Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Review of Drive Thru History Adventures


One of the reasons I love being on the Homeschool Review Crew is because I am exposed to so many products that I wouldn't otherwise get to see. There are just so many homeschool products out there! I'll confess that in my younger homeschooling years, I bought way too much curriculum. Sometimes I bought curriculum just to see what it was like. I wouldn't recommend that. Some curriculum I just always kind of wondered about, though. Drive Thru History Adventures falls into this camp. Thankfully, I have now had the chance to use this amazing Homeschool History Curriculum. Not only to do I love it - my main American history buff, Mary-Catherine (13) loves it. Even better, the American History Curriculum offered by Drive Thru History Adventures dovetails perfectly with the American history course she is doing right now.

There is a lot contained within this program, so before I get into what Mary-Catherine specifically has been working on, let me tell you what you get with a subscription to Drive Thru History Adventures. First, there are three full curricula: American History Adventures (12 lessons), Bible History Adventures (18 lessons), and Ancient History Adventures (12 lessons). Each curriculum is jam packed with material. Because Mary-Catherine was using the American History curriculum, I'll use that one as an exemplar, but it is by no means unique. Michael (13) watched the first adventure from Ancient History (and when he finishes some of his coursework for this year, he plans to work through the entirety of that curriculum), and I took a look at one of the lessons from Bible History Adventures because I was curious about the denominational approach (if any). All of the lessons I've seen are equally entertaining (Dave Stotts is not only funny, he's engaging. He's so personable that you can imagine having him over for a backyard barbecue. He comes across like he's living the dream. As a fellow history lover, I love that.).

Before I get into what exactly is included in an episode, or a lesson, I want to address the denominational issue briefly. There is none - no denomination, and no issue. I mean, of course, the curriculum is presented from a Christian worldview, but I haven't seen any overt anti-Catholic bias, which is always my fear with any non-Catholic curriculum. 

The American History Adventures curriculum has been very enjoyable for both Mary-Catherine and for me. She started at the beginning and has been working very slowly through it (she is using it as a supplement to her regular history, plus she got a severe case of the flu in the middle of the review period). Her thoughts on the program come momentarily. For my part, I wanted to look at a lesson further on in the program. I chose to watch Episode 8 - Early Colonial Virginia.

Each video lesson is about 30 minutes long. Dave Stotts, car lover extraordinaire, literally drives through historical locations to teach the lessons of history. In this lesson, we actually get to see the only 17th century structure still standing in Jamestown! And watching Dave drive through Virginia reminds me of how beautiful that state is and of how much I want to visit there again. I wonder if he could be persuaded to Drive Thru the Civil War...

In any case, in addition to the video lesson, there is always relevant art work (great for Charlotte Mason and classical learners) and a brief summary of what is covered in the lesson. You will also find primary source documents to enrich the lesson. In this case, it is the Articles of Capitulation from 1781:

"Side Roads" are also a feature of each lesson. These are what a lot of homeschoolers might call "rabbit trails" - those conversations we end up having that are not directly relevant to the lesson, but that are definitely indirectly relevant and bear learning. In this case, the topic is Pocahontas!

Discussion questions can be done orally or assigned as written work. Mary-Catherine would read the discussion questions for her lessons to me as I was doing other things (cooking, etc.) and then answer them. I would often follow up with another question (am I the only mom who does mean things like that?) and discussion would ensue. Hence the name "discussion questions"?

All of the particulars summarized above are included in a downloadable worksheet for those who prefer to have/keep a hard copy of all of their resources. There is also an answer guide for the discussion questions. 

Here's what Mary-Catherine (13) had to say about Drive Thru History Adventures: "I really like it. They make history that was already fun come to life. Dave is really funny! I love how I can read about something in my textbook and then watch it with Dave. The questions are just hard enough to make me think, but not too hard. I like that there are primary source readings because history is my favorite subject and I want to learn everything I can about it. There is so much in this program that there is room to pick and choose. I can't wait to do another course after I finish American History!"

The curriculum alone is worth the price of admission to Drive Thru History Adventures, but there is so much more to this website. There are new articles published all the time. For example, two of the most recent were on the Transfiguration - very timely. One was Evidence for the Mount of Transfiguration and one was Location for the Mountain of Transfiguration. Another on the History of President's Day came just at the right time. You can also get a behind the scenes look at the Museum of the Bible. Even better, in addition to blog-style articles, there are also expert articles. Since I took an entire course on parables and sayings of Jesus in college, I really enjoyed the article titled "Parables in the Ancient World and the Gospels."

If you're not into the idea of a curriculum, or if your kids are too young for a formal curriculum, don't write Drive Thru History off! Adventures TV is for you! Here's where you'll find all of Dave's videos in one location for easy access. All of the fun, all of the cars, and all of the history with none of the extraneous material - it's pure documentary-style learning fun! And like the picture below shows, you can get it on just about any platform you can think of!

My family will be using Drive Thru History Adventures for the duration of our subscription, and I would love for you to be able to check it out, too. If you purchase an annual subscription now, you'll get a free Gospels DVD! Alternatively, on page 19 of the Winter Edition of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Drive Thru History is offering readers 20% off an annual subscription to its site! It's a great time to check out this company!

Other Crew reviewers focused on other areas of curriculum, so you'll definitely want to read the Crew Blog to see what they had to say!

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