My children (I now have two 10th graders and a 5th grader) began doing a "formal" history curriculum in 3rd grade. When my older children were still in kindergarten or 1st grade, a friend introduced me to Veritas Press. I'm so very glad she did! We started using their history materials in 3rd grade, and we've never used anything else since then.
Veritas Press is an online school. They have a physical office, but they don't have physical classrooms. They offer either live online classes, online self-paced classes, or parent-taught classes. We have used all 3 options. I'll tell you a bit about each one. First, though, I will tell you that Veritas Press follows a classical education model. That simply means that children at younger ages are in the "grammar stage" and mostly learn factual information that will be built upon in later stages. Next (around 5th or 6th grade), they enter the "logic stage" and become more interested in why things happen and are able to understand cause/effect relationships much more clearly. The final stage is the "rhetoric stage." This stage begins when students are able to use the concrete information and logical thinking previously gained to truly understand complex ideas and attitudes, to make sense of more difficult concepts and ideas, and to form (and argue for) their own ideas and attitudes. That is a very basic, simplified explanation, but hopefully that will help you understand a bit more about the educational model used by Veritas Press.
When each of my children was in 3rd grade, we began using their parent-taught classes. At that young age, I liked to teach my children the majority of their subjects myself. Instead of a textbook, the history program at that level uses cards, worksheets, activities, and songs.
Every day we started by listening to the memory song. (A catchy song used to teach the student the order in which events being studied that year occurred.) Then we read that week's card and discussed the information on it. On different days during the week, we would answer worksheet questions and/or read a few books from a list of resources found at the bottom of each week's card. We also did activities (from the worksheets) that helped "cement" ideas and assist the student in remembering what was learned that week. At the end of the week, there was a test. I don't really test my children until they get to be around 6th or 7th grade, but we did the test for practice and discussed anything that they missed or forgot. My kids and I all loved these early years of history!
My son used these cards and the parent-taught classes until (in 7th grade) he began taking their online classes. My younger daughter (now in 5th grade) wanted to try out the self-paced history classes, so I only did the parent-taught classes with her for a couple of years. Then we switched to the self-paced classes. When she does the self-paced classes, though, I sit and watch the class with her, help her understand anything that she's not quite "getting," and supervise as she does her work, activities, and tests.
The self-paced classes are taught by characters from the time period being studied. The characters are people (not cartoons) who are dressed to look like they "belong" to that time period. They speak and relay information as if they lived during that time. My daughter always feels like she knows them personally and looks forward to her lessons and to getting to see them each day! The self-paced classes are pre-recorded, so the student simply watches a class each day and does the activities, questions, etc., that go along with that day. I don't have enough room to explain all of the details, but there are some really wonderful activities, games, map lessons, and much more.
In 7th grade, my son (now in 10th grade) began taking the live online Omnibus classes. He has learned so much, "met" so many students from all over the world, and been challenged to work hard! During class, the students see a "whiteboard" where the teacher puts up graphics, maps, photos, or whatever else he (or she) wants the students to see. The students don't see the teacher, but of course they hear him speaking live and see a photo of him in the corner of the screen. The students communicate live using a chat box, so the teacher can see comments or questions as the students type them. The teacher also gives the students the ability to answer questions, ask questions, or contribute to discussions out loud (so that the teacher and all of the other students in the class can also hear the student speaking) on the microphone. The students have a syllabus that they follow for the class. They have writing assignments and memorization assignments throughout the year. They also have daily homework assignments with textbook reading, questions to answer, or other reading assignments. Besides a rather large textbook, they also read quite a few novels and other books to go along with the time period being studied that year. In fact, the stack of books to be read each year sometimes looks rather intimidating, but it is doable with a lot of hard work!
I'm afraid my descriptions may not do justice to these classes, so I encourage you to take a look at the Veritas Press website to get more information. I honestly do love the VP history materials for each age level and in each format--whether parent-taught, self-paced, or online. The prices are available on the website as well. (Note: The online classes, to me, are rather expensive. In fact, I took a part-time job several years ago just so I could pay for the online classes. That's how great I think the classes are!)
Another Note: Veritas Press actually teaches many different subjects. I would love to be able to use them for all of my children's classes, but that's just not possible. I'm including a video below, though, so you can see some information about what they do at VP. The video makes it so much clearer than what I can tell you in writing. I hope you'll take a look!
If you'd like to read some more posts by others who are participating in this Virtual Curriculum Fair being hosted by Homeschooling Hearts & Minds, you can do that too!
Or you can click on these links below to go straight to some of the other posts for this week's Virtual Curriculum Fair.
Exploring Eastern Cultures with Sonlight by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Cell Unit Study - Mitochondria and Energy by Julie @ Highhill Education
Our Blended Social Studies by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
2013 Virtual Curriculum Fair-Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science by Leah C @ As We Walk Along the Road
Exploring Canada by Annette @ A Net In Time
Project Passport: The Middle Ages by Missouri Mama @ Ozark Ramblings
Virtual Curriculum Fair- Exploring Our World by Karyn @ Teach Beside Me
Science: learning to use what you are given by Piwi Mama @ Learning & Growing the Piwi Way
Historical Significance by Kristi @ The Potter’s Hand Academy
How We Are Exploring Our World as Homechoolers by Laura O in AK @ Day by Day in Our World
VCF: Week 3 The Social Sciences by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
A Trip Around the World: Homeschool-Style by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Virtual Curriculum Fair: Learning about our World by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
NOTE: I was not compensated in any way for this review. I simply wanted to share about Veritas Press and our experiences with you. The opinions expressed in this review are my own honest opinions.