Monday, October 15, 2012

Pilgrim Story from DaySpring - A Review


Pilgrim Story Online Course from DaySpring Christian Academy
Grades 3 - 6

Other online courses are available.

About the course (from their website):

"The Pilgrim Story teaches children about one of the most important times in our nation’s history. It is America’s foundation. This self-guided, interactive history course teaches students the true history of the Pilgrims from original sources. The Principle Approach method of education is used, which holds a providential view of history. Students are taught the importance of Christian character and other biblical principles, such as self governance, hard work, and perseverance. Students also learn the biblical principles of Christian liberty.

Lessons include: King Henry, Geneva Bible, Liberty of Conscience, Leaving Leiden, Conditions on the Mayflower, Building Christian Character, the Mayflower Compact, and much more. Students witness the providence of God in the lives of the Pilgrims and the founding of America. This interactive, self-paced course consists of five units totaling 17 lessons complete with assessments and ideas for further study. Appropriate for grades 3-6.

Activities in the course include crafts, application, live action, map-making, and much more—all designed to get students involved in the learning process. Principle Approach students are taught to think and reason from biblical principles and apply them to every area of life, so reasoning questions are also included."


About the instructor (from their site):

                     "Mary Stauffer has taught third grade at Dayspring Christian Academy since 1994. She has led more than 20 guided tours of Plymouth, MA, and uses the words of our forefathers as found in primary sources to teach the Pilgrim story. She also lectures on the subject to the community and is passionate about teaching and preserving the truth of our nation’s past."

What we thought:
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this course.  What a great way to learn about history.  I wish we could take more history courses in this format.  It is fun, interesting, interactive, and contains a wealth of information. 

First, I love history.  Second, I love learning about the Pilgrim time period. Third, I hate using textbooks for history. would stand to reason that this course would be a winner in my book.  And well, it is!

The PILGRIM STORY is an online course, self-paced with 6 months to complete the course.  So, your student can progress at their own pace, as it is convenient for your family.  The course is broken up into manageable bites, covering a different aspect each time such as King Henry or the Geneva Bible.  I think it covers each topic very well, and the added touches of pictures and quotes are very nice.  Activity sheets are included for each lesson, including the notebooking pages.  The answers are underlined in the text of the lessons.  So your child gets the really important details three times.  Once when they hear it, Again when they read the underlined words. And yet again, when they write down the words on their notebooking pages.  I do wish that the underlined phrases would show up AFTER the instructor is finished speaking on that topic.  Because I noticed my daughters reading it and beginning to write it down, while the instructor was still talking and expanding on the topics.  Which means, that they were already zoning out and moving on to writing down the answer.

We broke the lessons down into more manageable sizes.  I am guessing a lesson is intended for one day, but we almost always break it up into two days.  I do wish it was easier to find your place when you log back in.  I had to pull up the table of contents and search for which topic looked familiar, as our stopping place from the day before.

A nice review is included at the end of a lesson and again at the beginning of the next lesson.  At the end of each unit, there is a unit test.  You can choose essay or multiple choice style.  We chose multiple choice.

I am glad to see a course about the Pilgrims for a Christian perspective.  I appreciate that the story starts a ways back before the Pilgrims come onto the scene.  It was interesting to see the events that led up to their decision to start over in a new country.  They were Christians who were committed to living like Christians, no matter the cost.  Their number one priority was to have a clean conscience before God.  

The included printables are a nice addition.  It is up to you to decide which ones you want to include in your lessons.  There are notebooking pages, vocabulary words, lists of important people, interesting charts to fill out, etc.  There are "cool" ones like translating a Bible verse from the original text.  There are "thought-provoking" ones such as listing our external (clothing, food, etc) and internal property (talents, hopes and dreams, etc.) and thanking God for both.  

I am super-excited to see a course like this available.  It is thorough, interactive, multi-sensory, interesting, and informative.  It is a great way to help share our Christian heritage with our children.


 Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge, as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

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