos as well as Bass guitar lessons that included some music theory, which led to him doing a lot of independent research. Ge taught himself a great deal.

Homegrown Govt/Eco - good enough, but I designed it to be good enough, not great, so I guess it was a hit? We used older (like 5 or so years) introductory college texts with lots of current events. Quizzes from the texts, no tests, just short writing assignments.

Homegrown Lit - overall Hit. Just reading and discussing together.

Jensen's Punctuation - hit. He did the first half last year and then this year he did a page or 2 of the review section per week. Just the right amount of review.

 

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2 hours ago, mama25angels said:

Holly , did you add anything to Exploring Economics?  

Nope, and we didn't do all of it either, no literature or projects. Mostly just reading and some essays.

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Misses for us

anatomy and physiology at co op

Not hit or miss:

Henle Latin

Hits:

Abeka Themes in Literature 

Abeka U.S history

R&S Math 8 (we needed this)

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1 hour ago, mama25angels said:

Holly, one more question if you don't mind, did you use the EWH lit. list or did you make your own?

I used their list as a starting point but I substituted some and added some. I substituted the Shakespeare with a biography of Julius Caesar, I did an easier Martin Luther bio, Seeking and Finding God instead of the Imitation of Christ, Hard Times instead of North and South, skipped A Tale of Two Cities and the C. S. Lewis. Wow, looking at the list now, I actually didn't follow their list much at all!

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8 hours ago, hollyhock2 said:

I used their list as a starting point but I substituted some and added some. I substituted the Shakespeare with a biography of Julius Caesar, I did an easier Martin Luther bio, Seeking and Finding God instead of the Imitation of Christ, Hard Times instead of North and South, skipped A Tale of Two Cities and the C. S. Lewis. Wow, looking at the list now, I actually didn't follow their list much at all!

Thank you again for continuing to respond.  I do have another question, did you use their questions and the quiz and exam book?

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4 hours ago, mama25angels said:

Thank you again for continuing to respond.  I do have another question, did you use their questions and the quiz and exam book?

I tried the questions for awhile but my son had a hard time with them for some reason. He did much better writing summaries of the lessons. We have not used the quiz and exam book.

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