Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The True Story of the Pilgrims - A New TOS Review!!

It's the time of year when everyone starts thinking about the founding of our country, stories of the Pilgrims and their plight as they escaped to a new world. Wouldn't it be great to get the real story. The one that came straight from those who were on the Mayflower? That would be great. And what would you say if you could hear that story. Well, you can when you check out my latest review program - The Pilgrim Story by Dayspring Christian Academy.
The Product:
The Pilgrim Story is the creation of Mary Stauffer, a 3rd grade teacher at Dayspring Christian Academy.  It was created to teach the real story, the true history of the Pilgrims through original sources.  This is an important period of history - one which created the foundation of America.  The Pilgrim Story is an online course which is self-guided and interactive through an online slide presentation.

You pay $99 for a 6 month subscription that begins within 2 days of purchase and you can progress through the course at your leisure within those 6 months.  The course is created for grades 3 through 6 and teaches them lessons which are combined into units.  There are 5 total units all containing 3-6 sections/lessons.  Each lesson will take between a half an hour to three-quarters of an hour depending on the child/children.  If you do any additional activities or crafts they will take some additional time to complete as well.

The lessons were created by Mary Stauffer, but are spoken by a man who has a very engaging and clear voice.  The lessons are very thorough, historically accurate and are based in Scripture while emphasizing character education.  There is minimum teacher preparation on your part because it has all been done for you.  All you have to do is to print out the resources (vocabulary sheet, worksheets, quotes, principles, etc.)

At the end of each lesson there is a review 'quiz' which is multiple choice and allows them to show off what they learned in that lesson.  Each new lesson begins with review from the previous lesson.  These lessons are taught using the Principle Approach.  For those of you who may not know much about the Principle Approach it is where the Bible is your central resource to teach. All the while history is presented from the perspective of God (not man) while you identify causes and effects of issues.

Our Experience:
I was just as excited to use this program as the girls were.  I love history and this is one of my favorite time periods of history. So we planned to use the program during nap time so that we could listen without being disturbed too much.  I would generally be doing some light cleaning in the kitchen or dining room so that I could hear the lessons while the girls sat and watched and worked.
Each lesson began with a beautifully captivating 'theme' song and a picture that depicted the time the Pilgrims spent on the sea in the Mayflower.  In order to progress through the lesson your child will click on the mouse to go to the next slide.  For each slide the story teller reads the information to the students.  For questions that are to be answered on the worksheets/notesheets the answers are underlined on the slide.  Once the slide has been completely read it remains there until the mouse is clicked to go on - so there is ample time for your student to write down the answers.  This was great because generally Audrie would take longer to write the answers down then Arianna.

As you progress through the lessons some topics have multiple points and one of the girls would click on the slide to reveal sub-topics that would be then taught.  It would bring up great eye catching screens some looking like a virtual world while others looked like an interactive timeline.  There are also short reviews which are similar to a pop quiz.
These lessons came at a great time since we were learning about Early American history.  We are thoroughly enjoying these lessons and the girls look forward to our history time.  One of our major issues with the program is the intensive writing which has been hard for Audrie, but she is only in 2nd grade ( a year under where this program is aimed at) so I don't hold this against the program at all.  I'd also expect the older grades to move at a much quicker rate then we have.  Most lessons took us 2 days because of slow writing and needing a more quiet time for our lessons. (Having a pre-school/toddler makes some subjects harder to work on while he's awake which I'm sure a lot of you know what I'm talking about.) ;)
Another issue I had (which is totally my own problem) was that my computer and my printer decided one day to stop communicating to each other.:(  So printing out the worksheets and vocabulary, etc., was a bit more difficult then I had anticipated.  However, I was able to finally figure out a way to get those printed and luckily the first few lessons I had printed out before my technology went haywire. ;)  For some lessons I was just having the girls write down the information on sheets of paper, which again took a bit longer, but I don't think it was detrimental to the program or their learning.  I would show them the different resources that went with the particular lesson and they were able to glean information from it that way.

My Thoughts:
Even though this has been a bit slow going the girls have really enjoyed The Pilgrim Story   I suspect that when we get to the hands-on projects they will LOVE doing them also.  Each day while they were doing their lesson they would remember who had odds or evens the last time that way they would switch and each would get a chance to be the 'first' one to click the slides (they would click only odd slides or only even slides so that both had the opportunity to 'be in charge') and pause when and if necessary.

One thing I did not like as much was that there wasn't a central location to be able to get all the resources that needed to be printed.  You have to enter each lesson and then on the first slide there was a tab that you could click on and download the resources.  I also didn't like that each resource (vocabulary sheet, note sheet, quote sheet, etc.) had to be downloaded individually.  I think it would be better if there was a "Download All" for this lesson if they can't make a central place for the downloads to be.  It would also be nice to have knowledge of ALL the books that will be used so that you wouldn't have to go lesson by lesson to figure them out.

Other then that I think this is a great program full of accurate history based on the Bible.  That is one thing I have really enjoyed more then anything in this program - it's emphasis on the Bible.  I am happy that my girls are hearing about the reliance on God that the Pilgrims had and that is how this country was created - with a reliance on God.

Please remember to head on over and read how other Crew members used The Pilgrim Story from Dayspring in their family. If you'd like you can find them on Facebook.  You can contact them if you have any further questions about this program or any of their other offerings.


*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***

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