Standard Deviants Accelerate is an online supplemental homeschool curriculum. It allows students in grades 3 through 9 to receive enrichment instruction in nine core courses, and offers AP Exam review and test skills for five specific exams. To review the program, Crew members received one-year subscriptions to their Homeschool Courses. For our review, Matthew (grade 9) was the student, and focused on the Biology and US History courses in particular. I wanted to have Jude work on their grade 3 and 4 math programs, but was unable to because of technical issues (see below).
I know that these courses are meant to be supplemental. I definitely agree with this, and would not use them as a core curriculum. Matthew found that the biology lessons really didn't explain what he was learning in his regular course any better. He thought that it skipped over a lot of information, which contributed as well. I will say that the biology is aimed at grades 7+, so it's possible that this would be better suited to a middle-school student, rather than one taking a full high school course. I agree with him. While there is a fairly wide variety of topics covered, they aren't covered in any great depth. They seemed to amount to a different way of presenting the same information. Now, I'm the first to say that sometimes seeing things presented differently makes them "click," but he felt that it wasn't really a "new" presentation - it was just another lecture.
As for US History, I felt it was really lacking in a lot of depth. The sections were headlined by broad topics, but I felt like they skipped quite a bit. For example, there was a section on the Presidency.
You can see that instruction ends with Abraham Lincoln. Considering we are about to elect our 45th president less than a year from now, it seems like stopping with the sixteenth president is a sharp drop. I would have liked to see more about specific presidents; at the very least, the "gamechanger" presidencies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon have each had a huge impact on American history and deserve attention. The "America at War" sections end with the US Civil War. Again, I think this is not enough instruction; considering the ramifications of (at least) World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War on history, these should be included in a high school program (US History is rated for grades 9+).
Now, back to Jude and why he didn't use the program. In order to enroll a student in the program, he needs to have his own email address to log in. For Matthew, this wasn't a big deal, because he has an email account already. However, at only 8 years old, Jude does not have an email account. Because my email was already assigned to the "teacher" account, I couldn't use it for him. Standard Deviants Accelerate is available for use by public/private school students as well, and schools often have the ability to create individual student email accounts, even for younger ages. (Celia's school participates in a Chromebook program, so even students as young as fourth or fifth grade do have "personal" email addresses.) However, as a homeschooling parent, it just didn't seem practical to create an email/personal online presence for my third grader.
Overall, I wasn't really impressed with the program. I had hoped it would be more useful for us, because it covered such a wide range of ages and subject. However, we found it just didn't mesh with our family's needs.
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