Friday, June 27, 2014

TOS Review: Veritas Press

Veritas Press publishes award-winning classical education curriculum. The curriculum is presented by the use of the Trivium method, which consists of three stages of learning; grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric.  The material included within the curriculum is developmentally appropriate and focuses on training students in the truth, beauty, and goodness of the world that God had created.  

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review Veritas Press Self-Paced History, which is an online course.  Vertias Press presents history in a chronological timeline, while integrating biblical history with events not recorded in Scripture in order for children to understand the relationship.

There are five self-paced history courses available:

Old Testament and Ancient Egypt

New Testament, Greece and Rome

Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation

Explorers to 1815

1815 to Present

Each of the self-paced history courses consists of 160 class periods and covers 32 important historical events.  Once registered, you are able to choose your start date and will have one year from the start date to complete the course.

Cost: $199 per student for one course.
There is a $100 off discount for additional students.

Recommended Age: 2nd-6th grades with the student being a minimum of 7 years old.

There are samples of each course available to help determine which would be the best fit for your family.

In addition, for each self-paced course, there are supplementary flashcards, $19.95, that are recommended for purchase.


Izzie, 7 years old, will be studying American History in the fall, so I decided that the Explorers to 1815 course would be a great summer enrichment.

We received a 1-year subscription to the Explorers to 1815 course and the supplementary Explorers to 1815 Flashcards.

There are a total of 32 supplementary Explorers to 1815 flashcards.  Each 5" x 8" flashcard is printed on a glossy card-stock for durability. On the front of each flashcard is a full color image and title.  The back contains a brief description about the person/place/event and optional literary resources that are available.

Cost: $19.95


What's included in the Explorers to 1815 course?

-There are a total of 32 important historical events, starting with Prince Henry the Navigator and ending with the Missouri Compromise.

-Each event is covered in 5 lessons of approximately 30-50 minutes in length.  There are a total of 160 lessons.  It is suggested that 1 historical event (5 lessons) should be completed per week, allowing the course to be completed in 32 weeks.  However, since the course is self-paced and the subscription is activated for 52 weeks, it is extremely flexible to fit the schedule of your family.

-Each lesson is taught by interactive people and/or figures.  Izzie found this aspect very entertaining, especially, the talking totem pole!

Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course

-Throughout the interactive lessons, there are a variety of activities that help the student to memorize names, dates, and places.

 I really liked the repetition of the vocabulary and multiple opportunities to master the concept.  However, Izzie was not able to complete many of the assessments independently.  She needed help reading the words/phrases/sentences.  It would be extremely beneficial for the course to have an optional reading icon for emergent and/or struggling readers.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course

On many activities, if there were any incorrect answers, the wrong answers were simply removed and she was able to try again.  When she finally had chosen all the correct answers, there was a positive comment.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course

Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course

Izzie's favorite interactive activity was clicking and dragging names of places to their correct location on the map.  Again, if she mislabeled a location, it was placed back in the box and she was able to try again.  The curriculum truly focuses on mastering the concept instead of right/wrong answers.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course

She also enjoyed playing the Prince Henry the Navigator game.  She guided Prince Henry around, while trying to search for missing pieces of a map.  In order to obtain the piece of the map, she had to answer review questions.  Again, it would have been extremely beneficial for her to have an optional reading icon.  She needed help reading some of the unfamiliar words.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course

Izzie's least favorite activity was the spelling activity.  She was given a word, such as "cloister" and had to spell in correctly within a specific time frame.  Izzie is only 7 years old and many of the words were new vocabulary, so she did not know how to spell them.  Honestly, I struggled helping her spell "cloister".  I would suggest having an option to remove the timer.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course

At first, Izzie was very excited to work the puzzle activities, but each time she would get too frustrated to complete the puzzle.  She was shown what the puzzle looked like at the beginning, but once she hit the next button, the original image disappeared and she had to complete the puzzle without a visual guide.   For younger students, it would be extremely helpful to have the completed puzzle image on the same slide so that the student can reference the image, while completing the puzzle.    

Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course

In addition, there were extra informative slides.  Izzie liked the visual of seeing what she had completed.  On this particular slide, once she clicked and completed the activity for each totem pole, the image transformed from black and white to color.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course

I really liked the What Else Was Happening? slide, which briefly explained what else was happening in history at the time of the specific historical event being taught.  Again, this particular slide had a visual to differentiate which part had been completed by the headline changing from black to red. 
Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course

In addition, there is one worksheet activity in each historical event (5 lessons), which reviewed the information.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course

Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course

 Lastly, at the end of each historical event there is a test.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course

Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course


What are my final thoughts regarding Veritas Press Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 course? 

1.  I've been searching for a chronological history curriculum that is Christ-centered focused, so this curriculum is a good fit for my family.  In addition, I appreciate that biblical history and events not recorded in Scripture are included on the timeline. 

2.  Since it is a self-paced course online, it is extremely convenient and flexible to meet the needs of my family's schedule. 

3.  The interactive activities were fun and engaging, which helped Izzie memorize the names, dates, and places in a short time period.

4.  The supplementary Explorers to 1815 flashcards are nice to use as a visual timeline.  However, if your budget is tight, I don't think they are necessary. 

5.  I'm debating on whether to purchase the optional Literature Kit.  There are 3 different kits: Level 1 for grades 2-3, Level 2 for grades 4-6, and a combination kit for Levels 1 and 2, which is perfect for a family with multiple children in various grades.  There is a historical fiction reading schedule that corresponds to each lesson, included with the self-paced course.  

6.  My only suggestion for improvement would be to add a reading icon to help emergent and struggling readers.  Otherwise, I would recommend the self-paced course to children who are fluent readers.


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