Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Our Time with Veritas Press

I am continuing to answer the question "What curriculum do you recommend?" for those who are Considering Homeschooling?.

During our first official year of homeschooling, we used Sonlight. The next year I designed my own curriculum, a plan I do not advise unless you have lots of time, lots of energy, and lots of know-how in the area of curricular design. Or you're just a little off your rocker... like me!

The summer before our DIY year, we moved from Tennessee to Georgia. Part of the blessing of this move was joining a church where most of the families homeschooled. Most of the families also used Veritas Press, and that is how we were introduced to their curriculum.

During the Sonlight and the DIY years, I had used world history as the theme for our units, and we progressed chronologically, very similar to the four-year cycle of Veritas's classical program. Veritas presents history, Bible, theology, worldview, and all related studies in a way that really fits our system of beliefs. So, we made the switch and loved (and still love) many aspects of the program.

The elementary Bible curriculum is first rate, and I used it for three years to teach my boys the Old Testament. Michael has used the New Testament as a guide for our Bible reading and discussion during our family worship off and on for two years.

One of the best aspects of the program is that Bible is not presented just as a collection of stories, poems, and letters with heoric people who do great things for God and set a good example for us. This man-centered approach is common to many children's Bible curricula. Veritas takes elementary-aged students through a chronological study of the Scriptures and keeps the focus on the Lord. It is very God-centered and it has given my children a deep (for their age) understanding of who God is, what He has done for us, and what it means to be a Christian.

The history program is rich as well and Bible/church history is integrated as applicable. Like Sonlight, Veritas incorporates literature. I (and more importantly, the boys) loved every book on the reading lists the three years we followed VP. I also loved the chronological presentation, particularly the event cards which we used to create an on-going timeline around our classroom.

What I did not like about VP was most of the project ideas and/or hands-on experiences. I was happy that some were at least offered, and we completed and enjoyed some of them. However, I still added resources not recommended in the VP materials and activities of my own to give our studies more of a living-history feel. One year I incorporated the hands-on kit from Hands and Hearts, a resource I highly recommend.

All in all, VP worked for me because it was structured enough to keep me on track but still offered me the latitude to "do my own thing". It provided the "science of teaching" while not inhibiting me from practicing the "art of teaching".

Even though we were very satisfied with VP, this school year we switched to Tapestry of Grace. It was a difficult decision that we made reluctantly. I saw us approaching the middle school and high school years. Remaining with VP through those years would require managing two separate Omnibus studies simultaneously. The thought of that made me hyperventilate. So, we made the switch to TOG.

I have another post to write about our year with TOG, but first I want to share the writing resources we have used and then about our science choices.

See you soon for Writer's Workshop.

Happy Curriculum Hunting!


p.s. I am not an affiliate for any of the companies mentioned in this post. I did not receive compensation and have offered my honest opinion.


Laura at By the Bushel said...

Very interesting, also that you switched to TOG. I hear great things about all 3, and hope that we'll gain from your experience.

Laura at By the Bushel said...

Very interesting, also that you switched to TOG. I hear great things about all 3, and hope that we'll gain from your experience.

Mama Hen said...

This was our first year to use Veritas Press and it has been so good for us. It took me awhile to figure out how to use the cards with certain books (or which books go with which cards), but it has been great. Just like you it keeps me on track-the cards are wonderful-but there is so much more you can do. Or as little to do as you want. I hope we will be using it for a long time!

argsmommy said...

The VP catalog is my favorite planning tool, but I have never used the full curriculum. It's good to read such a thoughtful review since I'm already starting to wonder what we'll use in 2 years when we start the history cycle over again.