How I Modify the BJU Press Distance Learning Online Program

The BJU Press Distance Learning program has been a great fit for my family this year. My kids are enjoying the video instruction and I am appreciating the extra help with educating my kids at home.

For me, one of the benefits of homeschooling is being able to modify curriculum to better suit my children’s educational needs. With BJU Press Distance Learning online, I am able to utilize the excellent video instruction while still being in control of what my children are learning and what assignments they are completing each day.

How I Modify the BJU Press Distance Learning Online Program for my kids.

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Here is a look at how I am modifying BJU Press Distance Learning online for my school age kids who are in 1st grade, 3rd grade, 5th grade and 7th grade.

Skipping Quizzes and Tests

I am having my 1st grader and 3rd grader skip all the quizzes and tests. In the early elementary years, my goal is to expose them to information. While quizzes and tests can be an excellent tool for evaluating how much information a child is retaining, I am finding that the worktext pages are a sufficient means of monitoring my child’s retention of the information.

Skipping the quizzes and tests means my younger ones can move on to new lessons without spending a day studying for and taking a test. It also allows them to move through the program a little faster since they are not taking an entire day to take a test or quiz.

My 5th grader is not taking quizzes or tests for reading. I found that the quizzes and tests were not adding any value to her learning experience in reading. The worktext pages she does seem to be a better gauge of her reading comprehension than the quizzes and tests.

I am also having my 5th grader skip the history quizzes. The history lessons are so engaging to her that she is remembering and understanding most of the material that she is learning. I realized that the quizzes were just taking up her time so I am letting her skip them as long as she continues to grasp the information. She is still taking the history tests though.

Taking the Test on the Same Day as the Review

My 7th grader is taking most of her tests on the same day as the review lesson. This does add a little extra work to her school day but it benefits her in two ways.

  1. The information is fresh in her mind. When she took the test the next day, she found that she was reviewing everything all over again before the test.
  2. She can move through the course a little bit faster. Most of the time she is given a day to review the material and a second day to take the test. Studying for and taking the test on the same day means she can combine those two days into one.

Teaching Some Lessons Myself

Watching the videos takes time and there have been a few occasions where the information being presented is one that my child already knew or I thought they might catch on to quickly. I don’t want them to waste time watching a long lesson if they could get the same information from a shorter instruction time.

In these cases, I taught the lesson to my student using the Teacher’s Edition and then let them skip the video lesson. Access to the Teacher’s Edition is available to families using the Distance Learning online option. It has to be purchased separately if you are using the DVD option.

BJU Press Teacher's Edition is available for free when you use Distance Learning online.

Teaching some of the lessons myself has allowed me to quickly review information my child already knows or give a quick lesson in a new concept that isn’t very challenging for them. I enjoy these opportunities to teach my kids, as I miss that aspect of homeschooling with using the video courses.

This is a great way to squeeze several lessons into one day as well. I haven’t done this yet, but if we ever need to catch up on a particular subject that my child is doing fairly well in, then I can just teach several new concepts in one day.

Just the Workbooks for Handwriting

I actually love the video lessons that go along with the handwriting curriculum. They are filled with interesting facts that I think are beneficial to my children. But, they aren’t necessary for learning good penmanship and they do take up way more time than is necessary for handwriting practice.

Therefore, we are sticking to practicing handwriting in the workbooks which only takes about 5 or 10 minutes. Sometimes we will watch a handwriting video as a family for fun. Like I said, there are a lot of interesting facts mixed in to those handwriting lessons.

Using the “Skip” Feature

The online Distance Learning program has a “skip” box that I can check off if I don’t want my child to watch a particular video or do an assignment. When I am logged into my Distance Learning parent account, I can still see all the videos and assignments but my student will not see those “skipped” videos or assignments when they are logged into their student account.

I have checked the “skip” box numerous times for all of my children. Here are a few reasons I have used this very helpful feature:

  • Skip assignments that I don’t think will benefit my child or look like busy work
  • Skip tests or quizzes
  • Skip videos I don’t think are necessary (especially if I am going to teach the material myself)
  • Skip “Work Days” which are usually days set aside to study or catch up on assignments
  • Skip an entire section that covers material my student already knows or that I do not want them to learn right now

BJU Press Distance Learning Parent Account

BJU Press Distance Learning online student account

BJU Press Distance Learning Online

I have found BJU Press Distance Learning online to be easy to adjust to better suit each of my kids. The Distance Learning online program is allowing my children to work fairly independently while still giving me some control over what my kids are learning.

Keep in mind that the Distance Learning program is designed to maximize a child’s education while minimizing the homeschool parent’s workload. While I have found numerous was to modify the Distance Learning online program, it wasn’t designed to be a highly adaptable program. There are lots of other excellent curriculum choices out there for parents who want lots of flexibility. I love that there are so many excellent curriculum choices for homeschool families!

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