Thursday, March 1, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: Drive Thru History Adventures Subscription Review

Drive Thru History Adventures

Our online subscription to Drive Thru History Adventures has been a blessing to review. If you are looking for a Homeschool Video Curriculum for American History, Bible History, or Ancient History, then Drive Thru History Adventures may have a program for you. It is designed to be used with the entire family and is intended for children ages 12 and up. It is suitable for younger children ages 5 and up with adaptations and guidance. Extensions can be made for older children as well which can include research, essays based on discussion questions, projects, or even looking further into primary resources.

Dave Stotts was our hilarious tour guide. He has two decades of professional video and media production experience. He's traveled to over 30 countries to document varies topics. He lives with his family in Dallas, Texas. My daughter is hoping one day we'll run into them.   
Drive Thru History Adventures 

What We Received
We received a one-year online subscription to Drive Thru History Adventures. The subscription also includes access to the expanded curriculum components. We have access to the ENTIRE site for the ENTIRE family including the following three courses:
  • American History Adventures: Early American History - 12 Weeks 
  • Bible History Adventures: Life of Jesus Based on the Gospels - 18 Weeks
  • Ancient History Adventures: Early Greece, Rome, and Asia Minor Empires - 12 Weeks 
Furthermore, we also had access to the Adventures TV app where you can stream the fast-paced shorter video shows, road trips, bloopers, and special content online on multiple devices such as an iPhone, iPad, Android Tablet, PC, MAC computers, and on your television using Chromecast. Click on the previous link for more specific tech requirements.
Drive Thru History Adventures

Adventures TV has two neat features that follow the 17 videos categorized under Dave's Adventures which are recorded in his Adventure Studio. These specific video segments offer video tutorials on how to use the curriculum and weekly updates. The two features I want to mention are the Continue Watching and My List section. The Continue Watching section includes videos that you have NOT yet finished but started. The My List are your saved videos. You can easily add videos you watch or want to watch to your list. I added and saved all of the holiday-themed videos we watched to my list so that we can refer to them later. This section also includes all of the videos for all three courses (with a paid subscription) in addition to short, scripted videos based on a variety of specific topics. We watched many of the holiday-themed videos listed under Side Roads using the Adventures TV app. A few of the videos we viewed are The History of Groundhog Day, The History of Presidents' Day, and The History of Saint Valentine's Day. Our favorite was the Valentine's Day video. He included many silly yet appropriate pick-up lines while still teaching the History behind the holiday. One of the funny statements he said was, "Love is in the air. No, actually it is Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Carbon Dioxide." There is some overlapping content and videos in certain areas at the top of the subscription dashboard and through the Adventures TV app. No discussion questions are available for the mini videos through Adventures TV. This is a great option when you want to take learning on the road. Alyssa watched an episode on my iPhone while I drove into town for an appointment.

Alyssa wanted to view the Uncle Davey's Christmas Treats video even though it wasn't Christmas, because she enjoys cooking and baking. Dave Stotts taught and gave viewers instructions on how to make Spam Sushi, a wheely treat, and a Christmas tree snack. I must say he made us laugh during this video. He was dressed in a Santa hat wearing fake hillbilly teeth. His cheese infatuation was revealed yet again when he made a gross Christmas tree snack in which he formed a tree using Wiz cheese on a gingersnap cookie topped with colorful candy sprinkles. I give him props for defining the vocabulary word, viscosity. He called this a delicate and exotic treat and before he devoured it he said, "Come to Papa." His unique personality intrigued my daughter.   
My focus for this review will be on the 12-week American History Adventures curriculum which covers Christopher Columbus to the Constitution. The goal was to learn about early American History and how the people, places, and events helped build the foundation of our nation and shape our faith. The course is organized into weekly family-friendly "adventures" as described by Dave. The informative yet entertaining video covers History, Geography, Archaeology, Architecture, Classic Art, and more. Dave Stotts was our enthusiastic tour guide. He thoroughly explained the content and presented the material based on a Christian Worldview. Stotts took us on a journey to visit battle grounds or other relevant locations, discuss historical events, and introduce us to influential people. This course tied in wonderfully with her core History curriculum.

There are 12 episodes included in this course. Each episode is approximately 27 minutes long.
  • The Discovery
  • Pilgrim Search for Freedom
  • Beginnings of Revolution
  • Whitefield and Boston's Freedom Trail
  • William Penn and Early Philadelphia
  • Fighters of the Revolution
  • Early Colonial Virginia
  • Founding Fathers of Virginia
  • Revolution in New York
  • New York and the First President
  • New Jersey and Epilogue
Drive Thru History Adventures
Each weekly episode begins with the video which can be enlarged to fit your screen followed by a meaningful quote stated by an important historical figure mentioned in the episode. One of our favorite quotes mentioned in the curriculum resources as seen in Episode 1 was stated by Christopher Columbus "No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Savior, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His holy service."
The episode also included titled and dated artwork images. Many of the beautiful images were shared in full color or in black-and-white. A succinct video summary was provided. Additionally, each episode included suggested readings and Side Roads. For example, we took a Side Road and read about Columbus' Journey as part of Episode 1. Five thought-provoking discussion questions were listed based on the big ideas after the Side Roads. The questions were provided as a worksheet in PDF format with the accompanying answer guides, but they could easily be turned into daily journal questions. The worksheets, answer guides, and suggested readings could be downloaded and printed. The Dig Deeper section was the last stop before starting the next episode or returning to the dashboard. This is where updates and articles related to the topic can be found. For example, information about Amerigo Vespucci and Christopher Columbus was provided after viewing Episode 1.   

The are a variety of curriculum resources available to extend and enrich learning in addition to the videos such as articles, expert papers, suggested readings, artwork, discussion question worksheets, and answer guides.
Drive Thru History Adventures
How We Used Drive Thru History Adventures
I used Drive Thru History Adventures with my 10-year-old daughter, Alyssa, who is in 4th grade. We used Chrome version 64 as our main browser when viewing material on our Mac OS 10.13.3 High Sierra computer.

The first course that we explored was the American History Adventures curriculum. We followed the curriculum sequence in order beginning with Episode 1: The Discovery. The episodes watched so far review previously learned content or coincide with what she is currently studying. During the review period, we viewed half of the videos and utilized the curricula components to enrich learning. We are using this online curriculum as a supplement to Alyssa's American History core curriculum. The episodes were watched at the end of our homeschool day in the early evenings. This was intentional because I knew we would end up taking detours. 

Day 1
We watched one 27-minute episode each week. We worked through the curriculum components 2-5 days a week for up to 45 minutes a day if needed. On the first day, we read aloud the comprehension questions prior to watching the video so that my daughter could watch the video with a purpose. I wanted her to understand the bigger concepts or the main ideas for each episode. She also read and attempted to memorize the quote. One of us usually read the summary aloud giving us a head's up of what's to come.

Day 2
Alyssa and I discussed the questions verbally after watching the video on the second day. She would occasionally rewatch the fact-filled video in preparation for this discussion. I would often reread the video summary as a reminder and review of what was previously taught. She was not required to write out her responses in detail or in complete sentences. However, I did provide Alyssa with the discussion question worksheet to jot down her thoughts as she watched the video. She would pause the video to record her thoughts. I would listen to her responses and check for understanding. I didn't grade the worksheets. In the beginning, she was a little distracted by all the humorous content but the worksheets were helpful in redirecting her attention. I felt like learning wasn't as fun or adventurous when I required her to provide complete written responses for every question so I took a more relaxed approach since she was younger than the suggested age level. If she were older then my approach would differ.
Episode 3
Episode 5 Notes

Day 3
We checked out the primary resource documents and read aloud any articles or suggested readings together on the third day. We took turns reading each paragraph. You can read these documents online. You can also download and print the files in PDF format. Most of the time we read them online due to the file size and cost of ink. It was a simple process. There was always a View in Full purple tab to click on in order to read the documents online. We read aloud the document titled, Christopher Columbus 1493 Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella after watching Episode 1. We also read The Mayflower Compact after watching Episode 2. The suggested readings are jam-packed with related content and relevant historical facts that reinforced learning. Alyssa truly enjoyed reading the poem, "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow after viewing Episode 3. She was shocked when she saw the length of the poem.

Day 4
The fourth day was reserved for the Dig Deeper and Side Road resources. For example, we viewed The First Thanksgiving video after watching Episode 2: Pilgrim Search for Freedom. One aspect I love is that the video were scripted. I used the scripts to verbally summarize or paraphrase what was taught in the video after viewing it. We learned about Independence Day and the Boston Massacre in Episode 3. Alyssa learned about an African-American slave named Crispus Attucks who was killed during the Boston Massacre. She also learned about Paul Revere's Boston Massacre engraving that was published causing more anger against British rule.

Day 5 (Optional)
Alyssa was allowed to explore the website on any device freely on the fifth day if desired. She was allowed to pick-and-choose videos to watch. She loved having the freedom to independently choose topics and learn about information she was interested in learning. One day she chose The History of Cheese to watch. He made many references to cheese while teaching the History behind it. 

Overall Thoughts 
We both thought that the high-quality videos were entertaining and educational. The video segments were accurately presented in a clearly stated manner. Alyssa was captivated by Dave's humorous approach and remained fully engaged. She retained a decent amount of the information being taught. His humor will definitely catch your children off guard and help maintain their attention. Dave Stotts also presents the content with a serious tone. His passion for History is evident in his teaching approach. This video-based curriculum really made learning fun and brought a little more life to our History curriculum. We felt like were were taking a virtual field trip to historical sites as we traveled on location with Dave. For example, in Episode 3 we visited locations such as Old North Church, Bunker Hill, Dorchester Heights, Old North Bridge, Lexington, Concord, and Hancock Clark House. We had the opportunity to see places up close that we'd never be able to see in person. We also learned about people not mentioned in her History curriculum such as George Whitefield.

I truly appreciated that artwork was integrated into the curriculum resources. This is a great way to add in Art to your homeschool day and possibly extend learning by researching the artist. The colorful artwork below is from Episode 5 showing William Penn's relationship with the Native Americans.

The discussion question prompts helped Alyssa stay focused on the relevant points. I appreciated the fact that handy answer guides were provided for discussion questions. The website easy to navigate and the extra support materials complemented the content being taught. I was thoroughly impressed with the videos from Drive Thru History Adventures. It is an excellent History supplement. My daughter makes sure that I don't forget to watch our weekly episode and hasn't complained about the program at all.

One of our favorite features were the holiday-themed videos. We hope that there will be many more Side Road videos about holidays added to the resources section. We also heard in the most recent weekly update that the Acts to Revelation series that will be released this summer. We look forward to watching the video series. I love that Alyssa and I can visit the community Facebook page to ask questions. The responses to our questions may even be answered in Dave's Adventures videos where he shares weekly updates, makes announcements, and answers curricula questions.

We plan on using the Ancient History course over the summer and we may take a little detour through the Bible History videos this month. I will continue using the subscription but with a less structured approach. My daughter will utilize the components as part of her independent learning research. It was a blessing to review this product, because as a single homeschool mom I couldn't afford to purchase a subscription as a supplement on our limited budget. However, I have friends who have seen all the curriculum components and said they would consider investing in a subscription.

Alyssa's Thoughts
Dave is funny and the videos teach me a lot about American History. I love seeing all the places I'm reading about in my History book and learning about through Drive Thru History Adventures. I like that the videos are short. I really liked the surprise they sent me in the mail too! They sent me two patches, two stickers, and Dave autographed a photo by his jeep for me. 
Drive Thru History Goes the Extra Mile
by Sending Surprise Goodies Via Mail

My daughter and I highly recommend Drive Thru History Adventures as a supplement to your Homeschool History Curriculum especially if you have children who learn best using a video-based or computer learning approach. The courses are complete when accompanying resources are utilized in conjunction with the videos. The videos are very informative when used alone.

There are two ways to pay for your Drive Thru History Adventures subscription. You can pay monthly or annually.


If you sign-up for an annual subscription the company is currently offering a FREE set of the Gospels DVD series. Click on the previous link for the discount code.


Drive Thru History Adventures is offering readers of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine 20% off an annual subscription. Find the Drive Thru History ad found on page 17 of the print or digital edition of the Old Schoolhouse Magazine or check out the smaller ad on page 103. Use the previous link to access the discount code.

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Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read reviews about all three curricula programs available through Drive Thru History Adventures.
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