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Question about a split-stream Honors Chem course


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 I thought I'd ask this here since you all were so instrumental in helping me to get this going. 🙂

Do you think people would find the concept of a split-stream course too confusing? 🙂  I'm going into the 4th year of offering my chemistry courses and I feel like the Honors Chem is DEFINITELY on the rigorous end of things.  Maybe too much so.  I still think that it fills a need for a small group of students and don't want to do away with that level of rigor for those students who need it/want it.  I had a thought that I could keep the same lecture videos and overall schedule but do something like Derek Owens does with his assignments and tests - have the first part of the assignment/test/exam be for everyone and then have one or two more questions for students who want more challenge.  I think I would call one stream "Honors Chemistry" (this stream of students would only do the first part of the assignments/tests/exams) and the other stream "Honors Chemistry with Lead-up to AP Chem" or something like that (this stream of students would do all the questions including the challenge ones).  I have to be careful about College Board property rights with "AP" labels, though, so I might need a different name.  The course as it currently is would become the second, more rigorous stream.  As it is right now, I think there is too much "distance" between my regular Chemistry and my Honors Chemistry in terms of rigor.  Adding in the other stream of Honors Chem would help to fix that, I think.

So... Is that too confusing?  Should there be two separate courses instead?  Hive thoughts?

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I think it’s perfect the way it is 😉.

I think if you believe you don’t need to work through every problem to have an honors designation on the transcript, you can mark those “extra” problems with an asterisk and just they are bonus questions for those planning to take AP as a follow up course. I wouldn’t create a third (separate) course. I hope I understood you post correctly. 

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I agree with @Roadrunner that your course seemed perfect the way you constructed it.  I thought it was right on par with a rigorous honors course (and I say that having had a student who had no exposure to chemistry prior to your course.)  Maybe you could label some questions as bonus questions or some topics as optional if you think they are truly outside of the scope a traditional honors course, but no, I wouldn't reduce your course now to form a new watered down honors course to label the original one as a lead into AP.  (Do you think it is on par with AP?  Dd didn't end up taking the CLEP bc we moved and it was all too much, but based on what I remember from looking at the CLEP she probably would have done OK, but not a given slam dunk.)

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1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

I think it’s perfect the way it is 😉.

I think if you believe you don’t need to work through every problem to have an honors designation on the transcript, you can mark those “extra” problems with an asterisk and just they are bonus questions for those planning to take AP as a follow up course. I wouldn’t create a third (separate) course. I hope I understood you post correctly. 

Yes - you did understand me. 🙂  I think part of my struggle is knowing what is considered "Honors" level material in the States.  In Canada, we have a completely different way of approaching high school science courses and students wouldn't encounter what I teach in Honors until the 11th and 12th grades so the material that, to me, says "Honors" 🙂 would be done by students here with a few more years of maturity under their belts.  Because I'm getting a lot of students who are between the ages of 13 to 15 taking the course (which totally makes sense - that's 10th grade in the States), I wondered if maybe I was expecting too much from the younger set.  Does that make sense?

And I like your thinking of having optional "AP prep" questions!

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PLEASE don't water down your course due to people registering with students too young in maturity to handle the course.  That is NOT your course's fault.  It was definitely on par with what I expect from my high schoolers.

I'm sort of confused, though.  Are you thinking that it would be an AP equivalent or a pre-AP course.  If the latter, definitely no need.  A typical non-honors course would be enough chem background for taking AP chem.

Edited by 8filltheheart
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12 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

I agree with @Roadrunner that your course seemed perfect the way you constructed it.  I thought it was right on par with a rigorous honors course (and I say that having had a student who had no exposure to chemistry prior to your course.)  Maybe you could label some questions as bonus questions or some topics as optional if you think they are truly outside of the scope a traditional honors course, but no, I wouldn't reduce your course now to form a new watered down honors course to label the original one as a lead into AP.  (Do you think it is on par with AP?  Dd didn't end up taking the CLEP bc we moved and it was all too much, but based on what I remember from looking at the CLEP she probably would have done OK, but not a given slam dunk.)

I don't think my course is on par with AP, no, but I think it's a strong lead-up course - know what I mean? 🙂  I think what I mentioned above to Roadrunner is part of my worry - that I'm used to teaching this content to students who are 16 to 18 years old here in Canada and most of the students taking my online course are 13 to 15 (which, again, totally makes sense as that's the age range of 10th graders) and that I might be expecting too much from the younger set of students.

I think a lot about my students. 🙂

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16 minutes ago, Dicentra said:

I don't think my course is on par with AP, no, but I think it's a strong lead-up course - know what I mean? 🙂  I think what I mentioned above to Roadrunner is part of my worry - that I'm used to teaching this content to students who are 16 to 18 years old here in Canada and most of the students taking my online course are 13 to 15 (which, again, totally makes sense as that's the age range of 10th graders) and that I might be expecting too much from the younger set of students.

I think a lot about my students. 🙂

I don't think age is the issue.  Academic maturity in expected output?  Probably, but that doesn't mean your course's expectations aren't spot on.

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1 hour ago, Dicentra said:

Yes - you did understand me. 🙂  I think part of my struggle is knowing what is considered "Honors" level material in the States.  In Canada, we have a completely different way of approaching high school science courses and students wouldn't encounter what I teach in Honors until the 11th and 12th grades so the material that, to me, says "Honors" 🙂 would be done by students here with a few more years of maturity under their belts.  Because I'm getting a lot of students who are between the ages of 13 to 15 taking the course (which totally makes sense - that's 10th grade in the States), I wondered if maybe I was expecting too much from the younger set.  Does that make sense?

And I like your thinking of having optional "AP prep" questions!

Another vote for not watering down the course! If we wanted the PS Honors course (which uses the text that’s equivalent to your regular course), we would not be in your class. Your honors course is amazing and absolutely doable. My boy is loving it and although he is on the younger side, he has no trouble with the material (unlike his older sibling 😌 who still wants nothing to do with chemistry). In fact he is enjoying it so much, he thinks maybe he should consider more advanced coursework. 
honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing. And please, please please don’t water it down!

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Hm. The regular level was good for my kids. Well, it was good for one of them. The other one less so. But it was so good for one of them - he liked it enough that he's thinking of doing DE chem next year, which would really give him a lot of science credits for a kid who is unlikely to ever go into STEM. Neither of them could have done the honors level.

But... I've heard from a number of families in my orbit who have done the honors class that they regret it. It took too much out of their kid. In some situations, it seems like it just wasn't a good fit - parents had a vision for education and rigor that just didn't match where the kid was. But I guess I'd worry that it's pushing some kids who think of themselves as smart, STEM lovers to dislike the subject. Like - it seems like you get a pretty big drop of kids going from honors to regular every year and I wonder what that says. I think the easy answer is what others are saying here - they just weren't ready for "real" high school chem and rigorous work. But... I guess I'd just explore if that's entirely the case. I don't feel like I know enough to say.

I wonder if rather than changing the content, if changing the credits would help families plan for it more effectively. Like, what if it were just a 1.5 or a 2 credit course. When I was in high school, some of the honors and AP sciences were 2 period, 2 credit courses. WTMA's set up has the science as a credit and the lab as a half credit. I know that's not exactly the breakdown you're envisioning, but I wonder if just clearly delineating that this course takes more time and making the credits reflect that would help families go into it with eyes a little more open.

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22 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Hm. The regular level was good for my kids. Well, it was good for one of them. The other one less so. But it was so good for one of them - he liked it enough that he's thinking of doing DE chem next year, which would really give him a lot of science credits for a kid who is unlikely to ever go into STEM. Neither of them could have done the honors level.

But... I've heard from a number of families in my orbit who have done the honors class that they regret it. It took too much out of their kid. In some situations, it seems like it just wasn't a good fit - parents had a vision for education and rigor that just didn't match where the kid was. But I guess I'd worry that it's pushing some kids who think of themselves as smart, STEM lovers to dislike the subject. Like - it seems like you get a pretty big drop of kids going from honors to regular every year and I wonder what that says. I think the easy answer is what others are saying here - they just weren't ready for "real" high school chem and rigorous work. But... I guess I'd just explore if that's entirely the case. I don't feel like I know enough to say.

I wonder if rather than changing the content, if changing the credits would help families plan for it more effectively. Like, what if it were just a 1.5 or a 2 credit course. When I was in high school, some of the honors and AP sciences were 2 period, 2 credit courses. WTMA's set up has the science as a credit and the lab as a half credit. I know that's not exactly the breakdown you're envisioning, but I wonder if just clearly delineating that this course takes more time and making the credits reflect that would help families go into it with eyes a little more open.

The bolded makes my heart heavy. 😞  I would never want to cause a student to move away from STEM and that fact that I might have done that makes me sad.  But I also don't want STEM students to not be prepared for the rigor that they'll encounter at uni - know what I mean?  But again - I'm coming from the background of university in Canada, not the States, and I might be over-estimating the level of knowledge/chem skills that students need in order to be prepared for college intro chemistry.  I think you guys have a much broader range of what first year looks like for students depending on which school is attended.  Intro chem at, say, MIT is probably going to be vastly different than intro chem at a less science-oriented school.  Here in Canada, I think it's pretty standard across the universities as to what 1st year chem looks like.  We also start degree requirements from year one so there are no gen ed credits to be taken.  By the time we're in 3rd year undergrad, we're doing really specific course work that might not be done until grad school in the States.  It's hard for me to judge, you know? 🙂

The credit thing is interesting - that's something I could think about.

Thanks for the feedback, Farrar!

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3 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

Another vote for not watering down the course! If we wanted the PS Honors course (which uses the text that’s equivalent to your regular course), we would not be in your class. Your honors course is amazing and absolutely doable. My boy is loving it and although he is on the younger side, he has no trouble with the material (unlike his older sibling 😌 who still wants nothing to do with chemistry). In fact he is enjoying it so much, he thinks maybe he should consider more advanced coursework. 
honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing. And please, please please don’t water it down!

I would love to have your boy in my Intro to Organic Chem & Biochem class if he's interested! 🙂

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I don't feel like I have a real handle on what the right level of rigor is. It does seem like kids who are taking WTMA honors chem or Blue Tent honors chem are not putting in the sheer hours that your honors chem students are, Connie. I guess I would just say that's something to think about. But you're definitely right that the experience of first year college chem at a random non-flagship school is probably miles apart from at a top tier school. And maybe you're just teaching the MIT prep level high school chem class and other providers are teaching the State College prep level high school chem class and that's okay because kids who need that challenge are out there.

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5 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I don't feel like I have a real handle on what the right level of rigor is. It does seem like kids who are taking WTMA honors chem or Blue Tent honors chem are not putting in the sheer hours that your honors chem students are, Connie. I guess I would just say that's something to think about. But you're definitely right that the experience of first year college chem at a random non-flagship school is probably miles apart from at a top tier school. And maybe you're just teaching the MIT prep level high school chem class and other providers are teaching the State College prep level high school chem class and that's okay because kids who need that challenge are out there.

I wonder if they're doing different content?  Or maybe have different output?  Less readings?  Less video lectures?  All things that I'll ponder. 🙂

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Maybe just add a disclaimer to the description that the honors level class is a challenging course meant for mature students who are ready to handle a demanding class with a honors workload.  I don't know about the WTMA or Blue Tent, but I know my dd spent significantly less time on your course compared to ds who took PAH's AP chem which seems appropriate in the distinction between levels.

I think the yr dd took your course that she was the oldest student in the class and that most of the students were academically gifted young kids (mostly younger middle school age) bc they talked about the workload on the accelerated forum. I think the output expectations exceeded what their kids were used to doing.  My takeaway from the conversations was that the input at a high level matched their kids' intellectual abilities but the output pace didn't.  I always disagreed with them that the workload was out of proportion for a high school honors level class.  It really is on par with the workload my kids are used to doing in high school and what I want for them.  Like I stated earlier, it wasn't too much input/output for a pretty avg 11th grader with no chem background.  Her only prior formal science background was biology and physics.  (She is not a gifted or advanced student.  She graduated with very standard level academic achievements.) She is a college freshman this yr pursuing a STEM degree and I am VERY glad she had exposure to your class's workload as she takes multiple lab science courses per semester. 

Maybe recommend having completed a high school physics course prior to your chem class?  That might help filter out some of the younger kids who aren't ready for a high school workload.

5 hours ago, Farrar said:

I've heard from a number of families in my orbit who have done the honors class that they regret it. It took too much out of their kid. In some situations, it seems like it just wasn't a good fit - parents had a vision for education and rigor that just didn't match where the kid was. But I guess I'd worry that it's pushing some kids who think of themselves as smart, STEM lovers to dislike the subject. Like - it seems like you get a pretty big drop of kids going from honors to regular every year and I wonder what that says. I think the easy answer is what others are saying here - they just weren't ready for "real" high school chem and rigorous work.

 I wonder how many of these students were from 2 yrs ago?  Last yr? This yr?  I know that 2 yrs ago it seemed like most of the students fit the profile of the bolded. It seemed to me like only 2-3 kids were even high school age.  That is not the course's fault.  And are the comparisons of WTMA and Blue Tent apples to apples?  What ages are the students registering for those classes?  Different prereqs?  I just searched WTMA and didn't see an honors chem option, just chem.  BT, otoh, didn't have a regular chemistry option at all, only honors, with zero prereqs listed other than CB recommendations that chemistry be taken after biology and alg 1.  

If a parent enrolls a student in AoPS math bc that is the vision for rigor the parent has for their kid who thinks of themself as smart and doesn't match where the student functions, is it the math courses' fault if they can't handle the course?  Honors level classes are supposed to require greater effort than a standard level course.

 

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10 hours ago, Farrar said:

Hm. The regular level was good for my kids. Well, it was good for one of them. The other one less so. But it was so good for one of them - he liked it enough that he's thinking of doing DE chem next year, which would really give him a lot of science credits for a kid who is unlikely to ever go into STEM. Neither of them could have done the honors level.

But... I've heard from a number of families in my orbit who have done the honors class that they regret it. It took too much out of their kid. In some situations, it seems like it just wasn't a good fit - parents had a vision for education and rigor that just didn't match where the kid was. But I guess I'd worry that it's pushing some kids who think of themselves as smart, STEM lovers to dislike the subject. Like - it seems like you get a pretty big drop of kids going from honors to regular every year and I wonder what that says. I think the easy answer is what others are saying here - they just weren't ready for "real" high school chem and rigorous work. But... I guess I'd just explore if that's entirely the case. I don't feel like I know enough to say.

I wonder if rather than changing the content, if changing the credits would help families plan for it more effectively. Like, what if it were just a 1.5 or a 2 credit course. When I was in high school, some of the honors and AP sciences were 2 period, 2 credit courses. WTMA's set up has the science as a credit and the lab as a half credit. I know that's not exactly the breakdown you're envisioning, but I wonder if just clearly delineating that this course takes more time and making the credits reflect that would help families go into it with eyes a little more open.

 

10 hours ago, Dicentra said:

The bolded makes my heart heavy. 😞  I would never want to cause a student to move away from STEM and that fact that I might have done that makes me sad.  But I also don't want STEM students to not be prepared for the rigor that they'll encounter at uni - know what I mean?  But again - I'm coming from the background of university in Canada, not the States, and I might be over-estimating the level of knowledge/chem skills that students need in order to be prepared for college intro chemistry.  I think you guys have a much broader range of what first year looks like for students depending on which school is attended.  Intro chem at, say, MIT is probably going to be vastly different than intro chem at a less science-oriented school.  Here in Canada, I think it's pretty standard across the universities as to what 1st year chem looks like.  We also start degree requirements from year one so there are no gen ed credits to be taken.  By the time we're in 3rd year undergrad, we're doing really specific course work that might not be done until grad school in the States.  It's hard for me to judge, you know? 🙂

The credit thing is interesting - that's something I could think about.

Thanks for the feedback, Farrar!

Of for God’s sake. Connie, don’t let anybody make you feel bad for offering a course with quality and asking kids to actually put in work. Internet is full of worthless online options and your course is one of the few gems for kids who actually want to learn. 
I can tell you my 8th grader spends 1.5 to 2 hours a day on chem. It’s usually 1.5, unless it’s a day with longer lectures. He takes meticulous notes from lectures and has very little trouble getting through homework. This is the reason you rarely see him at online sessions, although he might show up this Thursday. 😀 Is that a lot?  Don’t think so. For an honors level high school course for a child interested in math/science? Not at all. What’s more, you let kids drop down into regular option if needed. 
I am highly skeptical of the claim that Bluetent honors science is accomplished in under 1.5 hours a day. And even if it is, why should you have to change your course? 
Having seen what masquerades as middle school education in this country and what majority of homeschoolers consider learning (oh Facebook groups!), I am not surprised that some kids coming into your honors level course aren’t as prepared to know how to study and do work. Pleas for those of us who actually care for quality, don’t tinker with your course. There are plenty of other dumbed down options online. 
And no, the chapters you cover in the textbook aren’t worth more than 1 credit. Good god. 

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4 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

Maybe just add a disclaimer to the description that the honors level class is a challenging course meant for mature students who are ready to handle a demanding class with a honors workload.  I don't know about the WTMA or Blue Tent, but I know my dd spent significantly less time on your course compared to ds who took PAH's AP chem which seems appropriate in the distinction between levels.

I think the yr dd took your course that she was the oldest student in the class and that most of the students were academically gifted young kids (mostly younger middle school age) bc they talked about the workload on the accelerated forum. I think the output expectations exceeded what their kids were used to doing.  My takeaway from the conversations was that the input at a high level matched their kids' intellectual abilities but the output pace didn't.  I always disagreed with them that the workload was out of proportion for a high school honors level class.  It really is on par with the workload my kids are used to doing in high school and what I want for them.  Like I stated earlier, it wasn't too much input/output for a pretty avg 11th grader with no chem background.  Her only prior formal science background was biology and physics.  (She is not a gifted or advanced student.  She graduated with very standard level academic achievements.) She is a college freshman this yr pursuing a STEM degree and I am VERY glad she had exposure to your class's workload as she takes multiple lab science courses per semester. 

Maybe recommend having completed a high school physics course prior to your chem class?  That might help filter out some of the younger kids who aren't ready for a high school workload.

 I wonder how many of these students were from 2 yrs ago?  Last yr? This yr?  I know that 2 yrs ago it seemed like most of the students fit the profile of the bolded. It seemed to me like only 2-3 kids were even high school age.  That is not the course's fault.  And are the comparisons of WTMA and Blue Tent apples to apples?  What ages are the students registering for those classes?  Different prereqs?  I just searched WTMA and didn't see an honors chem option, just chem.  BT, otoh, didn't have a regular chemistry option at all, only honors, with zero prereqs listed other than CB recommendations that chemistry be taken after biology and alg 1.  

If a parent enrolls a student in AoPS math bc that is the vision for rigor the parent has for their kid who thinks of themself as smart and doesn't match where the student functions, is it the math courses' fault if they can't handle the course?  Honors level classes are supposed to require greater effort than a standard level course.

 

Yes, and my older kid was among that cohort! I have been trying to correct that perception now every time I see the discussion about the course. I feel so responsible. You are absolutely right here. 
 I have perspective now and I can tell you what went wrong with my kid as opposed to his younger sibling who isn’t nearly as gifted but doing much better. Unlike his younger sibling, DS1 doesn’t learn well from online lectures. He does have some attention issues and significant (almost disability) with handwriting. I am 100% sure he was zoning out on lecture component and then approaching the homework like AoPS - learning material through homework problems. This is why so much time was spent on homework. Bad, bad, bad idea. DS2 is old school - pencil in the hand. Takes great notes. We haven’t had a single issue. DS1 was simply always a math/physics kid and never got into chem. To this day he would rather not do anything else. I have no idea how I am going to survive biology with him. 
So please anybody reading this, don’t be discouraged with commentary from 2-3 years ago. 

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Thank you, everyone, for the discussion and the feedback.  I have lots to think about now. 🙂  I think the reason I was considering the split stream was because I wanted to keep the current rigorous course for student who wanted/needed that level of rigor but also wanted to offer something between my regular course and my Honors course.  I wasn't sure if the concept of a split-stream course was common, though, and might be confusing to parents and students.  No matter which direction I choose to take, I promise that the current rigorous course will always remain available to students. 🙂

Over my years of teaching chemistry, I think I've realized something that ties into the conversation about young, very bright students.  Students who are very talented at math are often very good at "intuiting" subjects like math and physics and those subjects will come easily to them.  Chemistry is an odd beast - it contains math but the theory behind the calculations that need to be done can't be "intuited" without a lot of work being put into learning the theory.  Strong math students are often flummoxed by that. 🙂 @Roadrunner - I think your oldest fits that category. 🙂  He's very bright and talented at math and physics and those subjects can be "intuited" by very bright students so they aren't used to taking notes or paying careful attention to lectures.  They learn by doing the problems and homework.  The trouble with honors chemistry is that it seems like the kind of subject that can be learned that way as there is a fair amount of math involved but without learning the theory, the student will run up against a wall when trying to "intuit" the problems.  And then there are all the topics that contain no math whatsoever - naming, Lewis structures, VSEPR theory, etc.  And chemistry is so very abstract - you can visualize physics and even biology (to some extent) but what one "sees" during a chemical reaction (at the macro level) is often not what's going on at the atomic level.  That also tends to stymie the "intuiting" process.

Again, thank you guys so much for the feedback.  The Hive was so very encouraging when I was first thinking about offering these courses and I value the diversity of opinion that resides here. 🙂

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3 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

Connie, don’t let anybody make you feel bad for offering a course with quality and asking kids to actually put in work. Internet is full of worthless online options and your course is one of the few gems for kids who actually want to learn.....

Pleas for those of us who actually care for quality, don’t tinker with your course. There are plenty of other dumbed down options online. And no, the chapters you cover in the textbook aren’t worth more than 1 credit.

@Dicentra  The above. Completely.  Especially to the bolded.  No way I would count your course as more than 1 credit hr.  That would be inflating it to something it isn't. 

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Connie,

I would not want to see your current course go away at all either. I am pretty sure that my son is in that target audience that you are wondering what to do with. I am always wondering what to do next with this kid. 

From what I gather, your Honors course really is like a pre-AP course though I know you can't label it that way because of copyright issues. I don't think I would personally be confused because I have a good sense from the discussions and PMs with other boardies here about the difference between regular and your current honors offering. I would not necessarily want to see you dilute your current offering either. I imagine that your drop off in year 1 & 2 is likely due to people not being aware and having a mismatch between expectations and reality. Anyone going in now should be aware of what is expected in terms of output so plenty of fair warning. I think that you have been more than honest as to the level of rigor of the course which is why the content would be a match but the level of output would likely not be for my son. And that is more than ok because it is your course. You are the teacher and should design a course the way you envision it should be.

If you are asking if there is a willing volunteer to pilot an idea that you have...I would be willing to do that. I was planning to enroll him in your regular stream at this point because while he is excited about the honors course description, I don't have buy in on the time commitment. I considered whether to put him in another honors chemistry, but your love for chemistry is really inspiring and comes through in your posts and what others have said about your courses. I'm not interested in ticking a box...I'm interested in a teacher who will loves what they teach and is able to impart that to their students. The time commitment is something I would hold him to, and he was honest in saying he didn't think he wanted to commit to that. There's a difference between willingness and ability. I do think he has the ability IF he puts in the effort...but I won't go there unless there is willing heart. However, he still has some time to think on it because he is also aware of the current option to try the honors level and then drop down.

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Sounds like there is a lot of love for your honors course which is awesome. I’ll come at the question from the other angle — having kids in the regular chemistry class (parent graded.) Thanks to these forums I know the time commitment alone would be a no-go for my kids for the honors class.  We are enjoying the regular class but I think it is on the easy side / that they could easily handle a little more challenge. So something in between regular and honors sounds good to me. 🙂

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22 minutes ago, blue plaid said:

Sounds like there is a lot of love for your honors course which is awesome. I’ll come at the question from the other angle — having kids in the regular chemistry class (parent graded.) Thanks to these forums I know the time commitment alone would be a no-go for my kids for the honors class.  We are enjoying the regular class but I think it is on the easy side / that they could easily handle a little more challenge. So something in between regular and honors sounds good to me. 🙂

May I ask how much time the regular course takes per day?

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Maybe add challenge problems to the regular class?  

My 9th grader is taking Derek Owens's physics class right now.  The way the class is designed is the honors and regular classes are combined with notes for honors students to watch additional videos and complete additional homework sections and challenge problems.  It has worked out well for us that way.  I didn't have to decide which class to put her in at the start (which is good bc we switched to his course bc she was struggling so much with the combo of other lectures and book work I had put together.)  I would have put her in the regular section but she is acing the honors work bc his teaching is so clear.

I don't know what the leap is between your regular and honors work actually is. 

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Roadrunner, I believe the class is described as requiring 5-7 hours per week, and with the caveat that it varies depending on the week and that I don’t time the work, I think this is an accurate estimate.

I agree that the clear teaching may make the class seem easier than it otherwise would be!

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3 hours ago, blue plaid said:

Roadrunner, I believe the class is described as requiring 5-7 hours per week, and with the caveat that it varies depending on the week and that I don’t time the work, I think this is an accurate estimate.

I agree that the clear teaching may make the class seem easier than it otherwise would be!

Is that time estimate accurate though?  I haven't taken the class, but from what I am reading above, It sounds like some people find themselves spending 2 hours per day most days per week.   If so, that might mean the time estimate is closer to 7-10 hours per week.   Was anyone able to get the class work finished in just 5 hours per week?

As a parent, it really irks me when the out of class time commitment is way more than what is advertised.   We often use those estimates to make sure we aren't overloading our poor children with work.  haha

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20 minutes ago, TheAttachedMama said:

Is that time estimate accurate though?  I haven't taken the class, but from what I am reading above, It sounds like some people find themselves spending 2 hours per day most days per week.   If so, that might mean the time estimate is closer to 7-10 hours per week.   Was anyone able to get the class work finished in just 5 hours per week?

As a parent, it really irks me when the out of class time commitment is way more than what is advertised.   We often use those estimates to make sure we aren't overloading our poor children with work.  haha

I think @blue plaid means that estimate to be for the *regular* chemistry class. My ds is currently in the regular course and I’d say 5-7 per week is pretty close. It varies from day to day, but averages out to about that for the week, imo. I also agree about the excellent teaching! This has been my ds’s favorite class that he’s ever had, and that’s saying something bc this ds doesn’t throw around school compliments often🤣

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My dd took the honors class and I do understand Connie's concern.  This was the hardest class my dd ever took (including Lukeion AP Latin, which I really thought would keep that title) and it took far more time than we expected.  She was 15 at the time and spent at least two hours a day, including weekends.  I think the subject was just difficult for her.  She enjoyed the class and both she and I feel it was very well done.  She prepared and studied as well as could be expected, even seeking out and utilizing new study methods as the poor exam grades piled up.  She is going into engineering and is now somewhat terrified of taking chemistry in the fall.  I suspect she will find that she is far more prepared than some of her peers will be.   I have no regrets because I think every kid needs to struggle in class at some point.  I think the lessons learned from being knocked off her 4.0 GPA pedestal is pretty valuable in itself.  But there was no talking her into honors science of any type after that!

As to what to do, I don't think watering it down is the right answer.  But I don't know what is.

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24 minutes ago, TheAttachedMama said:

Is that time estimate accurate though?  I haven't taken the class, but from what I am reading above, It sounds like some people find themselves spending 2 hours per day most days per week.   If so, that might mean the time estimate is closer to 7-10 hours per week.   Was anyone able to get the class work finished in just 5 hours per week?

As a parent, it really irks me when the out of class time commitment is way more than what is advertised.   We often use those estimates to make sure we aren't overloading our poor children with work.  haha

You're confusing the 2 different classes.  The regular class is what is supposed to take approx 5-7 hrs per week and the honors course is closer 7-10 hrs per week.  No, it would not be possible to complete the honors course in 5 hrs per week.  And weeks with labs will probably take longer than 10 in honors.  Lab weeks are long weeks in all high school sciences.

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20 minutes ago, TheAttachedMama said:

Is that time estimate accurate though?

My two 10th graders think they spend 7 hrs per week.

5 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

Maybe add challenge problems to the regular class?  

Adding challenge problems to the regular class, though, gets you ... what? Not honors, so just more work for the beauty of learning a beautiful subject? I'm going to have a hard time selling that to my teenagers. 😁

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Additional note.  I don't know enough about chemistry classes to know how far off the honors class truly is from AP.  But dd had several friends who were taking AP Chem at the local PS at the same time.  One was even her boyfriend at the time.  They often studied together.  He reported that what dd was studying was almost exactly what he was studying.  But he had the benefit of having already had a year of regular chemistry going in.  Dd was often helping HIM with his class.  I am under the impression that our local PS AP Chem class is not very well done.  Few kids score a 3 or better.....  So it may not be a fair comparison.  

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8 minutes ago, SusanC said:

My two 10th graders think they spend 7 hrs per week.

Adding challenge problems to the regular class, though, gets you ... what? Not honors, so just more work for the beauty of learning a beautiful subject? I'm going to have a hard time selling that to my teenagers. 😁

But it would be there for those who want it. Somebody mentioned regular class was easy. It would be a good way for those few kids to challenge themselves

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8 minutes ago, skimomma said:

Additional note.  I don't know enough about chemistry classes to know how far off the honors class truly is from AP.  But dd had several friends who were taking AP Chem at the local PS at the same time.  One was even her boyfriend at the time.  They often studied together.  He reported that what dd was studying was almost exactly what he was studying.  But he had the benefit of having already had a year of regular chemistry going in.  Dd was often helping HIM with his class.  I am under the impression that our local PS AP Chem class is not very well done.  Few kids score a 3 or better.....  So it may not be a fair comparison.  

It’s not AP content that is hard. AP questions are much, much, much harder than what’s in honors chem. Connie’s homework sets are very straightforward. Not so with AP. 

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1 minute ago, Roadrunner said:

But it would be there for those who want it. Somebody mentioned regular class was easy. It would be a good way for those few kids to challenge themselves

Sure, if Connie has the time she could do all sorts of differentiating, I'm just wondering to what end. If she included challenge problems my students would be doing the challenge problems , but I'm my mind that is just raising the baseline of the class.  In that case, maybe rename the "regular" class as "basic" and the challenge-but-not-honors class Pre-*** Chemistry.

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I have had a student take Connie's class and PAH's AP chem class.  They are not on par with each other.  COnnie is an excellent teacher, but her content is not standard college level content.

She could add challenge problems as extra credit??  Maybe.

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23 minutes ago, SusanC said:

Sure, if Connie has the time she could do all sorts of differentiating, I'm just wondering to what end. If she included challenge problems my students would be doing the challenge problems , but I'm my mind that is just raising the baseline of the class.  In that case, maybe rename the "regular" class as "basic" and the challenge-but-not-honors class Pre-*** Chemistry.

It isn’t raising a baseline if those are optional. We routinely do things in this house that raise the bar because we want to learn not because it is reflected anywhere on a transcript or gives us anything visible other than knowledge. 
 

Overall, I think there isn’t really any need to change anything. I was just making a suggestion if people wanted more. If you don’t, just don’t tackle anything extra and you would have the exact same class as you do now. It beats dumbing down the honors class. 

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6 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

It isn’t raising a baseline if those are optional. We routinely do things in this house that raise the bar because we want to learn not because it is reflected anywhere on a transcript or gives us anything visible other than knowledge.

In theory, you are correct, it wouldn't raise the baseline. I'm just saying that in practice, at our house, it would. No big deal.

 

12 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

It beats dumbing down the honors class. 

 

No argument here.

 

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First, yes, my 5-7 hours estimate was for the regular chemistry class.   

And I agree with SusanC that adding challenge problems to the regular class is not going to get you to honors.  In my view, for that you would need to move at a faster pace and go more in depth with more complex problem solving.    I think the regular class is on point for a regular chemistry class and am not suggesting it should be changed.  But if Connie is asking if there is a place for a class at a level in between the current regular and honors class, I am just saying yes I think that would be fabulous.

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9 minutes ago, blue plaid said:

First, yes, my 5-7 hours estimate was for the regular chemistry class.   

And I agree with SusanC that adding challenge problems to the regular class is not going to get you to honors.  In my view, for that you would need to move at a faster pace and go more in depth with more complex problem solving.    I think the regular class is on point for a regular chemistry class and am not suggesting it should be changed.  But if Connie is asking if there is a place for a class at a level in between the current regular and honors class, I am just saying yes I think that would be fabulous.

I am not convinced the gap is that big. 5-7 hours includes labs for regular chem? Honors is 7- 10 hours not including the lab. 

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1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

I am not convinced the gap is that big. 5-7 hours includes labs for regular chem? Honors is 7- 10 hours not including the lab. 

I agree.  I'm completely baffled about how the honors course is not on par with an honors course.  An hr of class time plus approx 3 hrs worth of homework is the way that would work out in a school.  Not sure what schools are like where you are, but that most definitely is NOT unreasonable.  5 hrs seems light bc that would be equivalent to completing all of your work in class.

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As a heads-up regarding approximate time commitment for my courses, I did change the Honors Chem numbers last year based on feedback from the 1st year I offered the course.  It now says 10-12 hours per week for Honors Chem on my website.  Reg Chem is 5-7 hours per week and IOCBC is 8-10 hours per week.  As always, though, those numbers are very rough estimates and the actual time needed by any particular student will vary widely based on a student's abilities and working speed.

Just wanted to clarify. 🙂

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Just musing out loud here...

Perhaps, there may be a way to do honors that lines up more with say Bluetent, etc. while honors with advanced studies with the description that this is for older students and/or advanced studies in preparation for future AP studies?


 

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Coming back to add that I am really impressed by @Dicentraputting this on a public forum to be discussed and dissected. It says a lot about you as a teacher and your character. Massive props to you to allowing people to talk openly about your "baby." 

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6 minutes ago, calbear said:

Coming back to add that I am really impressed by @Dicentraputting this on a public forum to be discussed and dissected. It says a lot about you as a teacher and your character. Massive props to you to allowing people to talk openly about your "baby." 

Constructive criticism is always welcome. 🙂  It can sometimes be hard to hear but over many years of teaching (and life!), I've learned that one of the most important teaching/life abilities is the ability to say "You know what? I was wrong. I'll figure out how to fix things/do better." 🙂  I think (and I could be wrong ;)) that students have more respect for a teacher that can admit when she's wrong and needs to change things than they do for a teacher who is "always right".

Now if people started taunting me with statements like, "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries" (little Monty Python reference there ;)), I might take umbrage with that.  I'm positive my mother wasn't a hamster.  Although... Since I admit that I'm not entirely sure what elderberries smell like, the second taunt may require more research before I can fully dismiss it. 😉 😄  But constructive criticism about my courses will only help to make them better. 🙂

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20 minutes ago, Dicentra said:

As a heads-up regarding approximate time commitment for my courses, I did change the Honors Chem numbers last year based on feedback from the 1st year I offered the course.  It now says 10-12 hours per week for Honors Chem on my website.  Reg Chem is 5-7 hours per week and IOCBC is 8-10 hours per week.  As always, though, those numbers are very rough estimates and the actual time needed by any particular student will vary widely based on a student's abilities and working speed.

Just wanted to clarify. 🙂

I don't think 2 hrs per day for instruction and homework is unreasonable for an honors course.  Lab weeks stink, but that has been true for every lab course my kids have ever taken.  

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@Dicentrahave parents actually complained? 
 

@8filltheheartoh, schools (apparently excellent if you believe the rankings) are terrible here. Honors physics in our local PS is easier than Jetta’s Clover Creek physics (and that’s not honors). AP Chem barely gives any homework. They apparently do it mostly in class. So kids get A’s and fail AP exams. Basically if you want to get anything out of that PS, you need to really pay attention and constantly plug holes. 

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1 minute ago, Roadrunner said:

@Dicentrahave parents actually complained? 

 

I typically have a number of students who move from Honors to reg Chem.  There have been a few parents who have mentioned to me that they felt my Honors course was beyond any other high school honors chem course they had looked at.  And Farrar mentioned families in her sphere who regretted signing up for Honors.  I took all of those things together in my considerations. 🙂

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3 minutes ago, Dicentra said:

I typically have a number of students who move from Honors to reg Chem.  There have been a few parents who have mentioned to me that they felt my Honors course was beyond any other high school honors chem course they had looked at.  And Farrar mentioned families in her sphere who regretted signing up for Honors.  I took all of those things together in my considerations. 🙂

Oh well, if the standard is an American PS honors chem then no surprises about these parents. 🙄

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3 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Oh well, if the standard is an American PS honors chem then no surprises about these parents. 🙄

I'm not sure if they meant PS honors chem or other honors chem online courses or both.  But all of it taken together gave me food for thought. 🙂

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52 minutes ago, Dicentra said:

Constructive criticism is always welcome. 🙂  It can sometimes be hard to hear but over many years of teaching (and life!), I've learned that one of the most important teaching/life abilities is the ability to say "You know what? I was wrong. I'll figure out how to fix things/do better." 🙂  I think (and I could be wrong ;)) that students have more respect for a teacher that can admit when she's wrong and needs to change things than they do for a teacher who is "always right".

Now if people started taunting me with statements like, "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries" (little Monty Python reference there ;)), I might take umbrage with that.  I'm positive my mother wasn't a hamster.  Although... Since I admit that I'm not entirely sure what elderberries smell like, the second taunt may require more research before I can fully dismiss it. 😉 😄  But constructive criticism about my courses will only help to make them better. 🙂

You are so clearly Canadian, Connie. I'm jaded from living though a pandemic in America, where a big chunk of our populace cannot admit to being wrong about anything. Ever.  

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41 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

@Dicentrahave parents actually complained? 
 

@8filltheheartoh, schools (apparently excellent if you believe the rankings) are terrible here. Honors physics in our local PS is easier than Jetta’s Clover Creek physics (and that’s not honors). AP Chem barely gives any homework. They apparently do it mostly in class. So kids get A’s and fail AP exams. Basically if you want to get anything out of that PS, you need to really pay attention and constantly plug holes. 

I have been around the converse.  Kids taking multiple AP courses and are staying up until 1-2 am doing homework.  (But these are kids who are serious students and pursuing med school/phd ambitions.

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38 minutes ago, Dicentra said:

I typically have a number of students who move from Honors to reg Chem.  There have been a few parents who have mentioned to me that they felt my Honors course was beyond any other high school honors chem course they had looked at.  And Farrar mentioned families in her sphere who regretted signing up for Honors.  I took all of those things together in my considerations. 🙂

I'm betting that Farrar's sphere and the accelerated forum parents are overlapping spheres.

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