Monday, October 15, 2012

CREW Review- The Pilgrim Story




Dayspring Christian Academy is a Principle Approach school located in Pennsylvania.  Children there and at 24 other Principle Approach schools in America, are taught to develop a biblical world view in all subjects with an emphasis on Christian character.  Dayspring Christian Academy also offers several online classes- one of which we have had the honor of reviewing- The Pilgrim Story.





THE PROGRAM-

The Pilgrim Story is a five unit online study of the Pilgrims taught by Mary Stauffer, one of the teachers at Dayspring Christian Academy, using primary sources as her spring board to learning.  Instead of the commonly used and often times incorrect facts and assumptions many of us learned in school, this class starts with teaching about who the Pilgrims were before they left England and follows their journey to the New World using primary sources as the source of information.

The class is presented in slide manner, read by a narrator, and quite easy to navigate.  Each unit is broken down into smaller lessons, 17 in all, each taking a recommended 30-45 minutes to complete.  You begin each lesson by being directed to print out a note taking sheet, vocabulary sheet and any additional resources needed for that particular lesson.  Beginning in lesson 2 each section opens with a quick multiple choice review of the previous lesson and then ends with one reviewing the lesson just completed.  The fill in the blanks notes sheet are to be filled in while listening to the lecture, with each answer being underlined in the slides as you go, making it easy for the student to copy the information asked for.

Sprinkled throughout the lessons are writing activities that challenge your child to think or research about a topic, a few craft activities and even a few recipes for food to try similar to what the Pilgrims would have eaten.  At the end of each unit is a unit test.  You can choose to take the test in essay or multiple choice form and your score is shown at the end of the test.

To round out this program is a virtual field trip to Plymouth to see pictures of many of the things learned about throughout the course- a kind of last hoo-rah to celebrate, similar to the trip Mrs. Stauffer takes her real classes on.

OUR EXPERIENCE-

For this program my 10 year old and I worked together.  Quite honestly, I had intended on him doing it alone, but after watching the 1st lesson with him I decided that I did not want to miss any of the information myself!  We liked this program in the beginning- we loved it by the end!  There were two days at the end of the program that he even asked if he could do two lessons back to back because he wanted to hear more about the Native Americans.  Some lessons did take us longer than the recommended 30-45 minutes because we would stop and discuss many of the writing activities orally, but that was not bothersome for us.  By printing out the included resource pages, which are in full color and professional looking, and by filling out the note taking pages, you end up with a wonderful keepsake notebook that you can have to document your learning experience.

The downloading of this course was no problem for us, nor was navigating the site.  The resources are clearly marked and easy to run off and your students' progress is kept in chart form along with their grades. 

My son's favorite slide presentation was one in which he was allowed to click on certain items on the page to access more information- for example, the map of the Plymouth Colony.  Our favorite activity was one in unit 2 in which you get to fill a trunk with items you would have chosen to take on the voyage to the New World.  Just as the Pilgrims did,  a lot of thought was given into the amounts of food versus clothing and tools, as only so much would fit in that trunk!  SP also enjoyed the Greek translation worksheet since his oldest sister is taking a Greek class in college!  ;) Our favorite lessons were by far the ones at the end of the program that specifically talked of Squanto and the other Natives the Pilgrims encountered.  We learned several new facts and dispelled a few old "facts" we had been taught in the past.

Completing a mapping activity

As a parent one of my favorite things about this program was that it concentrated on the facts and used many quotes from primary sources to back them up as opposed to the often taught school stories of the Pilgrims and Indians.  I also loved that the Bible was a key topic throughout offering a Biblical worldview.  By looking at how the Pilgrims made decisions based on their Christian beliefs, it allowed us to talk about what we believe, and how we think we would have acted based on those beliefs.  What a wonderfully refreshing way to teach history!

As the holiday season approaches what a better time to learn about our country's simple beginnings and to reflect on the values and faith that can be learned from the Pilgrims.  While this program is recommended for grades 3-6th, I do believe that younger children could benefit from the teachings.  And since the slides are read by a narrarator, your child does not have to be a fluent reader.  For younger children I would have them do the lessons without filling in the note sheets, making it an auditory experience.  Older children could be challenged by many of the writing assignments and I would personally even use the vocabulary for spelling and definition tests.  Because when you buy this program you have access to the class for 6 months, there is ample time to go at a slower pace if your family needs that time.  Want to add in some Home Ec time- assign the cooking projects to your child!

Our only complaint- we would have loved if the virtual field trip had been live footage of one of Mrs. Stauffer's classes as they toured Plymouth.  I think seeing the children interacting with their environment would have really brought it to life and been more fun than the slide presentation.  If you can't go on your own, it is fun to live vicariously through others!

Cost of  The Pilgrim Story is $99.00 and can be accessed within 48 hours of ordering it.  Again, at that time you will have access to the program any time you wish for 6 months.  There is a quick one minute video introducing the program that I would encourage you to watch.

Click on the banner below to see what fellow CREW had to say about The Pilgrim Story!

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Disclaimer- We were given a free 6 month access to The Pilgrim Story in exchange for our honest review of this program.  Opinions expressed are our own and were not influenced by the company in any way.
 

2 comments:

  1. Great review! We also really enjoyed The Pilgrim Story. Like you, I wanted to sit in on the lessons, too! =0) So much great info and details!

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