The following online class was provided by Veritas Press for the purpose of this TOS Schoolhouse Crew review.
Over the past few years I've heard several of my homeschooling friends share about their children enjoying classes that they take online through Veritas Press. When given the options to apply for their Omnibus class for age 12 and up or their Self-Paced History for elementary students, I requested Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation for my son who just completed 4th grade. The video based online class is designed for 2nd-6th grade students. Tuition for each course is $199.00. They offer a sibling discount when more than one child enrolls in the same course.
To say this class has been a good fit for him would be a massive understatement. My little techie guy requests doing history! Before this, he liked history, but it wasn't his favorite subject. He is my science loving experimenting boy. But this program just might change things up a bit, because for the entire review period history has even been requested frequently. He enjoys it as much as playing the Wii!
For this review, we received a full year's access to Veritas Press Self Paced History Program and a set of Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation Flashcards (19.95 per set) that correspond with the lesson. There are currently five options for the online self paced history, including the one we reviewed:
- Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Old Testament and Ancient Egypt
- Veritas Press Self-Paced History: New Testament, Greece and Rome
- Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation
- Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Explorers to 1815
- Veritas Press Self-Paced History: 1815 to Present
They offer flashcards covering history from creation through the present, divided into five sets which correspond with their history courses. We already owned the complete set of flashcards and use them often for history timeline tasks. For this review we were provided with the third set: Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation.
Teaching my son is different than teacing my daughters. He is a very active ten year old who loves to play and interact with us constantly. I wish I had his energy. He enjoys reading, but when given the option of a book or a game, he will choose a game every time. This history program is full of games, and they are just the right level for his current abilities. It was recommended that we use this program at least 3-4 times weekly. He far exceeded that.
A note about grades: I rarely offer actual grades on his lessons. I test my son. I teach until he masters a concept. But I don't often actually mark a grade/score on his lessons. Online classes are one exception to that. Veritas Press has two different graded tasks in these lessons: worksheets which are at the beginning of each unit and tests which are at the end of each unit. The flashcards basically replace textbooks for this course, and related to tests function similarly. They can be referenced when taking the graded worksheets (sort of like "open book") but not when taking the comprehensive tests. We didn't realize the weight of the worksheet grade when he first started, and the first one, completed without referencing the flashcard, got him started off with a low score. I'm thankful that didn't discourage him in the beginning. When logged in, grades and assignments for the class are visible. Their score is recorded, and by clicking back through the saved results I can even see just which questions he missed. Students are allowed to take the tests repeatedly, but the first score is the one that remains in their online grade book. "Good job" and "great work" have flashed across the screen as well as the newspaper article pictured which congratulates him.
Completed and upcoming assignments can also be viewed and reviewed as desired. The class is designed to be completed in order, but previously completed lessons can be viewed again for reinforcement. The student cannot skip ahead though or pass incomplete segments. Games and activities review past content as well. Joseph used my laptop for this program as it is not compatible with the iPad, though another reviewer shared that she downloaded an app which did allow her to view the videos on her iPad. I need to research that option. You can test your computer's compatibility with their program through their website.
Optional Literature kits are available for grades 2-3 and grades 4-6. Excerpts and summaries from the literature selections are included in the course. For the Middle Ages course, Joseph's current book is Beowulf which we also already had on our shelves (from my high school.)
My son used this course by logging onto the program and working through the lessons. Games broke up the lectures, but lectures taught by a teacher dressed in period costume and cartoon graphics representative of that era kept his full attention, too.
My son is thoroughly enjoying this course, and I would definitely recommend it to other homeschooling families. I didn't know just how much he would enjoy it, and I'm thankful that we had this opportunity.