As my children get older, I am always looking for new ways to challenge them in their schooling. With rising 8th and 11th grade students, I find that my boys are now coming up with more in-depth and thoughtful questions, particularly in the areas of history and our Biblical studies. So, I was pretty excited to get to try out the Self-Paced Omnibus I program from Veritas Press. This program is aimed at students in grades 7-9, so I figured it would be perfect for my 8th grader!
Now, one of the first things I really liked about this program is the fact that it is self-paced, allowing you to move as slowly or quickly as you want. This makes it perfect to start in the summer, where we could do lessons 3 days per week, and then move up to 5 days per week when we officially get back to work in the fall. However, after having done some of the sections now, I will say that we may have to move at a slower pace all year due to the reading. There is a LOT of reading each week, at least from the viewpoint of my non-reading loving boy. And the reading is kind of hard too. We read through two books of the Bible and parts of the Odyssey for the program. In some cases (like Genesis and Exodus) you cover an entire book of the Bible in five sessions! If you have a child who loves to read and is really good at it, they will be at a huge advantage for this course. But, if you have a struggling reader or someone who does not enjoy reading (like in my house) you will likely have to slow down the pace or read along with them.
So, in the cases of Genesis and Exodus, my son and I alternated the reading, with him reading a section alone and then me reading to him. The Odyssey we had to read together because the Greek tragedies are still a little much for my son to tackle by himself. The videos that went with each session were much easier for my son to digest. My son really liked Mr. Etter, the teacher. He has a pleasant speaking voice and a warm personality which makes the videos easy to watch. Each daily session takes about 30 minutes or more (at least so far) which is a bit lengthy. Sometimes we would take a stretch break in the middle of a lesson.
Lessons are broken into different sections, with Mr. Etter speaking directly to the camera in lecture-type formats, interviews with experts and people on the street, tours of famous historical sites, and interactive quizzes and activities. The menu on the side lists the table of contents, but you cannot always skip around in the videos, some parts are locked until you finish the previous section. The course also comes with a PDF download of a book to go along with the program. You have to download it through another program called bookshelf, and the textbook is kin d of like a guide, it includes summaries of all the reading, as well as questions for discussion and debate.
The quizzes and activities were age appropriate and easy to finish. I liked the fact that students could go back and look at their quiz to see what they got wrong after. The program keeps grades and everything for you, making it less work for the parent. I got my own log-in and could see what my son was doing as well as his grades. I would have liked this program a little more if you could skip around in the lessons, reading what you wanted without following a schedule, but it is not set up that way. I feel Omnibus I is a very complete program and you could just add in some math and science to have a full year of school.
In my opinion, Omnibus is a very rich and detailed program that is great for advanced students. I think my older son (who is now in 11th grade) would have loved this! I can see that it is going to be a bit more challenging for my youngest boy, but I am hoping he will grow into it. Omnibus I costs $295 dollars for one year of access. Yes, that is a lot, especially since it is just for one year, but if you consider that math and science are all you need to add after that, it makes the price look a little better. If you want a Biblically-based, thought-provoking program that will challenge the way your child looks at the world, I would definitely recommend Veritas Press Omnibus I.
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To see what other members of the crew thought about Omnibus and the other products we got to check out, click here: