High school is a completely different experience in a child’s academic journey. Along with studying required subjects on a more in-depth level, they also can start investigating different areas of interests that may lead to a future career. Many children may express their interest in typical careers like going into some form of medicine, an area of engineering, a teaching specialty or other. It is probably not often you hear a student share they want to become an aviator when they grow up. Just because you do not hear that, it does not mean they have no interest in aviation. I was surprised at the interest when I shared Doctor Aviation with my children. I should not have been surprised, because my sons like the mechanics of things. I know it is not just a boy thing, but in this instance, it only applies to my sons.
Doctor Aviation is an online program that provides aviation education for people of all ages. The videos are presented by Daryl Smith who also goes by the name of Doctor Aviation. Smith, a college professor, has a background of more than 20 years in the Air Force. Through the aviation online training videos, Smith invites viewers into the world of flight with aviation education that includes aviation history, mechanics and careers in the aviation field.
I have been lesson planning for months trying to get ready for River’s freshman high school year. Along with required courses, he may choose from many courses to satisfy his elective requirements. My desire is to fill those elective credits with courses that interests him and could possibly lead to a future career. The Doctor Aviation curriculum seemed a good fit as one to introduce River to the field of aviation. Another plus is the curriculum satisfies the required hours to qualify as a high school credit course; either one half or one full credit depending on how much of the work your child completes.
There are more than 15 hours of video training the student will watch, plus, the program includes “action steps” of guided notes to complete, “To Learn More” handouts of additional resources to read/watch and activities to complete and tests (and practice exams).
The Doctor Aviation course covers five key areas in aviation:
I. The Aircraft
II. Air Traffic Control
IV. Airfield Operations
V. The Aircraft II
Each of those areas cover topics more in depth for comprehensive instruction about aviation. You may see the 15 session/lesson topics that are covered.
Since River is taking this course for high school credit, I am a bit more diligent about making sure we cover all the instruction. He had a tag along (Canyon) who sat with him and watched some of the video lessons, which he covered a few times a week.
And let me tell you, the videos are long, but not unreasonably long; especially since it is a high school level and above course. Also, Doctor Aviation provides a lot of information in this course and along with the lecture includes visuals like this one that shows the interior of an airplane engine area.
Each lesson is broken up into three segments that cover a “technical aspect of aviation, a notable figure in aviation and an important event in aviation.” This picture is of Amelia Earhart at Fort Island.
There are three segments in each lesson.
1) Technical Trivia (technical aspect of aviation) – some topics presented are the aviation system, airplane components and air traffic control.
2) Notable Figures (notable figure in aviation) – some people presented are Nate Saint, Chuck Yeager II , Daniel Bernoulli, Amelia “Meeley” Earhart (a former homeschooler) and Kelly Johnson.
3) Legendary Aircraft/Events (an important event in aviation) – some events presented are Breaking the Sound Barrier, UAL 232: Sioux City, Iowa Crash and the First Flight at Kitty Hawk.
Along with the knowledge students obtain from the lessons, there are other ways they may benefit from the course. I allowed River to read through the handouts before watching the video lesson. It familiarized him with what would be discussed and made it easier for him to listen and watch for the information he needed to complete the handouts. Students are encouraged to take notes, which is a good skill for a high school student to learn. Sometimes, I sat and watched the lessons with River. Going through the course reminds me of a college level course where the student listens to a lecture, so your student will get a taste of what it is like to sit in a college level course. Although the lessons are around one hour long, people younger than high school level may still be able to enjoy them by watching in shorter sessions (ex: 20 or 30 minute sessions) or watching the videos in segments.
Doctor Aviation is a wonderful introduction to the field of aviation. The presentation may sometimes seem a bit long and tedious, but Daryl Smith’s aviation experience definitely comes through and students will benefit from his knowledge. Although I have no aspirations to go into aviation when I grow up, I did enjoy the aviation history Smith shared as well as learning about the lives of the notable people. Many of the people presented are not your typical well known people, but their stories were interesting and ones everyone can learn from. I know video is not easy to remake and can be expensive, but I think the addition of Bessie Coleman (add to Session 4) and the Tuskegee Airmen (add to Session 3) to the “To Learn More” section would be great! Both had significant impacts on the aviation field and should be recognized when discussing aviation.
River will continue to work through the aviation education program to completion, which will earn him his first high school credits.
If you have a child who has already expressed an interest in aviation, you should definitely consider adding the program to their schedule. Even if aviation is not an area of interest, Doctor Aviation provides an opportunity for your child to not be limited in their knowledge base. One of the great perks of homeschooling is being able to introduce our children to many new experiences. Doctor Aviation takes students about as close as some may ever get inside of the field of aviation and he does a great job.
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