Saturday, June 28, 2014

Veritas Press Self-Paced Omnibus (Schoolhouse Review)

Veritas Press Review
Company: Veritas Press

Product: Veritas Press Self-Paced Omnibus I

Age Level:  7th through 9th grades

Price: $295 for 1-year access

Veritas Press Review

Veritas Press’s Self-paced Omnibus I Primary course is an all-inclusive course that combines history, literature, and theology. This online program includes video instruction, quizzes and other interactive exercises, and interviews with experts and with people on the street. Veritas Press uses a classical approach to education, with heavy emphasis on ancient Western civilizations and literature.

There are also reading assignments for most lessons. Some of these assignments are literature—in Omnibus 1, these include several books of the Bible, including Genesis, Exodus, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, and Revelation. Other ancient works of literature are also studied, including Gilgamesh Tablets, Codes of Hammurabi, The Odyssey, and Herodotus. The only work used in this course that is not ancient literature is Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, which is, of course set in ancient times.

Other reading assignments are essays that discuss each of the works studied. These are found in the Omnibus Student Text (ebook $37.50). Other than reading, all the rest of the program is done at the computer.

According to Veritas Press, completing of this course equals a credit in:

  • English: World Ancient Literature 1

If the student also completes the Omnibus Secondary 1, which includes a variety of modern literature, including many of C.S. Lewis’s works, he will have earned 3 credits:

  • English: World Ancient Literature 1
  • World Ancient History 1
  • Religion: Doctrine and Theology

Emily has studied the first three books, Genesis, Exodus, and Gilgamesh. Each of these books was covered in just 5 lessons. The entire books of Genesis and Exodus were assigned, so it was quite a bit of reading. Emily actually didn’t complain, though, and since we worked on a more relaxed summer schedule of 3 lessons a week rather than 5, that gave her a little more time to keep up with the reading.

Each daily lesson took 30 to 60 minutes to complete, in addition to the assigned reading. I was a little surprised to find that Emily loved this course! Ancient literature can be difficult to read, but the online lectures were very interesting. The teacher explained the literature, always from a Christian worldview. For example, in Gilgamesh, the various gods of the culture were discussed, and it was pointed out how they, as well as “gods” from other times and cultures, were fallible and flawed, with human character qualities. Only the true God is characterized as sinless, perfect, and all-powerful in Judeo-Christian teachings.

In between the teaching video segments were games to reinforce the concepts, and lighter content, such as street interviews. Additional subject areas were incorporated as well, such as art studies of the Sistine Chapel painting and sculptures.  Emily found this to be an enjoyable way to learn.

Many lessons had a graded quiz. The cumulative grade is displayed on the student page, as well as the grades for each lesson. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to view Emily’s answers to see just what she missed. She often scored more poorly than she expected to, so it would have been good if she could have reviewed her mistakes. Also, once the grade is recorded, the student is free to revisit the lesson and retake the quiz, but the original grade cannot be changed. I am accustomed to having Emily correct her work, and even to redo a lesson if she hasn’t mastered it, so it was disappointing that this was not an option, at least not as far as I could figure out.

The course is designed so that is must be done sequentially. Each lesson is unlocked when the lesson before it is completed, so it is impossible to pick and choose among the various books or to study them in a different order.

Omnibus I is intended for 7th graders, but I thought that it was very meaty for a middle school student. Even I learned a LOT and feel that it would be very useable as a high school level course. It does come from a reformed theology perspective, which works well for us, but may not for everyone.  It is very heavy in doctrine, so I would be inclined to give a 1/2 credit in that as well as the literature. I found it to be a great supplement to what Emily studied in her confirmation class this past year!

PicMonkey Collage

What we liked:

  • Omnibus is self-paced and does all the teaching and grading. I had nothing to do (other than make sure Emily was doing the lessons and eavesdrop because I was interested, too!) I would not be able to teach this content myself!
  • It is a meaty, academic program.
  • Emily loved using it.

What we didn’t like:

  • We experienced frequent glitches with the program locking up that required Emily to back up and repeat video segments. By the third book, she didn’t have any more problems, though.
  • I’d like to be able to skip around. I like to use various resources for education and might prefer to pick certain units as a supplement rather than using Omnibus as a complete course.
  • Just as a personal preference, I wouldn’t choose to study so much of the ancients. Omnibus III Self-Paced, with more modern literature looks wonderful to me, though.

In conclusion, I feel that Omnibus Primary Self-Paced is an excellent course. If you are looking for a course on ancient literature that your student can use on his own and that incorporates Biblical principles, this is an excellent choice.   

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I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.

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