I never thought history was something that I enjoyed. It was never a favorite subject while I was a student. …except that college course on the History of Architecture, but that was fun. Hey! That must be the key – present history in a fun way. That is exactly what Drive Thru History Adventures does, presents it in a fun way. History is so much more than names, dates, and battles. These are stories, stories of people and places. The team behind Drive Thru History Adventures visits the places and makes the stories of the people come to life. We began our study of American History at the beginning of the year – and Drive Thru History Adventures has been a big part of it. We’ve been on virtual fieldtrips and learning adventures.
You may be familiar with Drive Thru History videos. We reviewed a set on the Gospels last year. The videos are great; one of our favorite history resources. Now, they’ve built a curriculum around those videos. Primary Source documents (not a restating or interpretation with someone else’s opinions and thoughts, but the actual words as they were written) as PDFs, add good insights and reading to deepen your student’s understanding. There are also discussion questions, Side Roads – additional bits of information related to the topic of the lesson – or episode, expert articles, and more being added every week.
First, you have to appreciate humor. If you only want serious and stuffy history for your children, you will not be impressed with Drive Thru History Adventures. Not only does host Dave Stotts don costumes, he makes jokes, eats, and in other ways engages those following along. In our home, those following along are not limited to the teens who are using this to fill out their American History credit, but anyone within earshot when the video begins.
The recommended age for the curriculum is 12 and older. The videos for each episode are family friendly and suitable for all ages. Where the suggestion for older students is relevant in the Digging Deeper portions. The primary source documents and accompanying discussion questions will require the maturity of an older student. That is not to say that our younger learners leave the room when the video ends. We typically watch the episode’s video all together. Then, I send the discussion questions and any additional PDFs (usually two documents per lesson) to my daughters’ Kindles via email. In a day or two, we go over the rest of the material associated with that lesson and discuss the answers to the questions. Sometimes, my daughters write lengthy responses (a single page paper), other times, their answers are short and we spend more time discussing as a family.
The interface for the curriculum is fairly easy to navigate. There are no confusing sequences. We do have to go through the menu to choose the episode we wish to go to next. And now that we are further in, we need to click the course’s main page rather than scrolling through the submenu to the specific lesson. Everything for an episode is located on one page, we just keep scrolling as we go through. I do wish there was some way to keep track of where we left off. We were off for our Sabbath week last week and needed to figure out which lesson we were ready for. It was easy once we looked at the files on a Kindle.
I had originally thought that the American History course would be robust and deep enough on its own for high school credit. It is not. The materials are great, as the main part of our resources. We are combining them with an additional text (for geography and timeline work) and more reading, research, and writing. We seem to always include more reading in our history studies. Historical fiction is just something that we enjoy (and when your children ask if they can do more reading you don’t tell them no). I’d hate for anyone to think that we feel the story told through Drive Thru History Adventures is lacking. We thoroughly enjoy it and the richness it adds to our studies.
It doesn’t matter where we are, we always have access to the episodes (lessons). Thanks to Drive Thru History Adventures TV we can not only access the lesson videos from nearly any device or screen (the computer directly or via an app on my iPad), but we can even download the video and take that device on our own fieldtrip. So far, we’ve only used this on an exceptionally nice February afternoon in our backyard, but the possibilities are unlimited. I think this would be amazing to re-watch all the episode videos (and the extras) as we take to the road to physically visit some of these historical sites from our country’s history.
Because no such field trip is planned, we will be enjoying our American History studies at the pace of an episode a week. This gives us 12 weeks of adventures and takes us from Columbus through the American Revolution. There are two additional courses on the website right now, Bible History and Ancient History. The Bible History course covers the Gospels. An additional course coming soon will be covering Acts to Revelation.
I’m not sure what other future courses are planned, but we cannot wait to use and enjoy them. Now that we have been experiencing history with Dave Stotts and the Drive Thru History Adventures team, anything else will be lacking. I don’t want my children to have boring memories of history, do you?
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