Friday, November 27, 2009

Professor In A Box Accounting Course

TOS Crew Review

Product: Financial Accounting Course

Publisher: Professor in a Box

Price: $134.99 (Special Price)

*I received this product from this company (for free), for the purpose of sharing my opinion.*

I must have been born with the mind of an accountant. At the age of 12, when I first started earning money, I bought myself an account book. I recorded all my income and expenses. I loved having a savings account and enjoyed analyzing numbers.

Later, as a homeschooling mother, I wanted to pass on this “hobby” to my children. As soon as they were old enough to read and do math (7 or 8 years old), I ran out and bought them each a shiny new “cash” book from the local drug store. I showed them where the “credits” and the “debits” needed to go. I showed them how to keep it balanced. Some of their darling entries looked like this:
___________________________________________________
Rachel (at age 10):
Date:                       Description:                            Expense:          Income:
Feb. 8, 1998         Mom paid me for cleaning                            $1.00
May 3, 1998         Bought Bubble Gum                 (.44)
May 8, 1998         Got Allowance!                                                   $ .15
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My own history with accounting is this:

1. Took an accounting course in High School.
2. Self-employed bookkeeper for 4 different small businesses.
3. Certified Tax Professional for 16 years.
4. Sole Accountant for a store / gas station / restaurant we owned for 4 years.

With all this in mind, I was delighted to receive Michael P. Licata’s Financial Accounting program called, “Professor in a Box.” I have not been able to teach my own children the basics of Accounting and have been looking for a program for quite some time. I am honored to have this resource.

I am going to share an overview of the product and then give my own experience.

OVERVIEW:

This is a four CD set. The first three cover all the chapters, from 1 through 12. Each one has a slide presentation (lecture), key terms and homework on PDF files.

The fourth CD is for the instructor. Here you will find an introduction by Mr. Licata, the Exams, Quizzes, Syllabus, Lesson Plans and Excel Templates.

The kit also comes with a brochure-type syllabus, a pencil, calculator and a list of course contents.
The goal of this course is to teach the student Financial Accounting. This is typically what  freshman college students would learn in their first semester.

There are four simple steps:

1. Watch the lectures (slides)
2. Do the homework (the PDF files can be printed out).
3. Check your answers (using the solutions file on PDF).
4. Take the exams (these can be found on the Instructor CD).

Who would use this? [It is designed primarily for homeschooled high school students who have learned basic math. There is no other pre-requisite.]

1. A highly motivated independent learner (if parents have no knowledge or interest in Accounting).
2. An interested student who could work together with a parent.
3. Anyone who wanted to become an accountant and was willing to do the work. (This is an excellent beginning.)
4. Anyone who is interested in owning their own business. (Frankly, if you have no accounting knowledge and run a business, you have an enormous handicap. Even if you hire an accountant to help you, it is still up to you to make the normal, day- to- day decisions. It is essential that you at least have a basic understanding of accounting in order to succeed.)

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 

When I put one of the CDs into my computer, A screen comes up, giving me a choice of which chapter I want to click on. Next, I am taken to the slide presentation. I hear Michael’s voice and see text on the screen. He reads and also shares some extra information to help the viewer better understand the lesson. He has a friendly and knowledgeable voice. The presentation is very clear.

While I was sitting there watching the lesson, my screensaver came up because the computer thought I wasn’t using it. I quickly hit the “space” bar on my keyboard. (Oops!) This ended up advancing the slide to the next section. The best thing to do, I learned, is to just lightly move the mouse. This will bring the lecture screen back up, uninterrupted.

I made one other mistake…. (smiles). I didn’t realize my volume was up really loud. I had been listening to Christmas music while cleaning in the other room. So when I selected my chapter and the lecture slide came up, it took over the entire screen. I had to hit the “Esc” on my keyboard and turn down the volume before I could go back to the lesson.

You may, at times, encounter boredom while listening. This is normal even in a college classroom. I have even had my mind drift while sitting in church during a sermon (gasp). My suggestion is this:

What to do while listening:
1. Take Notes.
2. Sew.
3. Eat M and M’s.

If you are keeping your hands busy, you will remain focused and retain more of the lecture. You may also want to try taking a lot of breaks or only doing a few sections each day. One lovely feature of this program is a pause button. It works wonderfully!

What I love about this program:

1. After you complete the course, you can choose to take the CLEP test. If you pass, you will earn 3 college level credits.
2. Any time you want, you can go back and re-do any section. You can also take as much or as little time as you like.
3. You are given lesson plans with three choices: A full year of study, a Semester- long study, or a summer study. Of course you could also take longer than this if you want. There is a lot of flexibility. This is also a very meaty course. I would take my time and really master each chapter before moving on.

What did my children think?

Amy (14) and Matthew (16) both watched part of a lesson with me, at different times. Honestly, they were bored. But it is because they are not ready for this yet. Both of my children plan to own their own businesses someday and I have every intention of having them go through this course within the next couple of years. At that point, when they are motivated, they will do well.

My personal opinion is that this is an excellent program. I see no negatives. For best results, just make sure the time is right when you start.


To find out more about my reviews, please visit "Introduction to our Homeschool Parlor"

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