As soon as The Pilgrim Story video began playing, the kids were drawn to it like moths to a flame. I’m not sure who was more excited, the kids or mama. And with Thanksgiving coming soon? Hello. What a blessing to be chosen for this review.
Let me first say that I love the musical score. Can you imagine doing your chores to it? It makes you feel like conquering something. I wonder if I can find it somewhere. Hmmm.
The Pilgrim Story is a self-paced interactive online course from Dayspring Christian Academy. The website lists this for grades three through six, however, I believe this will appeal to higher grades as well. In fact, the very first lesson revealed a fallacy I had believed about the Pilgrims. I was ecstatic to learn the correct historical information.
As a point of reference, I am using this with three of my children ages 9, 13, and 16. I’ll get into more detail further down on how I modify it for the different ages/abilities.
From the website:
The Pilgrim Story teaches children about one of the most important times in our nation’s history. It is America’s foundation. This self-guided, interactive history course teaches students the true history of the Pilgrims from original sources. The Principle Approach method of education is used, which holds a providential view of history. Students are taught the importance of Christian character and other biblical principles, such as self governance, hard work, and perseverance. Students also learn the biblical principles of Christian liberty.
Lessons include: King Henry, Geneva Bible, Liberty of Conscience, Leaving Leiden, Conditions on the Mayflower, Building Christian Character, the Mayflower Compact, and much more. Students witness the providence of God in the lives of the Pilgrims and the founding of America. This interactive, self-paced course consists of five units totaling 17 lessons complete with assessments and ideas for further study. Appropriate for grades 3-6.
Activities in the course include crafts, application, live action, map-making, and much more—all designed to get students involved in the learning process. Principle Approach students are taught to think and reason from biblical principles and apply them to every area of life, so reasoning questions are also included.
The lessons are designed to take approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete with additional time needed for the enrichment activities. We have found it does take quite a bit of time, but it is so worth it. We are really learning a lot about America’s beginnings, and about the strong character of the people who played such an important role. It’s been a fascinating study so far, and one we all eagerly gather around the computer for.
The notebook is a key component of this course. I pulled up photos of the Mayflower on my computer, and the kids chose the photos they wanted for their cover pages. They helped me design the covers, and we printed them out. Each student has a different cover. Then I used clip art and created the dividers for each of the five units. The kids love how they turned out. Each lesson has a list of printouts including vocabulary, quotes, and note sheets which they add to their notebooks building a great resource to come back to.
How I use this: Before we start, I print out the resources for the current lesson. Then we gather around the computer for the slide presentation. The kids have the note sheets and printouts in hand. The lesson begins with a review of the previous lesson, and then we get into the meat of the current lesson. At the end of the lesson, the kids have a review of the current lesson. The reviews really help me see what they are remembering. There are various enrichment activities throughout the lessons, and I modify them according to age/ability. For example, the writing assignments are done orally with my 9 year old, while both teens go to another room to complete their work. I also fill in my 9 year old’s note sheets while he sits beside me because all the writing is a little too much for him at this point. He and I are partners in this study.
Once everyone completes the assignments, we gather back together, and share what was said/written with the whole group. Review questions are discussed, and we choose the answer the majority agrees with. There have been a lot of neat discussions which is something I love in a curriculum. At the end of each unit, there is a unit test to help you gauge their understanding and retention.
Overall Thoughts: The photos, interactive elements, and overall presentation are well done. The information is presented in an interesting and attention holding way. There have been a couple of times where one of the voices used has had us laughing, but that just adds to the fun time of learning together. So far, we’ve only noticed one error where one of the worksheet points was not covered on the slide. It stopped us momentarily, but didn’t detract from the overall lesson. We love history, and this is a great way to bring history alive for your kids.
The Pilgrim Story course costs $99, and you will have access to it within 48 hours of purchase. This access is available for six months from the date of registration. This will give you plenty of time to immerse yourself in the study, and gain knowledge about the foundation of our country.
Reading suggestions are also given to allow you even more learning opportunities. We happened to have some of our own books on the Pilgrims, and are adding those to the end of our study. We should have this whole course wrapped up in time to take the Virtual Field trip at the end right around Thanksgiving! We’re all looking forward to seeing Plymouth, MA with Mary Stuaffer, Pilgrim expert, DaySpring Academy teacher, and author of this course.
Disclosure: I received free access to this online course to review. All information was correct to the best of my knowledge at the time this review was written. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. You can read my full disclosure policy here.