Wednesday, May 19, 2010

TOS Review: Standard Deviants/History of the U.S. AP Prep

Quick--what's the cheapest route to college credits for your homeschooled child? Give up? AP credits. By taking a test, your child can actually earn credits towards a college degree before even stepping foot onto a campus or logging on to an online class.

It's true. Trust me. I took AP classes in preparation for my first year of college and was amazed to be able to glide past an entire semester's worth of work. Soooo worth it!

But, you say, MG--you were a traditionally-educated, classroom schooled kid. And those tests are notoriously geared towards such types. How can I help my homeschooler do their best on such a skewed exam?

Don't worry. I've got the answer to that one, too. :-)

But first, I offer this disclaimer: your child probably knows a heck of a lot more than you think they do. Honestly, I am shocked on a nearly daily basis with how much my children have picked up--and retained--simply by living a normal life that involves contact with thinking people willing to have deep conversations on topics that don't routinely appear on standardized tests. I'm not saying that every single homeschooler out there will have the same mileage, but I'm betting it's not an uncommon thing.

But now back to the box you can check--because I know that as you're prepping your child for child, you're worried about those boxes. Trust me, this one is easy to check. Simply check out the very reasonably priced (on sale for $11.98!) AP prep videos available from the Cerebellum Corporation--the folks who brought you Standard Deviants.

I was given a copy of the AP History video for review, and was dazzled by the quick pace, the catchy presentation of material, and the overall look of the videos. My three older kids all enjoyed the 2-disc set, and watched them much as they would any other video. It didn't "feel like a test," according to Jo. She actually had no idea that it was supposed to be priming her for an eventual quiz up until they started talking strategies and other details. I count this as a good thing. After all, who wants to sit in on a boring, bone-dry lecture?

The information presented was simple and straight-forward, with just enough detail to cement what you needed to know without belaboring the point. Since my copy was U.S. History, I feel like we may have had a bit of a leg-up on a lot of what was already in there; my children have been bathed in the topic nearly since birth, so it all comes second nature to them. The only other set that would have been a better fit would have been the Civics option ... but it's a good thing they didn't send us Chemistry!

These are reasonably pried, and well worth the investment if you're thinking of tackling the AP exams. Definitely a resource to consider!

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this product for review purposes. Refer to my general disclaimer for more information on my policies regarding reviews.

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