I was offered this product for free in exchange for a review. However, I always give my honest thoughts and opinions, without persuasion from outside sources. In addition, I only review products we have truly used and completed, so my opinions are based on the full resource. It is my hope that my reviews help you make informed choices for your family.
My daughter was participating in a program for 7th grade that ended up not containing the Biblical Worldview training we had been looking forward to for many years. Halfway through the semester (January), we shifted gears and she added Self-Paced Omnibus I Primary and Secondary courses from Veritas Press to her school day. It has been such a great addition to our homeschool, and has filled-in the gaps I felt we were facing in regards to the integration of History, literature and Bible/Church history beautifully! I will give a brief description of Omnibus I, my perspective on this resource, and follow it up with my daughter’s thoughts on the program!
What is Omnibus, and What Does Self-Paced Mean?
Veritas Press offers “Omnibus” courses for 7th through 12th grades. A complete school year using Omnibus would utilize both Omnibus I Primary and Omnibus I Secondary. These are meant to be used in conjunction with one another. The Primary course focuses more on history and theology. The secondary course focuses more on literature. Individually, if your student takes only Primary or Secondary, they are considered a one-credit course. However, if the student takes both Primary and Secondary, it is considered 3 credits. This is because the programs integrate with each other and add depth to one another. For example, early in the year, my daughter was studying ancient history along with Genesis in the Primary Course. In Secondary, they were discussing “The Magician’s Nephew” by C.S. Lewis – a “creation-like allegory. Later, they studied Hammurabi’s Code (man’s law) and compared them to the Ten Commandments (God’s law). Over and over again, I saw this integration component as they challenged the students to think for themselves by asking probing questions.
How to Teach Omnibus
There are three options for your student to learn and study the Omnibus materials. First, a parent can teach this at home using the “You-teach” option. Second, you can take a live online class with Veritas Press where you log in at a specific time twice a week, interact with classmates and your instructor, and turn in work to your instructor for grading. The third option is what we chose – Self Paced courses. This is the perfect solution for us for these reasons:
- With four school-aged kids, I just don’t have the time to effectively teach this to my oldest without sacrificing time with the younger students.
- I value flexibility in our schedule – we travel for a number of weeks around Christmas to see my family, and logging into set class times would be difficult on the road.
- Independence – my daughter could easily manage this program on her own.
- I absolutely LOVED the ability for my student to “travel” with her professors to actual sites all over the world and see them for herself – as the instructors described and explained them. Talking about the Tabernacle in Exodus? Apparently there is a life-sized model in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and she got to watch he instructor walk through the life-sized model and explain visually how the Tabernacle laws were set and utilized. This type of learning experienced happened many times over! (the Colosseum, the Parthenon, just to name a few!)
Some Benefits of VP Self-Paced Omnibus:
- Grades itself automatically – my daughter prints off her test grades and I keep them as a summary of her work.
- Learn from experts in each subject area – I know as parents we can model the learning process through learning and teaching our own kids, but I also think there is a ton of value from learning from experts. I wouldn’t pay for my daughter to take piano lessons from someone who was only a few lesson ahead of her – they wouldn’t really know what they don’t know. They also wouldn’t be able to bring many different ideas and thoughts into the teaching process since their knowledge would be limited. I appreciate the instructor’s mastery of the material – it frees them up to perfect the delivery of the information to my student.
- Integrating all books and sources from a Christian Worldview – this is priceless to me. When we set out to homeschool, our main goal was to give our children a Biblical Worldview for life – something my Husband I never received in our own education. However, the ability to provide that in the midst of multiple children at varying ages seemed daunting. The Omnibus program does this for me – in ways I just couldn’t do as well on my own. In addition, I like the fact that my student is learning these same ideas from another voice. I train them all day long in these ideas, and it is good for our children to hear the same perspective from other adults as well.
- Helping students to learn to think and form ideas for themselves – this program challenges the student to digest the information and form thoughts of their own – not just “fill-in-the-blank and move on”. They are encouraged to think for themselves. There are street interviews, which then are discussed as the students are led back to Scripture as the authority on the topic. The instructors do a great job leading the kids towards the truth without telling them what to think. It has been great to see my daughter’s faith maturing as part of her Omnibus studies. I just wish I had the same education!
Omnibus I Primary
Omnibus I Primary covers early biblical works, as well as Gilgamesh, Hammurabi, and Histories by Herodotus. It is taught by Bruce Etter, who my daughter found engaging and fun. There were 175 lessons, which work best when completing one each day of the week. Books covered include:
- Old Testament books: (Genesis, Exodus, 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Minor Prophets: Hosea, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Haggai, Zachariah, and Malachi)
- The Codes of Hammurabi and MosesThe 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 I Secondary
Omnibus I Secondary covers many books by C.S. Lewis, R.C. Sproul and selected books from the New Testament. The course is taught by Tammy Duby and has 105 lessons, which can be used in a standard school year by taking three lessons a week. Books covered include:
- Selected New Testament books: (Galatians, Romans, James, Luke, Acts, & Revelation)
- Chosen by God
- Till We Have Faces
- The Magician’s Nephew
- The Lion, the Witch, and 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
How We Used The Course:
Since my daughter started in January, we were kind of working behind schedule from the beginning. She decided to double up on some days to try to finish by fall so she could start Omnibus II. This was challenging, but doable for her. Given the challenging course content, I am proud of her diligence and determination.
I chose to purchase a hard-copy of the student text even though this isn’t a requirement for the Self-Paced courses. I wanted to be able to read the lessons here or there to try to keep up with the content my daughter was learning so we could better engage in conversations during the day. It was nice to have the resource to do this if I had time. Once I owned the text, I saw that it had a few essay prompts for students each week for Primary and Secondary. I wanted my daughter to process the material well, so I had her keep a journal and answer these essay questions with a short paragraph as they were assigned. It was a great way to gain insight into her thoughts and lessons, which I could use for discussions later on if needed. Also, she has a wonderful keepsake of all she learned in Omnibus I in her own words! Priceless! We are doing this now as she works on Omnibus II.
A Parent’s Thoughts:
I am sure you can already tell that I absolutely LOVED this course and am so thankful to have this resource to teach my children from a biblical worldview! Through their readings, they were drawn into discussion regarding ideas such as pre-destination versus free will, abortion, the ultimate meaning of life, different views on how the world was created, whether events in the Bible were symbolic or if they actually happened, moral values versus faith, the value/meaning of marriage, whether retaliation for an offense is justified, and the spiritual world versus the material world. This is a very small sample of ideas that were discussed.
My son will be starting Omnibus I next year, and I can’t wait for the discussion between my daughter and my son to begin as my daughter re-visits what she learned when she completed the course.
Thoughts From My Daughter:
“I really enjoyed the teachers who were engaging and made me laugh. They dove into the stories more than I would have by just reading them. I liked how it challenged me to think about things differently and it was nice to know some of the deeper answers when I had discussions in youth group or Sunday School. Ideas like predestination, Old Testament history, differences between types of love, were all topics I now was excited to discuss. I liked how there were different activities and themes. The only part I didn’t really like is that occasionally the reading loads were heavy, but they did offer sections where the reading was much lighter and the instructors would remind us that we would have some space to catch up during those sections. I really liked their interviews with some of the experts like the archaeologists, the Jewish Rabbi, and the orchestra conductor. When we were going to talk to a theologian about a question, they would use various people, not just one, which was nice to get different perspectives and explanations. The animations and cartoons for Socrates were fun and made a difficult text easy to understand and enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this program to any of my friends! I am glad I took this class and feel like I have a lot stronger foundation in my faith. I understand more why I believe, and how to walk that out.”
How fun it was to hear my daughter’s opinion! I hope it helped you as well. She is working on Omnibus II as I type this up! This has been a great addition to our schooling!
You can find the entire Omnibus I program (Primary and Secondary self paced courses & all books) from Veritas Press Here:
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