Looking Ahead to 2010-2011 AP Courses
Susan Richman, 3/19/2010
We’ve come a long way since first offering a small handful of AP Online test preparation classes way back in the 1996-1997 school year. From starting out with just AP English Literature, AP Psychology, and AP US History, and maybe 30 students, our program has grown to now offer classes in all disciplines, with over 320 students taking part—and many students take two or even more classes each year. We have 21 teachers now working with us to develop and lead these classes, giving people many choices of instructors and formats and approaches.
So just what is the Advanced Placement (AP) program? It’s a way developed by the College Board (the same organization that developed the SAT exam for college admissions) for bright high school students to demonstrate college level learning. Students take exams under strict security guidelines in May, and good scores can often net a student exemption from introductory university classes, college credit, or both. And informal studies have shown that even students who actually take AP exams, but don’t earn passing scores, generally still do much better in college than those students who never had this experience—AP students, regardless of exam scores, tend to stay in college till graduation and also tend finish up on time. That’s worthwhile ‘insurance’ in these times!
So why might you want to check out our Pennsylvania Homeschoolers AP Online classes for your bright homeschool teen? Here are some top reasons that families have expressed over the years:
1) We like the opportunity for our teens to get to know other bright homeschoolers from all over the nation—and sometimes even internationally! Our kids have made wonderful and enriching friendships—and our son even got to meet several AP Online classmates when attending special college visiting days. And he actually opted to be college roommates with a good friend from AP Online classes!
2) We appreciate the expertise of the teachers—as I parent, I could not have given my child what these teachers have. I could never have guided my child in AP level biology, chemistry, calculus, or economics—and even in history, one of our favorite areas as a family, the teacher really helped my son go far beyond just reading a text. He was interviewing older relatives about fighting in World War II, interacting in simulation discussions as an historical character, analyzing history’s impact on the news, creating a major biography website project, and so much more.
3) We are grateful that these courses meet all College Board guidelines, and are full authorized via the new Audit Process, where teachers submit their syllabi for review by experts—this enables us to use the AP label on transcripts, which definitely helps with college admissions and scholarships. We knew we’d be getting quality.
4) We like our son and daughter to learn about meeting outside deadlines and setting high goals—preparing for an AP exam with this type of guidance definitely does that! My kids have never worked so hard before.
5) Having outside teachers is such a blessing when it comes time for college and scholarship recommendation letters—our teens were able to ask their AP Online teachers to help with this process, and most were very gracious in assisting us in this way. I know the scholarships our kids received were in part granted because of their fine AP work—and so even though these courses are not inexpensive, the savings we are now seeing as we are paying for college is substantial.
6) Our teen has gained such positive computer and technology skills, learning about the many ways that the internet can support true learning and research, and help students collaborate and share their work. These classes use such a rich mix of Internet resources—mp3 lectures, video clips and online documentaries and lectures, interactive quizzes and texts, online game simulations, message and bulletin boards, the broad range of websites related to course content, as well as their password protected class websites for posting written work. And some courses use just simple old email—which worked perfectly for one of our kids. But best of all there is a real teacher behind all of this technology, responding to student work, encouraging, holding up high standards.
7) We feel our teen’s writing and analysis skills have grown tremendously through these AP courses—much was demanded, and our teen was proud to rise to the challenge. When asked to submit a graded writing sample for a college application, we could use work from one of our AP Online classes.
8) We realized that these AP Online classes really helped our teen gain perspective on his abilities—this was the first time he had worked with such bright and motivated kids, and it was tremendous motivation. He understood what truly dedicated students can accomplish.
9) We are so pleased that our student will now be able to skip the intro college classes and move right into the more fascinating courses— and although my son doesn’t want to finish college early, he’s now going to have time for a double major, and probably even a minor.
10) It’s been great having our daughter share all she is learning in AP Online with the younger ones in the family—we are all gaining from her experience. And now my middle school kids are looking forward to being in Pennsylvania Homeschoolers AP Online classes themselves—and they’ll know what to expect! And with a big family, we so appreciate not having to drive over to a local college campus to get college-level learning.
11) My teens really knew just what to expect when they went in for their AP exams at a local high school—that was when they knew that all their own hard work, and all the skillful guidance of the teacher, and all the varied assignments throughout the year all came together. They felt confident and ready. But we also knew that even if an AP exam score might not earn college credit for our child, the experience and learning was worth it all.
12) My kids had such a wonderful time actually meeting some of their online classmates at the End-of-Year AP Party at Howard and Susan Richman’s farm—and I became great friends with the other parents who’d come! The terrific classes would have been enough. But then to add on the chance to square dance and swing dance and sing folk songs around a campfire with your classmates from all over the nation… well, it was just awesome!
This coming school year we’ll be offering the following AP Online classes:
* AP Art History
* AP Biology with lab
* AP Calculus (AB & BC)
* AP Chemistry with lab
* AP Comparative Government & Politics
* AP Macro-Economics
* AP English Language & Composition (3 sections)
* AP English Literature & Composition (3 sections)
* AP European History (2 sections)
* AP Human Geography
* AP Latin
* AP Music Theory
* AP Physics with lab
* AP Psychology (2 sections)
* AP Statistics
* AP Studio Art-- Drawing
* AP Studio Art-- 2-D Design
* AP US Government and Politics
* AP US History (2 sections)
* AP World History
Updated course details, tuition fees, and application information will be available at pahomeschoolers.com by early April (just click on ‘AP Online Classes’ at the top of the sidebar). Families are welcome to contact individual teachers now (email addresses are with course descriptions), to ask further questions or to express interest. Early-bird specials on tuition before July 1, 2010. We hope this will be your year to join our Pennsylvania Homeschoolers AP Online ‘community of scholars’, for a great adventure in learning!
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