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Last year, we were in the group of reviewers for the self-paced course of Omnibus I which covered ancient history. This school year, my 10th-grade son has continued his journeyed with Veritas Press History using Omnibus II (both Primary and Secondary) thanks to a very generous review package. I’ll share about the secondary course soon. This post will focus on the Primary where most of the history education is found.
Now, if you do NOT want a program that has the Bible and Christian faith woven into the lessons, then this is NOT a program for you. However, if you want Biblical principles to be integrated in the study of history, then keep on reading!
Veritas Press History Omnibus II Primary: What is Covered
Omnibus II begins where Omnibus I ended: the early Middle Ages. In Omnibus I, the student has walked through ancient history with focuses placed upon Biblical history, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Now they start their studies deep in writings of the Church fathers and historians like Eusebius and Saint Augustine and conclude with reading Martin Luther for a study of the Reformation.
Sticking to the classical education model, the students are reading primary texts rather than a generic textbook. Summaries of each section are done through essays which provide a strong overview of the material to be covered while they march through the readings. Those essays are read at the start of the new section and are made available as pdf files in the course for download. We upload them to the iPad for easier reading on the go.
While you could purchase the student ‘textbook’ Omnibus II and the source texts to walk through it all on your own, your student may find the self-paced course to be a better fit. Joost Nixon, long-time pastor and expert instructor, is the students guide through the material. Some of his brief lectures are shot on location throughout Europe where events from the books occurred.
The primary texts used in this course are:
- Eusebius: The Church History
- On the Incarnation of Our Lord
- Ecclesiastical History of the English People
- Rule of St. Benedict
- The Song of Roland
- History of the Kings of Britain
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
- The Divine Comedy: Inferno
- The Canterbury Tales
- The Bondage of the Will
Veritas Press History Omnibus II Primary: Our Thoughts
The format of Omnibus II is very much the same as what my son experienced in the original self-paced course. Each lesson contains video instruction as well as opportunities to review the information (e.g. games) and be quizzed on it. Digging deeper into the concepts and ideas being explored is made a little simpler with expert interviews instead of the student needing to research it all on his own or with a parent’s help.
My son was not a total convert to the idea of Omnibus when he was wrapping up his walk through Omnibus I. He did not usually mind the reading selections, but he wasn’t a fan of some lessons having long interview segments. Additionally, the software controlling progression through the program occasionally hiccups and resets his place. This particular issue is something that has reared its head as he walks through Omnibus II. With the difference in time zones, he is often working on it when the support team on the east coast is shutting down for the night. So, his work through solution is to just let the video segment replay or redo an activity.
If you are going to set your student ‘free’ with this program, take the time to ensure the editions of each book are the same as being used by the course. You can purchase the entire set of required books through Veritas Press for ease. We already had some of the books in the house which were different versions. It hasn’t been impossible to do the program that way, but it is challenging when the instructor mentions a particular spot in the book to find your copy isn’t quite the same.
As a homeschool parent, I love the ease of implementation. Once you’ve purchased the course and materials, you just need to ensure your student is working through it. No lesson planning or grading on your part. What more can a busy homeschool parent ask for? (I do highly recommend that they save each quiz result as they are obtained as there is no way to see the actual quiz once they move to the next part of a lesson or the next lesson.)
I am also quite appreciative of the emphasis on learning to think critically rather than just regurgitate information. This is a skill that is taught to a degree, but really needs a fair bit of practice to internalize. Sadly, many of the high school programs available to not provide such opportunity. While we’ve used textbooks for some courses, I am becoming more of a convert to learning from the Great Books instead of just a summarized text.
While this class can be taken in 8th grade after completing Omnibus I, I feel that some students need a few more years before they are truly ready to dig into such meaty works. My son is currently in 10th grade and still found certain sections to be challenging. We have not reached the study of Martin Luther, so I can not speak from the perspective of a Catholic on how they handle the material. I do take a stand on letting my boys be exposed to the beliefs of others and then discussing it within the context of our own belief. I would rather have them read the words of Martin Luther than avoid it.
As for my son’s opinion, he has enjoyed this particular course more than last year’s. He took me by surprise recently when we were discussing curriculum for next year. I was planning for using materials already in the house when he asked about Omnibus III. Maybe it just takes a while for the classical education model as delivered through the self-paced courses to become appealing.
R has not finished the entire year. Between a month long culinary arts program this Fall and the Academic Decathlon team winning the state competition, he has just finished the mid-term for this course. I suspect he’ll be going a little bit into the summer to finish. However, he is motivated since scoring a 100% on the mid-term and acquiring better study habits through AcaDeca.
Overall, I continue to be incredibly impressed with the self-paced learning option from Veritas Press History. I hope to see my younger sons also begin embracing this method of learning from primary books in the future, too.