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Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: Dave Raymond's American History Part 2

Last year I had an opportunity to do a review of Dave Raymond's American History Part 1 from the Compass Classroom.  You can read my review of it here. When Part 2 came out several weeks ago, I was delighted to have an opportunity to review it as well.

Dave Raymond's American History is designed for students in middle and lower high school starting at around age 12.  Upper high school and older could enjoy it as well (I know I do!)  The course consists of daily video lectures, readings, projects, weekly exams, and a year long portfolio.  Through the lens of a Christian worldview, Dave Raymond gives a history of the United States starting with Meso-America to the Constitution in Part One and continuing with George Washington to Teddy Roosevelt in Part 2.  Each part contains 13 lessons with each lesson containing 5 lectures, and is designed to take a semester to complete.  Lessons in Part 2 include:

14. Federal Headship: George Washington
 15. How Good and Pleasant It Is: Adams and Jefferson
 16. Manifest Destiny: Settlers, Explorers, and War
 17. Word and Deed: John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson
 18. The Original United Nations: The Expansion of the Early US
 19. Idols of Mercy: Revival, Counterfeits, and Art
 20. A House Divided I: The Age of Compromise and Divided Cultures
 21. A House Divided II: Abraham Lincoln and Secession
 22. The Second War of Independence: The War Between the States
 23. Brother Against Brother: The War Between the States II
 24. The Lost Cause: Reconstruction
 25. A New Normal: The West, Immigration, and Robber Barons
 26. Theology as Biography: Theodore Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington

There are 2 projects that your student is assigned during the course of the semester.  The first project is a research and thesis paper based on a topic of interest on something during the studied time period.  The second project is a craft project (30-40 hours is recommended)  in a medium of their choice (song, model, cooking, other craft ideas, covering a topic of interest studied. In addition to those, there are portfolio assignments to complete for each lesson.  The portfolio is like a scrapbook of what the students have studied and learned.  Each portfolio page should have 3 items on it along with titles and captions.  Portfolio entries should be completed on quality paper and stored in an album, scrapbook, or sketch book dedicated to their American History class.

You can purchase Part 1 and Part 2 of Dave Raymond's American History together, or you can buy each part separately.  You have the option to choose between physical DVDs or downloads.  Each of these also comes with a student reader and teacher's guide.  With the physical DVDs these are found on the first DVD in the package and come in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats.  The cost of purchasing Part 1 and 2 together in a physical copy or download is $90.  To buy each part separately is $50.

You can download the first 5 lessons for free.  Check them out!

Dave Raymond's American History brings the instructor into your home with interesting video lectures.  It is a Christian curriculum and one that takes the time to teach the importance of the founding of this nation and not just the names and dates but also the character behind the people who founded and shaped it.  As i said in my review of Part 1, I love, love, love, the portfolio.  What an awesome, visual way to show what you have learned in a way that you can keep it forever rather than memorizing a few names and dates to pass the test and move on.  The readings included in the student reader are challenging, but are quality, original works that are worthwhile for your child to read and everything they need to read is included.  The Teacher's Guide gives specifics on grading and contains the answers to the weekly exams.  The course can be completed by your students independently (aside from the grading of course.)

When I reviewed Part 1, I received a download version.  I like the portability of downloadable videos, but we have super slow internet speed and the files were very large.  This time I received a physical copy.  The DVDs are not as easy to transport as downloadable files, but I didn't have to waste hours downloading the videos and could just pop them in and watch them.  The student reader and Teacher's Guide are included in 3 different formats on the first DVD so I put that into my computer and emailed those files to the iPad so we would not have to print anything out.

If you are looking for a middle-high school, Christian, self directed American History course that is much more than memorizing facts and dates, I suggest you download the free lessons for Dave Raymond's American History.

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

*links used in this post are my affiliate links.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend.

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