Roadschooling in the Holy Land From Home {Review}

Many ages ago in my homeschool journey, a friend gave us a couple Drive Thru History® episodes. These were some of Dave Stotts’ first productions, and we were hooked. Since then, we’ve incorporated Drive Thru History® into our homeschool whenever we get the chance. Most recently, we were given Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation” to review, and we embraced it! Why? Because it’s the ultimate roadschool adventure, that’s why!

First, let’s just call this company DTH, shall we? And the entire package can be, hmmm, how about A2R? Good? Good.

(I took all sorts of cool pictures of this cool series, but the only ones that turned out were the two below and this picture of my dog. Technology may or may not be from Satan.)

What is DTH and A2R?

Drive Thru History is hosted by the charismatic Dave Stotts. The best way to describe DTH is to call it a history adventure layered with Bible study frosted with a geography tour and  with humor.

Dave Stotts walks where the apostles walked. He shows us what roads, cities, and buildings looked like in the time period of the New Testament as well as what they look like now. He discusses the political and social context of the day, which adds meaning to the Biblical text. Essentially, the series helps viewers to completely grasp that the apostles were real people.

The series (not only A2R, but others from DTH) remove “Bible study” from its sad slot as a subject and put it where it’s supposed to be: a living, applicable, real truth that really happened and applies to all aspects of life.

I’ve noticed on other reviews that a lot of the young girls find Dave Stotts to be…handsome. I’m not allowed to discuss that here. My girls said all I can say is that he has charisma. And he does. That’s all we’re going to say about that.

I don’t usually like to tell you things you can find out for yourself with a few minutes spent on the company website, but I want you to effortlessly see exactly which time periods are in it so you can make an educated decision about whether this would fit with your Bible and history studies.

18 Splendiferous Episodes

Episode 1: The Gospel Shared at Pentecost

Episode 2: The Church Grows in Jerusalem

Episode 3: The Gospel Spreads to the Gentiles (really meaningful to me!)

Episode 4: Saul of Tarsus & the Road to Damascus

Episode 5: Paul’s First Missionary Journey: The Island of Cyprus

Episode 6: The Journey Continues: Pamphylia, Galatia & Asia Minor

Episode 7: The Jerusalem Council & Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

Episode 8: The Second Journey Continues: Philippi and Thessalonica

Episode 9: A Road Trip to Athens

Episode 10: Ancient Corinth

Episode 11: Paul’s Third Missionary Journey: Ephesus

Episode 12: Paul’s Final Trip to Jerusalem & Caesarea (moving!)

Episode 13: Adventures at Sea: the Island of Malta

Episode 14: A Final Journey to Rome (a good one!)

Episode 15: The Martyrdom of Paul & Peter (powerful!)

Episode 16: John and the Island of Patmos (Don’t miss this one!)

Episode 17: The Seven Churches of Revelation

Episode 18: The Book Closes on the New Testament Period

The episodes are all roughly 24.7 minutes. Roughly.

Drive Thru History® “Acts to Revelation”  is a complete product. It can stand alone as a weekly Bible Study to enrich your family’s or your study of Bible events and their historical context. It can serve as educational entertainment, because Dave definitely strikes a balance between entertainment and education. It can be a stand-alone history course with the enclosed study guide. Or it makes an excellent supplement to current Bible or history studies.

We began by watching the episodes straight through whenever we need some “down” time in our school days, but now that we have closed in on the time period of our current Bible study, I’m reserving the episodes to bring out on our fun school days (Saturdays for us, since our weekends are Sunday and Monday)

There is an included study guide printed directly in the CD case. That baby won’t get lost! It is divided into chapters to correspond with the DVDs. Each chapter includes a relevant Bible passage and gorgeous (or should I say charismatic) photography of something in the region discussed. Following that is a brief synopsis of the chapter. It also includes some questions based either on history or the Bible, the answers to which can be found in the episode and also at the end of the book. Finally, there are side roads called…wait for it…Side Roads. These are…wait for it again…side roads that take you further into the region or time period. Those are super interesting bursts of information. Super interesting! Side roads are the best part of life.

How did we use A2R?

We have been watching them as breaks from our regular school day. At least, that’s how we started the series. Now that the review period is over, however, I am saving the extra episodes to play during our study of each time period. That’s convenient, since we are studying Ephesians in history class. When we move more quickly through these episodes, I don’t use the study questions much, but when we go slowly and use the episode as a class instead of educational entertainment, I use all the resources. The limited number of questions (5) per chapter help keep everyone involved and thinking without getting mired under dozens of questions, turning a fun educational experience into a yawn.

While the episodes are intended for sixth grade to adult, our whole family watched together. That is three to adult. The younger children obviously get less our of it, but they are aware of some things. It’s also great to help them understand right off that the Bible is real, the people were real, and the places they walked were and are real.

My personal favorite sections were the Road to Damascus and the following chapter on reaching the Gentiles. I also appreciate the sections when the apostles were nearing the end of their lives. These were moving…to me…but I’m a sap.

Truth be told, often there is so much information packed into each episode that my brain has a few mini-explosions, like popcorn head. My kids agree–both that there’s a ton of info and that I’m a popcorn head. I gave up trying to absorb it all in one lesson and try to glean a few things and be content with that. That is why I like having these around to re-watch (or review) as desired or needed.

(I’m sorry about the hat tip required for this picture.)

Essentially, I feel like the series is a visual version of our roadschooling field trips. Walking where others walked. It’s pretty moving. I can’t recommend it enough.

Other homeschool families also checked out Drive Thru History®”Acts to Revelation.” Click on the banner to see what they have to say.

Drive Thru History®

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