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Excelsior Classes or Big River Academy?


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One of my dc enjoyed a composition course from Jana Bontrager (Big River).  Another dc enjoyed a creative writing course with Jess Woods (Excelsior).  I have no idea if they are teaching those courses now, but wanted to let you know they provided good instruction.  I thought both could have given a lot more feedback on students' writing, but that's typical for online instruction; I gave my students additional feedback, as needed.

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13 hours ago, ByGrace3 said:

Anyone have any feedback on these? Which to choose and why? Specifically looking for high school biology and maybe a composition class. 

Hi! So I know your kids have done classes at Schole Academy, so I will start by saying that the classes at both of these schools (Exc. and Big River) aren’t much like that. The kids don’t talk as much, they don’t dig as deeply (in my opinion) and most kids aren’t on camera using microphones. My daughter has only done Writing ER at Big River. It’s a very basic writing class that covers a variety of things. She was only in 9th grade when she took it but I think there were older kids in the class taking it more like the title suggests…an ER class. Catching up on what they’ve missed over the years. My daughter had a fantastic experience though and really solidified her writing a lot that year. The teacher is delightful.

between two of my daughters this past year, we had 5 classes at Excelsior. I was pleased with all 5. One of my daughters took life science and if I am correct, the same woman is the biology teacher. She was great as well. I’ve also heard good things about Advanced Comp at Excelsior. 
I personally like excelsior more. I’m attempting to not outsource as much anymore, but when I want a class where rich discussion needs to take place… like logic, history, literature, etc….. I choose Schole. Math and science - I lean towards Excelsior. Or if I need composition that’s separate from literature.

I’m not sure if that helps, but I wanted to at least chime in and say that we felt really good about the Excelsior classes this year. 

Edited by Nam2001
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On 6/16/2021 at 10:50 PM, Nam2001 said:

Hi! So I know your kids have done classes at Schole Academy, so I will start by saying that the classes at both of these schools (Exc. and Big River) aren’t much like that. The kids don’t talk as much, they don’t dig as deeply (in my opinion) and most kids aren’t on camera using microphones. My daughter has only done Writing ER at Big River. It’s a very basic writing class that covers a variety of things. She was only in 9th grade when she took it but I think there were older kids in the class taking it more like the title suggests…an ER class. Catching up on what they’ve missed over the years. My daughter had a fantastic experience though and really solidified her writing a lot that year. The teacher is delightful.

between two of my daughters this past year, we had 5 classes at Excelsior. I was pleased with all 5. One of my daughters took life science and if I am correct, the same woman is the biology teacher. She was great as well. I’ve also heard good things about Advanced Comp at Excelsior. 
I personally like excelsior more. I’m attempting to not outsource as much anymore, but when I want a class where rich discussion needs to take place… like logic, history, literature, etc….. I choose Schole. Math and science - I lean towards Excelsior. Or if I need composition that’s separate from literature.

I’m not sure if that helps, but I wanted to at least chime in and say that we felt really good about the Excelsior classes this year. 

This is very helpful, thank you! May I ask what you prefer of Excelsior over Big River Academy? The Excelsior Biology class was my preference but the time does not look like it will work. 

I appreciate the feedback compared to Schole. My ds is taking logic there next year but the Biology text doesn't align with our worldview unfortunately. 

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On 6/22/2021 at 8:38 AM, ByGrace3 said:

This is very helpful, thank you! May I ask what you prefer of Excelsior over Big River Academy? The Excelsior Biology class was my preference but the time does not look like it will work. 

I appreciate the feedback compared to Schole. My ds is taking logic there next year but the Biology text doesn't align with our worldview unfortunately. 

To be quite honest, I’m not sure why I prefer excelsior, but it definitely felt a bit more professional and put together. Also many more offerings.  I also really like the director of excelsior. Every teacher was fantastic in class and out of class. The Big River class we took was really good. Excelsior was just a better experience overall. 
Have you looked at the Biology class at True North? I wish I had known about it when my oldest did biology. A friend of mine has a daughter signed up for next year and I have heard fantastic things about the teacher. 

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8 hours ago, Nam2001 said:

To be quite honest, I’m not sure why I prefer excelsior, but it definitely felt a bit more professional and put together. Also many more offerings.  I also really like the director of excelsior. Every teacher was fantastic in class and out of class. The Big River class we took was really good. Excelsior was just a better experience overall. 
Have you looked at the Biology class at True North? I wish I had known about it when my oldest did biology. A friend of mine has a daughter signed up for next year and I have heard fantastic things about the teacher. 

Thank you for your  help. I went ahead and signed him up for Excelsior. Because they don't have an attendance policy and you can take the class fully recorded, I think it will work. He will be able to do the live class most of the year, but will likely miss a lot during tennis season. I also signed him up for the composition and grammar workshop. Hoping they are a good fit! 

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Not either of the schools you mentioned, but dd did Biology with Funda Funda this year and it is an excellent course. It is asynchronous, so maybe you’re looking for live, but it was very in depth in my opinion, and great prep for college Bio

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