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Showing posts with label online classes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label online classes. Show all posts

Friday, December 14, 2012

Defending Khan Academy

I've noticed some online murmuring about Khan Academy.  The critique is that it is imperfect and maybe not as ground breaking as we all thought.  Meh.

I have loved Khan Academy since the day I found it a few years ago, but as much as I like it, I have had problems with the videos themselves.

First, Salman Khan is a quiet speaker.  I have to strain or use earphone to hear most of the videos.

Second, there's not always enough background  in a particular subject information to move you forward.

Third, as much as homeschoolers would like it to be, for the reason listed directly above, it is not a full homeschool curriculum.  Instead it is a tool best used for review of concepts a student does not understand.

For what it is.  It is AWESOME.

While I don't love the videos themselves, I do love the format and program that allows a student to test through the levels of math, refresh their skills, and even move ahead.

So while it is imperfect.  I do believe it is groundbreaking.... and free.

The next best program, ALEKS.com costs $20.00 ($240 a year) per month, and doesn't use videos, but step-by-step examples.  It does work as a stand a lone curriculum, and my daughter preferred it over Khan Academy.


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Friday, September 16, 2011

Georgia Virtual School Drama


Every other Friday night when assignments are due, I find myself cyber stalking my kids accounts to make sure their courses are entered.  If they are late, they will lose 10 points a day.

Daughter forgot one test completely, so I sent her to do it.  When she was done, the score had not calculated, when it finally did she had a low grade.  Fortunately, it was just one of several quizzes this week.  My problem is that we could not access the site for a couple of hours today, so I don't know if the site was still having problems, or if she did not know the material.  I have been on the internet for enough years to know how software glitches work.
(I made a note in her notebook about the site being down, just so that when final grades are issued, I can compare my notes to her grades to see if there is a pattern.  If there is, I will adjust accordingly.)

Speaking of the site being down for a couple of hours, my son announced that all of his work was complete.  So why is he downstairs right now just a few hours from deadline entering again?  I have no idea.  He was able to prove to me that he did the work.  Could it be because of access problems with the site earlier today?

Don't know that I can blame it on Ga Virtual School though since our internet provider SUCKS!  Take that Charter.  We went for two days last week without access.... that didn't help get any school work done. However, I could get to other sites today, just not the online classes.



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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How long to study for each class?

We may have a problem with the online classes.  Already. 

As homeschoolers my kids have spent 1 hour a day 4 or 5 days per week on most classes.  They have spent 90 minutes a day without fail on math and foreign language.  So that is no more than 4 to 7.5 hours per class weekly.  This is true whether they are studying someone at home, or in a local class.

The online classes they are taking through the county is recommending 12-20 hours a week per online class.  (I am pretty sure that's what they said during the orientation chat) That's just crazy.  Weekly, this would be almost 2 1/2 hours a day to 4 hours a day per class.  Multiply that by 5 classes (which my kids are not taking) and that could take 12 1/2 to 20 hours a day.  So much for having a life or sleeping.

I think they are seriously over stating the time it takes to study the material and pass the tests. I am hoping that this is a loose recommendation, and not a requirement.  I will find out.

  Fortunately with my son taking only 2 classes per semester and my daughter taking 1 class per semester, they will still have time for other endeavors.  I am recommending they are signed in to their accounts for the minimum amount of recommended hours per week.  As they are only available to do online school 4 days during the week, I will probably get them to so a weekend session.  My kids have already resisted homeschooling on the weekend.... but college is coming up fast.  They are going to have to get used to studying daily.

update:  Did some quick research.  On the college level "Generally, the rule of thumb is that you should study approximately 2 hours for every one hour of classroom time. For example, if you spend 4 hours a week in a particular class, then you should spend 8 hours studying and doing homework."  http://news.everest.edu/post/2008/03/study-hours  The low-end recommendation for these high school courses are pretty close to what is recommended to pass a college course.  So if a public school would spend 5 hours a week in class and then do 10 hours a week in homework for that class, they can expect to do very well.  Since my kids are in highschool, I am going to recommend to them that they spend the minimum 12 hours per class (especially since they are hard classes I cannot teach at home) and re-evaluate it as we go along.  


Bottom line, I wouldn't recommend any homeschooler take a full load of 4 - 5 classes.  There would truly be not time for sleep. 




So my question is, how much time do you spend studying each day... at the high school level? I'd like to hear from public school families too.


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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Getting used to online classes

My son can finally access his online classes.  It looks like his teachers are a TON more organized than my daughters teacher.  My sons Physics and Financial Math teachers dropped his assignments into a calendar, so it is clear what has to be done what day.  If he needs to get ahead, due to another obligation, he can still do that, but it is clear how they should pace themselves.

My daughter's Spanish teacher just inserted weekly dates into her syllabus.  Pacing will need to be done ourselves.  Also it is not very easy to determine what she should do.  We had to compare her syllabus to what was online and interpret what needed to be done.  I think we will get the hang of it though.

I feel like being organized and meeting deadlines will be the key to doing well in these classes.  I gave the kids a one subject composition notebook for each class.  We glued the syllabuses in the first few pages, so they can refer back to them and check off what they have done.  As they deduct 10% for each day an assignment is late, it is important to check and re-check deadlines as they progress through the courses.

This in not my ideal way to homeschool, but for older kids about to go out in the world, I feel like they need to get used to dealing with different kind of students while I can still assist them.


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Monday, August 08, 2011

First day frustrations with online classes

As I have mentioned a gazillion times recently, my son is taking classes for his Senior year with Georgia Virtual School.

He has done orientation several times and there was some kind of glitch with the software. According to the online support team, his orientation shows he finished it this morning. (Though it was his fourth or fifth time doing it.) He can access his classes tomorrow, a day late.

My problem is that it seemed that they didn't want to acknowledge that there was a software problem. It had to be due to him making a mistake. Meanwhile this kid really knows his way around a computer.

Here's hoping he can get into his classes tomorrow as assignments are due every Friday night at midnight.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

First time dealing with public school teachers in years

As I have mentioned before the children erm, young adults are taking online classes with the public school teacher.  The Senior is taking 2 classes and the Junior is taking 1.

We received emails from all teachers today introducing themselves and letting us know when the weekly "chat" session would be.  Well, the session for my daughters Spanish  class is the same time as her drama club meetings. I emailed to the teacher to speak to him about the conflict.  However, as the teacher left his phone number I decided to try and call him.  He answered and was very nice.  He said just listen to the recordings of the weekly chats and and call him if she has any problems.

So far I am very happy with the level of communication.  That is usually my biggest pet peeve, so... so far-so good.


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