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Omnibus Options-Self-Paced,On-Line,Independent?

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My son has been doing Omnibus 1 this past year and discussing issues with my husband and me.  However, I don't feel that I can adequately help him through these courses.  He could continue to do it independently, correcting his own work with the teacher CD and discussing issues addressed with us, but I'm leaning toward trying something else next year.  The price tags intimidate me a little, so I'd appreciate hearing from anyone that has tried the self-paced courses offered by VP, the online courses offered by VP, and/or the online Great Conversations courses offered by Wilson Hill.  I'd especially love to hear from anyone that has tried both on-line and self-paced.  I'm looking for information on how they compare and contrast as we try to decide what would work best for our family.  Thanks.



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I am curious to hear about the self paced option myself.  My son took Omni at VP and it was great courses but very time consuming and demanding when doing both Primary and Secondary classes with them (not to mention very pricey!)  I have talked alot with the Headmaster at Wilson Hill (who used to be at VP) and as you can see from their book list it is a bit less in regards to the number of books they require.  I also like the fact that they combine both classes (primary and secondary) into one.  Seems simpler that way and a bit cheaper than VP.  Can't help much with self paced but thinking on that option for my middle one.  :)  

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We are going with Wilson Hill next year on the recommendation of Heather in WI.  My dd used the self-paced VP for 6th grade and had mixed feelings.  She retained a lot of information, but there are things added in like games (in Omnibus as well) that you have to go through to get to the next section.  It became kind of monotonous.  The same thing every day with a different topic.  If you go with the self-paced option, I would enroll in one of the Omnibus forums for self-paced so that you can get the benefit of discussion with their peers.

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I can't find the book list online.  We couldn't get through all the books in Omnibus 1 in a year, so I wondered how they would do it.  Then, I found out that it actually counts as 3 classes for VP and 2.5 for WH, so we obviously weren't dedicating enough time to it, thinking it was essentially just 1 class.  I'm very curious to know which ones they omit though.


For those that have done WH, how do they do grading?  Are there tests?  Are they done online?  I watched an archive of a VP online class and wasn't impressed with the format.  Now, I'll start by admitting that I taught school before having children (and before online classes were available), but the VP online format seemed like the equivalent of trying to teach a group of students while they were all constantly talking.  The teacher seemed distracted trying to read the constant barrage of student comments while teaching the material, and I was distracted reading them while he was teaching.  Do you have any idea if there are archived sample classes available for viewing for WH? 


Thanks for your help!

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Omnibus Primary 1


This is the curriculum kit you will need for the Omnibus I Primary Self-Paced course. (20% savings off retail)
This kit includes:

  • Omnibus I Text
  • Gilgamesh
  • The Codes of Hammurabi & Moses
  • The Odyssey
  • The Landmark Herodotus
  • Oresteia Trilogy
  • Plutarch`s Lives Vol. 1
  • The Theban Trilogy
  • The Last Days of Socrates
  • Early History of Rome
  • The Aeneid
  • The Twelve Caesars
  • Julius Caesar


Omnibus Secondary 1


  • Omnibus I Text
  • Chosen by God
  • Till We Have Faces
  • The Magician's Nephew
  • The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe
  • The Horse and His Boy
  • Prince Caspian
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  • The Silver Chair
  • The Last Battle
  • The Best Things in Life
  • Unaborted Socrates
  • The Eagle of the Ninth
  • The Screwtape Letters
  • The Holiness of God

Hope this helps.

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Here is the booklist for WH for Omni I not sure what year you need I have year 1-3 available that Bruce Etter (Headmaster) sent me.  If you need another year let me know.


Textbook :  Omnibus 1 ISBN-10: 1932168427; ISBN-13: 978-1932168426


Primary Books

The Epic of Gilgamesh   978-0-374-52383-1
The Code of Hammurabi   1-59462-338-4
The Odyssey (Homer)   978-0-14-026886-7
Histories (Herodotus)   978-1-4000-3114-6
The Oresteia (Aeschylus)   0-226-30778-6
The Last Days of Socrates (Plato)  0-140-44928-0
The Early History of Rome (Livy)  978-140-44809-8
The Aeneid (Virgil)    978-0-67972952-5
Julius Caesar (Shakespeare)  978-0198328681

Secondary Books

Till We Have Faces (Lewis)  978-0156904360 
The Chronicles of Narnia (Lewis)  978-0064405379
The Best Things in Life (Kreeft)  0-87784-922-6
The Screwtape Letters (Lewis)  978-0060652890 
Holiness of God     978-0842339650



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My son has taken two years of Omnibus online through VP, but this year we switched to The Great Conversations at WHA.  He greatly prefers the integrated course at WHA over the structure of Omnibus at VP with two separate courses, Primary and Secondary.  With two different teachers covering the same time period, often connections were lost between the history studied in one course and the literature of the time period being read in the other course.  There is also the benefit of the smaller reading list for the WHA course, which make it more manageable - plus the lower cost for only one course.  They have weekly quizzes online, several papers due throughout the year, a midterm, and a final.  Omnibus at VP has similar testing.


One more thing, Mr. Etter, my son's instructor at WHA, is phenomenal!

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The shorter booklist at Wilson Hill really sold me.  We found out this year with Omnibus I that it is extremely difficult to discuss books that you have basically speed read.  It's difficult to retain anything from The Histories when you read 100 pages a day plus whatever you are reading for secondary.  It is crazy.


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A couple more questions. 


For WH - Can you work ahead at all?  If we did self-paced, my son was wanting to get started this summer so that he'd have more flexibility throughout the next school year.  Also, jjeepa, you mentioned papers due.  Who reads/grades them?  The parent or the teacher?  And, approximately how many students are in a class?  Thanks!



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For WH, you could possibly read ahead but you would need to remember everything when writing papers, exams, etc.  The instructor in the class grades the papers as well as all of the tests.  It is totally hands off for the parents.  My son had about 6 papers at VP I believe but it has been a few years going off the top of my head, not sure about WH, we are still looking into switching here.  The WH list for year 2 is below:


Textbook:  Omnibus 2 ISBN-10: 1932168443  ISBN-13: 9781932168440
The Hobbit Tolkien, J.R.R. 395362903
Fellowship of the Ring Tolkien, J.R.R. 978-0547928210
Two Towers Tolkien, J.R.R. 978-0547928203
Return of the King Tolkien, J.R.R. 978-0547928197
Confessions  Augustine 978-0872208162
Ecclesiastical History of the English People Bede 978-0140445657
Nine Tailors Sayers, Dorothy 978-0156658997
Rule of St. Benedict Benedict 978-0375700170
Beowulf Tolkien (translator) 978-0544442788
Song of Roland Sayers (translator) 978-0140440751
History of the Kings of Britain Monmouth 978-0140441703
Macbeth Shakespeare 978-0198324003
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Tolkien (translator) 978-0345277602
Henry V Shakespeare 978-0198320333
Inferno Dante (Esolen translation) 978-0345483577
Canterbury Tales Chaucer 978-0140424386
The Reformation Nichols, Stephen 978-1581348293

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There are around 30 kids in my son's class at WHA this year....however, it is the first year that WHA has been open and they have since added several teachers.  I would expect the class size to go down but you should check with them about that.  I believe there were approximately 20 kids in his class at VP last year.  All grading is done by the instructor.  I believe my son did 4 papers in each of his Omnibus classes at VP every year, primary and secondary.  He's only done 2 so far this year in TGC at WHA.  


Yes, you can definitely work ahead by reading from the list over the summer.  In fact, both VP and WHA recommend it.  My son has done that every summer and it's helped him tremendously!  



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So, from everything I'm learning, I think I most like the WH format.  However, our family has taken a somewhat laid back approach to homeschooling, similar to a Charlotte Mason approach with some Classical influences.  I encourage independent learning and daily mold the assignments and expectations to each child’s strengths and weaknesses as well as our family’s needs.  I’m slightly concerned that the transition from our previous approach to that of the on-line classes will offer some challenges and even frustrations.  So, right now I'm considering the self-paced courses for one year before doing WH because of the flexibility and more independent learning (as opposed to teacher directed).  What I mean by independent isn't that he chooses what he studies but that he can move more quickly or slowly as he chooses.  That's more similar to what he's done in the past.  His learning, much like his physical growth, tends to go in spurts, but he still finishes a set amount of material in a year.  Anyone have experience or thoughts that might encourage or discourage this approach?  Thanks!



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Kristin, I am contemplating the same thing for my middle son.  My oldest was so ready for Omnibus at 7th grade (and did very well) but not so sure about my middle son.  It is such a tough call, we are thinking of possibly doing an online class using Memoria Press Classical Studies for introducing him to online classes and maybe doing the rest w/me and through self paced making up many of the books in the Omni book.  MP covers a few books but I was planning on supplementing the rest.  They offer the Greek study for the 1st year and their 2nd year I believe focuses on the Romans.  Then I think he would be ready the following year to jump in at WH.  Good luck in your decision!

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