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Complete Course – Think Like an Architect Review by Laura Delgado

Wayne Kroeplin
Innovator’s Tribe
P.O. Box 550
Marathon, WI 54448

Innovator’s Tribe’s “Complete Course – Think Like an Architect” is a computer-based architecture course that comes with everything your child needs to learn the basics of architecture, including architectural, 3D design software! The course is approximately 30 hours long, and through a series of lectures and exercises, students learn what architecture is and what an architect does. They learn about the tools of an architect and some of the math and science architects use. Students also learn how to read and create blueprints using an architect’s scale. Finally, they learn about something called a “Tiny House.”

In this course, though, students don’t only get to learn; they also get to do! Students develop and choose a favorite style of architecture, use an architect scale to create working drawings, design a floor plan, create a 3D computer model of their dream house, create a material list of a new home design, create a 3D paper model of their new home, and estimate a “Tiny House.”

The course requires very few supplies: printer paper, clear tape, masking tape, pencil, 24” T-Square (instructions will be provided for how to make your own), and 24” x 36” poster paper. The minimum technology requirements as follows (mainly for the included design software):

•   32- or 64-bit Windows 7 / 8 / 10; Mac OS X v10.9 (Mavericks) or newer
•   2.4 GHz processor or Multi-Core Processor
•   5 GB of available hard disk space
•   2 GB of RAM (32-bit); 4GB of RAM (64-bit)
•   512 MB of dedicated video memory or Integrated Graphics, e.g., Intel HD Graphics (driver needs to be 2014 or newer)
•   Network speeds: Greater than 1 Mbps (Test Network Speeds)
•   Browser Requirements: Firefox, Chrome, or Safari
•   Mouse with scroll wheel

The course costs $129 and includes one year’s access to the Innovator’s Tribe online lessons, activity guides, online support, and the downloadable software (which is yours to keep even after the one-year period is up). The course is appropriate for grades 6-12, and if you want to have more than one child complete it at the same time, you can buy an additional student license (for another child in your household) for $89. Purchase of the course also gets you access to the mini-course “Thinking Like an Innovator,” in which students learn brain games, brainstorming techniques, and the true nature of problems and solutions.

Each lesson in the architecture course consists of a video (in the form of slides narrated by Mr. K, or Mr. Kroeplin) that introduces the concept. Those slides may be followed by a suggested YouTube video or visit to a website. Anything extraneous a student may need to do is embedded in the lesson, thereby negating the need for them to leave the safe environs of the course. The lesson concept is followed by an activity. Some activities consisted of brain games, making something (like constructing an architectural scale from paper), or looking at photos of different architectural styles of houses. More in-depth activities included learning to read blueprints and, finally, designing your own home!

This course would suit any type of homeschooler who has an interest in architecture, particularly one with a love for practical hands-on learning. The child who always asks, “But when will I ever use this in real life?” will thrive on a course like this, as will the independent learner. While the course is not limited to homeschoolers, it is designed to be used in the homeschool (and even includes a second-child discount, as explained above).

My 12 year-old seventh-grader completed this course entirely on his own. He decided when he would work on it (for the most part), and he decided how long he would work on it. The latter fact is important, because my son would disappear for hours on end “doing architecture.” He loved this course! From the first email from customer support providing us with login information and instructions, to the last project (which my son is still tinkering with, because you can never quite be done when you’re designing your own home, right?), every step of this course has been easy and intuitive. My son is not the easiest person to please curriculum-wise, but there is absolutely nothing about this course that he doesn’t like. The instructor’s style really resonates with him, and the subject matter fascinates him. I don’t know that he had ever given architecture much thought before, but now he talks about it all the time. He learned so much from this course.

Truly, it is hard to find a single negative thing to say about this course. In fact, my son loved it so much that we are about to purchase one of Mr. K’s other available courses, “Think Like an Engineer.” My son has been saying for some time that he is interested in learning about engineering, so the fact that an instructor he has already come to know and like offers a course in engineering is just wonderful! “Think Like an Architect” is well-suited to many different kinds of students, but would be especially enjoyed by visual and design-oriented students who enjoy independent work with practical real world applications. I highly recommend it.

-Product review by Laura Delgado, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June, 2016