Friday, October 25, 2013
Review: Bridgeway Academy
This fall Bentley has been taking an online class from Bridgeway Academy. We were provided with access to this class for the purposes of review! The class is a study of the Medieval Ages which uses the Magic Tree House books as a starting spring board. To be more exact, our class was entitled "Social Studies Through the Magic Treehouse - Middle Ages" and is appropriate for the 1st-5th grade crowd.
The Magic Tree House Courses with Bridgeway Academy are 9 weeks long and cost $145. This works out to a bit more than $16 per hour long class, which I think is a cost in line with other classes we've done.
The verdict? Bentley had fun!
Bridgeway Academy utilizes Jigsaw Meeting Center, which was easy for us to set up. Every week we get an email that our "meeting" is setup for the upcoming week, and on the morning of the class we log in and meet up with the ~20 other students, and teacher, in our group. On occasion the class suffers from hiccups due to technology issues with kids and audio not working correctly. This slows down the group once in a while but it is more of a minor than a major irritation. Although technology can be bumpy, the pros more than make up for it. The ability to go to "school" right from your home? Awesome! The fact the classes are "recorded" and you can go back and rewatch them, or check them out if for some reason you have to miss? Also very cool!
I like that Bentley can do this on his own. I help him print out some homework assignments, and initially showed him how to use the headset, but other than that it was simple for my 7 year old to participate on his own.
During class they chat, go through slides, participate in group "whiteboard" type of brainstorming together, and watch videos about the Middle Ages. There is a nice range of material, everything from how people lived and what they ate to the reason for some of the wars and how the justice system worked. I for one am glad I live now as opposed to then!
Bridgeway is very organized. We received a syllabus before class began giving us a great outline of what was coming up. This made it easy to incorporate extra study of the classroom materials into our other schoolwork time. There were homework assignments most weeks but they weren't complex or overly involved. They were easy to complete in less than an hour. Much of the homework related to the grande finale assignment - the generation of a Medieval Castle, made out of materials of your choosing! If you're thinking that our castle is made out of Legoes you are guessing right.
Ms. Kathi, the instructor of our class, is great with kids. She keeps the class moving along and does a good job of answering questions and presenting the content in a dynamic and engaging way. There was a positive happy vibe to the group - all the time. I never have complaints out of Bentley in regards to waking up "early" on Monday morning to participate - which says a lot about the class, in my opinion!
You do need to have a headset you can use to listen and talk with. I think the added element of audio communication with your class adds in a fun way to the experience for Bentley.
You can check out all of the fun 9 week classes available through Bridgeway, here. The offer classes in all different subjects and for older students they offer classes certified to provide highschool credit. Bridgeway is an accredited school and you can read more about what that means here. The 9 week classes offered are called Learning Labs. Bridgeway also has a huge number of semester long classes. You could easily lose track of time looking at all the offering on their site. I will be keeping them in mind for classes as my kids get older!
Interested in learning more about homeschool learning made easy with Bridgeway Academy? Members of TOS's review crew tried out a number of different classes, for all ages. Read their reviews here.