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Your favorite online course provider (not course specific)


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I only have experience with a few but my current favorite is Memoria Press. It is appropriately rigorous for my dc, more economical than some others especially with an early bird discount, good customer service, good communication. I feel like the product has been consistent across classes and teachers and expectations are clear from the outset. Also, we are Catholic so that eliminates many popular providers.

WTMA has been good too but MP is just a better fit overall. 

I haven’t had any awful experiences but we have used 3 or 4 others I am not anxious to return to. I would if I had a very specific need but I would try to meet any outsourcing needs with MP, WTMA, or dual enrollment before returning to any of the others.

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TO be honest, my love affair with live, graded outsourced classes is diminishing by leaps and bounds.  I can't tell you how many issues we've had with teachers "learning the ropes" while my student flounders as the teacher figures out what they are doing.  As per your other thread, poor email turnaround is an issue, and the problem of being on the west coast trying to squeeze into east coast time slots and schedules only adds to the complexity. 

I think that self - paced or asynchronous classes have been a better fit for us.  An example of an asynchronous provider we've liked is PA Homeschoolers' AP classes. I don't know why but it just seems like the entire academy has it's act together.  (I wanted to say SH together...LOL)....I don't know if they have staff meetings or training seminars or maybe a template all teachers need to follow but it seems like there aren't any hitches, things go along smoothly, and the turnaround is good.  

For math, we haven't had a good experience at all and we've tried three times.  The best experience we had was JanninTX classes.  The worst was probably AOP online, which to me was not a class, but a chat session.  However, our best experience has been using DVD's by Art Reed, or self paced all-in-one programs designed for self teaching such as Teaching Textbooks or Derek Owens.  Both DO and TT are absolutely awesome.  DO can add grading and they always get back to you within 24 hours.  I cannot recommend DO enough.  

But the problem is, even if I recommended a great provider (we have had an overall positive experience with three different Apologia online classes) you just really never know if the teacher you're getting is going to be comfortable with technology, know how to get the students comfortable with it, understand the fine line between utilizing technology and just being annoying, or have good email response rate.  Then, there is the issue that some teachers are just terribly, terribly boring.  If I want my student to be bored I can do that very inexpensively with less frustration than a 1000.00 ish class ? 

So far our co-op classes have been great, but the KIDS there are sometimes really a downer.  ? 

Sorry for the rant.  It's been a rough road trying to figure out what is going to work !! 

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7 hours ago, Calming Tea said:

TO be honest, my love affair with live, graded outsourced classes is diminishing by leaps and bounds.  I can't tell you how many issues we've had with teachers "learning the ropes" while my student flounders as the teacher figures out what they are doing.  As per your other thread, poor email turnaround is an issue, and the problem of being on the west coast trying to squeeze into east coast time slots and schedules only adds to the complexity. 

I think that self - paced or asynchronous classes have been a better fit for us.  An example of an asynchronous provider we've liked is PA Homeschoolers' AP classes. I don't know why but it just seems like the entire academy has it's act together.  (I wanted to say SH together...LOL)....I don't know if they have staff meetings or training seminars or maybe a template all teachers need to follow but it seems like there aren't any hitches, things go along smoothly, and the turnaround is good.  

For math, we haven't had a good experience at all and we've tried three times.  The best experience we had was JanninTX classes.  The worst was probably AOP online, which to me was not a class, but a chat session.  However, our best experience has been using DVD's by Art Reed, or self paced all-in-one programs designed for self teaching such as Teaching Textbooks or Derek Owens.  Both DO and TT are absolutely awesome.  DO can add grading and they always get back to you within 24 hours.  I cannot recommend DO enough.  

But the problem is, even if I recommended a great provider (we have had an overall positive experience with three different Apologia online classes) you just really never know if the teacher you're getting is going to be comfortable with technology, know how to get the students comfortable with it, understand the fine line between utilizing technology and just being annoying, or have good email response rate.  Then, there is the issue that some teachers are just terribly, terribly boring.  If I want my student to be bored I can do that very inexpensively with less frustration than a 1000.00 ish class ? 

So far our co-op classes have been great, but the KIDS there are sometimes really a downer.  ? 

Sorry for the rant.  It's been a rough road trying to figure out what is going to work !! 

For our family, outsourcing any course is a position of last resort.  I only choose an outsourced option if I know that there is absolutely no way that I can find resources to achieve our goals at home. (I wouldn't call using Art Reed's DVDs outsourcing but using an educational resource that works for your family. You are still in charge of the assignments and making sure the student understands the material. Pace of progression is dictated by you and your student, not a classroom teacher.)

Parents being the primary educators used to be the predominant approach amg most (all) homeschoolers I encountered bc it was the motivation for homeschooling---customized educations controlled by the family. Outsourcing was something only done for the odd course. Homeschool transcripts were full of courses taught by mom. 

Now the predominant view amg homeschoolers is that courses done at home are inherently lower quality and outsourcing automatically  provides better educational opportunities. Not sure why. I have never understood the shift in view.

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15 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

For our family, outsourcing any course is a position of last resort.  I only choose an outsourced option if I know that there is absolutely no way that I can find resources to achieve our goals at home. (I wouldn't call using Art Reed's DVDs outsourcing but using an educational resource that works for your family. You are still in charge of the assignments and making sure the student understands the material. Pace of progression is dictated by you and your student, not a classroom teacher.)

Parents being the primary educators used to be the predominant approach amg most (all) homeschoolers I encountered bc it was the motivation for homeschooling---customized educations controlled by the family. Outsourcing was something only done for the odd course. Homeschool transcripts were full of courses taught by mom. 

Now the predominant view amg homeschoolers is that courses done at home are inherently lower quality and outsourcing automatically  provides better educational opportunities. Not sure why. I have never understood the shift in view.

This. I've also noticed this shift since I started on the board. I was seeking 4-5 year old threads for "what are you doing this year" over the summer because I don't want outsourced classes and the current threads are 75% outsourced stuff. We're the same as 8- outsourced is our last choice, not our first. My dd is one of those who could ace a course and learn next to nothing.

Our favorite template for a course is book-videos-course guide. MP has a few of these, and I've pulled a few together myself from various resources on the internet. Some of Derek Owens courses are set up this way, but I won't even try the ones he has that don't have a book.

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I agree. I've been surprised at the number of folks who do 5 of 6 online classes. But I know there are many reasons for it. We did 4 one year when ds was going through a tough spot and I needed him accountable to someone else so I'd have energy left for the other kids. I just don't like the idea that it is necessarily better. In our case, for. that child, outside providers were able to provide a richer environment for him. His sister is doing some if the same courses with me and getting as good an experience. 

I use outside providers for foreign language because I detest teaching them.  We've been happy with Homeschool Spanish Academy and Aim Academy for French. 

I also use them for AP classes because I don't have the energy to put together an AP class to the level PA Homeschoolers does. He did self study one AP. We've been happy with PA Homeschoolers. 

I also like using online providers occasionally for writing in order for both the child and I to have an outside eye on things (I grade a bit tough, but also don't always know what depth of analysis I should be looking for.). This is a luxury though and is the lowest thing on my budget. 

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56 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Now the predominant view amg homeschoolers is that courses done at home are inherently lower quality and outsourcing automatically  provides better educational opportunities. Not sure why. I have never understood the shift in view.

Just want to say that even though we have become a family that primarily outsources, I do not in any way think that courses done at home are inferior in quality. When I talk to someone that is doing their courses primarily at home I generally think that the parent really has her act together and is doing a great job. We ended up outsourcing because we weren’t doing a good job at home on our own but wanted to retain some benefits of homeschooling. 

I have regret that I wasn’t willing or able to do it on my own as I intended. I have total respect for those I know both on this board and IRL that don’t outsource. 

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10 hours ago, Calming Tea said:

TO be honest, my love affair with live, graded outsourced classes is diminishing by leaps and bounds.  I can't tell you how many issues we've had with teachers "learning the ropes" while my student flounders as the teacher figures out what they are doing.  As per your other thread, poor email turnaround is an issue, and the problem of being on the west coast trying to squeeze into east coast time slots and schedules only adds to the complexity. 

I think that self - paced or asynchronous classes have been a better fit for us.  An example of an asynchronous provider we've liked is PA Homeschoolers' AP classes. I don't know why but it just seems like the entire academy has it's act together.  (I wanted to say SH together...LOL)....I don't know if they have staff meetings or training seminars or maybe a template all teachers need to follow but it seems like there aren't any hitches, things go along smoothly, and the turnaround is good.  

For math, we haven't had a good experience at all and we've tried three times.  The best experience we had was JanninTX classes.  The worst was probably AOP online, which to me was not a class, but a chat session.  However, our best experience has been using DVD's by Art Reed, or self paced all-in-one programs designed for self teaching such as Teaching Textbooks or Derek Owens.  Both DO and TT are absolutely awesome.  DO can add grading and they always get back to you within 24 hours.  I cannot recommend DO enough.  

But the problem is, even if I recommended a great provider (we have had an overall positive experience with three different Apologia online classes) you just really never know if the teacher you're getting is going to be comfortable with technology, know how to get the students comfortable with it, understand the fine line between utilizing technology and just being annoying, or have good email response rate.  Then, there is the issue that some teachers are just terribly, terribly boring.  If I want my student to be bored I can do that very inexpensively with less frustration than a 1000.00 ish class ? 

So far our co-op classes have been great, but the KIDS there are sometimes really a downer.  ? 

Sorry for the rant.  It's been a rough road trying to figure out what is going to work !! 

I am about where you are. I am thinking next year Mr Callihan’s class will be the only one we outsource, because well, he’s Mr Callihan. And everyone in our family thinks he’s awesome. (And honestly I don’t count him as a class the same way the others are. He’s more like a Live Great Course on Great Books, and if you want your kid to do assignments beyond the readings he has them do, you assign them and you grade them.) But aside from that, this year just has me bummed. And it’s only October 1! 

I definitely had my reasons for outsourcing multiple classes at first. And it worked well for the most part. Until this year (key disaster music). But now I am feeling that I don’t have the reasons to outsource I did previous years. My little kids aren’t little pre-civilized people anymore. And I can actually have time to do things and have a peaceful house. Might be time for a change. 

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4 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

For our family, outsourcing any course is a position of last resort.  I only choose an outsourced option if I know that there is absolutely no way that I can find resources to achieve our goals at home. (I wouldn't call using Art Reed's DVDs outsourcing but using an educational resource that works for your family. You are still in charge of the assignments and making sure the student understands the material. Pace of progression is dictated by you and your student, not a classroom teacher.)

Parents being the primary educators used to be the predominant approach amg most (all) homeschoolers I encountered bc it was the motivation for homeschooling---customized educations controlled by the family. Outsourcing was something only done for the odd course. Homeschool transcripts were full of courses taught by mom. 

Now the predominant view amg homeschoolers is that courses done at home are inherently lower quality and outsourcing automatically  provides better educational opportunities. Not sure why. I have never understood the shift in view.

For me it's not about quality, it's about sanity....I am not good at being a teenage parent AND keeping my kids accountable AND being the grading parent/teacher.

It is much better to have most of our stuff outsourced and has worked great here!  But LIVE classes or even delayed, have not been a good fit.  Then, if there are technical issues or questions my students understandably get very upset when there is no answer and the assignment is due.

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My oldest does better with outside accountability. So, I outsourced -- a lot.

My next one does not want outside classes, so she does everything at home (unless you count her painting lessons).

My #3 is somewhere in the middle, so will likely do some outside classes (maybe foreign language and high school science).

I don't have a favorite provider overall because some providers do some things better than others. Plus, each kid is different. My reviews for several providers/classes can be found in the Master List of Online Classes linked at the top of the general board.

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4 hours ago, klmama said:

Link?

This is his website, where you can take his live classes: http://scholatutorials.org/

Roman Roads also sells his recorded Old Western Culture/Great Books classes. https://romanroadsmedia.com/courses/the-greeks/

You can either use the RR classes a stand-alone, or if you sign up for his online course, the recordings are used in addition to the live Great Books lectures. He also teaches Rhetoric, Astronomy, CS Lewis, and sometimes a Great Books for adults class.  There might be more. I heard he was also teaching at CLRC this year- but I'm not 100%. 

Just note, he doesn't grade. He assigns readings, and he lectures. I think you can pay RR for grading maybe? I'm not sure. There isn't really discussion on mics like some other classes. There is some student chat going in the background, but it's pretty much him lecturing the whole time.

It's my favorite because a) he's an expert lecturer that intrigues everyone in our house from my 5-year-old (at the time) to my dh, and b) it's the perfect balance of someone else doing the main lecture, but then I control the output/papers and whatnot. My little kids were talking about Agamemnon at 4 and 5 just by overhearing his lectures dd was listening to if that tells you anything...... He is a pretty epic storyteller. :wub: 

In the thread RootAnn mentions above, you can probably find other reviews if you're interested. I think I put one there and maybe others too? I haven't kept up. This thread I was just more wondering what the most reliable providers were, if there was such a thing, rather than trying to repeat that thread. If you have any other questions about it feel free to PM me. My dd is is on her third year of his courses and can answer just about anything you'd want to know. 

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Derek Owens, for sure. You know what you are getting with one of his courses. It will be a sad day when he leaves the business.

We had great luck with the PA Homeschoolers AP courses, but the experience is going to vary because there are multiple instructors involved.

Because of our time zone, we never tried any live online courses, but I don't think specified meeting times would have fit our needs anyway.

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We just started using AOP Monarch Online for a single subject.  Believe it or not I like these courses for occasional use.  You can customize literally everything, grading percentages and grading scale.  YOu can customize when your kid gets below a certain grade, ( I set my dd's to a B) and then you will immediately get an email when a lesson/quiz or anything falls below that grade.  YOu set the calendar year and the program literally sschedules the entire thing for you.  THen, you can customize how many days behind your child should be, before you get an alert that they are behind schedule. it prints automatic reports in three different styles and it has a dashboard that the student can customize as well.  

You can add as many Extra Projects as you want and the system schedules and alerts the student of those as well.  This is where research, hands on projects and incorporating essay writing into other subjects comes in.  I have assigned my dd a map project.

This may be a really nice balance for my dd between Truly Outsourced and NOT MOM teaching/grading etc.  She is excited and keeping herself accountable. 

Some of the content is a little weird so I don't recommend the Bible unless your kid can shrug off whatever they don't agree with.  And the Science is definitely Creation based.  But it will be a great fit for her overall.  I plan to use it more next year.

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We never outsourced until 9th grade. Now my oldest (ds 11th) outsource all in some fashion. I found for him, like many others, outside accountability works. He's learning a lot.

My next in line (dd 9th) wants to outsource less, so we're planning to go a more hybrid approach for her. I also feel hats off to those teaching 'old school' - I don't think me and AP calculus or AP chemistry mix well! I feel blessed there are options for those like me.

Favorite?
I guess if I picked one, right now it's PAH - because we've taken quite a few with them and except one, have loved them all and they prepared my ds  really well for APs
Other favorites?
We also really love JanninTX - though when I call MyHomeschoolMathClass by that name to my dd, she looks at me confused, and I have to say, You know Mrs. Perkins...
We love Derek Owens! Just found him last year and now will do all math for my ds#3 through them
Roy Speed shakespeare intensives are fantastic! Because they are semester or weeks-long, cost feels more bite-sized. (we tried other online Lit classes and did not like them)
HomeschoolSpanishAcademy - great instruction, i think my kids are learning a lot and it's not terribly work-intensive, but it is $600 a year... Not the cheapest.


Not so favorites
Wilson Hill - we used to love them for Math. Then due to a teacher switch-up, we had to find a new provider and fell into DO's lap. Couldn't be happier. Sometimes change can be really good. They provide a fine level of math instruction, we especially love Mr. Reini - but for the increasing prices (+ high student services fee), it's growing difficult to stomach. Almost $1000 for a single AP class...
WTMA - we have used WTMA for a few different courses and also find a high level of instruction. but i may look elsewhere due to higher costs (+$100 admin fee which on top of a single class at WTMA makes that class $100 more!) we still love you, we just have to be price sensitive!
Edhesive - Loved them for AP CS-A - a little less so for AP Stats as it's very much leaving the grading to be done by ourselves which leaves questions i can't always answer. and with their rising costs from $150 to $550 (or 595, i forget), it becomes a lot less fantastic... Fantastic if they'd keep the $150 rate!

 

Edited by mirabillis
oops forgot one
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On 10/1/2018 at 8:23 PM, mirabillis said:

We love Derek Owens! Just found him last year and now will do all math for my ds#3 through them

 

Could you tell me more about Derek Owens math?  My son will be in 7th grade next year and is hoping to take pre-Algebra with Mr. Reini at WHA, but I need a back-up plan.  I have looked at Derek Owens website, but I'd like to know how a typical week works.  Do you watch a video every day and then do the assignment?   I may also look into the AP Calculus for my daughter next year.  Would love any specifics.

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7 minutes ago, lbell said:

Could you tell me more about Derek Owens math?  My son will be in 7th grade next year and is hoping to take pre-Algebra with Mr. Reini at WHA, but I need a back-up plan.  I have looked at Derek Owens website, but I'd like to know how a typical week works.  Do you watch a video every day and then do the assignment?   I may also look into the AP Calculus for my daughter next year.  Would love any specifics.

 

My DD is doing Algebra (and loving it!) but works about 90 minutes per day, three days a week. That includes watching the videos, completing the 'classwork' packet, and doing the homework assignments. We basically follow the same syllabus/schedule as the live students do, we just started earlier in the year.

DD is also really enjoying Earth Science this year at WHA with Mr. Bowen. Her science instruction has been really, really spotty compared to DS and the hands-on, Algebra-based class is right up her alley and down her street. She feels confident in a subject I just knew she would love (if done the right way).

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We have had a great experience with Wilson Hill Academy high school courses.  My daughter is presently in 11th grade.

9th - Fundamentals of Writing, Physics, & The Great Conversations 1+4

10th - Honors Chemistry, Logic 2, Spanish 1, The Great Conversations 5, & Algebra 2

11th - AP Biology, Rhetoric 1, Spanish 2, The Great Conversations 3 & Pre-Calculus

12th grade plan - Rhetoric 2 with senior thesis, Modern Literature & Thought, ?The Great Conversations 6, ?Spanish 3, ?AP Calculus or Honors Physics

My son is in 6th grade and is taking his first WHA classes this year.  He enjoys both, but the language arts class is amazing!! Just what he needed.  I was worried about him staying engaged for 1.5 hours, but he does fine.  He also does 2 classes with Schole Academy, Writing & Rhetoric 3 & Spanish for Children 2b.  Both are great schools. I am trying to decide for next year whether he should do Latin 1 with Schole Academy or WHA.  

6th - Language Arts 2 & Math 6

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2 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

 

My DD is doing Algebra (and loving it!) but works about 90 minutes per day, three days a week. That includes watching the videos, completing the 'classwork' packet, and doing the homework assignments. We basically follow the same syllabus/schedule as the live students do, we just started earlier in the year.

DD is also really enjoying Earth Science this year at WHA with Mr. Bowen. Her science instruction has been really, really spotty compared to DS and the hands-on, Algebra-based class is right up her alley and down her street. She feels confident in a subject I just knew she would love (if done the right way).

Is there a down-side to not doing the live classes?  It get's hard to fit everything in the schedule and it would be nice to have some flexibility.

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16 minutes ago, lbell said:

Is there a down-side to not doing the live classes?  It get's hard to fit everything in the schedule and it would be nice to have some flexibility.

 

Not that I can tell. She really likes being able to fit math around other things.

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16 hours ago, lbell said:

Could you tell me more about Derek Owens math?  My son will be in 7th grade next year and is hoping to take pre-Algebra with Mr. Reini at WHA, but I need a back-up plan.  I have looked at Derek Owens website, but I'd like to know how a typical week works.  Do you watch a video every day and then do the assignment?   I may also look into the AP Calculus for my daughter next year.  Would love any specifics.

 Derek Owens is done at the student's pace, so the schedule will depend on how quickly/slowly the student wants to move. If I recall correctly, there is one video per section, which took about a week. It's setup to cover a typical school year, but, again, the length of time required can vary.

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We've used VP, WHA, AoPS, and WTMA.  Of all of them, we much prefer WTMA.  At each of the other schools, some classes were excellent in regard to instruction and then others were subpar.  So with that in mind, WTMA has been the most consistent.  

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We have used PAH, AoPS, CTY, eIMACS, and WTMA (Plus others that we dropped before the withdraw date due to too much busywork).  Our experience was similar to @jjeepa  WTMA was the most consistent with high quality instruction and rigorous content.

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On 10/3/2018 at 6:39 PM, lbell said:

Could you tell me more about Derek Owens math?  My son will be in 7th grade next year and is hoping to take pre-Algebra with Mr. Reini at WHA, but I need a back-up plan.  I have looked at Derek Owens website, but I'd like to know how a typical week works.  Do you watch a video every day and then do the assignment?   I may also look into the AP Calculus for my daughter next year.  Would love any specifics.

 

Here's my thoughts. YMMV... we love Mr. Reini at WHA. My son took his Alg II class with him. Maybe a bit pricey for middle school? We used Dolciani Pre-A for 3 of my kiddos, then one switched to Jann in TX's Myhomeschoolmath class for Alg I. The other 2 did Dolciani at home with me again for Alg I. Then all outsourced by Geometry.

As for Derek Owens, this is based on AP Calc - so workload I'm sure will vary for Pre-A. He has a syllabus and we follow the live class sessions so as to be ready for AP exam when that comes. He spends about 1-1.5 hours each day on math. Basically he'll have sets of videos, say section 2.3, 2.4 & 2.5 for that week - plus a couple HW assignments. Each video section may have 5-15 videos in them - but most are about 10 min apiece. Those also include practice problem videos also. Kids take notes in their readymade workbook as they go - my son loves this compared to WHA math. I break up his week into daily chunks, and so far, so good. It's not too much. We plan to send ds #3 straight to DO for Alg II (maybe will do Geometry with Jann in TX) and bypass WHA entirely, even though we love Mr. Reini. ;D

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