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PA Homeschoolers vs Blue Tent Academy/AP Stats or AP Calc BC


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Undecided if ds should pursue AP stats or AP Calc BC for next year. He's a current sophomore taking AP Calc AB with Derek Owens and taking the AP test in May. This course is the first course that has really challenged him; he has a solid B. Not sure if BC would would be good (some review and some new material) or move to AP Stats. We will definitely have another math senior year.

Then, do I do Blue Tent or PA Homeschoolers?

My plan was AP Calc BC through Blue Tent Academy. It's expensive but seems worth it. I'd love any thoughts/opinions here.

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13 minutes ago, shburks said:

Leaning toward something in engineering (aeronautical perhaps), space/physics/astronomy. Definitely something STEM heavy science field--not humanities, not medical.

Sounds like my dd. Probably go with Calc. Not all STEM degrees accept AP Stats (for credit towards major). They usually require something calc-based for stats.

Edited by MamaSprout
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I have spoken highly about BTO Calc, and there is a subtle difference that has happened since the midterm that might be a positive change for some students, but might be less so for others.

Participation in the Friday problem sessions are now 5% of the final semester grade. It is a hard (fast) class, and my dd will need all of that 5%.

The teacher did this because students weren't all participating. I can completely understand wanting to motivate students. They can also get points by meeting the teacher in office hours, but that can be awkward if you don't have something very specific you need help with. 

I still highly recommend BTO for math.

 

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@MamaSprout Ooo, I hope you’ll share this feedback candidly with the teacher & BTO when the class concludes. I really dislike stuff like that— more or less putting the kids against one another in competition. We chose BTO because all the classes can be completed asynchronously. How does this work for students who can’t attend that problem solving session?

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And really it would be a small thing for a lot of students. I don't want to blow it out of proportion.

I know it's hard to see what to expect in an online class when were looking ahead to next year, so that's why I mentioned it.

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1 hour ago, MamaSprout said:

And really it would be a small thing for a lot of students

I don't know that this is true. Some kids would thrive more, some wilt, some rebel, and some reluctantly acquiesce. I do think it would be more than a small thing for most students. Even my live-class-lover would not enjoy the atmosphere change.

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@MamaSproutI really hope you talk to the teacher. I can imagine she is trying her best to engage students, not loose them. Sometimes it’s hard to see what is happening on the other side of the screen.

We loved Bluetent course. It was the single most amazing experience for my DS - rigorous, great teacher, engaging. I would hate for anybody to opt for a lesser alternative due to a change that could be thoughtfully fixed. Please do speak with her. 

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1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

@MamaSproutI really hope you talk to the teacher. I can imagine she is trying her best to engage students, not loose them. Sometimes it’s hard to see what is happening on the other side of the screen.

We loved Bluetent course. It was the single most amazing experience for my DS - rigorous, great teacher, engaging. I would hate for anybody to opt for a lesser alternative due to a change that could be thoughtfully fixed. Please do speak with her. 

I completely understand where she’s coming from- I teach on Zoom, as well. It’s really challenging to engage the students if they are not there- or you can only see their forehead. 

I really don’t want to go down the “my special snowflake” road, because she is an excellent teacher. 

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37 minutes ago, MamaSprout said:

I completely understand where she’s coming from- I teach on Zoom, as well. It’s really challenging to engage the students if they are not there- or you can only see their forehead. 

I really don’t want to go down the “my special snowflake” road, because she is an excellent teacher. 

I always wonder why teachers (especially in small classes) don’t call on students individually. “What do you think of this John? Or how would you approach that Susan......” I think sometimes maybe kids are shy to volunteer. I don’t know. 

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1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

I always wonder why teachers (especially in small classes) don’t call on students individually. “What do you think of this John? Or how would you approach that Susan......” I think sometimes maybe kids are shy to volunteer. I don’t know. 

I only do this if the student has okayed it. Otherwise, I feel like it's really putting them on the spot.

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To be fair, I also do call on students in smaller classes. I tell them from the beginning that I will call on them in class, but I try to not make it an ordeal.

I had a really small discussion-based class last year. I didn't need to call on anyone. Four other people staring at you through Zoom seems to encourage chattiness. It was a small lit class, though, so it's hard to give a truly wrong answer.

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It’s hard to know why kids don’t chime in. I think as teenage awkwardness sets in, some are too shy to volunteer. My DS will gladly answer if he is called to do so, but feels terrified to volunteer himself. 

 

Also, I think PAH has a new teacher next year for AP Stats. 

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2 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

It should be part of what they signed up. 

To me, it's like turning on your cameras or not - there are a lot of potential barriers and I don't want to push it beyond a certain point. I have some kids in my classes who I know want to be called on more. I try to call on them. But I have some kids in my classes who absolutely freeze up. It's just counter productive.

But my classes are pretty talky for the most part. I always have a few kids who are quiet. I tend to highlight it on the quarterly reports if I don't hear them in class enough and that tends to help.

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3 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

It should be part of what they signed up. 

If it is clear that participation is a required part of the course before signing up, I agree. I've seen calling on people done well & done poorly. My kids don't like to be called on, so they will volunteer early on and then go quiet for awhile.

I had one online teacher take a rather aggressive & antagonistic stance in email about the topic of calling on kids. That was not a class that would have worked out for us.

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12 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

If it is clear that participation is a required part of the course before signing up, I agree. I've seen calling on people done well & done poorly. My kids don't like to be called on, so they will volunteer early on and then go quiet for awhile.

I had one online teacher take a rather aggressive & antagonistic stance in email about the topic of calling on kids. That was not a class that would have worked out for us.

See to me, that’s what classroom is. You get called to answer. I can’t imagine otherwise. But I grew up in such classrooms so it’s a norm to me. In fact most grades were earned by standing in front of the entire class and answering teacher’s questions. ☺️

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I've seen it work both ways - well and really, really poorly. I don't have any interest in surprising kids or triggering anxiety attacks or lashing out at kids with dyslexia for not finding the answers fast enough or whatever. I mean, it's just not going to be a fruitful use of time in class or help them learn the subject better.

I do structure ways that kids are pretty much forced into participating with a bit of warning. And I foster a class where kids speak up and talking in class is normalized.

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3 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I wouldn't call on a kid that froze up too much, but sometimes I need to call on a kid to make sure they get enough out of the class. Otherwise, some kids can have very limited attention span. 

So, it's a fine balance in my opinion. 

Also (not directed at you), I thought the problem in this class was it got too competitive (as in some kids took up all the time). But now I don’t see where I read it and if my brain is tricking me. So calling on kids gives everybody opportunity to participate and earn that 5% as opposed to just the fast kids. And it takes away the anxiety of having to be fast. I hear my kids scream all the time in AoPS classes (I answered 5 times correctly. They aren’t putting me in the board!!!!!!! 😂😂😂). I could also see that my boys would be the ones in that class answering first and every single time. So I could see how it would be helpful to give others the opportunity to chime in. 
Participation is important, I can’t imagine a weaker math student surviving BT calculus course. 
I just want to keep repeating for those who want a fantastic Calculus course - go to BT! 😋

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5 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Also (not directed at you), I thought the problem in this class was it got too competitive (as in some kids took up all the time). But now I don’t see where I read it and if my brain is tricking me. So calling on kids gives everybody opportunity to participate and earn that 5% as opposed to just the fast kids. And it takes away the anxiety of having to be fast. I hear my kids scream all the time in AoPS classes (I answered 5 times correctly. They aren’t putting me in the board!!!!!!! 😂😂😂). I could also see that my boys would be the ones in that class answering first and every single time. So I could see how it would be helpful to give others the opportunity to chime in. 
Participation is important, I can’t imagine a weaker math student surviving BT calculus course. 
I just want to keep repeating for those who want a fantastic Calculus course - go to BT! 😋

I always pass almost all my correct kids in AoPS, lol. I never get why some people limit it!!

Sorry, that’s off-topic! Back to the regularly scheduled programming...

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1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

Also (not directed at you), I thought the problem in this class was it got too competitive (as in some kids took up all the time). But now I don’t see where I read it and if my brain is tricking me. So calling on kids gives everybody opportunity to participate and earn that 5% as opposed to just the fast kids. And it takes away the anxiety of having to be fast. I hear my kids scream all the time in AoPS classes (I answered 5 times correctly. They aren’t putting me in the board!!!!!!! 😂😂😂). I could also see that my boys would be the ones in that class answering first and every single time. So I could see how it would be helpful to give others the opportunity to chime in. 
Participation is important, I can’t imagine a weaker math student surviving BT calculus course. 
I just want to keep repeating for those who want a fantastic Calculus course - go to BT! 😋

Lol. Yes, I’ve witnessed the yelling-at-an-AoPS-class.

I deleted some of my original post- your brain is not tricking you. There are some students who created more of a competitive environment that happened when participation became mandatory.

BT is an awesome course, and I’m glad we are having this conversation to help families decide if they should choose it.

It’s not for a weak student, and honestly not for a student who doesn’t like math, even if they are good at it. It is the goldilocks course for a kid who needs more than regular DE Calc and isn’t interested in AoPS.

I think Dd wishes that they did still did the live Monday sessions, but the trade off is that she can review the videos as the week goes on.

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3 minutes ago, MamaSprout said:

 It is the goldilocks course for a kid who needs more than regular DE Calc and isn’t interested in AoPS.

What makes it so awesome? 🙂 DD8 is VERY mathy but I don't know if she'd enjoy AoPS -- she doesn't have the world's highest frustration tolerance, and she doesn't like pointless puzzles. (No, she's not doing calculus yet, but I think that day will come far sooner than I had thought 2 years ago.) 

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Shin Yen is just an excellent teacher who knows how to teach both deep and fast. Where I work, I have college sophomore engineering /math students who would be challenged by this course. To be fair, my uni doesn't have a super strong math program, but still, these are kids who like math.

You really can't go wrong with Blue Tent classes. Trust the stated age ranges on the classes, though. If it says 15 +, don't think that a gifted 12-year can do it. I'm sure there are some in the program that run a little young, but like Lukeion, most kids who are in the classes are both good students and within the stated range of the class. The classes require a certain level of maturity as well as academic ability.

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Blerg. This is actually making me rethink BT for Calc AB for my senior next year. I've been on the fence about it anyway. The calling on part is not make or break... but he definitely doesn't need a calc course that's just a step below AoPS. He's doing fine in pre-calc right now at Derek Owens, but like, getting a B. It would be silly for him to do a non-AP calc course. I'd sort of rather he did DE, but we have to pay for DE out of state as we don't have any here. So it's hella expensive and I'd rather use AP for this. Ack. Maybe we'll do PAH after all.

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17 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Blerg. This is actually making me rethink BT for Calc AB for my senior next year. I've been on the fence about it anyway. The calling on part is not make or break... but he definitely doesn't need a calc course that's just a step below AoPS. He's doing fine in pre-calc right now at Derek Owens, but like, getting a B. It would be silly for him to do a non-AP calc course. I'd sort of rather he did DE, but we have to pay for DE out of state as we don't have any here. So it's hella expensive and I'd rather use AP for this. Ack. Maybe we'll do PAH after all.

PAH will be a step below and a right choice for a kid not going into STEM. What makes BT class great is she made sure to cover things outside of AP syllabus, so kids who plan on moving on to upper level math and engineering aren’t shortchanged by the AP syllabus. And the rigor is most certainly there. I would say often problem difficulty was about the same as AoPS. Now AB moves at half the pace, so I don’t know, but BC is certainly not a class for those who aren’t strong in math. 

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1 minute ago, Roadrunner said:

PAH will be a step below and a right choice for a kid not going into STEM. What makes BT class great is she made sure to cover things outside of AP syllabus, so kids who plan on moving on to upper level math and engineering aren’t shortchanged by the AP syllabus. And the rigor is most certainly there. I would say often problem difficulty was about the same as AoPS. Now AB moves at half the pace, so I don’t know, but BC is certainly not a class for those who aren’t strong in math. 

This is useful, thanks. We were never considering BC and I know the BT BC class is really difficult and challenging. I'd been on the fence because I like the way the BT math is structured and I have plenty of reviews on it but fewer on the newer PAH teacher, Amelia Chan. Yeah, he doesn't love math but doesn't dislike it either. He can get into it sometimes and is very clear that he wants to choose calc next year and not stats, even though he's not going into a STEM field directly (he may end up in game design or industrial design or something involving some comp sci but isn't comp sci). 

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23 minutes ago, Farrar said:

This is useful, thanks. We were never considering BC and I know the BT BC class is really difficult and challenging. I'd been on the fence because I like the way the BT math is structured and I have plenty of reviews on it but fewer on the newer PAH teacher, Amelia Chan. Yeah, he doesn't love math but doesn't dislike it either. He can get into it sometimes and is very clear that he wants to choose calc next year and not stats, even though he's not going into a STEM field directly (he may end up in game design or industrial design or something involving some comp sci but isn't comp sci). 

It’s always a gamble with a new teacher. Hopefully she will manage to improve PAH course.

I think BT course would prepare well to step into a math course at a strong four year university. I always look ahead. For some kids, if calculus is all you need, why jump extra hoops.  I would go with a course that gets a job done and that’s it. But if he ends up needing beyond calculus (and I have no clue if comp science needs it), BT will certainly prepare him. 

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40 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

It’s always a gamble with a new teacher. Hopefully she will manage to improve PAH course.

I think BT course would prepare well to step into a math course at a strong four year university. I always look ahead. For some kids, if calculus is all you need, why jump extra hoops.  I would go with a course that gets a job done and that’s it. But if he ends up needing beyond calculus (and I have no clue if comp science needs it), BT will certainly prepare him. 

This has occurred to me. If the goal was to get around it for college, then he'd likely be better off DE because he's unlikely to be able to do well on the AP exam itself for a whole host of reasons. But as of now, none of the majors and schools he's looking at require beyond calc. Some don't require calc at all. A lot of the programs he's looking at are like "new media design business future synergy blah blah" programs. I mean, I say it a bit mockingly when actually I think he's rather amazing. He uses math all the time when he writes games but I doubt he'll need beyond that.

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7 hours ago, Farrar said:

This has occurred to me. If the goal was to get around it for college, then he'd likely be better off DE because he's unlikely to be able to do well on the AP exam itself for a whole host of reasons. But as of now, none of the majors and schools he's looking at require beyond calc. Some don't require calc at all. A lot of the programs he's looking at are like "new media design business future synergy blah blah" programs. I mean, I say it a bit mockingly when actually I think he's rather amazing. He uses math all the time when he writes games but I doubt he'll need beyond that.

Depending on what colleges/ programs he is looking at, it might make sense to use whatever Calc class works best for him, and then try to CLEP it.

One of the things with the BT class is that I think the tests are timed with a count-down timer. If he as test-taking issues, that is something to consider. With CLEP he can go into it with a, "If I don't do well I can take it again" attitude. That might take some pressure off and give you more courses to choose from.

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On 2/26/2021 at 9:36 PM, Farrar said:

Blerg. This is actually making me rethink BT for Calc AB for my senior next year. I've been on the fence about it anyway. The calling on part is not make or break... but he definitely doesn't need a calc course that's just a step below AoPS. He's doing fine in pre-calc right now at Derek Owens, but like, getting a B. It would be silly for him to do a non-AP calc course. I'd sort of rather he did DE, but we have to pay for DE out of state as we don't have any here. So it's hella expensive and I'd rather use AP for this. Ack. Maybe we'll do PAH after all.

Have you looked into High School Math Live for AP Calculus AB? My middle son is taking that this year with Regina London and has really enjoyed it. She moves at the right pace for him with plenty of time for homework problem review in the beginning, lots of chances to ask questions, and a REALLY THOROUGH review of the AP material. She has done an amazing job of slicing and dicing old AP exams to curate the questions by topic. So when the kids are only halfway through the year, she has them ramping up with real AP practice from real exams because she assigns problems that cover topics they have covered in class.

Anyway, don't know anything about PAH or BT for Calc, but just wanted to say that for my kid (definitely not an AoPS kid!) this class really hit the sweet spot as far as pace. Good luck shopping for a class!

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On 2/26/2021 at 10:04 AM, Farrar said:

To me, it's like turning on your cameras or not - there are a lot of potential barriers and I don't want to push it beyond a certain point. I have some kids in my classes who I know want to be called on more. I try to call on them. But I have some kids in my classes who absolutely freeze up. It's just counter productive.

But my classes are pretty talky for the most part. I always have a few kids who are quiet. I tend to highlight it on the quarterly reports if I don't hear them in class enough and that tends to help.

College classes at least require my DS to have his camera on. It says so on the syllabus. 

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I am the new AP Stats teacher on PA Homeschoolers, taking Carole Matheny's spot. If you have questions, let me know. I only have one kiddo left at home, and he will be a homeschooled senior next year, though mostly taking DE classes at the local U, so teaching AP Stats will be my focus for the year and then moving forward. I am really excited about making sure AP Stats is both challenging and relevant well past the exam, as well as ensuring the students are very well-prepared for the exam itself; I've actually been planning for teaching this course for several years now.

Jen Driscoll

 

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On 2/22/2021 at 10:10 AM, shburks said:

Leaning toward something in engineering (aeronautical perhaps), space/physics/astronomy. Definitely something STEM heavy science field--not humanities, not medical.

Both but Calc BC gets priority. Calc BC is a prerequisite for Calc 3 (or whatever that is called) at community college. AP Statistics isn’t a prerequisite for any higher math class that I can think of. 
AP Statistics can be done over summer.

Another choice is to do dual enrollment for calculus and for statistics instead of doing AP courses. 

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