Do you remember the history videos of old? I can’t be that old that I am the only one to remember the lovely black and white numbers. You remember, right? I’m talking about the videos with the monotone narrator and the bad acting. This is definitely not how I want my kids to learn about history, and I am pleased to report they don’t have to. And, neither do yours. There is a new history program called Drive Through History Adventures that brings history to life in a lively and fun way. Our family was recently picked to review Drive Through History Adventures with Dave Stotts, and we are in love.
What Is Drive Through History Adventures?
Drive Through History Adventures is a fun and engaging history series. When you become a subscriber, your family gets a years worth of online access to all of the great curriculum resources, plus additional videos and video series. There is also a private Facebook group and something called Adventures TV that I will talk about later.
There are three main adventures which include American History, Ancient History and Bible History. Each of the three is a complete curriculum that can be tailored to fit your student’s individual needs. Our family has been working through the American History series, so this review will focus on that curriculum. Though they each seem to be structured very similarly.
The American History Adventure
The American History curriculum has been broken down into 12 episodes. So right off the bat, students are not bombarded with boring history lessons. Instead, they get to enjoy a weekly episode. I mean what kid is gonna say no to watching a video, right? Well actually mine were a bit skeptical at first, because they have been subjected to the dry, lifeless history videos of old. They were actually sort of shocked at how fun and entertaining history could be. Now they look forward to watching the next episode and learning a little more.
Each episode contains a 27 minute video, a worksheet, and some extra reading materials. Most of the extra reading materials are primary resources directly from that time period. There are also some discussion questions, and usually some extra suggested activities for those that want to go further. Though the curriculum is recommended for those 12 and up, I believe that it can be modified for most students.
The American History Adventure covers US history from Columbus through the Revolution and the early Colonial days. Because the episodes are engaging, students (at least mine did) pay attention and get involved. My high school son was eager to share his knowledge of Genghis Khan and the silk road at youth group. He loved getting to explain that if the pope of that time would have listened to Khan about the troops that were needed, all of China would be Christian. I know that I was not taught this when I was in school, and our family loves that Christian history is mixed in with the secular history.
What Are The Episodes Like?
Each video is around 27 minutes long. They are long enough to bring a good amount of information, yet short enough to keep the student’s attention. Students come along as Dave Stotts travels to the places that the events actually happened. With each episode, your student will get the opportunity see and virtually experience the important places in history. Dave Stotts has a great sense of humor, and he uses this to bring his stories to life.
The videos are Christian-based, so if you are looking for a secular curriculum this may not be for you. However, the focus of the advetures is on the historical events, and not Christian principles, so I truly believe this could work for most families. Drive Through History Adventures has additional video series that dive heavily into Christian principles. Our family uses these for our weekly bible study.
Our family really enjoyed getting to see the places where history was made, which makes this curriculum a bit different from others. This is not a picture in a textbook or a map of a historical area. This is an up close and personal view of the places where history was made. It’s like having a virtual field trip with every episode.
Tell Me About The Facebook Group
The private Facebook group is one of my personal favorite parts of being a Drive Through History Adventures member. This is where Dave Stotts gets personal with his subscribers. Dave takes his audience right into his office, where he talks about various topics of interest and upcoming additions to the adventures. He also includes what he calls “Side Roads” in the Facebook group. These are short (usually less than five minutes) videos that provide some additional facts or learning, and of course fun.
Our personal favorite Side Road was his Valentine’s Day post. It was hilarious and provided information regarding Valentine’s Day that we did not know. Dave also provides times for families to ask questions. He then answers the questions in one of his Facebook posts. This is an awesome way for kids to feel connected. For our boys, having the chance to ask questions gets them more engaged in the material as well.
What is Adventures TV
This is another fan favorite in our house. Adventures TV makes our lessons portable via a phone or tablet. For those that know us well, you know how often we are in clinic. My son no longer misses out on doing lessons, because the Adventures TV app is on his phone. I love that there is something on his phone besides game apps that he likes. The other great thing about Adventures TV is that it contains all of the videos that Drive Through History Adventures has created.
Did I Mention the Resources?
As the mom and teacher in this family, my personal favorite section of the site is the resources. There is an amazing amount of information here including articles, extra videos, worksheets (with the answer guide – woohoo!), and a section called Dig Deeper. This is great for young history buffs or for the older high school student who wants to go a bit further. Dave also has some videos on how to use the curriculum as well as other helper guides for parents.
Our Personal Reviews
Zach (age 15)
“Dave is funny sometimes, when it fits. He doesn’t make it boring, and it’s easy to follow. I think this would be good for middle school or high school. With Dave Stotts you can better understand history.”
Seth (age 12)
“I thought that Dave Stotts was funny. I also like that they went in depth with the history and they gave you the details of what happened.”
“I love the fact that my kids are excited enough about what they are learning to tell others about it. This has not happened with any other curriculum. It is very apparent that they are learning and are excited about what they are learning. For those that may be questioning the fact that this is video based, I can assure you that the curriculum is very solid. It’s just not dry and lifeless”
Check out some other great reviews from the Review Crew. Some other great moms and dads have also been reviewing Drive Through History Adventures too. You don’t have to take my word for it, you can see what other folks have to say as well. Click Here to see what they think.
If you are looking for a history curriculum that is engaging, funny and will keep your kids interest, look at Drive Through History Adventures. If you would like to read more reviews on other great resources, check out my Solutions – Home School page. And, do forget to subscribe to our newsletter so you never miss a post.