Monday, June 27, 2016 {TOS Review}

Each year on the crew, I often end up reviewing something I wouldn't have found on my own, and such is the case with the family subscription to from Veritas Press.

Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review

What is Veritas Press?
Veritas Press offers curriculum for Classical Christian Education, and is a more relaxed version of their online Self-Paced Bible program.  The program currently allows members to access three major courses:

Genesis to Joshua
The Gospels
Judges to Kings

The courses each cover 32 major Biblical events and they are designed to each last approximately one year.  So essentially you have access to *three* years worth of curriculum.  There are "skits" performed by live actors, animation, graphics, and other interactive elements to entertain, educate and quiz all at the same time.  The program uses NKJV for scripture.

I decided to start us off with Genesis to Joshua, mostly because I like to go in order.  The course is set up as progressive maps and we move through events by completing each lesson.  You receive stars (1-3) based on how well you do.  You can progress with at least one star, and you're always able to repeat the lessons if you need to review, but you can't skip ahead.  The course saves your progress, so you know exactly where you left off each time.  Here we are starting The Fall in the Garden.

Working through the lessons is pretty self-explanatory.  Available lessons are white, and once you click on the white circle, the lesson opens up and begins.  As you progress through the lesson, you're instructed when to complete activities or answer questions.  The lessons in this course are led by Asher and his sister Abigail, and these are live-action videos.  They are very upbeat.  There is a lot of sibling bantering and joking going on, and I understand it's supposed to be cute and entertaining--my 9 year old did catch on and found it humorous--but it's not the type of jokes I find appropriate.  One example is when the brother says people say he has the face of a god, and the sister says something along the lines of how they meant he had the face of a dog.  Sure it was meant as a joke, but I was discouraged to find this type of humor in a Biblical curriculum.

Multiple students can be on your parent account, allowing them to do work at their own pace, or even in different courses.  Even though it is a family subscription, it is designed so that each student works through the course independently.  Because we like to do many subjects together, particularly Bible, this didn't work for us.  I would love to see a way for families to watch the lessons together, and then children to "sign in" to their individual accounts to answer questions and do quizzes.  While it does grade the quizzes, it doesn't record the grades, so if you want to save them, you'll probably want to print them as they're completed.  I do love the positive reinforcement students get for correct answers during the interactive part of the lessons, and so did the boys.

 To fit our family-style learning, we all ended up working under one account.  We watch the lessons together, and I usually ask the kids to alternate who answers questions.  My rising 4th grader usually does the slightly harder activities, like labeling maps.  There is a review song, and the kids found it quirky and catchy, but it's long.  I also noticed the course references their flash cards that are sold separately, not as part of the subscription as far as I can tell.  I didn't see reference to these flashcards on the homepage, only when they were brought up in the course--I finally found mention of them in the Help section of my account when I was poking around.  I just wanted to put that out there for people who aren't familiar with Veritas Press or their online courses.

Final Thoughts
The boys tolerate this program, but don't particularly love it.  This is the only online program we've had technical trouble using--it tends to pause and buffer, even though the "slow connection" light is not lit up on their interface--but we stream lots of videos and use other online programs and haven't had issues, so I'm not sure of the cause.  The buffering drags out the lessons and makes it difficult to finish in a reasonable amount of time, so I think that's part of their issue with it.  My six year old is on the young end of the target audience (2nd-6th grade) so he tends to zone out occasionally. My nine year old understands the material, but hasn't done great with the presentation of the material.  Something just doesn't click with him.  Aside from the two small issues of sibling bantering and it not being quite as family-friendly in execution as we need, I still think it's good quality and solid teaching.  I thing the grade range is spot on.  If you are looking for an online program for children who thrive with audio-visual aids, and want your children to study Bible independently, this program will probably be great for you, so check out their free trial!

Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review

Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review

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