Math and Physics
  for homeschool students

   Lucid Education
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Frequently Asked Questions

General
   Is it too late to sign up?
   Can I take just part of a class?

Math Courses
   Which math course should I take next?
   When should I take Algebra 1?
   Do I need to take Geometry if I did Saxon math?
   Where does Geometry fit into the math sequence?
   What does the term 'Euclidean Geometry' mean?
   What does the term 'Proof-based Geometry' mean?
   What does the term 'Analytic Geometry' mean?
   Do I need to take Precalculus if I don't plan to take Calculus?
   Is the Calculus class an AP Calculus class?

Physics
   Don't I need more advanced math for Physics?
   Will the Physics class be too hard?
   I'm not that good at math. Should I still take physics?
   Isn't Physics usually taken by high school seniors?
   Is it better to take Physics as your first science course or your last?
   Does Physics count as a lab science course?
   Does the Physics course prepare students for the SAT II subject test in Physics?

Online Classes
   How do the online classes work?
   What are the advantages and disadvantages of online class?
   Is Calculus available online?

Computer Videos
   What are the computer videos I hear about?
   Do the computer videos cover the entire course?
   Will the computer videos work on a Macintosh?
   Will the computer videos work on Linux?

Prices and Payment
   Aren't these classes a bit expensive?
   Shouldn't these classes cost more?
   Do I need to pay in advance?

Standard and Honors Courses
   Why are there Standard and Honors Classes?
   Is an Honors class the same thing as an AP class?
   How is an "Honors" class different from a "Standard" class?
   How do I know if I should enroll in the Standard or Honors course?


General
Is it too late to sign up?
For the online classes, enrollment is accepted at any time. For the live classes, enrollments are accepted through the beginning of the second semester (January). Different families have a variety of circumstances, such as moving, or deciding mid-year to switch to homeschooling, or other situations. I try to be as flexible as possible in accommodating various situations. If a student joins the class after the class has started, he or she can use the online videos of the lectures to get caught up and on track.
Can I take just part of a class?
Yes. I have had numerous people join classes at various points in the year for various reasons. If you end up taking just part of a class, you only need to pay for part of the class. Figuring out just how much to pay if you only take part of a class is a fairly simple math problem involving ratios, which, incidently, is covered in the Algebra 1 class.

Math Courses
Which math course should I take next?
The typical math sequence is: Prealgebra, Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Precalculus, Calculus. Algebra 2 may be taken before Geometry if desired.
When should I take Algebra 1?
Most students take Algebra 1 in the 8th or 9th grade. Some advanced students take Algebra 1 in the 7th grade, but that is not common.
Do I need to take Geometry if I did Saxon math?
It depends on how far along you have progressed in the Saxon curriculum. The Saxon math series does not contain a course in Geometry. The geometry instruction is instead interspersed throughout the Saxon books. Homeschool parents have told me that they have talked to college admissions people about this, and that the colleges have considered the Geometry coverage in the Saxon books to be perfectly adequate. Therefore, if you have completed the Saxon math series through Advanced Math, or intend to complete it, you probably do not need a separate Geometry course.
Where does Geometry fit into the math sequence?
Typically, the sequence is Algebra 1, then Geometry, then Algebra 2. Geometry could conceivably be taken any time after Algebra 1. Some people prefer to take Algebra 1 and then Algebra 2 to maintain the continuity of the study of Algebra. While this is possible, it should be remembered that Algebra 2 is a more difficult class and many students prefer to wait an extra year before tackling the material in Algebra 2. Also, there is a strong continuity from Algebra 2 to Precalculus.
What does the term 'Euclidean Geometry' mean?
The Greek mathematician Euclid of Alexandria developed the first systematic study of geometry. Starting with a few basic definitions and simple concepts that were accepted as self evident, he proceeded to logically prove the many theorems that make up the field of Geometry. The term Euclidean Geometry is used to refer to both this comprehensive system of theorems and to the rigorous logical method that Euclid used. The Geometry course described here is Euclidean in both senses of the term, and also includes some introductory Analytic Geometry.
What does the term 'Proof-based Geometry' mean?
Euclid developed his sytem of Geometry in a rigorous, logical manner. Each idea was only accepted as true if it could be proved to be true based on ideas that were already known and accepted. A formal proof is the logical demonstration that a particular theorem is true. The Geometry course described here uses proofs and logical reasoning in this manner to develop much of the material that is covered during the class. Euclidean geometry is "proof-based".
What does the term 'Analytic Geometry' mean?
Analytic Geometry is sometimes referred to as "geometry in the coordinate plane." Lines, angles, and geometric shapes are placed in the x-y plane, and the points and lines are given specific coordinates and lengths. Rather than dealing simply with the deductive approach of Euclid, more practical problems can be approached and solved. Analytic geometry contains concepts that are important for the student to grasp in order to do more advanced study in math, particularly calculus. Most geometry courses, including this one, contain some material on analytic geometry.
Do I need to take Precalculus if I don't plan to take Calculus?
Not necessarily, but it is probably a good idea to take Precalculus. Most colleges require at least one math course that is more advanced than Algebra 2. The precalculus course fills that requirement. Also, even if a student is not planning to take calculus during high school, there is a good chance that it may be required when they get to college, and the precalculus class is important preparation.
Is the Calculus class an AP class?
Yes. The calculus class is designed to prepare students for the AP Calculus AB exam.

Physics
Don't I need more advanced math for Physics?
Algebra 1 is the only math course required as a prerequisite for the Physics course. Some trigonometry is used in the class, but it is taught as part of the course, so a student need not have had Algebra 2 or Trigonometry before taking physics. If a student has already studied trigonometry, there will simply be a little review, which probably won't hurt. Most students take Physics concurrently with Algebra 2 or Precalculus, but it may be taken any time after completing Algebra 1.
Will the Physics class be too hard?
The course seeks a middle ground between being an overly difficult "killer" course and an overly simplistic "crip" course. That said, the course does contain a lot of content. Numerous topics are covered, and there is a lot of conceptual as well as factual information to learn, and a good deal of math. Remember that the course is offered on two difficulty levels, Standard and Honors. If you are worried about the difficuly, you can always enroll in the Standard course.
I'm not that good at math. Should I still take physics?
Certainly. This course often helps students with their math. A lot of algebra is reviewed and then used throughout the physics course. In addition, simple right triangle trigonometry is introduced and explained from first principles. Physics makes use of the math that students learn in their math classes. After a month or two of physics, it is not uncommon to hear students exclaim, "Oh, this is why we learned all that math!" Students usually get better at their algebra as a result of taking the physics course.
Isn't Physics usually taken by high school seniors?
Some schools put physics at the end of the science curriculum. That is, the students take Biology, then Chemistry, then Physics. More recently, however, many schools have been reversing the order and teaching Physics, then Chemistry, and then Biology. The reason for this is that logically and chronologically, Physics does in fact come first. The theories of Physics were developed first, historically. From an understanding of certain physical concepts, such as subatomic particles and the forces acting on them, the study of chemistry arises. From an understanding of chemical processes, such as those that take place in a cell, the study of biology arises. There is a good logical argument, therefore, for putting Physics first, followed by Chemistry and Biology. In practice, it has been seen to work well both ways.
Is it better to take Physics as your first science course or your last?
It can work well either way. Whether the course is a good course or not will depend primarily on other factors, such as the quality of the instruction and the motivation of the student. Putting Physics first or last in the science curriculum is not a "make it or break it" issue. Mr. Owens has taught Physics and Honors Physics as students' first high school science course, and AP Physics as students' last high school science course.
Does Physics count as a lab science course?
Yes, this course contains a minimum of 10 lab experiments and counts as a lab science course. If for some reason you need more than 10 lab exercises then more can be provided. In the lab exercises, students will
  1. conduct experiments dealing with measurement, data collection and analysis, and graphing,
  2. perform an experiment similar to Galileo's inclined plane experiment,
  3. perform experiments with falling bodies and the acceleration of gravity,
  4. perform an inertia experiment,
  5. perform an experiment dealing with work, energy, and horsepower,
  6. experimentally discover certain properties of a simple pendulum,
  7. experimentally verify theories of refraction,
  8. build and test low voltage electrical circuits.
Does the Physics course prepare students for the SAT II subject test in Physics?
This course covers many, but not all, of the topics on the SAT II subject test in Physics. Students who wish to do further work to fully prepare for the SAT II test may receive guidance for continued independent study.

Online Classes
How do the online classes work?
Students may take the class from home, or actually from anywhere. They view the lectures on a computer, and send and receive written work through the mail, email, or fax. Otherwise, an online course is the same course they would take if they attended the classes. The material covered is the same, as is the textbook, homework assignments, tests, and exams.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of online class?
Advantages:
  • Online classes have a completely flexible schedule.
  • Online students may begin a course at any time during the year.
  • Online students avoid travel time and time in traffic, which can make a big difference in a city like Atlanta.
  • The online classes are cheaper.
Disadvantages:
  • Online students do not have the face-to-face interaction with the instructor and the other students during class. They are, however, able to ask questions via email at any time.
Is Calculus available online?
Yes, Calculus has been available as an online class since 2010.

Computer Videos
What are the computer videos I hear about?
Students receive videos of the lectures either over the web or on computer media. The students do not see me, but they hear my voice and see my handwriting appearing on the screen, as if it were an electronic chalk board. The videos contain the same content as the lectures delivered in class, and they match the lecture notes given to the students. If a student misses class, he or she can receive the same content by watching the lecture on a home computer. Students also find the videos useful for reviewing for tests, and for going over difficult concepts a second or third time if needed. Click for Sample Lecture Notes and Sample Video.
Do the computer videos cover the entire course?
Yes. Computer videos are available for all of every course.
Will the computer videos work on a Macintosh?
Yes. The videos for Macintosh are in the Quicktime format.
Will the computer videos work on Linux?
Yes. The videos are avaialbe in Microsoft WMV format and in Quicktime format. Software to play these videos is available for Linux. If needed, videos can also be converted to Mpeg4 format.

Prices
Aren't these classes a bit expensive?
These physics and math classes may be a bit more expensive than some others you might find. Please know that every effort is made to see that they are worth the cost. Also consider that the same course at a good private school might cost two to three thousand dollars, so it is still very inexpensive by comparison.
Shouldn't these classes cost more?
Some people have in fact told me that I am charging too little. The ability of people to pay, however, varies widely, and I want to keep the classes affordable to as many people as possible.
Do I need to pay in advance?
No. You may pay in advance if you wish to, but it is certainly not required.

Standard and Honors Courses
Why are there Standard and Honors Classes?
Not all students require the same pace and difficulty level. Some may need or prefer a class that is more challenging and at a faster pace, while some may desire a class that is not accelerated. Offering two levels of difficulty allows the class to accomodate a broader range of student.
Is an Honors class the same thing as an AP class?
No. The Honors version of a course is not an AP course, and is not designed to prepare a student for an AP exam. The Honors course is simply a more challenging version of the same course. The goal is for the Standard and Honors versions of the courses to closely correspond to Standard and Honors courses at a good private school. AP courses are specifically designed to be college level courses.
How is an "Honors" class different from a "Regular" class?
The Honors version of a class will require some additional work and will be more difficult. The lectures are the same for both versions of a class, although a few sections will be optional for the Regular class. Honors students will have more difficult homework assignments and more difficult tests.
How do I know if I should enroll in the Regular or Honors course?
You don't have to know in order to enroll. During the first month of class (or longer if necessary), students will be given both the Regular and the Honors homework assignments and tests, so that they can consider which might be more appropriate. Deciding usually becomes relatively simple. If the Regular material is too easy, enroll in the Honors class. If the Honors material is too difficult, enroll in the Regular class. Usually, about one fourth to one third of the students take the Honors version of the course.
All material Copyright (C) 2006-2014 by Derek Owens