For the past six weeks, our family has had the immense pleasure of reviewing the One Year Family Subscription of VeritasBible.com from Veritas Press. This is a wonderful online Bible curriculum that includes access to three full Bible courses for up to four students! Please note that I purposely did not call this an online “homeschool” curriculum because while it is fabulous for those of us who homeschool, it is also a super way for Christian families whose kids attend public schools to add some fun and solid Bible instruction to their kids’ education.
What is VeritasBible.com?
VeritasBible.com is a great way for kids to study the Bible and learn things about it through fun games and videos. There are currently three courses aimed towards grades 2-6 – Genesis to Joshua, Judges to Kings, and the Gospels with two more courses in the works – Chronicles to Malachi & Job and Acts to Revelation. Each course covers 32 Bible events with four lessons for each event. (That’s 128 lessons in each course for a current total of 384 lessons! So, the way I figure it is that if you do one event per four-day week, this is essentially already THREE 32-week school-YEARS worth of curriculum! And once the next two are added, we’ll be talking about FIVE YEARS worth of Bible curriculum!)
Each course includes a simple memory song of all 32 events that is reviewed in each lesson. While my kids enjoyed the whole thing, this song was probably their favorite part of the program! Whenever the song came on when one of them was working on a lesson, the rest of the kids would invariably make their way over to the computer from whatever they were doing to watch and sing along. I was excited to actually catch this happening on video one day!
All of the lessons include short videos in which real people dressed up as ancient Israelites explain and teach about the Biblical events with the help of a few animated characters. My kids loved these videos as they are quite humorous and clever; I must admit I enjoyed watching them myself and I even learned a few things along the way! They do an excellent job teaching and giving historical and cultural context for each Biblical event.
Interspersed between every five or so minutes of these videos are activities, games, and quizzes for the student to interact with the new knowledge they are gaining.
The four lessons for each event are structured pretty much the same way. The first lesson introduces the new event and takes about 20 minutes, the second and third lessons delve into the details and meaning of that event and also take about 20 minutes each. The fourth lesson is much shorter as the student takes a test assessing their knowledge and understanding of the event. There are games and videos in each of the first three lessons for each event. My kids really enjoyed the variety of games. In some games, they might be asked to design places having to do with the lesson, others might review and help them remember specific numbers or orders of events, and still others are just for fun but within the same theme and context.
How did we use VeritasBible.com?
My kids have all inherited my need to work through things in order :), so they unanimously voted to do the Genesis to Joshua program. VeritasBible.com is geared for grades 2-6, and it was absolutely perfect for my almost 4th grader. My almost 1st grader who is reading quite well also had no problems doing it on her own. I think she might have called for help to read something a total of three or four times during the whole six weeks. She loved it!
My almost 7th grader loved the videos and the song but felt that the activities were too simple. She would have appreciated being able to skip some of them but that is not an option. My 3-year old also loved the videos and songs and really wanted to do the activities, but since he can’t read, he obviously couldn’t do the vast majority of them. We solved this by having the 7th grader and 3-year old do each lesson together, which worked perfectly and was a really sweet bonding time for them!
What do we think of VeritasBible.com?
I cannot say enough how wonderful this program is! It is so professionally done and of such high quality, I have been impressed with every single lesson.
That said and reiterated, I must now confess that as much as I love this program, it doesn’t fit well with the way we homeschool. My kids love to learn together so we tend to take in most of our new information together and then separate to do activities, reports, and notebooking pages on their individual levels. So for most subjects and curricula, this means that we read or watch new content together and then work on our own afterwards when necessary. But the way VeritasBible.com is structured makes this impossible. Each student must do each lesson in its entirety on their own because of the way the videos have the activities interspersed throughout them.
This caused ongoing frustration for me for several reasons. First of all, it meant that we had to use the internet to load each lesson not once but four times, and with our slow internet here in Malaysia, only one person could be on the VeritasBible.com site at a time. When we tried it simultaneously with separate computers, they inevitably stopped to buffer every few seconds. So that meant someone was doing VeritasBible.com for over an hour each day which meant that those who weren’t on couldn’t do our other subjects that we do together either. This really messed with our whole schedule!
The second problem is that the lessons are so engaging that when ANYONE was on, EVERYONE wanted to be watching! Even though they had seen it already or would see it soon. And my kids love to share fun experiences with each other so every time something was funny, they’d call for their siblings to come watch it with them. So while that video I showed you above was adorable, it got a little frustrating to keep losing people from their math or spelling or notebooking to wander over and sing the VeritasBible.com song or watch the funny videos. Again. For over an hour every day.
The way we finally solved this was to move a school computer into daddy’s home office where the door could be closed for one person at a time to do VeritasBible.com. And daddy wore noise-cancelling headphones while he worked. So we made it work, and they really did love it. The kids want to do it forever, and I know they are learning so much with it. I just don’t like how it has high-jacked our routine and daddy’s space. We like it enough to keep working to figure out a more workable solution for the long-term.
I really wish, however, that they would add some kind of a possibility for families like ours to watch the new content all together once and then have the kids do the activities, games, quizzes, and tests individually later. (I’d also make the quizzes and tests optional, but that’s just me because we’re not really into that stuff here.)
My only other issue with this program is something in the first lesson on the days of Creation. It has really cute animation of what God made on each day, but when it gets to the seventh day when God rested, it drops a very American-looking little church complete with a cross-shaped steeple onto the garden scene. Even my 11-year old found this bizarre. Call it a pet peeve, but I found this super-annoying! For a program that, in every other way that I saw, does a great job teaching kids the historical and cultural context of the Old Testament, this was inexcusable to me. Are the kids supposed to assume that God went to church that day? Or that Adam and Eve did? Before a cross had any meaning? Not to mention the confusion between the seventh day and the first day. And that rest and worship are not about a building. Ugh.
Thankfully, we didn’t come across anything else like this, so if you are like me, please give the program a chance past that first faux pas. It is worth it. It really is so, so good. We have all learned so much already, and the kids are already looking at the calendar trying to figure out how to fit as many lessons as possible into the rest of the year that our subscription is good for. I love how this program has ignited a burning desire to learn more about the Bible in them! Don’t tell them because I’d hate to slow them down, but I’ll probably renew it! 🙂
Connect with Veritas Press Online
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/veritaspress @VeritasPress
If you’d like to take this program for a test drive, you can get a free two-week trial. Just pop on over to VeritasBible.com and give it a try! I think you and your kids will love it!