Homeschooling

Review of Veritas Press Self-Paced History Courses

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

Now through August 30, get $100 off any self-paced course (omnibus, Bible, or history) when you use code BACK2SCHOOL.

If some part of homeschooling isn’t working for you, change it!

Depending on when you started school, Thanksgiving break marks about twelve or fifteen weeks into the academic year. By now, you’ve been at this long enough to grasp a sense of what curriculum is working well for you — and what isn’t. Enough time has passed for you to take a healthy assessment of your real homeschool situation, as opposed to your ideal homeschool situation. If things aren’t running as smoothly as you had hoped, don’t despair! It’s early enough in the school year to make changes.

Homeschooling, like parenting, is a strange beast. It requires humility and flexibility — but it also requires confidence and assertiveness. Like Kenny Rogers sang, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em / Know when to fold ’em / Know when to walk away…” (Probably not a song that shows up in many homeschool morning times, I’m guessing.)

[Disclosure of Material Connections: I received complimentary 12-month subscriptions to the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation self-paced history course and The Gospels self-paced Bible course from Veritas Press in exchange for writing and publishing this post, although this review is of the New Testament, Greece, and Rome self-paced history course, which I purchased with my own money. All opinions — and photographs! ;) — are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. Some links to the Veritas Press website are affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission.]

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

You are in control of your own homeschool.

If you’ve made this far in the school year with a curriculum which just isn’t working out for you, you have permission to make a change. You really do! You are in charge. Your homeschool needs to work for you. You have full freedom to adjust and fine-tune — or completely overhaul — the curriculum choices you made back in July when you were younger, peppier, and full of caffeinated hopes and dreams.

A curriculum you actually use is far more effective than a curriculum you don’t.

This is an obvious statement, perhaps, but it’s 100% true. How many of us have material sitting on our homeschool carts right now which we haven’t touched since Labor Day? Perhaps it’s so labor-intensive we haven’t found a practical way to work it into our daily routines — but we still keep feeling guilty about it? An automated history course you actually complete is far more powerful than a complex unit study you never get around to finishing.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

If there’s a subject you’re not getting through, there’s no shame in making drastic changes to your homeschool plan. No, I’m not advocating skipping entire subjects just because they’re difficult. Rather,  find a streamlined solution so you can get through it all. Sometimes, that means letting go of elaborate plans and finding a simpler, more elegant option. Choose the curriculum which best matches your season of life.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

Here’s why I switched to Veritas Press’ self-paced history curriculum

In past seasons of life, a combo of stacks and stacks of books and extensive, in-depth, old-fashioned curriculum were a terrific option for us. When it was just Aveline and I, we had oodles of time to pour over paper and books together, covering the living room rug with our academic adventures.

But last year, when faced with a NICU infant and a sudden change of our normal routine, we found ourselves falling behind our normal pace of lessons. I was suddenly unable to provide the same amount of meaningful and uninterrupted one-on-one time with Aveline as I had done before. (Some people may be able to sufficiently meet the needs of an intensely academic child as well as a high-maintenance infant, but I am not one of those super people.)

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

After struggling through for several months, I finally overhauled our homeschool this spring. As a part of that overhaul, I signed up for a free trial of Veritas Press’ fantastically interactive online course, New Testament, Greece, and Rome. As soon as I switched to the online option, Aveline didn’t have to wait for me anymore. She could hop online into the world of Greece and Rome whenever she wanted. Even when I was busy tending to baby Lochlan’s needs, she was able to continue progressing in her history studies independently. When the trial expired, I happily bought a paid subscription. I’m continuing to use self-paced history option this school year, too. (Note: Although this is a sponsored review post,  I did pay for the original subscription with my own money.)

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

What is Veritas Press self-paced history?

First, a quick explanation of what it’s not. A self-paced history course from Veritas Press…

  • …is not a series of pre-recorded video lectures.
  • …is not a recorded archive of a previously-live class.
  • …is not a digital version of the print TE/workbook.

It’s much more exciting — and much more kid-approved — than that.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

Veritas Press self-paced history is a multi-sensory, immersive, and interactive experience.

These courses present history in a wide variety of exciting and engaging ways, including…

  • …iconic talking statues, like the Sphinx who comes to life in Old Testament and Ancient Egypt, and Athena who has a regular speaking role in New Testament, Greece, and Rome.
  • …video clips of conversations between reenactors, “on site” in various famous historical locations.
  • …information delivered in a question-and-answer format reminiscent of Socratic dialogue.
  • …audio readings from primary source documents.
  • …”special report” breaking news videos which bring past historical events to life.
  • …map breaks with in-depth interactive geography exercises.
  • …images, floorplans, and explanations of famous buildings and architectural landmarks (where else can third-graders learn about the transept and apse of a basilica?!)
  • …multiple-choice questions sprinkled throughout the daily lessons, some in traditional written form, and some asking students to identify a particular type of architecture or sculpture from a selection of photos.
  • …clever review, presented in the form of classic games like pinball or Jeopardy.
  • …regular reviews of the catchy memory song, to help students memorize historical events chronologically, and
  • …weekly-self-grading quizzes and tests.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History ReviewVeritas Press Self-Paced History ReviewVeritas Press Self-Paced History Review

I really have never seen any other video curriculum quite as extensive, involved, or appealing as these multimedia history courses:

Do I need Internet to run self-paced history?

Veritas Press self-paced history is browser-based, so yes, you do need an active internet connection in order to complete the lessons. But since it’s self-paced and self-contained, it’s completely closed and private:

  • no Zoom or Adobe Connect,
  • no visible usernames,
  • no access to others taking the course,
  • no list of members,
  • no chat streams,
  • no message boxes,
  • no links out of the course,
  • no webcams, and
  • no microphones.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

This is a huge plus, as we try to manage distractions and strive to teach internet safety. And it’s what makes Veritas Press self-paced history work as a viable independent option: I don’t have to preview any links, monitor communication, or check to make sure privacy settings are working. It’s self-contained, so everything needed to complete the course happens inside the course website. When a student launches a lesson, it even automatically forces the lesson to open in a separate browser window which is completely free of the usual distractions. There are no browser navigation buttons, no plug-ins or extensions, no bookmarks bar, and best of all, no other browser tabs.

Each year of Veritas Press self-paced history (see next heading for a complete list) has 160 full lessons, organized over 32 topics, or weeks.

What time periods of history are available in this self-paced course format?

There are three world history modules…

…and two American history modules.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

How long does it take to complete a self-paced history lesson?

Each course has 160 lessons. One lesson will take a student between 45 minutes and an hour to complete.

It is impossible for a student to jump ahead to another lesson — or even a further part of the current lesson — until he or she has thoroughly completed it. I love this feature. I have no qualms about admitting my child would definitely skip over a challenging assignment which required her to dig in and use her brain, if given the opportunity to skip ahead. But self-paced history doesn’t even let you quick-click rapidly through any part of the lessons!

These are chronological, so if a student spends five years going through self-paced history sequentially, they’ll have covered history from creation of the world to the Space Race. I haven’t reviewed the US History content, but I’ve really enjoyed the solid classical foundation of the Egyptian and Greco-Roman ones. (As a side note, Veritas Press as a company is Reformed, with a capital R. This shows up in a few places, particularly in the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation course, as you might expect.)

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

What history events are covered in each self-paced course?

Each of the five courses teaches 32 different major historical events, chronologically over 160 lessons. New Testament, Greece, and Rome, for example, begins with Minoan Culture and ends when the Western Roman Empire falls. And Biblical history is integrated!

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

If you’re wondering exactly which topics are covered in any one of these courses, just go to the website and search for “Memory Song Lyrics” (include the quotation  marks in your search). From there, you can download a free PDF of the lyrics, which will list all 32 events in that particular course. Each of the thirty-two topics is given equal billing, and is covered for exactly one week (5 lessons).

What materials do I need in addition to the online subscription?

History cards! Each Veritas Press self-paced history course is fully integrated with a physical set of 32 corresponding history cards, which you will need to complete the course.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

At the onset of each new topic — there are 32 topics in every self-paced course — the student will need to complete a multiple-choice pre-test. (This pre-test is inexplicably called a “worksheet”, but don’t let that throw you off.) Since this pre-test is at the beginning of every week, on material which has not been covered yet, and counts toward the final grade, you definitely want to own the history cards. Veritas expects the students to consult the cards while completing this pre-test “worksheet”, so be sure your student knows this before he or she jumps in and tries to answer the questions blindly.

Another important thing to note: the flashcards don’t automatically come with the subscription! However, if you click on any of the course listings —

— you’ll see the flashcard set ($25) listed below the product description. (There is also a digital flashcard option for $19, but I don’t recommend e-flashcards. Much better, in our experience, to have the physical cards.)

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

What about the historical literature kits?

There are also literature enrichment packs designed to supplement each history course. I hear from many families who say the literature packs are their favorite part of self-paced history, and really transform the time period to life in a magical way. These literature kits are available in two levels per course (Level 1: grades 2-4; Level 2, grades 4-6).

These books, a combination of picture books and historical fiction titles, expand on what is being taught in the course.

A reading / pacing schedule is provided with your subscription, and kids are prompted to read certain chapters at the end of some of the self-paced lessons. However, this enrichment literature is not strictly required. Students are never asked any comprehension questions about the books, so they are not needed to complete the self-paced course content.

What’s with the reference books listed on the back of each card?

More extras! We own several of the recommended reference books — like the excellent Kingfisher History Encyclopedia — but they are not required to complete the course. One extra resource I wouldn’t miss, though, is the Veritas-exclusive Pages of History.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

Split into Volume 1: Secrets of the Ancients and Volume 2: Blazing New Trails, this time-traveling tale of two boys covers every single event in all five self-paced courses. Aveline loves Pages of History!

Veritas Press Self-Paced History ReviewVeritas Press Self-Paced History Review

What ages and grades is Veritas Press self-paced history designed for?

Each course is intended for grades 2-6. Veritas recommends Egypt for 2nd, Greece & Rome for 3rd, Middle Ages for 4th, first half of US history for 5th, and second half of US history for 6th. However, these courses are incredibly in-depth and advanced, so I see no reason why a 6th grader couldn’t work through the Egypt course.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

Can siblings use the same course? How does grading work?

Your kids can share, with this caveat: the  first child to complete the worksheet and the quiz for any given week will have his or her score counted toward in the running total and final course grade. Retakes, or any subsequent takes at all after the initial run, won’t result in any grade change at all.  The first attempt and the first score are always permanent. So if Child A takes the test and scores a 60, and Child B takes the test and scores a 90, the course will record 60 for that test, and will use 60 as the number used to calculate the final score. There will be no record whatsoever of the 90, unless you print it manually. (In that case, you’d have a paper trail, but the 90 still wouldn’t ever be reflected in the course records.) So yes, students can share, just be aware of the way the overall grade is tabulated, and print graded exercises individually so you can calculate each student’s score manually.

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

How can I sign up for Veritas Press self-paced history?

Simply pick one of the following courses, add it to your cart, and checkout! It’s super easy to transform your child’s history education into a completely independent and hands-off experience. Don’t forget to grab the required flashcards, too!

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

When is the next sale on Veritas Press self-paced courses?

Now! Through December 14 at midnight (EST), purchase any two Veritas self-paced courses and get a third self-paced course free. Just use coupon code ONEFORFREE.

Start studying Egypt, Greece & Rome, the Middle Ages, early American, or modern American history today!

Veritas Press Self-Paced History Review

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