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Friday, June 27, 2014

Review–Veritas Press (TOS Review)

Veritas Press Review
 
Veritas Press Review
 
What an amazing opportunity it has been to review Self-Paced History, Explorers to 1815 from Veritas Press with flashcards.  I can not say enough good things about this amazing curriculum! (I am not exaggerating)!!  I review a lot of great curriculum, but this one has been a PERFECT match for my soon to be 8year old. 
Self Paced History is a multi-sensory online interactive video curriculum.  It follows the Classical Method.  The lessons are in video format.  They are interesting, and keep my son’s attention.  He has always enjoyed learning via media (video or games), so I thought this would be a good match for him.  I was right!
In addition to the video clips, there are also interactive portions.  These portions consist of questions, quizzes, map labeling, games, spelling and more! They are spread throughout each lesson. Each lessons upon the previous one and also has review portions from previous lessons.  There is a history song that repeats through out the lessons. 
My son BEGS me to do history every day (not that he needs to beg), and to do more than one lesson.  If you knew my son, you would know that WANTING to do do ‘school’ is unheard of!!
He has just loved these lessons, and I couldn’t be more pleased!
The lessons also include flashcards, while not mandatory for the lessons, they are very helpful and add to the multi-sensory features.   Each lesson try to incorporate multiple senses and learning styles.  You hear the material, you can read the material, you apply the material when playing games and filling in blank maps, etc.  So you have Visual, Auditory and Tactile learning!  It’s great!
Veritas Press ReviewVeritas Press Review
We made it through 37 lessons (almost 8 units) during the review period, and my son will not be stopping until it’s done, and that’s because he WANTS too!
We aimed to use the program 3-4 days a week (some times he used it 7 days a week, at my sons request).
In addition to the lessons and flashcards there are recommended reading books to go along.  We did use these books with the lessons; I like to have literature rich learning.  A reading outline is provided, but my son was flying through the lessons so fast (not from ease, but due to interest) he did not read on schedule.  I encouraged him to finish the suggested books before moving on to the next section (which started a new book).  We used the easier reading list (Level 1, for 2nd-3rd grade), though some of the reading was easy for my son, I think most was right on par.  We got some books in kindle format, others we purchased new or used (some are older books no longer available new).  I’m sure most (if not all) could be found at public libraries.
The lessons also incorporate some hands on projects.  The first project came about in Unit 7, Jamestown. I wish there had been some sooner, and others.  There are only 5 projects listed for 160 lessons in 32 units. 
Screenshot 2014-06-20 21.11.38
The only other ‘negative’ statement I could make about this program is that my son does not like the timed spelling activity that is in several lessons.  I mentioned this to the company already, they are looking into other solutions.  In the meantime,  I just have my son try it one or two times on his own and then I’ll help him; sometimes just do it myself.  If it’s a long word working the mouse to spell it, even if I dictate it can prove difficult in the time limit.  When time runs out, it starts completely over, which just ads to the frustration.
Even with those two MINOR things, we honestly LOVE this curriculum. It is now top of the list for future history lessons!
Do keep in mind, however, that since it is a online program, it is only for one child and only a one time use (another negative, unfortunately).  However, they offer sibling discounts, 
We tried the lessons on our Smart TV and iPad.  You could watch the lessons, but the interactive games didn’t all work.  So, we just switched to doing the lessons on the laptop, it was easier that way. 
Screenshot 2014-06-20 21.10.01
We didn’t have the cards right away, but they did prove useful when they came.  They are a great way for him to review for quizzes and games and be ready for the tests.   The program does grade, this was something new for us (we don’t grade at this point).  This has helped him have a goal and strive to do well on the tests.
Screenshot 2014-06-20 21.10.01
He doesn’t use the cards all the time.  When he gets questions wrong on quizzes I remind him that he has the cards to check dates and information if he is not sure.  By the time the tests comes around he does very well without the cards, he said “I know this stuff, they have said it lots of times”.  The use of repetition in the lessons is phenomenon.  Even though they do the same thing over and over, it is done differently every time and he doesn’t get bored of it at all. 
The end of each unit they have review games where questions are asked and they sail ships or play tic-tac-toe for treasure or find pieces of hidden maps.  This is what my son loves the most.  They only provide part of something, then are told once they finish the next unit they can come back to find more.  It keeps him wanting to come back for more every time!  He also places a medallion on a map at the end of each unit, then he can see all the places and people he has studied and how they relate to each other.
These lessons would be great for larger families.  Having him do these lessons has freed up time that I can work with my other children.  Aside from the spelling portion, he doesn’t ever need help with the lessons.  They are very self-guided.  Though to be honest I would love to sit and watch with him, the extra time is an added bonus!
All I have to do is log into the lessons under my own username and password to see how he is doing.  I can see how he has done on all the assignments (quizzes, tests).  It maintains his average grade at the top (right now he has a B).  I can also see what lesson he is currently on and what lessons he has yet to complete.  You can print reports (in case you need them for homeschool reporting). 
I have been very impressed with all that my son has learned over these last few weeks.  It comes up in conversation often.  We will definitely continue to use this program, and will highly consider it for future history curriculums.  I may still do some additional history work with him, such as book reading, hands on projects and documentaries (but only because I enjoy history too).  The bulk of his lessons will be coming from this program!  The hard part will be keeping up with him since he loves these lessons so much.  I think he’d do them all day long if I let him!
This course is recommended for grades 2nd-6th, with a minimum age of 7 when starting.  The cost is $199.00.  There is a 2 week trial available.  There is a $100 off sibling discount.  Flashcards cost $19.95.  Reading Kits are also available for purchase based on reading level, they are optional and prices vary.  A list of recommended books is available through the course so books can be acquired from library or other means also.  The course is Self-Paced (as stated), when you register you pick the start date, you go at your own pace until the course is completed.  You have one year from your start date to finish. 
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Here are the social media links for Veritas Press:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/veritaspress
Twitter -- https://twitter.com/veritaspress
Pinterest –  http://www.pinterest.com/source/veritaspress.com/
Google+ -- https://plus.google.com/100404634762414542020/about

1 comment:

  1. Our first project will be in our next lesson and I'm looking forward to it. Like YOUR son, my son (8) is love with this program and always is willing to do it. We are doing 1815 to Present for our course. I agree about the timed spelling. My son couldn't ever spell the word fast enough even though he KNEW the answers. If he could have just typed the letters that would have taken care of it...but having to mouse the letters didn't work.

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