Wednesday, June 29, 2016

TOS Review: Family Online Subscription from Veritas Press

Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review

Veritas Press sent us a one-year family online subscription to to review. This comprehensive curriculum is suitable for children in 2nd through 6th grade. Veritas Press implements a Classical Christian Educational Approach. We started with the first program titled, Genesis to Joshua, which covers several Old Testament Bible books beginning with the topic of Creation and ending with Joshua's Last Words. This homeschool Bible curriculum utilizes magnificently illustrated stories, interactive games, relevant mapping exercises, educational activities, and video lesson content.

There are 3 modules currently available including:
  • Genesis to Joshua
  • Judges to Kings
  • The Gospels
Two other modules are under development:
  • Chronicles to Malachi and Job
  • Acts to Revelation
Each module is centered around 32 core Biblical events which inspire your child to study and learn God's Word. Each event is divided into 4 separate lessons which contain approximately 4-20 slides. This means that with a family subscription, you'll have access to 128 lessons within the three courses. Each family can choose which program to begin first; courses don't necessarily have to be done in chronological order.

The information taught is thoroughly presented by Abigail and her brother (Asher) with the help of two animated characters known as Teb (cat) and Tizzy (gnat). The program teaches children about key people, places, dates, Scripture references, and main historical events from the Bible. Abigail and Asher are fully costumed actors set in front of a n authentic background which help bring the Bible to life. The dialogue between the two characters was humorous and the stories were interesting.

How We Used
Alyssa (Age 8) who works at a 3rd-5th grade level used this online subscription 3-5 times per week for approximately 20-45 minutes a day depending on the event and number of lessons completed. We aimed at her completing 1-2 events per week and 1-2 lessons each day. You can easily decide on and adjust the pace this way. We used Chrome 51 as our preferred browser on our Mac OS X 10.9.5 computer. The screen resolution size for best performance must be at least 1024 x 768.

My daughter started with the free trial at the very beginning and diligently worked through the lessons in sequential order beginning with Creation. This Bible curriculum tied in perfectly with her Science curriculum which covered Creation for the first two weeks. She made great connections between the two programs.

After logging in, she chose an avatar. The complete curriculum begins with step-by-step instructions on how the program works. I clicked on the drop down menu to see a Table of Contents showing the lesson sequence. The lesson below consisted of an introduction, review activities, short video footage, Bible card reading, and more. The lessons will vary for each event. By clicking on the white circle seen below, a new lesson will launch. You must earn at least one star on your banner flag to proceed. You proceed by clicking on the "Ok, got it!" statement.

We usually utilized as Alyssa's core Bible curriculum in the morning to jumpstart our day or at the end of the day after homeschool lessons were finished. We will continue to use the program in chronological order throughout the summer until our subscription expires next May. Alyssa worked at her own pace, but I was always nearby to facilitate, review material, and assist if necessary. After the review period, she'll independently work through the lesson sequence now that she's familiar with the format. I believe she will start working at a faster pace at that time. There were many different types of activities including but not limited to matching, mapping, identifying, fill-in-the-blank, true/false, sequencing, timelines, event ordering, family trees, and so much more.
Event Ordering Activity
Cain and Abel Family Tree
Creation Sequencing
Matching Consequences
The Bible Card reading lesson is clearly read aloud. Related characters and images are shown on the screen during the read aloud. These cards are always available to review afterwards, but it may be helpful to purchase the optional physical Bible Flashcards for an offline review. We didn't find them to be necessary. The repetitive nature and consistent review aids in long-term retention.

A variety of interactive games scattered throughout the program pulled Alyssa's interest and attention into the learning environment and reinforced material being taught. Critter Catch, Grain Wheel Game, Fruit Fall, and Bake a Cake were several of her favorite games to play during the review period. Critter Catch required her to answer comprehension questions to earn game time. She could even unlock a 2x2 Bonus which means she earned extra points when 2 of the same type of critter was caught one on top of the other.
Critter Catch
Bake a Cake
The Grain Wheel game was her absolute favorite game. The numbers 100, 300, and 500 were seen twice on the giant wheel divided into 6 parts. The number spun determines the point value for the question. Alyssa's task was to click on the middle "Spin" button and to push "Stop" middle button when ready for the spinner to land on a number. If she answers a comprehension question correctly, then she would earn the amount spun. It seemed like almost all of the games were "favorites."

Fruit Fall was a game played to review The Fall in the Garden when studying God's Covenant with Abraham. First, she chose a character which was either Adam or Eve. Then, the game began with a 3-second countdown. Her task was to answer review questions on a tree branch. Four multiple-choice answer choices were given on a basket. Sound effects indicated whether your answer choice was correct or incorrect. If she answered two review questions correctly, then she earned 30 seconds of gathering falling fruit. One point was given for each fruit caught. She used the left and right arrows to move the character. Once the game ended, she received her total number of points. Game directions are clearly stated at the beginning.

The catchy Timeline Memory Song was the perfect tool to help her memorize the 32 key events of the program in chronological order. The length of the song was almost 4 minutes. Alyssa would sing in while doing chores, in the car, and around the house just for fun. She loved the song and said it was addicting! Each main event was shown on the screen with key words or phrases in addition to a visual story illustration and/or date. She couldn't help but stand up to sing the song. Alyssa would often create hand and body motions for each event to aid in memorization. would occasionally asked children to read particular Biblical verses such as "Open the Bible to Genesis 1 and 2" to complete the activities. The online content is based on the New King James Version. She would utilize her HCSB version of the children's Bible. The curriculum motivated her to use and read her Bible more frequently.

During specific video lessons, several vocabulary words were verbally defined. For example, the words "temptation" and "stonemason" were shown on the screen. The actors would read aloud the corresponding definition. I encouraged Alyssa to utilize those words throughout her day and if possible to use it in a sentence, because I wanted her to understand how to use the word correctly in the context of a sentence. One new word she added to her vocabulary knowledge was "bitumen."

I was impressed with the fact that Art, Geography, and Music was integrated into the lessons. Occasionally these activities would lead to extension activities. For example, a painting by Jan Brueghel was shown during the Creation lesson. Alyssa researched the artist later that week. The map work replaced our current Geography lessons. Locations mentioned in the Bible lesson were mapped out on the screen and she was encouraged to recognize their locations.

Alyssa was given online worksheets and tests to complete as she progressed through the content. The worksheets and tests assessed her understanding before allowing her to proceed. It also reviewed new and previously learned content. These lessons MUST be passed before Alyssa could move forward with lessons which encourages mastery level learning. The lessons will remain LOCKED until a passing score is earned. The worksheets covered only Bible flashcard content. Answer choices shown in red indicate wrong answer choices and correct answers are in a green font. Answer choices were given in multiple-choice format. You can retake any worksheet and test.

Graded reports with automatic feedback were offered during the 1st and 4th lesson. I decided to print Alyssa's worksheet and test grade reports upon completion to track her progress and grades, because the online subscription does NOT have a feature which records grades. The scope and sequence is the same as the Self-Paced Course except for the online version doesn't store grades. This information truly helped me assess her understanding of the material. I was able to view the correct and incorrect answers, her percentage score, and the actual questions. This pertinent information allowed me the opportunity to clarify misunderstandings through discussion, reteach content, or have my daughter rewatch the lesson videos. A passing score of 70% was required to advance to the next lesson. You can also take and save screenshots of the scores. I wish I could save the reports in PDF format, but it only saved the screenshot below as an HTML page.

After completing an event, a related story image fills the lesson map trail page. Characters are added to the picture and stars were given. Her progress through the curriculum was tracked by viewing the number of earned stars on the screen. At least one star was required in order for her to move forward or on to the next lesson. The stars represented how she performed on each lesson. Three stars meant "great," two stars indicated a "good" job, and 1 star was "passing." She wasn't allowed to move forward until a lesson was completed with a passing score. Material is constantly being reviewed. The built-in review definitely helped solidify and reinforce learning. Alyssa wasn't bothered by the bloody scene below, but she did say that younger children may not like it. 

My daughter already completed and learned about 9 Biblical events including Creation, The Fall in the Garden, Cain and Abel, Enoch and Methuselah, The Flood, God's Covenant with Noah, The Tower of Babel, Call of Abraham, and God's Covenant with Abraham.

What We Liked
  • Interactive Games and Activities
  • Chronological Study
  • Colorful User-Friendly Interface
  • Funny Animated Talking Characters
  • Printable Grade Reports
  • Mastery-Based Learning
  • Built-In-Review
  • Online Worksheets and Tests
  • Multi-Sensory Program Addresses All Learning Styles
  • Biblically Sound and Accurate Curriculum
  • Visual Timelines: Click and Read Card Descriptions

Overall Thoughts and Results
The amount of information taught was extraordinary. This elementary Bible curriculum taught us both much more than I ever expected. The in-depth coverage doesn't compare to anything I've ever reviewed. I give the company a round of applause and a pat on the back for going above and beyond. I was 100% impressed with the fact that my daughter was learning Noah's genealogy, mapping Biblical locations, and studying family tree information. The lessons and fun activities were age-appropriate. The built-in review helped aid retention for longer periods of time. This is an exceptional way to learn and study the Bible. I believe wholeheartedly that if Alyssa utilizes, then she'll have a strong foundation in God's Word. I pray that we will be able to continue using this program for years to come.

Alyssa is DEFINITELY retaining the information taught. Her Bible knowledge is expanding. She eagerly shared several stories she learned about using the online curriculum with our pastor and other church members. She gave rave reviews about it encouraging them to use it during Children's Church. She received passing worksheet and test scores. The passing score is set at 70% but she consistently earned much higher scores which I believe is due to the fact that concepts are structured, repetitively taught, thoroughly covered, and consistently reviewed. Alyssa really enjoyed using this program. She couldn't stop talking about how fun the games were and about the humor of the actors and animated characters. After using, my daughter could easily tell me relevant facts about what she learned during a lesson.

I absolutely LOVE the flexibility of the curriculum which allowed Alyssa to work through the contents at her desired pace covering as many events as possible. My daughter is absorbing the material quickly. She is currently working through the first program and has completed 28% of it. I appreciate that there is NO PREP WORK.

Veritas Press did an excellent job choosing engaging games and activities for children. My daughter asked to do Bible lessons every day. It was THE subject she wanted to do most of all. Another fun activity Alyssa adored was creating her own world. She had to answer comprehension questions to unlock the features.

Possible Vendor Suggestions
1.) Incorporate hands-on Bible projects and related literature to the online curriculum.
2.) Add an optional way to track grades for multiple students using the family online subscription.
3.) My daughter's only dislike about the entire program was the sheep game. A question was asked and four animal pens held answer choices. After answering a question, she had to enclose the sheep into the correct pen. She said she dreaded the game and was annoyed by it. The sheep wouldn't stay in the pen and she had a hard time turning them towards it. The only way to move the sheep into the pen was to click on them, but they were constantly moving.

I HIGHLY recommend this subscription to all families regardless of whether they homeschool or not. Homeschool families and Sunday School teachers can use it as a core or supplemental Bible curriculum. If your student enjoys online learning, then you may want to seriously consider this curriculum. Classical Christian and Eclectic Educators may also find this online Bible curriculum appealing. This program can be used individually or in a small group. Multiple children can use this subscription at the same time. Visual and auditory learners may appreciate learning the Bible using
Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review

A family one-year online subscription for up to 5 students will cost you $199. You could also break the family plan into monthly payments of $19.95 per month. A single student yearly online subscription to can be purchased for $99 or $9.95 per month. I suggest signing up for the 14-Day FREE Trial to see how the program works and if your children like it. Monthly subscriptions are also available. Visit the online website store for more information.

Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review

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Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for more Veritas Press reviews about their Self-Paced Bible Courses or to read about experiences with the Online Subscription.
Old and New Testament Online Self-Paced Bible Veritas Review

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