Tag Archive for online class

FundaFunda’s Online Biology Class for homeschoolers

Online biology class

This year FundaFunda will be offering a high school online Biology class for the first time. To let you know more about the class, I interviewed the instructor Dr Dana Underwood.

What does each unit look like?

Dr Dana UnderwoodDr. Underwood: We do small projects for each unit – not worth a ton in terms of points, but the goal is to have students work with the material at a deeper level.  They can draw, write, make a chart, do a computer animation, sculpt, etc.  Some approaches work better with certain material – nobody has ever sculpted glycolysis – but I also want for them to learn that, if there is an approach to learning that helps them (writing, modeling, acting it out, whatever) then they can use it to learn even if they’re not specifically assigned to make a 3D model.

In my last few years of college and in grad school, I kept play-doh at my desk so that I could make a model of anything that I couldn’t visualize (and just sniff it if I needed to channel my non-stressed 6-year-old self).

I see you assign a textbook. How do you use it in the class?  

Dr. Underwood: The textbook is there so that students can refer back in case their notes from the lectures are missing anything, and to look at specific figures and diagrams. Occasionally short passages are assigned for students to read, but it is not the primary way the material is taught.

Are there tests?

Dr. Underwood: We do one test per unit, which ends up being 4 per semester. The last unit is set up to be a little shorter so that the last test is 1/2 new material, 1/2 cumulative.
How are students graded?

Dr. Underwood: In addition to the test gradesstudents get points for homework and projects, but what I keep emphasizing to them is that usually if they do all of the work, they learn the material enough that the points don’t matter.  Except in the (rare) cases where students have some sort of learning/test taking disability, homework pulls up test grades by no more than one letter grade.  I can do difficult material and they don’t fear that they’ll bomb it because they have homework to ‘pull them up’, but for most students the act of doing the work causes them to learn the difficult material.  I emphasize that even the absence of the assignments that I give, they should still use the techniques – making up practice tests, drawing, making flowcharts or lumping things into categories – to study anything.

Biology is a lot of studying – how do you help the students do that?

Dr. Underwood: We talk about how to approach different parts of the class – for genetics, I tell them to treat it like math and practice many problems.  For the parts of the cell, I tell them to quit saying that they’re ‘confused’ because it’s mostly a list to memorize and they just need to buckle down and do it because they cacelln’t do much else until they know the parts, and for the metabolism and replication/transcription sections, I tell them that they need to think through flowcharts because it’s a process – they can memorize the steps, but they can also choose to think logically about what has to happen next to get to the end result and they’ll end up understanding what’s happening.

We do learn a lot of material.  Much of it is molecular biology and even students who don’t especially enjoy the topic are impressed with its complexity and how much they learned.  At the end of the year, we do ecology, which most students find to be easier – it’s a good way to end the year.

How does this class prepare students for college?

Dr Underwood: The entire class is set up to teach students how to prepare for a college class, in addition to the biology content.  Instead of dcell diagrametailed questions for homework, I give questions that they should use as a study guide – in college they might not give you homework questions asking ‘why is x important’ or ‘why does y have to come first in the pathway?’, but hopefully at the end of my class you’ve learned that if you’re given a list of 8 reasons that something is important, you should familiarize yourself with it, and if you’re presented with a pathway or flow chart, understanding why it happens in that order is important.

What are students likely to gain from this class?

Dr. Underwood: Alas, as much as I think that biology is the coolest subject ever, I know that many of them will use the study methods more than they’ll use the details of cellular metabolism.

Anything else you do that most biology classes don’t?

Throughout the year they write article reviews about the science articles of their choice, so they can either do something with topics that they find interesting or they can learn about current ‘science in the news’.

To sign up for this class click here. And you can view our other FundaFunda Academy classes for homeschoolers here.

FundaFunda’s Online Computer Applications Class

Computer Fundamentals

Over the years of a teaching a variety of subjects, I often ask students to do assignments that involve them using a computer. And so often I am astounded at how much they don’t know how to do!

In an age where even young children often have smart phones, and students seem to spend so much of their time using technology – they still often have a very limited understanding of computers work and the many resources they can access via their computers.

This class is a full year credit designed for homeschoolers (but anyone is welcome to enroll). In states that require a Computer Applications or a Digital Literacy class, this will meet that requirement. But our class will go far beyond what is typically taught.

Our aim is that students will acquire a better understanding of how computers can be used. They will be introduced to a wide variety of online sites (all free) and ways of doing things.

Here are some things we will be covering:

  • the internet and copyright
  • internet and computer terminology
  • website creation (using a variety of different website builders)
  • graphic creation
  • spreadsheets
  • online research and citations
  • editing photographs
  • bookmarking
  • document creation
  • video production (just on a very basic level)
  • working collaboratively on projects over the internet
  • task management
  • slideshows (once again they will learn a variety of tools)
  • creating a digital portfolio
  • making money with their computers

Each week will focus on one main topic (though we introduce some secondary ones as well). Typically they will view a video with one of our instructors giving them a brief tour of the website for that week, with examples from how they are using it themselves. Then students will be given links to other videos, training manuals etc that they can use to learn more. To test mastery, students will then turn in assignments using the tool.

The course spans both semesters and will take about 4 hours each week.


A 21st Century Stocking Stuffer for Kids – an Online Programming Class

Stocking stuffer for kids

If you are looking for a unique stocking stuffer for a 4th – 12th grader this year, consider giving one of FundaFunda’s Online Intro to Game Programming Classes.

At $9.95 it is a really good price for a 4 week online class that is graded and where a student can earn a certificate on successful completion. (They can also finish with a $10 coupon off any of our other courses if they pass).

This class is intended for students who have never done any programming. It touches not only on program logic but also game design and game graphics – so it is a really good way to expose students to all those different aspects of video game creation.

Students do have to complete the class in the allotted time, but they have flexibility each day as to when they will go online to do their assignments.

The classes start the Monday after Christmas.

At the end of the course we ask students to complete a survey. Here’s why some of them said they would recommend it to others (I just cut and paste so you are getting EXACTLY what they entered).

i would recomend this course to my friends because it teaches a lot of really useful programming skills and it kind of changes the way you look at the computer after learning all of the things it teaches.

Because technology is one of the new languages. Many people should be able to learn a little bit of it.

Because it is super fun.

its a fun course and if someone wants to learn the basics its really simple and well done in this course

The class was fun and good to figure out if you really would be good at programming.


If you are giving this as a stocking stuffer – here is a graphic you can print off to put in the stocking.


FundaFunda Academy’s Fall Courses


Fundafunda online classes for homeschoolers

We are very excited to be offering 9 online courses starting this Fall – with more to come in Spring. These classes are intended for homeschoolers but anyone is welcome to sign up.

As always we will be focusing on making these FUN and ENGAGING and full of great CONTENT. No dry text books. No boring lengthy lectures.

All these online classes for homeschoolers will be run similarly to regular classes. There will be classmates – the students will meet in moderated chat rooms and in online conferences (some classes). There will be homework assignments. There will be due dates. There will be grades.

Online classes are not easier than “regular” classes – they are just a different way to deliver instruction so don’t choose this option if you are looking for a quick and easy credit. Instead, choose our courses if you are looking to learn a lot – and to enjoy the learning process.

Grades will reflect how well assignments are completed, but because we want students to do as well as possible, there will always be opportunities to resubmit assignments if they want to get a better grade.

Students can log on and work on their assignments any time they want to. Spanish is the only class that does have one set time each week (noon ET on Tuesdays) where students need to get on their webcams and “go to class”. They will take part in a live discussion which is pretty fun to do.

Here are some of the classes we are offering


Online Scratch ClassThis will be a 16 week course and consist of our beginner, intermediate and advanced courses. Scratch is a drag-and-drop language that allows students to easily create games. It is a good way to start learning about programming concepts before progressing to other languages which require users to learn the syntax.

By the end students will be able to program games like Hangman and Space Invaders.


online photography classThis is a one semester class. For those who remember the children’s program “Fetch” we use a similar style but adapt it for teens. Students taking the course will watch videos each week where 4 teens are taught some aspect of photography and then they are issued a challenge. Once they have watched the teens perform the challenge, students in the class will get to complete the same challenges.

They will also take online quizzes and do various other assignments each week.


Online Geography CourseStudents will learn geography by watching videos, playing online games and completing enjoyable assignments. There will be about 4 hours work each week as this is intended as a 1 credit class for high schoolers.

Students will be “immersed” in different cultures and it should be an eye-opening year for them.




Spanish 1

SpanishcourseThis is intended as a high school Spanish 1 class. No prior knowledge of Spanish is needed.  The instructor, Suzette LaPorte-Ayo, a native Spanish speaker, taught all my own children Spanish and the three oldest either did well enough on their AP exam to be exempt from languages at college, or they placed into advanced Spanish classes. And my children all really enjoyed the way she taught – which is why we asked her to join our teaching team .

The classes will include video instruction, online games and exercises, quizzes and regular online live discussion times each week.


To make it easier for you to understand what an online class will be like, we have created demo modules for each course. Each demo is about a week’s work and you can hear / see the teacher and get an idea of the sort of work that will be assigned.
To view the demo classes go to Canvas and use the email student@fundafunda.com and the password tryitout. 

If you think this will be a good fit for your child, then sign up for one of these classes here.

If you want to get updates on our FundaFunda Academy course offerings, just let us know  and we will keep you updated whenever new courses are starting.

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