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18 July 2017

Doctor Aviation {Crew Review}

Doctor Aviation

My kids, particularly Hero(10), who loves all things airplanes, were really excited when I told them we would have the opportunity to learn about aviation history while we review Doctor Aviation. It's a six-month aviation course that consists of 15 video lessons, each with an accompanying PDF with all kinds of extras: readings from a variety of books and magazines, YouTube videos, links to virtual tours, and suggestions for relevant places to visit if you happen to be local, as well as activities to do. We are doing it as an enrichment course, but there's enough here that you could easily do it for a high school full credit course, or as a continuing education project for adults. It's really flexible, though, and I've been able adapt and springboard off of the suggested activities for my younger kids as well, even though they are not at all the intended audience. I find the videos to be informative, with plenty for me to learn -- and they hold the attention of both Hero(10) and Dragon(7).

When you log in there's a nice dashboard that shows your current lesson and your progress through the course. It's easy to navigate; the video is at the top, with a list of right under it, and the PDF resources below that.

The lessons are all structured so that, first you learn about "Technical Trivia", where he explains the parts and pieces of aircraft, and how they work, then he covers "Notable Innovators" where he talks about major contributors to the field of aviation, and finally "Legendary Aircraft" where he covers particular airplanes. The videos are each about an hour long, and Dr. Aviation himself is easy to listen to and informative. He alternates between lecturing next to a small aircraft, and showing pictures of the planes and people that he's teaching about.

As soon as we started doing the course, a couple of things started happening in our family. One is that a large percent of the many Lego creations that my boys turned out since we started the review are airplanes. As they'd learn about things, this would be incorporated into increasingly realistic replicas, limited more by the pieces available than anything else: the kids clearly understand what they're doing well enough that it could have been better if they'd had the parts. The other lovely result is the boys, in addition to devouring the materials from the course, would look at all kinds of additional aviation documentaries on YouTube in their free time. I love it when learning inspires enough enthusiasm that the kids seek out more on their own! There has definitely been a lot of self-directed learning that has expanded and explored on these topics.

In addition to the videos, the PDFs for each lesson also always includes recommended books for further reading. This was one area where the course really shines. While my boys love airplanes, and want to know all about how they work, I've always been content that they do work. But the books recommended include several biographies, of notable aviators, and I love those. So this course has a fair amount to offer, even if you're not really into airplanes, because the people around airplanes are really interesting people, and the books I've read have been very interesting. Hero is a strong reader, so in addition to watching the videos, I've had him choose several books from the suggestions to read. Hero and I didn't always read the same ones, but he's also been very happy with the titles he chose. Keeping the videos at the pace of his reading has slowed things to somewhat less than the intended schedule, so we will probably not do the readings for all the units in order to see all the videos before our subscription runs out, but it's been very beneficial to him to do the readings that he has done. Although our library has occasionally not had the exact titles recommended, we've been able to find ones by the same author, or on topics that we would not have explored if we hadn't had the book list to help me know what to look for. Finding Dragon a few age appropriate titles on the same topics has also been easy, even though these are not included in the materials.

In addition to additional reading material, the PDFs also include activities that you can do. One of the ones that I would like to do with the kids, but haven't yet, is to chalk out the outline of the Wright Flyer on the ground in order to get an appreciation of the scale the Flyer was built on. It's too large to draw on our driveway, and I haven't made it up to the church to borrow the parking lot, but I think that's a really cool way to bring home the scale of the thing. There are also additional resources for finding videos, websites, and virtual tours related to the lesson topics. For the high school or adult learner, you could really go quite in-depth with the materials provided.

Feeling, as I do, that education ought to be thoroughly Christian, there are a number of things I appreciate about this course. Dr. Aviation does not shy away from mentioning God and His involvement in history. Perhaps it is because I grew up with education and faith so strictly compartmentalized by the strong anti-religion taboos in public schools, but I always appreciate it when He is acknowledged as naturally as occasionally is the case in these videos. After reading the recommended McCullough biography on the Wright Brothers, I was as much or more impressed by their character as I was by their genius, and have added that one to my wish list as one I would like to add to our home library. The videos have also emphasized the positive character of other aviators. It's nice that my kids can learn about aviation, but I love that the course is holding up such great role models for my kids; character is the true aim of education.

This course has been great for us. It's extremely adaptable to meet the needs of a wide range of ages, and my kids hang on every word.

If you want to read more reviews of the Doctor Aviation program -some Crew members used as a high school credit- click the banner below.


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1 comment:

Unknown said...

It seemed only natural to credit the Creator of the Universe, the God of the Bible, for creating the laws that allow us to do things like fly airplanes. I am glad that it encouraged you. Thanks for your helpful and thorough review!

All the Best,
Doctor Aviation


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