Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dayspring Christian Academy's The Pilgrim Story Schoolhouse Review 2012

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Do you like to share the history of our beautiful Americas from a Biblical standpoint with Biblical truth? Do you like to teach unit studies with a notebooking approach?  Do you implement multi-age studies so that many of your students can explore the same curriculum at the same time?  If you answered even one of these questions with a yes, then I have a wonderful unit study to explore with you today, that is perfectly timed to this time of year with Thanksgiving just around the corner.  Dayspring Christian Academy is a curriculum leader that is intent on delivering classical, biblical education to homeschoolers everywhere and we were fortunate to be one of the Schoolhouse Review Crew families that were chosen to review their unit study The Pilgrim Story. 

Now originally when I looked over the website to explore the content I was going to pass since it stated it was intended for grades 3-6 , Taylor is in 8th but his maturity level is not on board with that so I can get away with using some materials suited for younger kids so my original plan was to only use it with him, but after receiving it and looking over the included online lesson orientation I was excited to learn it could really be used for children in grades 2-8. With Alyx just starting 9th Grade I knew I was safe to go ahead and use it with both boys, I truly feel blessed when this happens, it not only makes my life easier, but it gives the boys a wonderful opportunity to interact and learn together side by side and this is one of the benefits of homeschool that touches my heart the most. 

We love lapbooking and have just started notebooking last year as the boys are getting older and we are putting a stronger focus on their writing as well as basic retention of what they are learning in their studies. If you have not tried lapbooking or notebooking, what are you waiting for, it adds a whole new dimension to the learning process and I find my kids absorb so much more and it lends itself to easily going back over the information at a later date and making it easy to find the exact information the children may need, maybe it is to study for a test, or write a more detailed paper, whatever the reason the information is organized and ready to help. 

Let me explain inn depth a little more about how The Pilgrim Story is unique. The course is purchased for $99, this allows you 6 full months of access to the program to allow you to add it in where it fits into your curriculum and lets you go at your own pace. There are no specific class times, the course is accessed whenever it is convenient for your children to study it. The Pilgrim Story is set up as a visual program with a slide show presentation, that can be paused at anytime for your children to take notes, answer notebooking questions or to review what they just heard. This is a key factor for my children as they do not always absorb what they heard the first time, they learn on repetition.  There are 5 units in this course study, beginning with The Principle Approach Study, which will leave your children with the ability to retell the events of The Pilgrim Story in chronological order, define Providence and give examples of how God helped, guided and cared for the Pilgrims on their journey, list 4 Biblical principals, define 4 Christian Character traits   shown by the Pilgrims, explain why Christians should rejoice in hardships by pointing out trials and tribulations that faced the Pilgrims.

Lessons include: King Henry, Geneva Bible, Liberty of Conscience, Leaving Leiden, Conditions on the Mayflower, Building Christian Character, the Mayflower Compact, and much more. Students witness the providence of God in the lives of the Pilgrims and the founding of America. This interactive, self-paced course consists of five units totaling 17 lessons complete with assessments and ideas for further study. Appropriate for grades 3-6. (although is perfectly acceptable for grades 2-8 as I stated above.)

Activities in the course include crafts, application, live action, map-making, and much more—all designed to get students involved in the learning process. Principle Approach students are taught to think and reason from biblical principles and apply them to every area of life, so reasoning questions are also included.

Each lesson takes between 30 and 45 minutes to complete. Enrichment activities will take additional time. Students learn to manage the notebook, an important element of a Principle Approach education. Each lesson also comes with student note sheets and a vocabulary list.

This engaging online course culminates with a virtual field study to Plymouth, MA.

Instructor: Mary Stauffer

Mary Stauffer has taught third grade at Dayspring Christian Academy since 1994. She has led more than 20 guided tours of Plymouth, MA, and uses the words of our forefathers as found in primary sources to teach the Pilgrim story. She also lectures on the subject to the community and is passionate about teaching and preserving the truth of our nation’s past.

There are several components to the course, not only is it an online study, but there is many components to make this a true Notebook, printable lessons, and notebook pages, vocabulary words, quotes, maps, activities, charts and student note sheets. There is instruction given to the children on how to appropriately set up their notebook, with 5 tabs and how to label them so that their work is easily retrieved and accessible to study later. We used a 3 ring binder and divider tabs for this project, I always make sure I stock up on binders when they are on sale for minimal cost during school supply shopping, this makes it both economical and organized.

 After each unit their is a test given in either multiple choice or essay.
 I prefer the multiple choice for my kids as they get easily overwhelmed and causes some major issues. They are visual kids and sometimes it just takes seeing the answer in front of them or the incorrect answers to come up with the logical answer, this helps me know they are truly learning what they are being presented to them. 
The boys said they favorite part was playing the online games, having to pack supplies and making appropriate wise choices so they could make the journey to America. Sometimes they survived and sometimes they did not. This allowed them to make notes about how much they would need of something and less of something else so as to make a successful journey. 

My overall opinion of this program is positive, my children worked together, gained biblical knowledge and learned about the Pilgrim's journey and their story, they have completed a wonderful study resource that will be a educational tool for year's to come. The boys enjoyed all aspects of the program from the captivating photos and quality video presentations held my children's attention and left them wanting more. At first I thought the price was a little on the hefty side, but after the boys went through the program I think it is a valuable asset to any homeschool curriculum and worth every penny. 
I hope your family enjoys The Pilgrim Story as much as we did and be sure to check out all of the other reviews from The Schoolhouse Review Crew by clicking the banner below.


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