The Pilgrim Story an Online Academic course
Presented by Dayspring Christian Academy
Designed for grades 3-6
Written by Mary Stauffer
$99.00 for 6 month access
About the Course
The Pilgrim Story is a self-paced online course designed for grades 3-6. The course is taught using The Principle Approach method of education. The Principle Approach is a method of education that holds a providential view of history. Christian character and Biblical principles form the core of The Principle Approach. Students using The Pilgrim Story are taught the providence of God in the Pilgrim’s lives and subsequently the founding of America.
The Pilgrim Story is a full course consisting of 17 lessons with assessments and ideas for continued study. This is a self-paced course allowing you to access the course whenever it is convenient. Access to the course is available for six months from the date of registration. Each lesson is designed to take 30-45 minutes to complete. All pages needed to complete the course are included as PDF downloads within each lesson.
The PDF resources include, note sheets, quotes, vocabulary sheets,and extra activities. The course instructions are to make a notebook, divided into sections to keep all course materials in one place for later reference.
The lessons are in a slide show format. All slides are read aloud and your child clicks the “next” button when they are ready to move on to the next slide. The voice is the same for each lesson, a pleasant sounding male voice.
Each lesson begins with a review of the last lesson. The questions are read, choices given and the answers are entered into the computer. The quizzes are graded immediately and the correct answers can be seen. At the end of a unit, a unit test is given. There are two test options to choose form. An essay test can be downloaded to do on your own paper, or a multiple choice test can be taken online.
I used this online course with Ben (5th) and Rebekah (4th). We started this course with high expectations and excitement. I began by printing off two copies of all the PDF files for Unit 1. We set my laptop computer on the kitchen table, attached external speakers and began the study. We have been able to work through Unit one, consisting of 4 lessons and a unit test, and have completed 3 lessons in Unit 2.
What we discovered was that The Pilgrim Story gave us quite a challenge.
We liked (most) of the information that was studied. The Pilgrim Story gives true, factual information about the pilgrims. It begins with a study of King George as well as the Geneva Bible. This background information helped to ”set the stage” for why the Pilgrims felt the need to leave England. I really liked that this study focused on the real story, using information from primary sources. This is definitely not a fluffy,” we all sat around and ate turkey” study, but showed the hardships and perseverance of the Pilgrims. It focuses on the providence of God in the lives of the Pilgrims.
Ben and Rebekah had a couple stand out enrichment exercises within the lessons they completed. They both thought the Greek Translation project and mapping activities were the most fun.
While we liked many parts of this study, we found that it did not really work well for our family. My kids are not used to sitting and watching a computer screen for long periods of time. As well, we do not generally take notes, so the note sheets became a dreaded task for both of them. Each lesson said it should take 30-45 minutes to complete, but we found it took us longer. A lot longer. It generally took an hour or more to complete the lesson. To help stave off complaining, I would set the timer for 30 minutes and have Ben and Rebekah sit and work till the timer rang. I discovered that they generally finished about half of the slides in that 30 minutes. We would then finish the rest of the slides and notes the next day.
Another item to note is that there are a lot of pages to print, and each page is in full color.While this makes for a beautiful finished product, those on a tight ink budget may find this prohibitive.
My biggest problems,though was with information found in Unit 1 lesson 4. The lesson was on Liberty of Conscience and gave principles that went against Lutheran doctrine. The study stated that “Liberty of conscience occurs when your conscience is free from the guilt of sin. You have a clear conscience because you made right choices.” This statement does not follow confessional Lutheran doctrine. We believe that we are free from the guilt of sin, not by anything we ourselves have done, but by what Christ has done for us. We can stand before God with a clear conscience, not because of any merit of our own, but because God, in His mercy, sent Christ to die in our place and declare us free from sin, death and the power of the devil. I ended up stopping this lesson, and discussing with my children why we believe what we believe.
This study has challenged our family. It has not been the best fit for our family and learning style. I would not recommend it for kids who need parental interaction to stay on task or who have trouble with writing. It is an intense course. I will also have to caution other Lutheran parents that some of the doctrine within the lessons will need to be monitored.
I would recommend this course for students who like computer based lessons. The lessons are thorough and complete. I would recommend this study for families who are interested in The Principle Approach to learning. This would be a good introduction to that style.
Many of the Schoolhouse Review Crew members also reviewed The Pilgrim Story. Visit the Crew Blog to read what they thought about the program.
Disclaimer: As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received The Pilgrim Story, a full online course from Dayspring Christian Academy. in exchange for my honest review of their product. All opinions given are mine and/or my children’s.