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Getting to Know and Understand Your Video Lesson Guide
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In my house, there are 3 school-aged children (11th, 7th and 4th) all doing Distance Learning with BJU Press. That means I have 21 cases of DVDS to manage. I have a system that works for my family with managing the individual DVDS. I also have figured out, 3 years in, how to manage the Video Lesson Guide (VLG) that comes with each subject. It’s actually the first thing I look for in my parent and/or student packets.

If you are new to distance learning, or have not quite ventured into it yet, a VLG is your lesson plan that includes day, video, content, materials, text, assignments and facilitator instructions. When you do an entire grade of distance learning, you will get a guide that has all subjects for that specific grade in one. You will still get the individual VLG per subject as well.

Last year, we used the combined subjects guide for my children. We quickly found out that there was lots of flipping back and forth if we did not stay on the same day for each subject. This year, we are using individual VLG per subject at the request of the kids and it seems to be working.

As a special note, I want to mention the great new feature on these VLGs. At the top of the front page, BJU Press has listed abbreviations you will need to know which books you will need. Last year, I had written a cheat sheet of these abbreviations out for my then 3rd grader and taped it above her desk. I may still do that to help her remember throughout the year, but I love that it was included this year.

What exactly is included on the VLG?

Day and Video – there are 2 separate columns for this. In some subjects the day and video numbers line up, in others they do not. This is important to note - the day and video numbers are not always the same. I always have my children double check the video number before they begin.

Content – I love this box as I don’t watch the videos with my 3 children. They watch their videos independently. However, this box tells me what they are working on and the length of the video. My daughter likes an abundance of information so she loves this as it gives an overview to her as well as the time of each video.

Materials – This section will tell you what you need for the day. This is a great place to look ahead and see if there are upcoming handouts or extra materials you will need to make sure you have on hand. It also is a great place for a child to see what they need to get out before beginning the video.

Text – This section will explain which texts you are using and what pages. For example, my 4th grade daughter’s Heritage Studies Course lists her Student Text (ST) and her Activity Manual (AM) pages here. In elementary classes, students may pause to read their student text and begin work on their activity manual pages.

Assignment— Students will find what needs to be completed and read in this section. My children know that they are not done with their subject until they have completed the assignment section.

Facilitator Instructions – My kids refer to this as Mom’s section. It tells me what I need to grade and check. I also like that it reminds me to record the grades on their record sheet (also provided by BJU Press).

Extra Tips for Using the VLGs:

• In our house, we spiral bind them by subject. Loose papers never survive and we wanted something smaller and more manageable than a 3 ring binder.
• I use my VLG as a record of when each assignment is completed. My children date their VLGs as they complete each day. I have a record and it also lets them know where they need to begin the next day.
• You are given 2 copies of the VLG, one for the student and one for the facilitator/parent, but we only use 1 in our house as our master. These sit in a file box at each of my children’s desks. They take them out and return them so we don’t have lost VLGs.
• I highlight optional assignments on mine for my children. They know if it’s highlighted they need to check if they are doing that or not.

If I lined up all 21 of our VLGs that would feel very overwhelming and might just send someone running. However, I have learned how to use the VLG to keep my children and me on track. I also know that this is my lesson plan already created for me and is truly priceless. Like everything in life, there is a learning curve. I encourage you to get familiar with your students’ VLGs. The more you use them, the easier they become to read.

Debra Schroeder


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Cassandra lives in Southeastern Ohio, in New Concord, just an hour east of Columbus. She graduated from Maranatha Baptist Bible College with a bachelor's degree in nursing. While in college, she met her husband, Michael. She has been married for 25 years, serving alongside him for 18 years as he pastors Lighthouse Baptist Church...
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Jessie Johns

Jessie Johns has lived in the sunny state of Florida since she was two years old. She graduated from Florida International University with a bachelor's degree in psychology and worked in the childcare industry for ten years. In 1996, she married her wonderful husband, Billy, and they have been married for 23 years...
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Megan Hutson

Megan Hutson is a homeschool graduate from Houston, Texas! She grew up using BJU Press Homeschool materials from the time she was in kindergarten until she graduated high school. During her junior and senior years of high school, Megan also took several dual credit classes at San Jacinto College...
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