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Thoughts on Veritas Press?


Barefoot Explorer

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Hi everyone!

 

I am new to classical education, and have been researching my curriculum options. Holy cow, I am overwhelmed!! My son is only 4, so I know that I have a while to decide, but I would like to have an idea of where we are heading. I also would like the option of being able to put him in a classical private school if we ever move to a town that has one. My first exposure to classical schooling was reading The Well Trained Mind, which I love, but I am also drawn to the idea of ordering a full curriculum that would have things like lesson plans, online support, and classes in the things that I am not strong in (calculus, chemistry etc.) Piecing my own curriculum together based on The Well Trained Mind seems a lot more daunting considering the fact that I did not have a classical education myself. At the same time, I am having a hard time getting the root of what the actual philosophies behind some the major curriculum options are. I don't want to get half way through and discover that they teach philosophies or beliefs that are very different than our families.

 

One of the main curriculums that I am looking at is Veritas Press. It looks promising, but I am scared to commit, not knowing exactly what to expect. What I would really love is the inside scoop from those of you who are familiar with the program. What are they all about? What are the big differences between them and The Well Trained Mind? Is it worth the extra expense? If we encounter materials that aren't in line with our family's values, is there anyway to substitute something different, or are we stuck?

 

The first thing I would be ordering is the Phonics Museum, so I would also love to hear thoughts on that. Right now we are using The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, and it seems to be working just fine for us so far, but I will have to track down some readers and worksheets soon, so I am trying to get an idea of what I want to do.

 

Thanks for the help!

 

Emily

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I didn't want to read and move on without saying something. I have not used the phonics program. I've used the history and Bible. It's easy to browse through the site and look at the reading lists to see if you're okay with the books used. While I think it would be easy to substitute literature selections, I think it would be impossible to change out spines for History. For the Bible, I'm not using one of the suggested books and we're doing okay. As far as WTM vs VP, there are many programs out there WTM people use, but they have to blend their programs together to make their curric. With your son so young, you have time to tweak your approach. I started using straight Abeka here and now, with a couple of years under my belt, I'm branching out with confidence.

One thing you could do would be to use the search function here and plug in key words to see what threads there are.

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Thanks for your thoughts. I have perused their website and catalog, and I am finding that I am still pretty confused as to what to expect. I am not familiar with all of the books used, so without reading all of them, it is kindof a guessing game.

 

Do you see any differences between the approach of the WTM and VP or do you see them as complementary?

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Hi everyone!

 

I am new to classical education, and have been researching my curriculum options. Holy cow, I am overwhelmed!! My son is only 4, ... My first exposure to classical schooling was reading The Well Trained Mind, which I love, but I am also drawn to the idea of ordering a full curriculum that would have things like lesson plans, online support, and classes in the things that I am not strong in (calculus, chemistry etc.) Piecing my own curriculum together based on The Well Trained Mind seems a lot more daunting considering the fact that I did not have a classical education myself.

 

 

I can't comment on VP, but ... if your son is only 4, you have a while before you are faced with subjects like chemistry and calculus! :) I wouldn't let your concerns about your own subject-specific strengths be a determining factor at this age. There's plenty of time for that!

 

That's not to say that a full curriculum won't work for you (many on these forums use boxed curricula with success), but it may not be what you expect. One of the reasons our family has chosen to steer away from full curricula is because I find it's easier to select different programs for each subject based on where our dds are at in each area. I still use "open-and-go" programs, but am using each one at a level that suits my students.

 

I've also found that my children respond better to some program styles better than other. For example, Saxon math (which I think VP works with?) is a strong program that I thought we'd love, but it was a disaster with my girls. So if you go with something like VP, you may need to prepare yourself to switch out elements that don't fit.

 

So ... not at all helpful for you with VP, but those were my thoughts ... :)

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I've used the history and other various products from Veritas Press for years, but I don't have the time to spell it out in detail at the moment. We've never used a graded package however. We were well set in our math and language arts ways when we discovered VP, and felt no need to fix what wasn't broken. I'll come back to this later. Feel free to ask me more specific questions.

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We use Sonlight but are integrating VP this coming year. As far as boxed curriculum go, I think that VP is the easiest to customize. Don't like their math choice? Choose something else. Not a fan of their Bible, pick something else. But, it's all available to order together if you want. They also have customizable lesson plans (scholar plans).

 

With Sonlight if you buy even just the basic core it automatically comes with Bible and Language arts. You don't have to use them but you're paying for them.

 

We'll be using the online self paced history and possibly their Bible curriculum.

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Lynnita - What were your favorite "open and go" programs?

 

Moon - Is the idea behind the history portion of VP that they integrate literature/great books/and history all in Omnibus? Were you happy with this program? Also, I have heard that it really only covers Western Civilization, and leaves out Africa, Asia, South America for the most part. Is this true, and if it is do you think that adding in additional learning about other parts of the world would be possible and realistic or too heavy of a workload?

 

Shannon - To discover what you like and don't like about the VP curriculum, do you just have to order it and then make changes the following year? Can you return things that you decide not to use? Also, I was wondering if their Bible curriculum is staunchly Calvinist/Reformed or more of a non-denominational approach.

 

Thanks all for the help with my multitude of questions!

 

Emily

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Emily, like Moon, we've done the VP history, etc. We did our own thing for LA and math, except that we did use Shurley and a number of the lit guides. If I could suggest, I think leaning toward VP because of the lesson plans is the wrong reason. Almost EVERY company or philosophy out there now has options that are fully spelled out. You name the approach, and you can find it with fully-done lesson plans. In fact, Easy Classical I think is the name of a company making plans that are VP-esque but not from VP. You might check them out.

 

I also think it's too soon to think through high school stuff. Not only do VP's lesson plans NOT go through high school (and never would, never could), but a dc could be very well-served by the VP elementary materials and not their high school stuff or the reverse!

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do right now is look at your dc. How does he learn? Does he LIKE a certain thing like worksheets or kinesthetic or seem to be bent a certain way? You can't and don't want to take a dc with one bent and try to bend him another way. You really have to go with the dc.

 

VP has been offering some promo deals with their phonics stuff lately. Personally, I never saw the draw of it on any level. I had a dd who has done very well but who was better served by the SWR/WRTR approach I took with her. I would say it's an *uncommon* thing to have a dc who just, lock stock and barrel, can use everything from one publisher and do well. That kind of dc IS out there, but it's uncommon. Much more likely is the dc who benefits from a dab of this, a dab of that.

 

Now the contrary on that is that *some* curricula, for instance from BJU, do in fact have this sort of synergistic effect where the sum of the parts is greater than the individual pieces. They'll purposely weave vocab from one subject into the reader of another, teach writing in the one to get applied in the other, etc. But even then, you STILL have the issue that some kids are going to flat do better with more specific teaching materials tailored to their issues. YES something like BJU has that flexibility in, but I still see better results by tailoring. Consequences and what you give up, but better results overall. But that really just depends on the dc.

 

You CAN do this. You CAN learn how to plan your own days and select materials. Whether you want to or have the health to or time to or whatever, that's a different issue. And yes some people feel a lot happier their first year with some spelled out lesson plans. I'm using the MFW K5 with my boy, and it's the cutest, MOST ADORABLE thing ever. You basically can't go wrong with it. It's a letter of the week unit study. Go ahead and get it now and get started! Just have fun with it and enjoy, see how you guys like to work together. If he isn't ready for the phonics sheets, drop 'em. I'm using Saxon K5 math with him, and after that we'll probably go do RS A, which is what I used with my dd. VP doesn't even have spelled out lesson plans for K5, I don't think.

 

So no, even though I like VP stuff in general (and was going through the catalog again tonight!), I don't use Phonics Museum. I always recommend OG methodology to people, because it heads off problems at the pass. If the kid has no problems, he just learns to read better, faster, and less expensively. If the kid does have issues, then he's in the right program.

 

Don't doubt yourself and your ability to do this. EVERYBODY has to learn. I worked as a teacher's aide in K5 and 1st for 3 years, and STILL I was petrified the first day I sat down to do "school" with my dd!!! Can you imagine? Seems hilarious in retrospect, and did even to me after a month or two. You're going to be FINE. Look at things you already do together and take them to the next level. Don't go way outside yourselves. Look for things you think you'll enjoy doing together. Trust your gut reaction when you look at the materials. You're going to be great. :thumbup:

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Lynnita - What were your favorite "open and go" programs?

 

For K4/K5, my favourite program was Five in a Row. It may not be as open-and-go as others, especially if you choose to complicate it with lapbooks like I did at first, but it's beautiful and created some wonderful memories. Once I took someone's advice here and did most activities orally, it was REALLY easy and simple to do each week. My whole family loved it.

 

For math, I've fallen in love with Singapore. (Essentials for K4 or K5, and then Standards Edition with the Home Instructor's Guide for Gr. 1, 2, 3 ... that's as far as I am right now!) My girls thrive with this approach, and the HIG helps me teach it well.

 

For writing (Gr. 1+), Writing With Ease is as simple as it comes, but is incredibly effective. I use the workbooks, which make it open-and-go. I can't say enough good about this program.

 

I used First Language Lessons 1 & 2 for grammar, which involve 5-10 minute oral lessons about 3 times a week. Easy. I ended up starting FLL 1 in K5 because my girls were ready for it then.

 

All About Spelling is a scripted, fun spelling program. There are others out there that are less expensive; AAS has worked here. Once my dds were reading I started AAS.

 

For literature -- well, we just read lots. Easy.

 

History -- Story of the World has been great, especially with the Activity Guide. There are other good programs, too; we just like this one.

 

Science -- this is the one area where I am not yet satisfied, but I've come to realize that's a common challenge for a lot of us. There's something about the mix of experiments and texts that makes it hard to find the perfect program. I've tried lots; right now BFSU is my favourite, but it's NOT open-and-go.

 

One of the things that helped me out when I was starting was realizing just how short lessons can be when they're young. I also had to learn to focus on the basics before adding in the other subjects. It's okay to spend the first few weeks of Gr. 1 on nothing but math, reading, and writing, and to go back to just the basics whenever necessary.

 

Have fun!

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Deja Vu! I'm having flashbacks of my multitudes of questions, which were oh so similar, when my ds was only 4. Listen to OhE. She knows what she's talking about. I appreciated her wise guidance back then and still continually glean from her here on the forums.

 

Veritas Press has great materials to guide you in your homeschool journey. I honestly prefer their curriculum suggestions - love that catalog - to many others, but it's so easy to be flexible with them and do your own thing as well. Although I've never purchased a package per se from VP, I do use their Curriculum Guides as a model to structure our own journey, and swap out or opt to use other materials here or there to suite our needs. I also use WTM as a reference.

 

We, too, used/use Spell to Write and Read... along with First Language Lessons and Writing With Ease... instead of the Phonics Museum/Zoo and VP's grammar/writing selections. And we also started with Saxon Math K (and part of Saxon 1), only to switch to RightStart A when I realized that Saxon wasn't our cup of tea. We *heart* VP's Bible/History, not forgetting to mention the scope & sequence and cycles thereof, and their literature selections. We did start with their Art selections - How to Teach Art to Children and Drawing with Children - which were fair, but then found others that fit our fancy.

 

It'll take some time to find your niche, but VP is a great tool to help you get started. FWIW, we are non-denominational and have had no problems with any Calvinist/Reformist slant thus far in their elementary materials. I don't think you'll find any real issues with that aspect until you hit Omnibus. Even then, you can work around, tweak, and add as needed. Anyways, that's what I plan to do when we get there.

 

Confession time.... Hello. My name is Melissa, and I am a planner. :D Yes, I've created a spreadsheet (or a few) to map out our journey. And yes, it changes frequently, but I wouldn't want to be without it (them). :wub: You've gotta do, what you've gotta do. You know? Links to my spreadsheets and such on my my blog, if you'd like to see how I go about planning. There are many homeschool blogs out there, as well as this forum, that are truly inspiring and helpful when it comes to planning. I'll admit that I referred to VP's Kindergarten Lesson Plans for Bible, and something else that I can't remember right now, in the beginning, but then we found our own groove and now we're good to go. However, it was nice to have that hand holding to compare and grow from initially.

 

Keep researching and read, read, read these forums. There is a plethora of knowledge to glean from here. You'll find answers to questions you didn't even know you had, and then they'll spark new questions. Oh, what fun it is! And I truly mean that!

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We're using Phonics Museum and enjoying it. I bought it off another WTMer. There are a lot of worksheets (that is what the student book is). The kids like the story of it, they like the little songs, and I like that my DD is doing handwriting practice without complaint. :) The phonics activities themselves are actually more basic than what they can handle, but the art exposure, as well as the fun stories and the handwriting practice are worth it to me. Well, and it is nice for the kids to feel very successful with the reading part. Not everything is a challenge.

 

If I were only using it with my K son, I would not like it. For him, the handwriting practice is too much (so he only does a little of the page), the phonics part is way too basic (he reads a lot now), and while the museum stuff is nice, we could do it some other way (although this is easy, so that is nice).

 

Combining my kids, it has been a great way to get artist studies, handwriting practice, and confidence boosting. The game type stuff does look mildly fun, and I think my kids would like it, but I have not made the time for it (as they play lots of games on their own anyways, and don't need the phonics reinforcement).

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We use VP. I'll answer later on the computer. I did want to say that the Bible cards have little, if any, slant. They are not devotional in nature. Their purpose is to teach major events of the Bible. As an 8yo my Dd could organize all major and most minor events.

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Moon - Is the idea behind the history portion of VP that they integrate literature/great books/and history all in Omnibus? Were you happy with this program? Also, I have heard that it really only covers Western Civilization, and leaves out Africa, Asia, South America for the most part. Is this true, and if it is do you think that adding in additional learning about other parts of the world would be possible and realistic or too heavy of a workload?

 

Omnibus covers history, Great books literature study, and theology all in one book. The literature is the main focus, and Spielvogel's Western Civilization textbook fills in the holes for history. It would be very easy to add more history to it, but it's already a heavy course. We haven't used Omnibus yet, though I've very nearly purchased it for myself. I didn't feel my oldest was quite there maturity-wise as a seventh grader, we wandered down an annotated classic literature study this year instead, and next year he is dead set on using Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings instead. We'll revisit Omnibus for tenth grade.

 

For the first round of Veritas Press elementary level history, it is western focused. It would be easy peasy to add in eastern if you'd prefer. I didn't mind my children's first pass through history being western focused. My oldest began history using Story of the World, which covers both. There were so many different civilizations that many just jumbled together in his mind. A strong, well-understood western focused pass through history gives them a great mental timeline to add in the eastern side of things on the second pass. There are schedules out there combining VP with SOTW (search for the Paula's Archives website).

 

Shannon - To discover what you like and don't like about the VP curriculum, do you just have to order it and then make changes the following year? Can you return things that you decide not to use? Also, I was wondering if their Bible curriculum is staunchly Calvinist/Reformed or more of a non-denominational approach.

 

Obviously I'm not Shannon, but their Bible curriculum is straight Bible. Children learn the major events in chronological order and how they connect with each other.

 

I haven't had to return anything to VP, so I can't tell you there. I do know they're very helpful if you call them to ask questions.

 

Before buying a particular piece of curriculum VP or anyone carries, I suggest searching for reviews on this forum and in blogland before purchasing, and looking at samples closely. This isn't fail proof, but you can often rule out a particular curriculum that would be a bad fit for you pretty quickly.

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I'm right there with you, Barefoot Explorer. I drool over VP's catalog regularly, particularly Omnibus, but my kids are still so little! There is no way to tell what will come between here and there. We chose Sonlight Core A for my DD's kindergarten year so I could start the WTM-recommended history cycle in 1st. We are just finishing up, and although I see now that Sonlight boxed curriculum isn't for me, I'm glad I chose it for this year. It is nice when you are first starting to have someone already showing you, more or less, how a planned-out week should go. From the start I was integrating OPGTR and FLL into the schedule instead of their language arts. I loved SL's books and will still integrate their read-alouds and some readers into next year.

 

I have decided not to go VP's route of waiting till 2nd to start history, since what little SL gave us this year was already not enough for DD. I am going to use SOTW as my history and add in some of the book recommendations listed in the activity guide. I have seen that several of them are overlaps with VP books for 2nd/3rd grade anyway. I will use the VP history cards though, as those seem to get universally good marks on this forum!

 

If you do decide to do a 4-year cycle transitioning into Omnibus, you will likely have a year or two gap in sequence. Sonlight offers a program - Core F, I believe - that focuses completely on the Eastern Hemisphere, and it gets rave reviews on here and elsewhere.

 

Don't expect to love completely any one full curriculum, but you have to start somewhere! Just pick what you think looks best for your DC and dive in. Expect to tweak, augment, or supplement the next time - or to abandon it completely in favor of something else. But especially when you're first starting out, and your kids are young, you don't know what is best suited to them, so you have to just choose what you think is best suited to YOU and your goals. Even SWB has said that for your first year HSing, she recommends using a boxed-style curriculum so you can get your bearings.

 

Good luck! Interested to know what you end up choosing!

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We use almost everything suggested by VP. I started homeschooling when my daughter was a young 4yo. I had intended to homeschool since before I had kids, but I knew very little about homeschool materials. I intended to do a year of preschool with Dd, but my sister came for a two week visit with her 5 year old who was just starting kindergarten. Dd cried for weeks wanting to start school. At the time, I knew of exacty three homeschool curricula - Abeka, Bob Jones, and Veritas Press. Not being of a decidedly Bob Jones or Abeka bent, I went with Veritas Press. I'm not Reformed, either, but there you have it. I have used the recommendations from VP for 6 years now. If I had known then what I know now, I would have probably made some different choices. I haven't switched because the kids are doing well and I'm big on continuity.

 

Although I ordered everything recommended by VP, I don't really see them as a boxed curriculum. They sell their own products and recommend others, but there is no reason to think you can't use only the bits and pieces you want. I use VP as my base and add other things that seem worthwhile. For example, the kids use Saxon but we add other things like Singapore's CWP.

 

If you have questions about specific subjects, I'll try to answer them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've used Phonics Museum with 2 kids. It's an awesome program. The books are great, although a little harder than most books for that age. We just read through them slowly. The cd songs are fun and helped my kids remember the rules. I'm getting ready to use it with another kiddo next September.

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