Recently, our family was given a year’s online subscription to Standard Deviants Accelerate (SDA) via the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Through this membership, we’ve had access to some excellent Homeschool Courses, geared to students in grades 3-12.
What is Standard Deviants Accelerate?
Standard Deviants Accelerate, or SDA, is a company which produces many online educational courses for students. Their courses are well-suited to homeschoolers, yet are also accessible for traditional public or private students. Primarily, SDA‘s courses are for middle schoolers and high school students, although there are several for elementary ages.
The course listings are broad! Here is a listing of the SDA courses:
- English Composition
- Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Nutrition
- Math: Algebra, Arithmetic, Fundamental Mathmatics
- U.S. History
- Test Prep Courses for: AP American Government & Politics; AP Biology; AP Chemistry; AP English Language and Composition; AP U.S. History
Each of these courses is a stand-alone course, except the Test Prep courses which are intended to be used by students preparing for those specific AP courses. The regular courses provide between 30 to 40 hours of “class” time per course.
Because Standard Deviants Accelerate is a teaching website, students receive a login and set up a password to access their coursework. Students may take as many courses at a time as they like, and each course is fully interactive. (Parents have a separate login to the account and can access/view classes, progress, grades, and so on for each individual student.)
- Video: In this section, the topic is taught using a transcript of each spoken word on the left (which is printable for the student), and colorful videos with actors speaking the lines. Each video contains both graphics and cartoons…and a lot of humor!
- Vocabulary: When you click on this tab, you’re taken to a page where all the new vocabulary words are defined. There is also a speaker icon next to each word, so that students can hear the pronunciation of the words. The vocabulary pages are also printable.
- Diagram: This third section is a more visual presentation of the lesson taught. Students drag and drop answers into the correct sections to answer questions.
- Quiz: There is a short quiz covering the information taught in each lesson.
- Written Answer: This is an essay portion for each lesson. A few questions are given and the student writes about what he has just learned.
In addition, there is a text box (it’s below the yellow Print Transcript button in the picture above) where the student can take notes about what he is learning. This text can then be saved to the student’s locker.
As the student progresses through each lesson and activity, the work is scored and recorded, so that there is always a record of the student’s progress and grades overall. There is also a chapter test for each section.
We were selected to review the Nutrition course in SDA‘s science section. This course is designed for students from grades 6 and up. My son, Jackson, is an 8th grader, and I found that the learning level, pace of the course, and coursework was very appropriate for him.
The Nutrition course covers the following material:
- Cells and Macronutrients
- What Your Body Does With Food (digestion, metabolism, calories, etc.)
- Food Spectrum (the different food groups)
- Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, water)
- Preventing Nutritional Disorders
- Eating in Context
- Where Does Your Food Come From? (the food industry, organic foods, etc.)
- The Savvy Eater
- Course Review and a Final Exam
Each chapter has from 3-6 different lessons, all following the lesson sections listed above. We utilized this Nutrition course as our science course for the semester. We haven’t finished it yet, but plan to. We generally did about three lessons per week. Jackson and I would watch the video course together. Then, he would review the vocabulary for the lesson, and answer the different questions. Some days he would take the lesson quiz on the same day, and for other chapters, he would take it a day or so later.
One of the things that makes the SDA company unusual is that they love to present lessons and information in a funny way. Actors assume different personalities and dress in unusual costume, and will use jokes to cement new information firmly in the students’ heads. I have to say that Jackson laughed at some of these, and thought other parts were silly. (But he is 13 years old, so that’s not that surprising.) He understood the information well and was able to successfully complete the quizzes.
The Standard Deviants Accelerate Nutrition course has been one that has effectively taught my son about the many facets of food, how it’s used by the human body, and what makes up a healthy diet. There is much more for him to learn, but as we move through the course I’m confident he will do so. SDA‘s company worldview does not have any religious affiliation, and the science is taught from an evolutionary/old earth standpoint.
Also, as a mom, I have to say that this Nutrition course has been very easy to use. I’ve watched the videos along with Jackson, but he has done the work alone. However, if he has a question he can come to me, since I’ve seen the videos and the lessons. The humor does make the information taught both memorable and enjoyable.
I am very interested in the AP test prep information as well….but it’s still a few years early for us to get into those! I will definitely remember them, though, in future years.
Other Crew members reviewed a variety of the Standard Deviants Accelerate courses, and if you click on the banner below you can see what they thought!
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