As I mentioned in a recent post, we are switching things up for our next homeschool year. I have spent countless hours researching various curriculum and programs. One of the options I’ve explored is live online classes for homeschool. In doing so, I discovered some exciting classes offered by Big River Academy.
Live Online Classes for Homeschooling
My kiddos are accustomed to the university model of school, so live online classes could easily fit into our routine. After reviewing the Big River Academy How It Works page (a must for enrolling in any online classes), I spent some time looking at the Big River Academy courses. Courses include offerings in English, science, social science, math, foreign language, test prep, and electives.
Special Needs Accommodations
Two geography courses and one English class really stood out to me. I was especially interested in is the Movies as Literature class. Since my 10yo has learning differences, I thought it might be a great option for her. The Big River Academy Special Needs page lists both dyslexia and dysgraphia as learning differences for which accommodations can be made. On the bottom of the “special needs” page, it also says, “Have a concern that is not listed above, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Big River Academy Responsiveness
With that in mind, I sent an email to inquire about what grade level the
Movies as Literature English course would be appropriate for, and more specifically what accommodations would be made for a student with dyslexia/dysgraphia in the course with regards to the novels required, etc.
I was pleasantly surprised when Jana, from Big River Academy, promptly emailed back to say that “Accommodations vary by student, of course. However, we have all had students with specific disabilities like dyslexia (fewer with dysgraphia), and our literature classes use the accommodation of the audio book for help with reading large portions of literature. I always encourage these students to read along in the book as the audio book plays to help with reading fluency, but some students have problems with that, too. I’ve had a few kiddos just use audio books. For much of our literature, since it is classic, audio versions can be found on Librivox which is free. What can’t be found there can usually be found on YouTube, and in very rare occasions the audio version needs to be purchased by the family.
So many of our instructors make accommodations based on the individual needs of the student, but common accommodations include extended time for assignments, audio versions of literature, individual work in breakout rooms (which are typically designed for group work), use of microphone in class instead of chat for those with physical limitations with typing, and extra instruction/support outside of class and office hour time. Basically, we work closely with parents and the student in question to tailor the experience to maximize success.” She also offered the ability to email the teacher directly with questions.
I took advantage of that opportunity and emailed the instructor with my questions. She also promptly responded with detailed answers to all of my questions on accommodations for this course. She also informed me that while the Movies as Literature class is intended for students in grades 9-12, 8th graders may be able to take it on a case by case basis after discussion with parents to ensure they are comfortable with the content and discussion for all movies and literature being discussed.
Of course, that means it isn’t an option for my soon to be 5th grader. That said, the Movies as Literature course is going on my list of classes to do when the the time for high school comes.
I was incredibly impressed with the overall responsiveness and level of professionalism from both the teacher and from Jana, the founder and director of Big River Academy.
Big River Academy Sample Classes
You can check out sample classes from Big River Academy on YouTube. For example, this Biology class looks interesting!
Big River Academy Discount
I’m excited to say that Big River Academy is also offering a 10% discount to readers! Use code BLOG100 to receive 10% off entire purchase. How awesome is that!!
Big River Academy Giveaway
Big River Academy has also partnered with iHomeschool Network to give away a one semester course. One winner will receive a one-semester course, valued at $200. This value can also be applied to a full year class if the winner desires. And anyone, anywhere can win since this is an online product. Whoop!a Rafflecopter giveaway