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Veritas Press: Self-Paced History {Review}

Veritas Press Review

I've always known Veritas Press as a company that offers curriculum for a Classical Christian education, but I've never considered myself a Classical homeschooler. I teach history chronologically, but that is as Classical as I get. . . until now.

I received a 12 month course subscription to Veritas Press Self-Paced History: Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation and we're hooked.


The online courses are interactive and teach about important people, events, places and dates in a fun way that helps students remember what they have learned.

How it works:

An interactive tutorial walks you through how to navigate a lesson step by step.

As you make your way through the lesson you unlock the next item in the lesson. From the Table of Contents you can review previous items if needed. There is also a drop down menu for attachments where you can download helpful files and activities to go along with lessons.


You can see your progress on the bottom left of the screen, and the buttons in the lower right allow you to navigate back and forth within a lesson. The forward button is locked until you work through the lesson. The play and pause button is also a next button which when pressed moves you forward through a lesson as you complete it.

It's that easy.


Words on the screen help explain what you are learning. And the lessons are engaging with pictures, video, activities, and games to teach, review and reinforce what your child is learning.

Lesson Flashcards contain information that is presented in the lessons. They are color coded, titled, numbered, and contain supplemental resources for further learning.  They are a required resource.


Quizzes and Tests are easy to complete. You select the correct answer, an arrow lights up, and you click the arrow to move on to the next question. Some questions involve dragging items into correct order or placing items on a map. Questions can be reviewed and updated until the final submit button is clicked. The student is then given immediate feedback with a score and option to review questions and print the results.

At the end of each lesson is a Historical Literature prompt which are optional readings offered throughout the course. When you click on the prompt, an instruction page pops up that lists the book, which portion you should read, and a summary from the previous reading lesson.

To summarize:

  1. Start the course.

  2. Learn the material.

  3. Take a test.

  4. Receive a grade.

Very easy! Try the samples to see for yourself.


How we used Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation:

I received a full years access to the history level of our choice as well as Middle Ages, Ren & Ref Flashcards that accompany the level. I am using the program with my 4th grader, Malachi, who used this course completely independently!

He did his lessons first thing in the morning and often had his lesson completed before I even got up. He moved through the lessons quickly and often did more than one lesson a day.


To make sure I was able to keep up with what he was learning, I had him save his worksheets and tests. To do this, he simply clicked "review" and then exported them as a PDF to view or print later. From my Teacher's account, I can log in and see his assignments, but I can't see the questions he missed, so it is important for him to save his results when he completes an assignment. (I would love to see an option to review questions from the Teacher panel.)

He does a Worksheet at the beginning of a unit and takes a Test at the end of a unit. He has had varying levels of success. His first F was a bit hard to swallow. Test scores are weighted more heavily than Worksheet scores, but he was gradually able to bring his grade up to a B.

If I could change one more thing, it would be to have the Worksheet be in the middle of the unit, instead of on the first day of a new unit.

Material we covered during the review:

  1. St. Augustine Converts to Christianity

  2. Barbarian Invasion and Vikings

  3. St. Jerome Completes the Vulgate

  4. The Council of Chalcedon

  5. St. Benedict and Monasticism

  6. Justinian the Great

We are looking forward to the remaining 26 lessons which will take us through the rest of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation for a total of 32 weeks of instruction.

By the time Malachi has completed this course, he will have memorized the History Memory Song to remember all that he has learned.

The history cards are considered a required resource, but we didn't receive our cards until the end of our review. We made do by using screen shots of the cards in our lessons, but will use the physical cards with our lessons this fall.


The information on the cards is what is covered in the lessons, and can be used when completing the activities, but may not be used when taking the test. (I had to agree to that when I set up the course.)

We did not use the optional resources listed on the back of the cards, but I let Malachi know that if he wanted to explore a topic more, he was welcome to.

When we started, I was hoping to start where we left off in our current program, which was the Feudal System. But, each lesson builds upon each other and there is continual review, so it is necessary to start at the beginning.

My Thoughts:

Veritas Press Self Paced History was a big hit! Malachi loved being able to work independently, watch the videos, play games, and more.

He loved how interactive, challenging and fun it is. He asked me several times to play the games, and he's right - they are fun and interesting. In the following activity, I had to search the Monastery for clues. As I searched the Monastery, I talked to Monks to get more information, clicked on objects to reveal notes, and answered questions pertaining to the lesson.


I am impressed that he is learning about key people, events, places and dates. . . and remembering them!

I especially love that it frees me up. This is a huge reason why we will continue on with this course. This program freed me up so much that it will replace our current history program for the coming year, and I can see us using it through 6th grade.

And while this is an online interactive course, hands on projects are included!

In Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, the projects include:

  • a Monastic Manuscript

  • replicating Charlemagne's Crown

  • build a castle

  • make a Coat of Arms

  • make a Feudal Ranks poster

  • make trenchers (recipe included!)

  • make a Doomsday Book

  • make a stained glass picture

Age Range: 

Veritas Press: Self-Paced History is designed for grades 2nd through 6th, with a recommendation that your child be 7 years old before they start the course. If you started in 2nd, you could get all 5 levels in. However, I didn't feel my 2nd grader was ready to use this program independently, so I feel it is better suited for grades 3rd through 7th.

Price:

Tuition is $199 per course. If enrolling a sibling, Veritas Press offers a discount of $100 off. Flashcards are $19.95.

Note: You can use the course access for more than one student, but only one grade is recorded. Used in this way, a younger sibling may "audit" the course. I recommend this for a sibling who is not quite ready for the program.

At $199 a year, I would buy it just to free me up and give me a peace of mind that my child is motivated, being held accountable, and enjoying the process. But, when a sale comes up for $100 off, I snatch it up quick.

Final Thoughts:

I'd like Malachi to do Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation for 4th grade this year, Explorers to 1815 for 5th grade, and 1815 to Present for 6th grade. I will have him do the optional resources as he has interest, but I plan on adding in some of the books for the historical literature lessons.

I think this is a great program and am really thankful that we had the opportunity to review it. Malachi really loves History and I can hardly keep up with his desire to learn. I love being able to give him a program that he can use at his own pace and not have to wait on his teacher, who has her hands full teaching multiple children of different levels.

Pros: 

  • Learn history chronologically

  • Memorize names, dates, places and events in an enjoyable way

  • Learning is interactive and fun

  • Students can work entirely independently

  • Excellent for visual and auditory learners

  • Great for students who are motivated by games and activities

  • The price is reasonable considering how much time and energy I save as a teacher.

  • 32 weeks of lessons can easily be completed in a 36 week school year.

Cons:

  • It is an online subscription, so it requires an internet connection and a computer during use. We will have students competing for computer time when school starts this fall, so I anticipate it might be a problem at times. I still think it's totally worth it, and if I can get Malachi to get up early to do his lessons like he has been, it shouldn't be a problem for us.

Technical Requirements: 

  • Internet connection with a minimum download speed  of 768 Kbps

  • Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or 7 (IE, Firefox, or Chrome)

  • Mac OSX 10.4 or higher (Safari, Firefox, or Chrome)

  • Flash Player

  • read all the details here.

We are running it on a Mac OSX 10.9 on wifi with high speed internet. I mention this because wifi will slow down a high speed internet connection to about half of it's capability, but we have had no problems at all.

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