Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dave Raymond's American History from Roman Roads Media : A TOS Crew Review

Roman Roads Media Review
Dave Raymond's American History 1  From  Roman Roads Media

Suitable for 6th grade and up

A 2 Part series, each part is sold separately in a 4 disc DVD set.  Includes: Video Presentations, Teacher's Guide and Student Reader (in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats).  Cost: $100 (each part).  ON SALE for $75 each right now!

Roman Roads Media Review

Check out a sample of the Teacher's Guide  and  Student's Reader

I'm am super excited about this one... just a little warning!  Dave Raymond's American History 1  
From Roman Roads Media is my latest discovery in the search for our American History curriculum for this coming year.  

I spotted this gem months ago, and bought both parts on DVD as quick as I could - it looked that good!  I was even more excited to see it as a review as part of the TOS Crew.  I was given a downloadable Dave Raymond's American History 1  to preview.

The Bentz Test Laboratory loves history.  But, we do not love history lessons from dusty textbooks, dry, boring and filled with endless dates... We love history that engages us, introduces us to important figures, and engages us in the story of what God has been doing throughout history.  

Dave Raymond's American History 1  does just that!  I have found it hard to find a history program for my upper middle school and high school students that meets our history study requirements.  Many of the programs suitable for this age seem to be primarily textbooks.  I wanted something more for my students, being a lover of history,  I want them to love it too.  This program met and exceeded my expectations!

Here's a little taste....
The lessons in Part 1 include 13 weeks of study covering these topics:

  1. Orientation
  2. The Banner of the Sun: Meso-America
  3. Brave New World: The Early Explorers
  4. The Colossus of Empire: The Colonies
  5. Stability and Change: The Reformational Colonies
  6. A City Upon a Hill: The Puritans
  7. A Foreign War at Home: Wars of Control
  8. Grace, the Founder of Liberty: The Great Awakening
  9. Fathers of Independence: Adams, Franklin, Witherspoon, and Henry
  10. Liberty or Death: The Declaration of Independence
  11. Awesome Providence I: The War of Independence
  12. Awesome Providence II: The War of Independence
  13. A More Perfect Union: The Constitution
Part 2 topics (we didn't review this section, but - you may want to see all the topics covered)

  1. Federal Headship: George Washington
  2. How Good and Pleasant It Is: Adams and Jefferson
  3. Manifest Destiny: Settlers, Explorers, and War
  4. Word and Deed: John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson
  5. The Original United Nations: The Expansion of the Early US
  6. Idols of Mercy: Revival, Counterfeits, and Art
  7. A House Divided I: The Age of Compromise and Divided Cultures
  8. A House Divided II: Abraham Lincoln and Secession
  9. The Second War of Independence: The War Between the States
  10. Brother Against Brother: The War Between the States II
  11. The Lost Cause: Reconstruction
  12. A New Normal: The West, Immigration, and Robber Barons
  13. Theology as Biography: Theodore Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington 
Each lesson contains 5 video presentations, taught by Dave Raymond.   Dave Raymond is an experienced, Christian teacher.  The videos are very professionally done, and only about 10 minutes each.  You could do one per day, or several in one sitting, which is how we choose to view them.  Notetaking is encouraged during the videos, and my testers really needed this skill.  Not often in our homeschool studies do they get the opportunity to hone this valuable skill...  In addition to the video presentations, there are reading assignments, writing assignments, weekly exams, ongoing portfolio work and projects.  This is truly a balanced curriculum - suitable for all learning styles.  

Some of the projects include; a colonial mapping project, a costumed character speech, a research paper, and one of our favorite ideas - the "hour project".  This project involves the student crafting a single project in a medium of their choice about any topic covered during the course of the study.  Suggestions like creating a working cotton gin, re-enacting an early American baseball game, and cooking a traditional Irish-American meal instantly caught and held the attention and imaginations of my testers!

The Portfolio is a "visual textbook" that the student creates by themself.  They can use visual entries like photographs, famous paintings, and artwork. Additionally, they are encouraged to write entries as well. Your student in encouraged to create this with their best craftsmanship, and is graded on completion. 

The Teacher's Guide has plenty of guidance, and rubrics to help you objectively grade your student's work. I love that this is not a standard fill-in-the-blank type of curriculum.  You will be evaluating their research, craftsmanship, appropriateness, ingenuity, ownership and even work ethic!  

Answers for all the lesson questions and exams are included in the Teacher's Guide for your convenience,  nice to be able to stay a step ahead of these high schoolers!  Speaking of the lesson questions and exams, they are challenging and are designed to make your student think and process what they are learning. For example, exam #1 is to write an essay from a collection of history quotes.  

Throughout the Student Reader, my testers were reading selections from source documents, which are included in the reader, that accompanied the video presentations.  A nice feature of this curriculum is that you can read it on most mobile devices (they include PDF, MOBI, and EPUB versions for you).  I printed out the Student Reader & Teacher Guide and had them spiral bound.  I prefer a hard copy, but my tester's like to take their reading with them on the go.

This 2 part course has a total of 26 lessons (Part 1 has 13 lessons, Part 2 has 13 lessons), and a total of 4 projects.  When covered over the course of a year, this is a high school credit for American history.  My testers were able to work independently through this program, although - I was enjoying it alongside them.

The apologetically, Christian worldview is the very best part of this high school course!  With so many changes being made to American history standards in the public arena, you'll be reassured that your students can have a high quality, high level American history course that will strengthen their Christian worldview at the same time.

Two thumbs up for Dave Raymond's American History!

Other members of the TOS Crew took a peek at some other amazing programs from Roman Roads Media   Including: Old Western Culture: The Greeks,  Old Western Culture: The Romans - The AeneidThe Grammar of PoetryDave Raymond's American History 1 or 2Economics for Everybody Curriculum and Visual Latin I and II - Make sure to check them out!
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