Who is Dayspring Christian Academy?
Dayspring Christian Academy is a school in PA. They teach using the Principal Approach. They also offer online classes such as The Pilgrim Story
What is the Principal Approach?
The Principal Approach uses Biblical Principals to teach. Principals like Christian Character, Self Government, Perseverance, Christian Liberty and more.
What is The Pilgrim Story?
The Pilgrim Story ($99) is an online program which teaches your children about the Pilgrims and their very religious journey to America. It is not a live class, that means, you can attend anytime you want for how long you want. It is self paced. You will have 6 months to complete the course of 17 lessons. The final lesson is a virtual field trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts. Course Access begins 48 hours after purchase.
The Pilgrim Story teaches the history of the Pilgrims from King Henry to the first Thanksgiving in America over the course of 17 lessons spreading out over 5 units. Each unit has a unit test, that can either be done multiple choice style or essay style. I really liked that they had a choice, however my children always chose multiple choice.
The lessons are presented audio style with slideshow type pictures. Many lessons have interactive pictures too.
Each lesson has a vocabulary list and a note sheet for you to fill out as you watch. Each slide is manually advanced, the answers are right on the slide. My kids were able to take as much time as they needed to fill it out. (more on that below). There are often other printable pages such as Christian Principles or Quotes and activities, such as mapping and graphs.
How we used The pilgrim Story and my thoughts.
We are fairly secular in our homeschool, we found this to be very religious in nature, which I felt is a good thing. America was founded on religious freedom and that is a very real part of our history. So while it differs from our normal history style, I was glad not to have all the religious aspects left out. I am not sure how you would even tell the story of the pilgrims without it.
We began using The Pilgrim Story with my 2nd grader, 6th grader and 8th grader. The age recommendations are grades 3-6. I was grateful for a new way to teach my children about Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims. I usually just do a quick overview of them around the middle of November. I decided that since this was so full of information that they would all be watching and participating.
I watched the introduction lesson first, by myself. That let me know to create a portfolio where the children would be putting all their work. We needed to make it nice so it could be a keepsake for them in the future, and they could refer back to it. I then decided to print out the entire first unit’s sheets they would need. This process entailed me to go into each lesson and download the materials for each lesson one page at a time. I understand that we were supposed to download and print each sheet off during the lesson. It did make it nice to have them all printed out beforehand. I wish they had a way to download them all at once, or even a unit at a time, as well as leaving them individual in the lessons. That way it could work either way.
We all sat down to watch the first lesson. I hooked my laptop up to my TV. My 2nd grader took so long filling out the note sheet that the older two would get frustrated. So for the second lesson I decided I would do the writing for her and she would just repeat the sentence. Then that lesson talked about Queen Mary and how she got the name of Bloody Mary, and well we have had an incident here where some neighbor kids have told Katey about Bloody Mary and a whole scary story about a year ago. Katey slept in my bed for weeks after that. She completely lost it when she heard this and is convinced it is a scary history lesson each time, so needless to say, I found out the hard way that she is definitely not ready for this curriculum.
Tommy and Emily have continued to use it and love it. They found many of the facts are fascinating especially those that show how they had to have faith in so much to persevere, and make it to America.
I appreciate that it is multi-sensory. You watch the slides, they have the facts written on them, for you to read. You listen to the narrator reading the facts, and you do a fill in the blank type note sheet to write them down.
They both like the review questions at the beginning and the multiple choice questions at the end of each lesson. The fact that many of the lessons had interactive slides helped keep them from becoming bored with it. (not that it is boring).
Each lesson is suggested to be approximately 30-45 minutes. It our experience it has taken us about 45-60 minutes. There are quite a few writing assignments throughout the lessons. We just have a family discussion in place of the essays.
Dayspring Christian Academy also offers other online classes. Three are self paced and one meets live.
You could start now and be working on learning about the Pilgrims right through Thanksgiving!
Disclosure: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to share my honest opinion.