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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dave Raymond's American History Review and Giveaway!!

American History

Over the last several weeks, I have had an opportunity to review another great product from The Compass Classroom, Dave Raymond's American History.

From the website, "History is best understood through the dual lenses of dramatic story and godly wisdom. Veteran history teacher Dave Raymond gives a comprehensive history of the United States by applying a Christian worldview to the characters, events, theology, literature, art, and religious beliefs of the nation. It is an engaging american history homeschool curriculum for students age 12 and up. Designed for upper middle school and lower high school (although upper high school would enjoy it, too)."

American History Part 1 Meso-America to the Constitution  covers one semester.  There are thirteen lessons in part one with each lesson being separated into 5 days with of work.  Each day begins with a short video lecture (around 10 minutes long.)  Then the student moves on to that days reading and other assignments.  Assignments include a year long portfolio, writing assignments, weekly exam questions, a Colonial Map project and a Costumed Speech project.  The 13 lessons include:

Lesson One: Orientation
Lesson Two: The Banner of the Sun: Meso-America
Lesson Three: Brave New World: Early Explorers
Lesson Four: The Colossus of the Empire: The Colonies
Lesson Five: Stability and Change: The Reformational Colonies
Lesson Six: A City Upon a Hill: The Puritans
Lesson Seven: A Foreign War at Home: Wars of Control
Lesson Eight: Grace, the Founder of Liberty: The Great Awakening
Lesson Nine: Fathers of Independence: Adams, Franklin, Witherspoon, and Henry
Lesson Ten: Liberty or Death: The Declaration of Independence
Lesson Eleven: Awesome Providence: The War of Independence I
Lesson Twelve: Awesome Providence: The War of Independence II
Lesson Thirteen: A More Perfect Union: The Constitution

You can view a sample lesson by clicking here.

You can download 2 full  lessons for free here.

You can purchase American History Part 1 as a physical product for $75 which includes:  4 DVDs, and a PDF Student Reader and Teacher's Guide located on the first DVD.  Or, you can purchase as a digital product for $75 which includes downloadable files for the lectures, and downloadable Student Reader and Teacher Guide.  For $125 you can purchase the Online Portal option which includes a moderator and a grader.

Note: Part 2 will be available summer 2013, Part 3 in late 2013, and Part 4 in early 2014.

This course is different from any other American History course I have seen.  It is NOT your typical read the text and answer the questions history course.  Lessons in this course are taught using exciting lectures, reading assignments and meaningful hands on project work.  I love that it is taught from a Christian Worldview.  Each lessons lectures are broken up into 5 digestible chunks, which is much better for students that age to absorb while at the same time preparing them for the same type of format in a college setting.  I love the visual artwork that is displayed during the lectures.  The assignments are taken from a variety of different readings that are included within the Student Reader.  The writing assignments challenge the student to think.  The weekly exam questions ensure that the student has mastered the topic.

I LOVE the idea of the student portfolio!  The portfolio is like a scrapbook.  Students will need a scrapbook, 3 ring binder, photo album, or fine sketchbook and quality paper.  For each lesson, the student is asked to create a page with three entries, or one original artwork for that week's topic.  Entries are to be both visual and textual and can include items such as mas, photos, artwork, quotes, lyrics, poems, advertisements etc..Students are to complete this with a great attention to craftsmanship and ownership of the material.  What an awesome record of what the student has learned! So much more than just remembering dates, a student portfolio will make history personal to the student and be something they can keep and treasure for years to come!

The Teacher Guide gives helpful tips for grading the portfolio, writings, Colonial Map, and Costume Project. All of the exam questions are in there as well.  Other than the grading aspect that the teacher must do, the rest of this course can be completed independently by the student since all of the information they need is presented in the lectures or included in the Student Reader.

One thing that I did want to mention especially if you are to purchase the downloads, is that they are large files.  Each lesson's lectures (which contains 6 separate videos) are compressed into zipped folders.  There are two choices for you to download.  The mobile file, which can be transferred to a tablet or phone, has to be downloaded to your computer first then sent to your tablet, or the HD file to play in high definition on your computer.  If you have a slow high speed connection (like me) it will take awhile to download these files.  The HD files were set to take 5 hours to download one lesson!  The mobile files took about one hour to download and played fine on my computer.  Just allow yourself time to download, or perhaps download when you are somewhere with free high speed internet.


To enter to win a free download version of Dave Raymond's American History Part One, use the rafflecopter below. a Rafflecopter giveaway *links contained in this post are my affiliate links. I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually have used and can recommend.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary download of this product for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC regulations.
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