And this is where the Self-Paced Onmibus I from Veritas Press is so very useful.
The Self-Paced Omnibus I is an online course that teaches World History, Literature, and Theology, all in the same course. Meant for 7th to 9th graders, this year-long course covers ancient history, from Creation until the Fall of Rome. The literature reading is extensive and includes:
- Genesis, Exodus, I & II Samuel, and other Old Testament Books
- The Codes of Hammurabi and Moses
- The Odyssey
- The Last Days of Socrates
- The Aeneid
- Julius Caesar
And many more literature resources.
The course works systematically through history. The online program is video based and streams right to your computer. Each lesson, meant to be done 5 days a week, is 30-50 minutes long. The lessons are taught by Mr. Bruce Etter, and through his engaging style, students will explore historical events through three worldviews: Ancient, Modern, and Biblical.
But don't think that this is done in a dry way. There are so many interactive and thought provoking segments, that this sometimes difficult time period is brought alive and the lessons learned are applicable for today.
Some of the ways this is done....
In some of the lessons are formal interviews. These are specific to the topic in the lesson. In the lesson on law Mr. Etter interviewed a law professor from Partick Henry College and discussed the origins of law, the different types of laws, and Theonomy. In another lesson, the students watch a debate between two Christian scholars as they present their cases for a literal six-day creation (24 hour day) and the framework hypothesis (that creation happened in six stages, not days). These segments are very challenging and cause the student to understand why they believe what they believe.
One of the segments was particularly fascinating; a photo of the Sistine Chapel came onto the screen.
When you would select different sections of the ceiling a detailed description of that section came up.
Interspersed throughout the segments are short quizzes, which are between five and ten questions in length.
The questions are very age appropriate and helpful in understanding the topic.
In each lesson, Mr. Etter also has teaching sessions, where he delves further into the scripture or literature section being studied. I was eaves-dropping during one segment where he was talking about the moral law. He was describing how the law not only prevents evil, but also shows us how much we sin ourselves. He then went on to specifically show the students how they do break each and every one of the Ten Commandments. He related it to them, and what they might be dealing with as teenagers, and how they sin, even in their minds. He then reminds us that the law points us to Christ, and His saving work on the cross.
I gathered all of my kids around the computer and we re-watched that segment together. What a powerful lesson, seeing how pride can get in the way, and convince us that we are doing all right, that we don't break all the commandments. And what an amazing reminder, that without Christ, we would be lost in our sin.
What You Get:
With the Veritas Press Self-Paced Omnibus I, you will receive online access to the program for one year. The program is meant to take 32 weeks, but since it is Self-Paced, you can move at your own speed.
You will need to have the Omnibus Text which includes other essays, questions, and cultural and art analysis questions. I received the ebook version of the text book which is available for $37.50. And for your convenience, you can purchase the ebook with all of the literature sources as a kit for $151.32. These works are conveniently located in a drop down menu when needed throughout the program.
Your child will also be graded. At the end of each lesson is a test, with ten to fifteen multiple choice questions. These are recorded online for you to see, and to use to grade them on the course.
As the parent you can have access to your child's quiz results and grades, plus the reading assignments, which are helpful for planning ahead.
You will get all of this for $295, with each additional sibling costing only $100. If you think about the cost of a high school literature, theology, and history class, this is a pretty good deal.
How We Used This And What We Thought:
I was given a subscription for one child to take this course and I chose Bookworm to take it. She did about three lessons a week and completed each of the homework assignments. The reading assignments were extensive and took her 45 minutes to an hour a day. This was time well spent; I encouraged her to have a paper and pencil with her so she could jot down her thoughts and any questions she had. After the reading assignment she would watch the videos.
I liked that there was an index, but be aware that you cannot skip ahead. I actually liked this feature; I knew that she had to listen to every part of the segments.
She would take the tests at the end of each lesson; right away we figured out even though you can take the test multiple times, your first score is the only one that counts towards your grade. She was doing great, with a 95%, when she had a bad test in the moral law section that dropped her grade to 80%. Again, I liked this little bit of pressure; it really made her focus on the questions. There were a few times where after she was done with the lesson she went back to re-watch a couple of things, so that she would be better prepared for the test.
The subject matter was excellent: some of the topics discussed were Free Will vs. Predestination, Gnosticism, Tolkein's allegories, and the Covenant of Grace and Covenant of Works. I want my children to learn more about these theological ideas and appreciated the Reformed perspective this course provided.
This course is definitely going to be a keeper. Looking back at what we have covered so far in Omnibus I, I can say that this is one of my favorite things I have reviewed this year. I plan on purchasing another subscription, and having both Bookworm and Mr. Lego do this.
Giving our older children the tools to see the world, not only in the past but also around them today, is such an important part of their education. And doing this from a Biblical perspective is invaluable.
Other Crew members reviewed Veritas Press' Self Paced History for elementary grades. Check out what they thought of it by clicking below.