In last years Great Stuff, we mentioned the Standard Deviants videotapes from Cerebellum Corporation. Well, we have even more to say on these great products this year, since we are now distributing them ourselves! (Visit our Web site at www.davidandlaurie.com)
For those of you who dont know, these products are produced by a secular company and were originally intended as review for a semester of college work. These days, however, college (at least the first two years) in many cases is remedial high school, and the subject material is the same as what we use in our secondary studies. So, we have used the Standard Deviants products with success in our family for ages 10 to adult. Each tape is only 2-3 hours in length, yet covers a full semester of work (believe us!). We use them as supplementary materials for other coursework, and in some cases as the course itself (which we supplement with other texts and materials).
Our college students use them to learn course material, and, best of all to study for CLEP exams (see below). For those of you who have high schoolers preparing to take the SATs, you definitely should check out Cerebellums SAT Preparatory Super Pack. This two-video (verbal and math portions), 300+ page workbook, and 3-practice-test package is guaranteed to raise your score. (That of course assumes that your student will take it more than once.) But we really think its a good way to prepare your kids for one of the most important tests they will take in high school.
The Standard Deviants videotapes are very entertaining, easy to understand, and easy to watch. You can watch them in one sitting or a few minutes here and there. However you use them, they provide a great way to familiarize yourself with a subject in a new format. Learning through several formats (audio, visual, hands-on, etc) increases retention. We have also found they are great for our audio learners who arent so book-inclined.
OK, so now for the new news - first of all, as of this year, each of these tapes has been edited for all audiences by Mary Pride so they are family friendly! Secondly, most titles are now available on DVD. For those of you who are DVD illiterate (which we were until a few months ago), this format has options not available on videos, such as interactive quizzes and tests. So, for the same price you can get more stuff! And one more thing, by going to www.cerebellum.com you can download free quizzes, puzzles, outlines, games, tests, and more for most of the videos! Such a deal. (But please purchase them from us at www.davidandlaurie.com!)
Looking over last years list we were shocked that we omitted one of our all-time favorite home school tools -CLEP tests! You can find out all the details about CLEP testing as it relates to home schooling in our book, The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School, and you can find technical details (where to take the tests, how to prepare, how much they cost) on the subject at www.collegeboard.org/clep.
In a nutshell, CLEP is the College Level Exam Program - which allows students of any age to obtain college credit for their studies by taking a ninety-minute, multiple-choice exam. What you may not realize is that students may often CLEP subjects such as Algebra or U.S. History upon completion of their high school course. For instance, College Algebra contains the same content as High School Algebra. Our two daughters did very well on the Algebra CLEP after taking Algebra 1 and 2 (high school level) at home. Our son did the same with the history. In fact, our oldest three children have so far shortened their college time by a full year through the CLEP program (saving a ton of time and money). The credits can be double-credited for high school and college as well. Studying for the tests can be done with the Standard Deviants tapes and/or the REA books below (often available at your local library).
This leads us naturally to another new favorite The Best Test Preparation for the CLEP books by Research Educational Associates. We have used a number of the REA CLEP prep books as well as their SAT or ACT books and many of their other titles. These truly are the best preparation for the CLEP subject exams - if you know the material in these books, you will do well on the CLEP. They also contain practice tests and test-taking tips. Not all subjects are available yet, but Laurie is currently writing The Best Test Preparation for the CLEP General Biology Exam for REA - so hang on! Current titles are available at our Web site, www.davidandlaurie.com.
We met Brad Voeller, the author of the new book Accelerated Distance Learning at the New Jersey state home-schooling convention this year. We are really excited about this book, because it gives practical strategies for completing college work in an unconventional way, saving time, money, and the agony of enduring unbiblical world views and the negative social experiences of most colleges. We would suggest that parents of children in junior and above get a copy of this book now. It will broaden the possibilities of your secondary home school years and beyond. This book is available at www.globallearningstrategies.org.
Thats it for the second list. There is more to come in Part 3. Or again, if you cant wait, you can check out some of them on our favorite web sites section at www.davidandlaurie.com.