As part of The Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received online access to The Pilgrim Story from Dayspring Christian Academy. Dayspring Christian Academy is a physical school in Pennsylvania that uses the Principle Approach. They have expanded to included online courses available to homeschoolers. These include live classes and self paced courses such as The Pilgrim Story.
The Pilgrim Story is an interactive, self paced course for grades 3-6. This history course teaches students the true history of the Pilgrims using original sources. I used this curriculum with my 6th grade son and my 8th grade daughter. Even though she is beyond the recommended grade level, I had her do it. There are extra activities in the curriculum, including essay suggestions, that are suited to older students. Even though she had studied the Pilgrims before, she still learned from the curriculum due to it being an in depth study. They started out doing the lessons at the same time. I thought it worked out well with both of them working at the same time. As long as your computer monitor is large enough for two students to both see it, this course is well suited to using with more than one student at a time. Due to my daughter writing faster than my son, and getting tired of waiting, they have split up and now do the lessons on their own.
The Pilgrim Story is divided into 5 units, and ends with a virtual field trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts. Each unit has 3-4 lessons and a unit test. Also included are crafts, map making, and more. The lessons take from 30-45 minutes to complete.
Unit One covers King Henry, the Geneva Bible, Life in Scrooby and the Liberty of Conscience.
Unit Two covers Leaving England, the Second Escape Attempt, Leiden, and Preparing to Go. Preparing to Go includes an activity where the student has to plan what they would bring with them on the ship.
Unit Three covers Leaving Leiden, conditions on the Mayflower and building Christian character.
Unit Four covers the Mayflower Compact, exploration of Plymouth and the first winter.
Unit Five covers the spring of 1621, the Wampanoag people and the rest of the story. The rest of the story is about the next three years of colony life, the first Thanksgiving, and the institution of a free enterprise system of economics.
The tests are all taken online and automatically graded. You do have the option of printing out the test. When you print out the test, it lists the grade at the top, the question asked, the student answer, and the correct answer. In the last column, in bold, capital red or green letters is CORRECT or INCORRECT. It is easy for the student to see which question they got wrong, and why they got it wrong. The students can take the tests more than once, if need be. My son raced through the first test so fast, I’m not even sure he read the questions. lol Needless to say, his grade was not up to par, so I had him take the test again. He did much better, and learned to go slower. I did print all the tests to put in their notebooks. The curriculum does not store the test scores.
The notebook is intended to be a very nice book for the student to refer back to, not just a place to keep finished papers until you throw them away. With the student note sheets, the vocabulary word sheets, all the quotes and other documents, the notebook is quite lovely. We even used the design from the pages to decorate the binder of their notebooks. Yes, my son loves paperclips. lol
For each lesson, the student watches the slide show presentation. The teacher (the narrator, as you don’t see a person) tells them when to fill out the student sheet, when to read over the vocabulary sheet, or other informational sheets included in the lesson and to complete any extra activities. Here are a few sample pages from my daughters notebook.
They are currently on Unit Four, Lesson One. They are at the point of doing the project in the picture above. They are looking forward to making their own Mayflower.
I wish they had a printer friendly option for printing all the pages. There are a lot of pages to print, and they all take a lot of ink. Especially the ones that are made to look like parchment paper. I would like to have the option to print out the words on my own colored paper. They would have taken a lot of black ink, too, if I had printed them out as black and white. And the parchment pages would have looked bad. We could still have made a very nice notebook for them to refer back to for years to come with a printer friendly option to print the pages on our own colored paper.
The pages are printed during each lesson as the student moves through the course. The student has to click on the “resources” tab to print the pages. The narrator does remind them to print the pages if they haven’t yet. Having all the printable pages in one place for the parent to access and print would be a nice option to have.
My kids and I loved The Pilgrim Story, even considering printing the pages took all my ink. One of the things that really stood out for me was that the teacher is constantly pointing the students to God. For example, when talking about property, the teacher said, “You are ultimately the property of God because He created you.” There are numerous other instances, also.
We have always paid special attention to our study of the Pilgrims, as my husbands family had ancestors come over on the Mayflower. The family tree has been traced back that far. The kids really liked seeing their ancestors name on the ships roster included in the curriculum. Ok, I did, too!
I found The Pilgrim Story to be an excellent curriculum. Even though the price is high for a course for this age group, it is worth it. Especially if you use it with more than one student.
Here’s a preview:
The Pilgrim Story course is available for $99. You will receive 6 months access to the course. You just have to make sure to complete the 17 lessons and the tests before the 6 months is up.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received online access to this curriculum in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. My opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”